Monday, May 10, 2010

The Language of Literature

That's what we talked about at ENS today - about the language of literature and how it's different from the language people speak. I thought it was a really interesting lecture, especially when they started talking specifically about French and the literary French v. spoken French. This section included a discussion on writers who rebelled against language (like Georges Perec), those who believed that it's an author's duty to purify the spoken language, and those who believed the two were completely separate. Then, they talked about style and how it differed from the language of literature, including a discussion of Flaubert's "mot juste" and how writing is a never ending process. Style as the written expression of thought - anyway, it was an incredible class. I can't believe I only have one more.

Afterward, I had lunch with Lu and we discussed if it's easier to learn French if you start with English or Chinese. I thought that it might have been easier if you start with Chinese, because it's so completely different. Whereas with English, you basically need to unteach yourself your own language to work on the accent and sentence construction. But Lu said it's pretty hard to learn a completely different language, and she thinks the only reason she was able to get to where she is in French is because she had already studied English, so it wasn't completely foreign to her. Though, apparently, when you start studying French in China, you have to stop studying English. Interesting...

Then, I was going to sit on my bridge, but it started raining. Wearing the sunglasses wouldn't make me inconspicuous if it's raining, and I don't know what I'd see if I sat there spying on people in the rain. Hopefully it won't rain tomorrow before my course, and I can sit on the bridge for a little bit before leaving, or afterwards. It's not like I have a ton to do.

I taught English too, and then came back for dinner. Ultimately, not an exciting day (except for that awesome class!), but I caught up on some reading. Pray that the weather tomorrow is back to how it was over break!

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