English Is

A student asked me if English is a beautiful language.  I answered no.  English is not a beautiful language, English is…

One summer, I traveled around Italy as a student.  While strolling through the market in Florence I saw this German girl at a hand-made book stand.  She was not conventionally beautiful.  She had blonde hair pulled into a braid that hung from the arc of her scalp, with the nape of her neck shaved.  Her skin was too pale and her lips a dull shade of pink over slightly crooked teeth.  Her eyes were wide set over a nose just a touch too long. 

But she smiled as she was talking to the vendor.  She changed, in an instant, from a still life to a brightly animated picture.  Her hands rose to cover her mouth as she laughed and she closed her eyes for a second; when they opened they were bright with amusement and her skin glowed.

That's English, the best I can describe it. 

With it's convoluted grammar, stolen vocabulary from a dozen languages, thoughtless spelling, and exceptions to every rule about its use, English is not a beautiful language.  But when it's used correctly, when the right people make it come to life, it outshines its flaws to the point of banishment, leaving us with a wholly beautiful idea.

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3 responses to “English Is

  1. hmmm… nice. i like the imagery.

  2. Fantastic. And (of course) so very true.

  3. Thank you for the compliments.

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