Column - Reinventing a language

THE word reinvention and re-engineering excite me as they give us a sense of rejuvenation and change. To stay relevant to the changing times, we are forced to reinvent practically every aspect of our lives, the way we do things have changed, mostly for collective gains.

On that same token, writing used to be a pleasurable activity those days and I have vivid recollection of penning my thoughts and daily happenings in my diary. Some of us will remember how we connected with our "Dear Diary" so affectionately and that was a creative outlet for us to share our innermost thoughts, apart from improving our writing and language skills.

These days writing has been reduced to contractions so severe that if you are not in the league, you would have missed the point and the world goes by, anyway.

Do we find writing relevant in this day and age with the advent of technology and when speed is of essence? Cut and paste has become rampant with text needed for any occasion and any purpose freely available online. People have stopped thinking and writing a string of 10 words to form a sentence has become more difficult than flying to Mars.

Recently, on the occasion of the passing of my mother-in-law who lived and cared for nothing else except love, the grandchildren presented a poetic eulogy. They were compiled into a long piece of something, strung with words so touching, music to the ears and therapeutic to the mourning hearts and I was pleasantly surprised that the relevance and significance of writing has not gone totally out of fashion.

How do we get our children to write? This is a huge challenge and it has to begin with the adults making a conscious effort. People with a penchant for writing tend to pause and enjoy the finer things in life and this is when as they write, thinking happens and words flow in torrents.

The reinvention in the creative use of language in writing makes a huge difference in people who write to be read as opposed to people who write for their own whims. Writing creatively may not necessarily mean it becomes heavy reading material.

The use of literary devices are excellent means of making your writing more meaningful and reading them gives you a 3D-like experience. We discussed some aspects of using literary devices some weeks ago in my column and today we will see an extension to that.

Metaphors and similes for example induce in you the power to imagine and visualise and they are quite different but similar in nature in what they bring to the readers. A metaphor is an equation while simile is an approximation. "He looks like a buffoon" is a simile while "he is a buffoon" is a metaphor. The clue to look out for to know the difference is the word "like" when a simile comes into play.

Metaphors enliven the ordinary language and provide an exciting departure from the regular to a more attention-grabbing experience.

Then we have personification which is one way of making your piece more personal and give it a humanistic touch. When you accord a person's qualities or personalities of a person to a cat for example, the subject becomes the reader. As I write this, the brightly lit rectangular face stares at me in all gaiety, responding to my touch with the excitement of a child. Here, I am referring to my desktop screen which has been given the personality of a living being.

As for an idiom, it is basically a string of words put together that can conjure up a meaning which can be different from reading the words in isolation.

In other words, an idiom is an expression with a figurative meaning that differs from the literal meaning. Idioms can amplify messages in a way that draws readers and it helps to awaken their senses making reading close to a real-life experience and this also triggers out-of-the-box thinking.

"When we bite off more than we can chew, we will need to go back to the drawing board to rethink our strategies and in the process, the mistake might have already cost us an arm and a leg. Yet politicians are a herd of unique people who have the best of both worlds with their innate ability to pull wool over people's eyes and they prosper in abundance while the ordinary citizens live hand-to-mouth.

By the way, that was just an example of how idioms can be used in context, with no specific reference to people or events.

The writer believes that our education system will reach greater heights with an antidote to revolutionise everything. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com