The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Every time I start to read a new book in a foreign language, I remember this quote.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I just started reading a book by the contemporary Russian author Aleksei Ivanov.

Russian author
Aleksei Ivanov

The book is called “Inclemency” ( the translation is mine ). So far it is a very dark story. Despite the pessimism, I will continue to read. I adore Ivanov’s language. He is probably the only writer after Bulgakov who possess the magic of language.

Each time I read a book in its original language, I feel awed. It is as if suddenly a whole new world opens its locked doors to welcome me. I know the power of language because I tried to read translations and every time I am convinced that no matter how good the translation is, a part of the world is lost.

My love for books pushes me to learn fluently more new languages. Each new word in each new language expands my own limit of the world. Have you noticed that we are more inclined to open up or to decide to continue a relationship with someone who is fluent in our own language?

Without the ability to freely express ourselves we lose the endless horizon in front of us. The more languages we are fluent in, the further away the horizon moves. And the view in front of us slowly expands.

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One thought on “Coffee and Language

  1. You are right !!!!! I found it. I have decided only to read English literature in English. Danish is my first language and I enjoy it so much more. Last year I read prize winning novel by Pierre Lemaitre on WWI. The translation to Danish was so bad that I complained to the publisher. I wish I could have read it in French. I might have done, but it would have taken a very long time

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