Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An Observation

I had a minor surgical operation over the winter break that led, indirectly, to a realization about how lay people can understand my work. The day beforehand, when the surgeon was using pen to mark where he would cut, I observed that it was the first time in my life that I could really appreciate what people mean when they say to me of Arabic, "I can't believe those squiggles actually mean something to you." (It's a comment I get more than one might expect.) But there I was, marveling that a few different kinds of pen marks could hold so much meaning for the person making them whereas for me, they were, well, just some squiggles that signified nothing in particular.

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