Words by Holly Royle
The English language is continually expanding as new words are frequently introduced. The Oxford English Dictionary publishes four updates every year as new words are added to the dictionary. The latest update was January 2018 in which over 1100 words, senses, and subentries were introduced including hazzled and electric catfish. This ongoing evolution of language means that surely we will never run out of words for self-expression, be it in the form of prose or poetry. Concepts of love and hate, for example, can be expressed in many different words but with so many writers exploring these concepts is repetition inevitable? Language can be limiting no matter how many new words are added or developed or change their meanings over time. It can be difficult for writers to find the right words to express their ideas. Is creativity limited by language?
This possibility of the executions of creativity being finite is applicable to other art forms. With a finite number of notes the world of music, it is not unlikely that we will one day run out of anything new. The seven notes of music; A, B, C, D, E, F and G, do have variations. This and the combination of instruments, rhythm patterns and music technology are enabling musicians to develop new sounds. There are however, already many songs in existence that use the same chord progressions due to the finiteness of music notes. If you’re interested in finding out more, this video by Axis of Awesome displays this excellently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I
Returning to the world of literature, the limitations of language are unlikely to be overcome completely. Different languages have different words for different concepts, for example the German word schadenfreude is defined as the pleasure derived by someone from another’s misfortune. To express this feeling in English would be a far more clunky collection of words. However, this being said, English is a very diverse language with words deriving from Germanic and Romanic languages and has a larger vocabulary than many other languages.
So, how does this affect one’s writing? When composing poetry or prose or any other type of work of writing, my advice would be to keep a thesaurus nearby. This will help to an extent in finding the best fitting words that express meaning, even if the definition of a word does not exactly portray your intending meaning.
Do you agree with this? Are creative mediums limiting the expression of creativity? Let us know what your opinions are on the subject in the comments.
P.S. Have a happy Easter weekend!
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