“love” written in Japanese

As you all know, this past Monday we had our small group review with Motoi and a Japanese translator. As the review unfolded, I was fascinated by how the language barrier completely changed the review dynamic.  No longer were we rambling on about minute details of our projects, but instead were forced to be simple and succinct with our language, as well as pick and choose exactly what aspects to cover about our designs. With all of our ideas and concepts being interpreted by the translator–who is most likely not familiar with architecture speak–and then translated into Japanese, who knows exactly what Motoi heard. This got me thinking about how, as architects, we must learn how to speak our own language. We talk about abstract 3D concepts a great deal of the time. To be able to communicate this information effectively we must learn some additional vocabulary in terms of traditional language, but also learn how to speak in drawings and models. Ultimately, language is really interesting stuff. It informs our lives in many more ways than we are really aware of. I will leave you all with a series of quotes I found interesting on language:

“A different language is a different vision of life.”

-Federico Fellini

“Language is to the mind more than light is to the eye.”

-William Gibson

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

-George Orwell

“As soon as there is language, generality has entered the scene.”

-Jacques Derrida

“Man’s ultimate concern must be expressed symbolically, because symbolic language alone is able to express the ultimate.”

-Paul Tillich

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