Language is Foreign
“Language is Foreign” is a quote taken from an interview with Ursula K. Le Guin which impressed me for its brevity, while still managing to express in few words a concept that has intrigued me for many years. It surfaces also in Lacan (“Language is work”), and Proust, with his famous quote: “Les beaux livres sont écrits dans une sorte de langue étrangère” (Beautiful books are always written in a sort of foreign language).
Contrary to what common sense might suggest, language is not something made with an intention to communicate, for a sound or gesture to marry a concept to a thing, but rather something to inspire wonder at how the world is constructed, the greatest marvel of all being that we are both inside and outside of it. We do not speak, “language speaks” (Heidegger).
Dora García, in Hoja de Sala, Rialto6, 2022