There’s just something about using another language that makes everything seem more heartfelt.
To me, at least. Which is why I used to swear in Japanese. (Before I actually knew they were swear words. Honestly. Sorry >.>)
If I use English, I get too sarcastic. You might’ve noticed that by now. I usually start out sad, possibly perfectionistic, and then I turn mad, which tends to be translated into sarcasm. (Yeah, thanks, Wernicke’s area.) Things just get messy then, because a sarcastic voice arguing with another sarcastic voice in a lunatic’s head doesn’t usually turn out to be pretty.
And Japanese… it feels like a heart language. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched too much anime with heart-broken characters screaming their vocal cords out, but in any case, that’s how I see it, or feel it. You just use it to get everything out. Plus, if you use it as your Skype status or something, most of the people you’re “friends” with probably don’t understand it anyway, and most are too lazy to look it up. It’s wearing your heart on your sleeve while keeping everyone else blissfully ignorant.
But I also think using a language other than your mother tongue is more potent because you choose your words so much more carefully. You automatically try to be more limited and concise because you want to get your meaning across in as few words as possible. That is important. You mean for every word to be there, and each one means exactly what it says. There’s no beating around the bush, no irony, no double meanings; it’s just there, open and real, raw.
It seems like we’ve been missing that more and more nowadays. We toss words out in social media without giving a second thought to what it even says. “Lol”? You aren’t even smiling! “I love you”? Do you even know each other well enough to claim that?
Words aren’t convenient little slaves we can just throw around. Remember what “awesome” really means? Or “terrible”? Or “love” or “hate”? “Amazing” or “wretched”? Or anything else we undermine the meaning of? You realize that when you say something is “the worst,” you’re saying that that would be worse than dying on a bloody battlefield surrounded by your fallen comrades, or finding yourself in a hospital with no appendages, or watching your family go through literal torture because of your faith?
This is why using another language is heartfelt. Words themselves hold so much power, but that power is undermined when we say things we don’t mean. Speaking or writing in a less familiar language makes you mean every single word of it. That’s why it becomes a language of the heart. That’s why being careful about what you say makes every word hold that much more weight.
And, to writers especially, remember that you are the guardians of words. You use them to create worlds, people, adventures. You weave them into stories, calls to action, memories. Others look to you as examples.
Choose your words carefully.