I spend so much time engulfed in words. I literally write thousands of words online a week. Whether it’s talking to people or teaching them about ideas or just plain writing something for myself (which I make sure to do at least once every day), I am constantly swimming in a sea made of concepts and descriptors for those concepts. I don’t really know why I am so interested in language. I don’t really know why I am simultaneously able to construct sentences with ease and not be able to string two words together. It seems like every day is a conflict between not being able to find the words that I want and being able to express myself in a coherent manner.
I guess this is why I like making words for concepts that are hard to describe. Most of the posts that I have written for tumblr about Anikele have been about concepts or distinctions that I have made words for in Anikele but do not exist in any natural language that I know of. Whether it’s just a silly little thing or a complicated system of thought and coping (as rakeíl kind of is), I find myself inspired to rename the things in my world to better center myself and, at least partially, control and ease that conflict within my speech.
But it’s not only conlangers who do this. I find new little terms popping up all the time that people just decide to make up. Whether it’s something like making the supposedtobes or adding a new meaning to the word baseline, people find ways to describe and name the things that they want to express. Of course, although my examples given here are from Ze Frank, he’s far from the only person who does this. He’s just the person who reminded me about this, and as such, he is the first example to come to mind.
I find that all the time when I watch his videos, especially the slightly less silly ones that he explains something that I obviously knew all along but really couldn’t articulate well. It reminds me of the fact that in order to really feel comfortable expressing myself I feel like I have to switch to another language to do so. Whether it’s Anikele or something else. I don’t feel like English is right, even though that is obviously not only my native tongue but the language that I am most proficient at at this point in my life. I can’t express myself. And so I find words in all different places just rolling off my tongue that I try to scoop up in order to get a bit closer to the day when I will finally feel comfortable talking and speaking up.
I suppose that the fact that I do feel so uncomfortable speaking is a reason why I a) like input-based learning methods so much and b) never feel quite comfortable speaking Spanish at all. I never really had to step out of my comfort zone like that, so I just became a passive bilingual. (Although I argue that because I am not fluent at speaking that I am monolingual, even though I have studied or put great effort into learning at least four separate languages and I am to be adding a fifth come this fall.) Everyone that I knew who spoke Spanish- which, granted, was just my immediate family -could understand English just fine and was fine with me speaking that to them. Add that to the fact that English doesn’t quite click with me, doesn’t feel smooth enough to come out of my mouth all that elegantly, doesn’t quite feel like I can quite wrap my mouth around the sounds and phrases and cadence of it all, and I am just stuck in an awkward place where I don’t really want to speak much at all.
The only thing that really makes me want to speak out is by using my own words. I have constructed my language to fit how I feel it should. It fits inside my mouth comfortably. People may think that that is some sort of double entendre, but whenever I am speaking (or sometimes imagining that I am speaking) I can actually feel the language within my mouth and how it tastes to me. Every language I have encountered feels different and situates itself in a different place for me. It’s all very interesting to experience the different flavors that I can find, but nothing feels like I feel like it should. Unless I make up words of my own. I don’t think that I am so good at describing vague indefinite concepts as Ze is, but I’d like to think that once I get my language to a decent enough point that I might be able to feel like I am.
So, that’s why I am making a new word in Anikele. It’s śe [t͡se]. It has two meanings. One is ‘the ability to express oneself eloquently in words’. The other is ‘that drop of sweat that forms on your lower back only to drop down into your butt’. In honor of Ze and all of the supposedtobes there are.