Reap what you sow

June 17, 2012 § 7 Comments

“If you have plans for a year, sow rice.
If you have them for a decade, plant trees.
If you have them for all your life, educate a person.”
Chinese saying

I like it when art brushes against science, when science questions art. The two seem to go hand in hand.

Making the Spanish plant earlier today, as I pieced together the words, I was looking for rules, inquiring about structure. Here are some of the things that caught my attention, and which made me think about how I wanted to express them.

“Arroz” and “árboles” both start with “ar”, although “árboles” has an accent, which I’ve positioned high up off the “a” so it doesn’t attach to “arroz”.

“Para” and “por” are variants of each other. I don’t know what the rule is but I’ve learned the phrases as chunks; perhaps it’s based on singular or plural. It doesn’t seem to be whether it’s masculine or feminine, because “vida” and “año” both take “para”.

The imperative seems to end in “a”: “planta”, “siembra”, “educa”. I decided to share this letter, and make it big to emphasise this rule (and allow the three verbs to fit nicely into it).

The pronoun “los”, substituting for “planes” comes before the verb. You can choose one or the other of the (pro)nouns, the blue words, but not both together.

Language plants are scientific. They aim to demonstrate rules, linguistic rules.

A piece of art has no reason for being, other than to exist as itself, and give pleasure. Language plants certainly brighten up my life, and they seem to make others smile too, which I find immensely gratifying.

So whether you’re first and foremost an artist or whether you’re a scientist, please consider making a language plant with the plant maker, and popping it in the new Language Gardening facebook group for everyone to go “ooh” and “aah”, like María Inés has so kindly done. It’s her very first plant as well! A big round of applause for her, don’t you think (if you’re a scientist), or feel (if you’re an artist)?

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