The Challenges of Colloquial Speech

I imagine the alien thesaurus must be one hell of a beast. Even digitally, it must occupy gigabytes of space. 


Because we, humans, are ridiculous with our languages. Never mind the fact that there are many, many, many languages on Earth (We have 11 official languages here in ZA), but just look at what we do to poor, old, simple, English. No, no; I’m not talking about how the dictionary gets updated regularly to include definitions for words we make up as we go along (twerk and selfie anyone?); I’m not taking local slag (or maybe this counts as slang IDK).

I’m talking about things like this:

Tissue= Kleenex                                          Margarine/Butter= Rama/Flora    

Lip ice= Vaseline/Zam Buc/Blistex                 Nail polish (& remover)= Cutex    

Plastic bag= Checkers                                  Petroleum Jelly= Vaseline

Dish washing liquid= Sunlight                        Soap Bar (clothes)= Sunlight

Soap Bar (body)= Protex                               Washing Powder= Omo/Skip

Paracetamol/pain killer= Panado                    Sparkling juice= Appletizer/Tizer 

Fabric softener= Stay Soft                            Toothpaste= Colgate

Bug Spray= Doom                                        Tomato sauce= All Gold


We call products by their brand name in everyday speech; a brand which differs depending on which country you come from, which isn’t necessarily the brand of the product that you have on hand and which can refer to many other products. And we understand what it is that we are talking about/asking for, to the point of becoming confused when you use the generic product name! 

This is confusing enough for someone who is not from that country (how many of these products would you have known if I had typed out this list without the generic names?) Now imagine how confusing this is for an alien who has no background knowledge of what products can be found on supermarket shelves and whose translation device will probably have generic names for human products. Especially if this is not a quirk seen outside of human languages.

a quick doodle I did the other day. it was inspired by this little kid I saw in the park, making soap bubbles. some light was peaking through the tree leaves and made those tiny little flies and particles in the air visible on the background of the dark trees, it was quite magical! 
and then I realized this is one of the very few such sketches I’ve ever done - ones I’m trying to recreate based on something I saw. I felt so nice for a moment for being able to do that! even tho it could’ve been better but I’ll keep practicing ofc:)

jung hoseok: the warmth of the sun on bare skin, laughter drifting through open windows, fairground rides and fireworks, cloudless skies, the smell of soap and sunlight, toes curling into wet sand, half forgotten memories of childhood summers, popcorn and cotton candy, balloons straining for the sky, a sea of sunflowers stretching into the horizon, the bloom of youth

 the bloom of youth 1/7 

I’m writing about thunderstorms and fire
and teeth slicing into lips and glass
soaked in gasoline and blood but
darling - here’s what I really want.

Give me gentle.
Give me soft hands and smooth skin
and rosebud hearts ready to bloom
with trust and into the most
earth shattering love.

Give me kind.
Give me kisses that are like raindrops,
kisses that heal rather than tear
apart, kisses that are all
urgency and need but also joy.

Give me tender.
Give me cuddles in bed, late night
conversations, stars bowing down
to touch cheeks, the smattering
of glitter and freckles across noses.

Give me love that’s not destructive.
Give me love that’s not flames, love
that is instead petals and sunlight
and soap. Give me love red not with
blood but with the juice of cherries
sticky between hungry mouths.

Take your lovely and sweet
and stitch them into flowers and tuck
the bouquet into my hair, darling.
(I promise to do the same for you.)

—  Darshana Suresh, week 5 of 52 - “love”