languages as characters


The heavyset man whose domineering presence in a room always seems wider than his actual frame: one would almost expect the ground to thunder and shake when he takes a step. His eyes are deep set, already imposing a depth in their darkness. It is only after a good amount of time that one learns to see the unexpected concealed softness within the intimidating shell. He moves his limbs surprisingly deftly and swiftly for a person of that size, and he appears slightly startled anytime anyone attempts to initiate a conversation. He is a priceless echo of who he was in his younger days.


That one sublty exasperating yet amicable child in class who inexplicably gets along with anyone although no one is entirely sure why or how he would be capable of that. He is in many ways a jack-of-all-trades, although he does possess an inherent talent for somehow squeezing through crowds and disappearing and turning up again at the oddest of times. Clad in classy clothes that are in fact just made-in-china reproductions, he struts through life with an air of inattentiveness.  His self confidence is but a resilient mask for the endearing unsurity he keeps hidden away, that only few get to experience.


A clumsy teenager who hasn’t quite yet grasped how much space he takes up: as a result he can often be found bumping into things and brushing past others with oddly wild and jerky movements. He enjoys keeping his head low and shoulders squared, and although he is unaware of it, his exchanges with other people are perceived as slightly aggressive. Still, it is undeniable that his strikingly blunt features and eyes flashing in challenge make him exceedingly hard to ignore, despite his very best efforts.


She is the flustered mom whose movement can only ever be described as ‘bustling’. There is always a certain resolution in her step and urgency in her flyaway hair which leaves every passerby a little more awake than before. Her hands are rough but still so, so gentle, as juxtaposed as her severe expression and the traces of crows feet and laughter lines on her face. Her quick movements are nevertheless defined enough to allow for a palpable pride, her shoulders arched high, in a slightly protective, slightly authoritative stance.


Somehow or the other, her tall, willowy structure is unfailingly shadowed by a light, fragrant aroma at all times, the very picture of elegance. Her handwriting is elaborately, extravagantly loopy, which does nothing for the legibility, but is in many ways a visual reflection of her chirping voice, which accentuates her delicate little features. She manages to tread without ever being heard, and casts her eyes to the ground much of the time, only shyly glancing up, almost apologetically.


3 thoughts on “languages as characters

  1. Wait, so are these characters your interpretation of what the language would be like if personified, or are they based on generalisations or specific examples of people who’s mother tongue those languages are?


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