On Physical & Verbal Connectivity

While finishing The Ravikians, I was particularly interested in the metaphorical implications presented in the section entitled “Grand Horizontals”; in fact, that title alone is a connection. Rather than being given narrative, we are instead provided with snippets of dialogue, with different speakers indicated by a dash – a horizontal mark – at the beginning of their lines. Although the information feels jumbled on the pages (or at least it did for me) in not knowing for sure who is speaking at any given time, we are still given some important information about Ravika and its language, for instance:

“Many languages of this region share the same word for bridge. That word is most. – Ayse Buldu”(113)

I am still trying to figure out the implications of this – the fact that nearby regions can share the same word for something even if the native languages of those regions may be drastically different. Although we have established that an English “translation” of this presumably Ravickan text is bound to be inaccurate, the fact that “most” has an English equivalent feels as though it should be relevant in some way, especially since these books have previously been littered with foreign names and terms; I’m just not sure what that relevance is. On the subject of English versus Ravick, however, I was glad to find that we were at last given an explanation as to why the latter was so gestural in comparison to English:

“The speakers of [English], their foremost concern is shape into volume – putting the appropriate figure into the container that is made for it…As the mind gives forth speech…bridges are created…They are beautiful, but not treated as such. These bridges are the little words, the connectors, the articles, as they are called. Prepositions. English users pronounce the relations between things instead of performing them.” (127)

It seems that Ravick is a language focuses more on the physicality of connection, which is why I was surprised to come across the notion of articles as beautiful. How can a speaker of a language with such emphasis on movement feel any attraction to a language wherein gestures are a secondary mode of communication, completely absent from the language itself?

What puzzles me most, however, is what we are meant to make of the fact that physical structures of this sort are being destroyed in Ravicka. To subtract bridges from an area whose culture is heavily reliant on connectivity of all sorts seems counter-intuitive to its survival, which leads me to believe that their destruction is an act of terrorism on behalf of another country/city-state – but to what end?


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