YK’s 365 Release: Day 29

I used to study the thesaurus.

Meaning, I used to sit there and memorize it. The main method I kept up my English while living in Korea was through my sisters, reading voraciously, and studying the thesaurus.

The result of this is manifold.

I did really well on my SATs, GREs and LSATs.

I know the antonyms and synonyms of most words.

However, I don’t know how to pronounce many words.

Numerous words have only been inside my head, in reading or writing. Not necessarily in speaking. During my last year of high school in a class, the teacher had us go around and read passages from a book. When it was my turn, I had a paragraph with the word “subtle” in it. Imagine how I pronounced that word.

Occasionally, you may hear me mispronounce a word. That doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m saying. It just means I taught myself that word. In my head. These moments betray my origins somewhat.

Another dead giveaway as to the 10 years I spent away from the States, my entire teen years, is that I am short on idioms. Sometimes I say them incorrectly. I used to say, “The whole seven yards.” Unless you’ve grown up hearing idioms unvaryingly, when it comes time to comprehend them, it is forced and they don’t necessarily make sense logically.

There are also massive chunks of culture I am not yet completely privy to. I did eventually catch up on music, fashion, pop culture, but sometimes I still have pockets of missing pieces.

And though I never had an accent because I was born and raised in the States for the first 10 years of my life, I also have no regional accent (i.e. Southern, Midwestern, Northeastern) because my English was maintained painstakingly and scrupulously through study. And when I returned to the States, I moved around so frequently no one accent stuck. If anything, people occasionally ask if I am from California. I’m not sure how to interpret that.

People say these eccentricities are endearing. If you get to know me very well, you’ll start being able to discern and gather my idiosyncrasies. They’re “subtle”.

day29Today on Day 29 of my 365 Release, I am releasing another book. This one is special because it is a pinnacle piece from my literature days of study. It delves deep into semantics, hermeneutics and critical theory, which I used to be immersed in and loved passionately. I have read this book several times and completely comprehend all of the concepts, postulations and hypothesis contained within. However, who knows if I actually know how to pronounce anything in it?

Today I am releasing one of my favorites, by one of my favorite critical theorists of all time, Julia Kristeva, Desire in Language: A semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. If you know me well, very well, you know how much I have studied and incorporate Kristeva into my everyday life. If you haven’t read her, please go out and find her now. I am letting go of this precisely because I hold onto it so closely, and I am reminding myself that sometimes, the most brilliant creations are all inside our own heads.


[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]

One response to “YK’s 365 Release: Day 29”

  1. […] Day 29 (10/6/10): Julia Kristeva, Desire in Language: A semiotic Approach to Literature and Art […]

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