Written by Dyami Millarson
Learning how to use all the peculiar words of a language is a relevant matter to language-learning. This requires patience. While learning Hielepes since 2018 by using the dictionary of T. van der Kooy that was published in 1937, I have encountered many peculiar words that I have been unable to use thus far. I have taken note of these words and I am always waiting for the right time to finally use these words. Sometimes I make a sentence and think: ‘This might be the right moment to use this or that word.’ However, I often decide: ‘No, this is not the right moment after all. I should use that word in a different context.’ It is like fitting the pieces of a puzzle. When a piece does not fit, I take it back and leave it for a while so I can focus on other pieces.
Words are mysteries, and you need to cultivate a feeling for those mysteries. I keep trying to make sense of those mysteries. These mysteries make me feel like a detective. I have seldom encountered mysteries that I cannot solve at all. I know there is a solution to each mystery. Detectives use various methods to solve murder mysteries, and I employ similar tactics to find out how words are used. One needs to be able to reason in unusual ways in order to solve complex mysteries. The tricky thing is that very peculiar words require very peculiar solutions to the mysteries surrounding them.
Blogging is my adventure to make new discoveries about the usage of words in lesser-used languages. It is very important to know how words are used in endangered languages because these are the keys to unlocking the worldview behind them. When we break through the initial barriers of minority languages, we are still only seeing the tip of the iceberg. To see what is underwater, we have to figure out how to use all peculiar words of each language. This is an endeavour of monastic proportions, for it requires stamina. For the benefit of language science, I am very interested in experimenting with minority language words and expressions. Blogging – certainly when combined with linguistic analysis – is a poweful tool for running succesful experiments regarding the proper use of words in lesser-used languages.