Friday, November 9, 2007

Language Dreams

Continuing yesterday's quest to prove how strange I am, here is the story of another language-related dream. When I was in school, one of my areas was medieval literature. I took a lot of Middle English (ME) courses (Chaucer and others), as well as several Old English (OE) courses (*Beowulf*; no comment today on the upcoming movie). These courses, particularly the OE ones, are very time intensive. I became faster at translating OE the more I did it, but I never got enough practice to be very quick. I would spend hours a day translating a small passage for the next class. It consumed me. And at night, I couldn't escape. Invariably, once or twice during the semester I would dream about OE. It was always the same dream: A charcoal-gray background. Words in light gray with a slight halo. The words would speed by faster than I could read. Some of the words contained OE letters like thorns, eths, aesces. Other words were obviously ME. The two mashed together, interlocked with each other. And they kept coming. Faster than I could read, they scrolled by, they never stopped. It probably sounds like the dream had some emotional content, but it really didn't. There were just words without meaning or feeling. I don't know that these were bad dreams in themselves, but the fact that I had them both dismayed and amused me.

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