You are all going to discover how fascinating language is to me as I learn more in my linguistic classes. Nonetheless, last week opened my eyes to the notion of what is normal and abnormal in relation to language, and how we try and justify the abnormal to make it normal. In language, we take a lot for granted. When we speak, there are normalities that we follow and expect others to follow. However, we might not fully recognise those norms as they are mostly subconscious and are based on a form of trust that has been created in the world around us. Contrastingly, when someone says something that is abnormal to us, may it be an answer or reaction that doesn't relate to what was originally said, it creates an untrustworthiness either in the conversation or in our own perspective.
It might not sound like much but acknowledging the existence of normal and abnormal, or trustworthiness and untrustworthiness, in this regard amplifies the power of language and the struggles that people can have with it. The trust is built on the social order we become used to and we become intimidated or threatened when it isn't followed by others. There is also the pressure of wanting to be seen as normal, which highlights another conflict that arises when a person isn't confident in their language ability or when speaking a language that isn't their first. Again, it sounds pretty simple and obvious, but once you start to see the fascinating concepts around it (or at least I hope you find it as fascinating as I did) it might enlighten you to another amazing concept in language and just how powerful a tool it can be.
This time last year I could be found wandering the streets of Oxford, perusing the bookshelves at Blackwell's, enjoying a cider at a pub built in the 17th century, or sitting by a laptop in my room looking out to the grounds of Exeter College as inspiration to write filled my mind and soul. Since it has been a year since I was there, I thought this would be a good opportunity to write about my experience and to also give you an insight into a chapter of my own creative writing journey.
It's not the first chapter nor is it the last, but it sits somewhere in the middle of a roller-coaster ride of discovery, persistence and a love that I cannot fathom to understand but grows everyday. Having the opportunity to study my craft at Oxford was a huge step in my journey as a creative writer. It was push in the right direction, which helped me reinvigorate myself and hone in my skills. It was also a confidence boost and a reality check that I needed, and I cannot explain in enough detail how if you ever have the chance to study what you love abroad to take it in both hands and dive right in. Other chapters of my creative writing journey will come to light in the future, but for now let's focus on this one part: Oxford.
Charlotte is a reading and writing lover who has completed a creative writing intensive course at the University of Oxford and is a current university student studying a double degree in journalism and creative writing. If you are curious to learn more, check out the 'About' page.