Finding Meaning in Words
Finding Meaning in Words
language 21artists simplegood expat
Submitted by:Anni Holm
Submitted:3 years ago
Location:Chicago, USA
Tags: Chicago

When I first came to Chicago, I often ran into scenarios where I was missing the English word for something. Danish is my first language and while I had English in school for many years, I would still come across things or words, I had not learned in class. Usually I would end up describing or explaining the purpose of a specific item until someone would get it, and then tell me the American name for it. If they knew, that is. For close to a year if not longer, I got hung up at the Danish word: “bordskåner”, which I would translate to “table saver”, or describe it as the thing you'd place on the table under a hot pot, to save the table from getting burnt. Either the people I talked to didn’t know anything about cooking, or they couldn't think of the English word for it either. That was until one morning on my commute downtown, when a person sitting behind me, barged in on the conversation I had with the stranger next to me, and said: “It’s called a trivet!” While that moment has stayed with me for more than a decade, it was in hindsight the numerous conversations leading up to it, that has come to define the social investigative process I employ as an artist. However, I admit, that I am also continuously inspired by finding the meaning (or lack thereof) in many of words I come across in either of the languages I exercise. 

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