Climate change, like quantum physics, will strain language

One of the defining features of quantum mechanics is that it shows up human language, and thought supported by that language, to be insufficient and limited. Many of the most popular languages of the world, including Tamil, Hindi and English, are linear. Their script reads in a line from one end of the page to…… Continue reading Climate change, like quantum physics, will strain language

Writing itself is fantasy

The symbols may have been laid down on paper or the screen in whatever order but when we read, we read the words one at a time, one after another – linearly. Writing, especially of fiction, is an act of using the linear construction of meaning to tell a story whose message will be assimilated…… Continue reading Writing itself is fantasy

The unclosed clause and other things about commas

The Baffler carried a fantastic critique of The New Yorker’s use of commas by Kyle Paoletta on August 23. Excerpt: The magazine’s paper subscription slips have long carried a tagline: “The best writing, anywhere.” It follows that the source of the best writing, anywhere, must also be the finest available authority on grammar, usage, and…… Continue reading The unclosed clause and other things about commas

Caution: This piece contains a lot of mentions of the word ‘jargon’.

When writing one of my first pieces for The Hindu, I remember being called out for using a lot of jargon. While the accusation itself may have been justified, the word my supervisor chose as an example of the problem was surprising: “refraction”. He wanted me to spell it out in 10 words or so…… Continue reading Caution: This piece contains a lot of mentions of the word ‘jargon’.