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In Other Words In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
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In Other Words Quotes Showing 1-30 of 60
“The more I feel imperfect, the more I feel alive.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“When the language one identifies with is far away, one does everything possible to keep it alive. Because words bring back everything: the place, the people, the life, the streets, the life, the sky, the flowers, the sounds. When you live without your own language you feel weightless and, at the same time, overloaded. Your breathe another type of air, at a different altitude. You are always aware of the difference.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“Imperfection inspires invention, imagination, creativity. It stimulates. The more I feel imperfect, the more I feel alive.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“Books are the best means—private, discreet, reliable—of overcoming reality.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“Because in the end to learn a language, to feel connected to it, you have to have a dialogue, however childlike, however imperfect.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“What does a word mean? And a life? In the end, it seems to me, the same thing. Just as a word can have many dimensions, many nuances, great complexity, so, too, can a person, a life. Language is the mirror, the principal metaphor. Because ultimately the meaning of a word, like that of a person, is boundless, ineffable.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“A foreign language can signify a total separation. It can represent, even today, the ferocity of our ignorance. To write in a new language, to penetrate its heart, no technology helps. You can’t accelerate the process, you can’t abbreviate it. The”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“I just wanted to go home, to the language in which I was known, and loved.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“Reading in another language implies a perpetual state of growth, of possibility. I”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“I think that the power of art is the power to wake us up, strike us to our depths, change us. What are we searching for when we read a novel, see a film, listen to a piece of music? We are searching, through a work of art, for something that alters us, that we weren't aware of before. We want to transform ourselves, just as Ovid's masterwork transformed me.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“Should I dream of a day, in the future, when I’ll no longer need the dictionary, the notebook, the pen? A day when I can read in Italian without tools, the way I read in English? Shouldn’t that be the point of all this? I don’t think so. When I read in Italian, I’m a more active reader, more involved, even if less skilled. I like the effort. I prefer the limitations. I know that in some way my ignorance is useful to me.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“I have only the desire. Yet ultimately a desire is nothing but a crazy need. As”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“Every language belongs to a specific place. It can migrate, it can spread. But usually it’s tied to a geographical territory, a country. Italian”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“When you live in a country where your own language is considered foreign, you can feel a continuous sense of estrangement. You”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“I think it's a hesitant book and at the same time bold. A text both private and public. On the one hand it springs from my other books. The themes, ultimately, are unchanged: identity, alienation, belonging. But the wrapping, the contents, the body and soul are transfigured.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“They don't understand why I want to take such a risk. These reactions don't surprise me. A transformation, especially one that is deliberately sought, is often perceived as something disloyal, threatening.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“Whenever I can, in my study, on the subway, in bed before going to sleep, I immerse myself in Italian. I enter another land, unexplored, murky. A”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“They tolerate my mistakes. They correct me, they encourage me, they provide the words I lack. They speak clearly, patiently. Just like parents with their children. The”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“…avevo bisogno di una lingua differente: una lingua che fosse un luogo di affetto e di riflessione. —ANTONIO TABUCCHI”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“Without language you can't feel that you have a legitimate, respected presence. You are without a voice, without power.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“In a sense, I'm used to a kind of linguistic exile. My mother tongue, Bengali, is foreign in America. When you live in a country where your own language is considered foreign, you can feel a continuous sense of estrangement. You speak a secret, unknown language, lacking any correspondence to the environment. An absence that creates a distance within you.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“It's a sort of literary act of survival. I don't have many words to express myself--rather, the opposite. I'm aware of a state of deprivation. And yet, at the same time, I feel free, light. I rediscover the reason that I write, the joy as well as the need.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“Une langue étrangère, c'est comme un muscle frêle, délicat. Si l'on ne s'en sert pas, il s'affaiblit.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“And yet my lexicon develops without logic, in a darting, fleeting manner. The words appear, accompany me for a while, then, often without warning, abandon me.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“Even though I now speak the language fairly well, the spoken language doesn’t help me. A conversation involves a sort of collaboration and, often, an act of forgiveness. When I speak I can make mistakes, but I’m somehow able to make myself understood. On the page I am alone. The spoken language is a kind of antechamber with respect to the written, which has a stricter, more elusive logic.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“It usually sits on the night table, so that I can easily look up an unknown word while I’m reading. This book allows me to read other books, to open the door of a new language. It accompanies me, even now, when I go on vacation, on trips. It has become a necessity. If, when I leave, I forget to take it with me, I feel slightly uneasy, as if I’d forgotten my toothbrush or a change of socks.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“I realize that it’s impossible to know a foreign language perfectly. For”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“And yet she didn't want to kill herself. She loved the world too much, and people. She loved taking long walks in the late afternoon, and observing her surroundings. She loved the green of the sea, the light of dusk, the rocks scattered on the sand. She loved the taste of a red pear in autumn, the full, heavy winter moon that shone amid the clouds. She loved the warmth of her bed, a good book to read without being interrupted. To enjoy that, she would have lived forever.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“In my case there is another distance, another schism. I don’t know Bengali perfectly. I don’t know how to read it, or even write it. I have an accent, I speak without authority, and so I’ve always perceived a disjunction between it and me. As a result I consider my mother tongue, paradoxically, a foreign language, too. As”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
“I’m scared that the pencil sides might disappear, just as a drawing can be rubbed out by an eraser. Bengali will be taken away when my parents are no longer there. It’s a language that they personify, that they embody. When they die, it will no longer be fundamental to my life.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words

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