Sunday, March 18, 2012

Write Like It's Your Second Language

A limited vocabulary isn't limiting, it's liberating.

Here's why. Over the past two years, I've been attempting to take my tourist Spanish to a level where I can read, write and speak competently. And in Spanish, everything I write and say is simple--mainly because my Spanish vocabulary is less than a tenth the size of my English vocabulary.

In Spanish, I can't seek out the optimal word like I usually do in English. There is no optimal word. There's only the word I know. Therefore, not only do I never have to agonize over what word to choose, I'm practically guaranteed that big words and flowery, arrogant language will never pollute my writing.

God, what a relief.

Readers, have you studied a second language? How has it affected your writing?