It's hauntingly beautiful. It raises, for me, a tremendous number of questions about language and about the role of language in our interaction with the world.
I've posted about taste, supertasters and flavors. The world of flavor is full of strange correspondances. The distinctive flavor of celery comes from compounds called phthalides, which are also in walnuts. Which is why walnuts and celery compliment each other in Waldorf salad. Brussel sprouts contain very high levels sinigrin, which tastes bitter but breaks down when the vegetables are cooked. Unfortunately they also contain progoitrin which is nonbitter, but under heat produces a bitter thiocyanate. For me, the bitterness is not overwhelming. I don't detect enough of it because I don't have enough bitter receptors on my tongue to do so.
It's the same vegetable. But my spectrum of taste is not sufficient to be put off by it. (I like my brussel sprouts sauteed with butter and walnuts and sprinkled with parmesian cheese.) There are chemicals in celery and walnuts and brussel sprouts that I don't taste, and that no human tastes. Does oxygen have a taste? How would we know?
We see along an equally limited spectrum. What color is ultraviolet? The question is meaningless, unless I'm a bee.
How do we organize the world we live in? Dolphins, whales and bats have a whole sensory apparatus we don't. What does sonar mean? What does it mean to hear the world as texture? As shape?
Watching "In My Own Language" is like getting a glimpse. This is organized for me. It feels as if it has meaning. And yet, what does it mean to say 'language' when it is about interaction, not communication? How much is our language about our environment?