Skip to main content
Publish date:

Is there a language sensitivity gene?

Hi Writers,
I just read an interesting "On Language" column in the NYT this week written by Jaimie Epstein, "Sentence Sensibility"

This column (difficult to get through due to the satiric(?) use of Jane Austen-esque run-on sentences that could poke a person's eye out) brings up an important question for writers to obsess over: "Is there a language-sensitivity gene?"

From my own observations, I'd have to say, absolutely, yes. Case in point: This very weekend a song came on the car radio. It was a locally produced song, circa-1978 called, "Music, Sex and Cookies." I hadn't heard this particular song in at least two decades. Well, my passengers were stunned to witness that I knew the lyrics in their entirety.

This happens often and I never really think about it until I'm with non language sensitive types, and they infer how utterly freakish it is.

This, coupled with the fact that certain words will turn me so pale that our managing editor keeps smelling salts in her desk, leads me to believe there is, in fact, a language sensitivity gene.

To prove my point, I'm going to list one of my most hated words right here so you'll see for yourself:

penultima...

See, I just passed out.

Here's my question to you: Is there such a thing as a language sensitivity gene?
Also, what's your most hated word? Go ahead and share, it's good to let it out.

Keep Writing,
Maria
P.S. A loyal WD forum member (cooltouch) has correctly pointed out that I offer no sound scientific findings in my thesis here stated. I am ordering DNA testing of grandparents on both sides and will report back on the results.

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

A career behind the curtain helped Amy Neswald in creating her own stories. Here, the author shares 3 things being a broadway wig master taught her about storytelling.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let things get a little out of control.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 14th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

After an intense writing challenge, you might feel a little lost. Here are some tips from Managing Editor and fellow Wrimo Moriah Richard for capitalizing on your momentum.

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Ian Douglas discusses how he incorporated implausible conspiracy theories to uncover the truth in his new science fiction novel, Alien Hostiles.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 589

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a yesterday poem.

Revenge

Revenge

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about revenge.

Peter Fiennes: On Finding Hope in the Writing Process

Peter Fiennes: On Finding Hope in the Writing Process

Critically acclaimed author Peter Fiennes discusses his quest to find hope in his new travel/Greek mythology book, A Thing of Beauty.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 30

For the 2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a The End and/or The Beginning poem.