Forward to next post: Open thread 117
Language is a mystery, in the sense that you can think and talk about it endlessly without coming to its essence, only to understand in an instant what all that verbiage was driving at. Fluency is like enlightenment, when the painstaking study of vocabulary and grammar translates into having the right form of the right word at the right moment. And that enlightenment cannot be transmitted except by leading the student through the process of contemplation and realization until the indescribable skill manifests itself.
Under what more rational model can a single word mean to extinguish (as in a cigarette), to matter, to constitute and to conclude? There is an essential concept in there which cannot be described in another language, but must simply be grasped in its primal, inchoate form.
(You may say that I am at an interesting point in my language studies.)