Have you ever thought about how essential language is in our lives, and how it makes us human? Using language, we can talk about abstract concepts such as kindness and love, human dignity, hope and dreams of a different future, and apply them to our own lives. What is more, each of the world’s approximately 6-7.000 languages represent a unique way of viewing and categorising what we experience. Take the Japanese word komorebi, which, you might remember from an earlier post of Kirstin’s, means sunlight that filters through the leaves of a tree. I know my world is a little bit richer from learning about this.

In the spirit of our February theme of Collaboration, I hope you will join me tagging #shootinglanguage on Instagram. Let’s all explore and celebrate the linguistic landscapes that surround us, and keep an eye out for language on street signs, posters, notes from your kids, on book covers, billboards and shopping lists and everywhere else.

I have been doing this for a while by myself, and I have discovered that not only do letters, handwritten or not, make for interesting graphic elements in themselves, but also that there are messages to be found if you know to look for them, and that there is just so much language out there, far more than I could ever imagine, even living semi-bilingually in English and Norwegian like I do.

language-beautyI came across this sign outside a café. I’ve never been inside the place, but this sign makes me want to go.

language-loverainJust the suggestion you need when you visit what is supposedly one of the rainiest cities in the country.

language-bolditalicWhen language and type combine to form a message.

Notice that all the previous images are in English? All are in fact shot in Norway. While Norwegian is still the most prominent language in our linguistic landscape, English is becoming more and more visible. There are also quite a few other foreign languages to see.

language-hairdresser“We cut your wool. Environmentally friendly hairdresser.”

language-gluhwein“Real Glühwein from Vienna” – Norwegian with a smattering of German at last year’s Christmas market in Oslo.

language-hairdresserThe Norwegian here reads “Have a fantastic day.” I love the writing, as well as the linguistic mashup.

I wonder how many languages there are in our community? With so many people from so many places, I am sure there are a lot, and I hope you will show us the languages that surround you, in the comments, in our Everyday Beauty flickr pool, or on Instagram with the tag #shootinglanguage.

~ All the best from Jenny.