I Make My Own Language – An Essay by Maria S. Picone

IceFloe Press

I Make My Own Language

It’s 2008, the world’s finances are up in flames, and I’m a workplace meme. I’m a cat who knows twenty words, chiefly my name and the names of delicious foods. Once, during a meeting between my boss and my school principal, I perked up. They were talking about me! Seeing my renewed attention to this strand of conversation, my boss explained to me that the Korean word for horse sounds like ‘Maria’—they weren’t actually talking about me.

Why were they talking about horses?

Reader, I struggled to thrive. I lived in Korean; I suffered in Korean and, sometimes, I just wanted to run outside my apartment and scream profanities in Korean because there was no other way to get across that I was living & suffering & assorted verbs.

It took me more than five years to buy an approachable Korean textbook—more than three years…

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