Every Word Counts

As I was lying in bed last night, futilely trying to go to sleep, I suddenly realized that all my love videos I have posted have been from men.  To right that dastardly wrong, I will be posting several love videos by women.  First up, some old-school Indigo Girl.  Their poignant song, Love’s Recovery.

Ok.  I feel pretty weak today, so I am going to be light on content and heavy on video. 

What do I love today?  I love words.  Ever since I pretended to read a newspaper at age two (upside down, as my mom loves to remind me), I have been addicted to words.  I taught myself to read at age three, and I was reading at an eighth-grade level by the time I was six.  I read the dictionary in my spare time, and words were my refuge from all the kids who picked on me.  I could call them unintellectual imbeciles without fear that they would know what I was saying, and I did. 

I love running across new words and looking them up in the dictionary.  Nowadays, of course, that dictionary is on-line, www.onelook.com, but it’s still handy-dandy useful. 

I love crossword puzzles, even though the NYT Sunday puzzles have become too easy for me.  I love big words, and I love small words.  My friend, Natasha, sent me this link today, www.savethewords.org, which I simply adore.  Adopt a word and use it every day.  There are so many poor, unwanted words, languishing, wasting away into nothing.

Reading was my salvation when I was a kid.  I could escape into a whole different world when I cracked open a book.  I am blessed with a vivid imagination, so I would be immersed in whatever world I was visiting.  In fact, it’s one reason I don’t care for movies–my mind can create much more vivid and richer images than anything mere film can produce.

k.d. lang’s take on Jane Sibbery’s Love is Everything.

I gobbled up books at an alarming rate.  I can read a two-hundred page paperbook in roughly two hours.  I can finish a Harry Potter book (and those suckers are thick) in a night.  I am the Wonder Woman of reading, and I’m not afraid to use my skillz for my own personal gain. 

I read every single Judy Blume book (including Forever) by the time I was in junior high school.  I think it took me a bit longer to read Wifey, but it wasn’t much later.  I read all the stupid romance for teen books, much to my dismay and chagrin.  I read everything I could get my hands on, and I didn’t much care what it was about as long as it had a compelling story.

My favorite words sound as delicious as they read.  I love onomatopoeias.  I love metaphors and similes; I really love alliteration, and I am quite fond of all the other wonky grammar terms you can throw at me.  If a person is witty, I am more likely to succumb to his/her wiles than if s/he is simply purty to look at. 

Here are some of my favorite words:  deliquesce, ablutions, perfidy, askance, obsequious, malfeasance, loathe, velvet, tohubohu, oligarchy.  This is just a short list, and it only includes words I like for aural reasons only.  In other words, I don’t particularly care what they mean–I just like the way they sound. 

One word I don’t like?  Bipartisanship.  I think that one is self-explanatory.

For the past eight years, words have been used to mislead, to obfuscate (another good word), and to straight-up lie to the public by those in power.  W.’s vocabulary was pitifully small, and his daily mangling of phrases used to make me cringe in embarrassment. 

B-52’s Love Shack.

I have deliberately omitted several of my favorite words from my daily vocabulary because I didn’t want to be seen as elite or effete or anything else airy-fairy like that.  I didn’t want to be seen as a snob or as talking down to other people. 

Now, however, we have a president who measures his words carefully, and he isn’t afraid to throw in a big word or two.  I am taking a leaf from his book and proudly reclaiming my inner vocabulary geek.  With that, I leave you with Taylor Dayne’s Love Will Lead You Back.  Because my love for words have led me back to using them once again.

8 Responses to Every Word Counts

  1. And now you know why I am not intimidated by you : I am married to your male counterpart, a man who reads dictionaries and encyclopedias, who yells grammatical corrections at news reporters whenever they make mistakes, who loves comparing words and expressions in different languages. Not to belittle your amazing talent, because you are way above and beyond me. But it is a sad world we live in where the population’s vocabulary is shrinking yearly. And, yes, thank heavens for a smart president!

  2. Jamie, does JP have a sibling? One who’s a bit less cantankerous than I am? And would said sibling be willing to move to the States? Yes, I am dreaming again.

    It’s a constant struggle because I use words that I assume are common, but then later find out are not. I don’t know why loving words is an elitist thing, but I will look to President Obama to change that way of thinking.

  3. I like meaningful words, words that explore & exploit the beauty of language.

    My French is old & rusty & entirely insufficient, and I’ve got a yen to learn some Italian. French & Italian have so many beautiful words. I like the single words from other languages that only be translated roughly using about a hundred words in English. Schadenfreude (which I’ve undoubtedly spelled incorrectly) is the only one that comes to mind right now…

    Maybe you could pick up a book written in French, give yourself a new reading challenge by determining how much of it you can understand based purely upon the similarities between the French & English, the latin roots, etc., with a translation dictionary saved for the hard parts. You may find yourself with an even greater love for words.

    Hey, that’s such a great idea that I may try it myself…

  4. SMR, my French is very old and rusty. I am thinking of taking Chinese and Taiwanese so I can communicate better with my parents. Plus, Chinese would be very practical (whereas Taiwanese is my parents’ mother tongue). I should bone up on my French, too, especially if I really do visit Nantes some day.

  5. Yet another reason for to get an ipod! Itunes has free podcasts w/daily language lessons. Perhaps they have Chinese lesson podcasts.

    Itunes podcasts will make your love list if you let yourself embrace the ipod.

  6. SMR, that’s funny because on Facebook, a friend posted a list that has to do with putting your iPod on random and using the song it stops on for the answers to the questions.

    This is very tempting, but no. I will learn the old-fashioned way–by walking uphills both ways in five feet of snow.

  7. SillyWhabbit, you can bite me. Just kidding! I am soooo jealous that you actually got kissed by k.d. lang. I am literally turning green with envy. Well, ok, not literally, but I would if I could. Sigh.