Monday, March 20, 2017

When Words make our Worlds: Theme Reveal

Words have always fascinated me. 

My dad had inculcated in me the habit of reading a dictionary, not just to find the meaning of a particular word that stumped me, but just to wallow in it and discover new words that I could add to my vocabulary. Once I discovered a new word, he told me, I only had to use it in speech about five times for it to become irrevocably mine.

My dictionary was my proud possession (much later Roget’s thesaurus received the same honour) and I was fascinated by words and their meanings, and even more by the efforts of all the unnamed people who had contributed to it.

How on earth had the dictionary come into being, I always wondered. Sure, there were great lexicographers like Noah Webster who played their part. But how did they do it? Did people walk up to Noah, for instance, and say, “Hey, Noah, I’ve got a few words that you might like to add to that book you are putting together.”

When I was in the 9th grade, I decided to be a journalist when I was older. The idea had taken a fierce hold of me, ever since I read somewhere in a magazine that journalists know about 40000 more words than the average person.

Although I worked for a newspaper briefly, I didn’t become a journalist. But words continue to fascinate me. The idea that I might have more words in my arsenal than the vast majority of people makes me feel rich beyond… How do I put it? Beyond words.

I find the evolution of English fascinating. How the language has evolved, taking in words here and there from other languages, refusing to remain stagnant.

Today the English that we speak is a vibrant and alive lingo that throbs with the heartbeat of every person that has ever spoken it. Every person, who in speaking, has discovered a lack, a gap that English could not fill, and allowed his/her own native tongue to fill in that gap. And English has accepted all those words, bidding them welcome. She has absorbed them all into herself. And so, she continues to grow.

And so my theme for the A to Z April Challenge 2017 is Words. Newer words from a variety of languages. They may or may not be under consideration for inclusion into the English language by the venerable lexicographers who take these decisions. 

But words aren’t docile enough to stay out, if asked to. They enter into schools and colleges, workplaces and boardrooms, kitchens and streets, held aloft by the people who speak them, people who dip into their own argot to find that elusive word that English can’t satisfy.

All through the Challenge, I will talk about new words that ought to be a part of the English language. It should be fun.
As the Boyzone lyrics go, “It’s only words, but words are all I have.”

The great philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said, "The limits of my language are the limits of my world."

Shall we expand the limits of our world?


36 comments:

  1. Nice to see you again at the A to Z. I still remember your series for your children which I enjoyed immensely. I will look forward to your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Suzy, how lovely to hear from you again. I look forward to catching up with you through the Challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fascinating theme. I do think words have power. I think words are culture and history. Basically, words are us.
    Can't wait to read your challenge :-)

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - Theme Reveal - 1940s Film Noir

    ReplyDelete
  4. You said it, Sarah. To know a culture, you have to understand its language. I look forward tos sharing my list of words with you.

    Hasta la vista.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cynthia, I always enjoy your themes and your posts. Looking forward to April, Come travel with me again to Benelux.

    @msdeniseh553
    My Life in Retirement My Benelux Adventure

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you, Denise, I'm looking forward to this theme too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is my first time here, thanks to the A to Z Challenge. I speak several languages and I have always been crazy of dictionaries, so I think your posts are going to be interesting.

    My theme is going to be postcards, as my blog is about all postal things.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Language is such an interesting, living thing. I love the idea of your theme. Best of luck to you!

    Theme Reveal: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love words and your theme sounds fabulous. Looking forward to reading your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I often find myself applying the brakes to a sonnet I will be writing, in search of a few words that are out of the mainstream. A problems I will encounter is, there are only five beats per line in a sonnet, so that limits me. Still, the words are out there, words that drive home a point, words that hopefully will rhyme.

    Best of luck to you, in the upcoming A-Z Challenge, Myke

    ReplyDelete
  11. This sounds like a brilliant theme. I'm always on the hunt for new words. Look forward to the posts!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Cynthia - nice to meet you ... I must have spotted your Challenge theme when I was 'around the A-Z Theme Reveal park'!! I love words ... so I shall be enjoying your posts during April and looking to see where you take the English language with your selection of words. English is such an etymological mix ... I love it - as we can learn so much from one word ...

    Good luck with the A-Z and see you there .... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  13. sounds like a word-i-licious them and I plan on plugging into it. All the best for the challenge
    Cheers :-)
    shalzmojo

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ah, this sounds so cool. I love words and language, so I'm totally looking forward to see what you'll feature. I'm blogging about gratitude: http://wp.me/p14eyw-1Dc

    ReplyDelete
  15. I freaking LOVE 💗 this idea!
    The holidays of April is my #AtoZchallenge Theme.
    http://uniquelymaladjustedbutfun.blogspot.com/2017/03/april-holidays-atozchallenge-2017-theme.html
    -Jamie @PenMinion

    ReplyDelete
  16. Bienvenida a mi blog, Eva. Happy to know you enjoy speaking several languages and love the dictionary. Is Spanish one of the languages you speak? I need someone to chat with so I can improve my language skills.

    I'm happy to know that you like my theme. Hope you enjoy the words I put together.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you, Sara, I hope I can do justice to the theme.

    ReplyDelete
  18. New, unusual and exotic words, coming right up, Tamara

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yes, it is, Melissa, I am certainly looking forward to this year's Challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you, Deborah, I hope you enjoy the selection of words I have put together.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow! Myke, Writing sonnets is an art. That is one form of poetry that intimidates me. Hope you can use some of my crazy words in your sonnets.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you, Nick, my collection of words are bound to entertain you, that much I can promise.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you, Hilary I like the fact that the English language is always borrowing and adding to its arsenal. So I will be coming up with a few words that brighten up our language even more.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Welcome to my blog, shalz, I hope you like the words and are able to use them in the months to come.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Akilah, thank you for dropping by. Am busy polishing up the final list of words to share. I hope you like them.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Jamie, Thank you for your encouraging thumbs up to my theme. Here's hoping we complete this challenge successfully.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yes, I speak Spanish. Do you want me to comment in that language?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Cynthia! Great to be back on your blog! Super cool theme! I'm sure there's going to be a lot of learning for me!!

    Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

    ReplyDelete
  29. Eva, My Spanish is miles short of fluency, but it might be fun if you would. I could brag I get comments in Spanish. And if I get panned, no one would know.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Shubhangi, The learning will start with me. I'm desperate for some new words to colour my own vocabulary.

    ReplyDelete
  31. This is an amazing theme and I'm looking forward to reading all the posts!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you, Nasreen, I hope you enjoy my selection.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This sounds amazing. I too have a fascination with words, I just tend more towards fictional uses for them when I can.
    You can check me out at heathercwright.wordpress.com
    Good luck with the challenge! I know I'll be back to see what you're posting.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...