Long words, my Aunt Fannie’s foot–learn them!

In the spirit of improving one’s reading comprehension. . . .

In my papers, I don’t intentionally use pompous and grandiloquent language. I search for the _mot juste_ and then actually use it. I do see the critics’ point when they say, “Strive to be clear and simple”; yes, it helps if the audience you are addressing knows what you mean, but must I always cater to those gifted with a lesser vocabulary when I have at my disposal a fresh and beautiful expression? Yes, perhaps “periphrasis, tautology, perissology, pleonasm” should be avoided; I guess the usual instance of elaborate speech IS from some goof-ball trying to be a panjandrum. But I hate the expression “big words”. And think it’s silly to call me sesquipedalian, when that word really refers to the long words themselves. What if we always avoid longer words, even when they’re more precise? This, too, is lazy: “nisus” is smaller than “endeavor,” five letters _vs_ eight letters, and they mean the same thing. The description of these words that I will reluctantly accept is ‘rare words’.

LOGODAEDALY (from Latin *logodaedalia*, Greek *logodaidalia* fr Gk *logodaidalos*-skilled in verbal legerdemain, daidalos-skillful, ingeniously formed): The arbitrary or capricious coinage of words.

Coinage of the Week: dejanesia (noun) : the feeling that I’ve forgotten this before.
Last week: UMFRIEND (noun) – dubious relationship; as in, “This is my … um … friend.”

On the other hand, I can’t see the brand name “Titleist” on a cap or golf ball without thinking of the Beavis and Butthead episode. “He said tit-le-ist, huh huh huh.” My husband turns the channel to golf just to irritate me and pretends to watch and keep track of the yardage, et al, while I’m missing “Yard Sale” on HGTV (all about the 500-mile-long yard sale going on from Kentucky to Alabama this week in May), and then I see that stupid hat, and it’s just over.


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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