Saturday, December 26, 2015

What's in a Word? Beware, They'll Soon Be Gone

We all know that people's vocabularies are shrinking. Written communications that convey an exact nuance with the precisely appropriate word are labelled as inaccessible or too academic. Not having an arsenal of words to choose from - say the difference between fear, apprehension, trepidation, dread, uneasiness, foreboding, disquiet, horror, terror - many simply indicate degree by saying  they're scared, or f---ing scared.  Americans tend to resort to similes - as scared as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs - when they can't think of just the right word. This can lead to colourful language, and might put a smile on your face, but IMHO, it's a sign of being too lazy to strive for exactly the right word.

And now comes woeful confirmation of my suspicions from The Economist - the mother lode of exquisitely apt words. In their issue, The World in 2016, their obituary page features an "Elegy for lost verbiage" as they bid farewell to a number of words that are vanishing from the SAT tests American students write to earn university entrance. There's a picture of them flying away in the sunset.

In a hilarious tale of word magic, Joe goes to a cocktail party, where he meets the lovely Ms Wanton and many other banned, and not particularly obscure, words. Read the whole article here.

Other Posts on Words:

1 comment:

Emy Watson said...

One of the 40 events in the US is happening tomorrow at my school and everyone keeps talking about it! I have no clue what it is! Is it where public speakers talk about a specific topic? And I heard the guys from Mtv's The Buried Life if going to be there. I am really confused
TEDx event