Thursday, October 16, 2014

I Like Big Words and I Cannot Lie.

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I was inspired to write this blog because of a fellow author's post about how a critique partner's suggested 'dumbing down' words for readers. She was told perhaps she should use smaller words in order to relate better to the reader. She disagrees, and so did many of us in the comment section.

I was always very proud of my vocabulary, and I learned much of it from reading books. If I found a word I didn't know, I either learned from the context, or looked it up in the dictionary. Not difficult, especially when the spelling is GIVEN to you. I always considered it valuable to learn.

I don't even remember what word I was looking to spell when I found the word 'percipaciousness'. It's so rare, I don't have it in my current dictionaries. I had to google it. 

It was for the character of Dr. Stuart Thompson. I think I may have been looking for the word 'persnickety', or something relatively similar. The recent search for this word is close to what I read that day: Having or showing an ability to notice and understand things that are difficult or not obvious notice and understand things that are difficult or not obvious. 

The original meaning, in a different dictionary said something more like: The uncanny ability to predict the outcome based on extensive knowledge and/or a 'hunch'. This is closer to the one I had, but I digress.

My point is: I learned much of my vocabulary as a reader, even more as a writer, and I know I'm not the only one. I personally believe a writer has a responsibility to write BETTER words, and therefore build the vocabularies of any one who reads us. 

Give the reader some credit. Just the fact that they enjoy reading is a good enough reason to indulge their delight for new things they might just find useful. If you are a reader or a writer, chances are you'd love a new word.

I had a school friend who liked to argue.(Hi Garth) He was MUCH smarter than me, as in Valedictorian smarter. He and I used to get into word wars. He called me out over the word 'notorious'. (I was a Duranie at the time, and that was the name of their current album. I referred to MYSELF as 'notorious' and he corrected me. "In order to be 'notorious' you must be KNOWN for doing something evil."  He actually gave me a backhanded compliment with that.  I guess he figured even beating people with my drumsticks didn't make me terrible,  but it resulted in a war of words until a teacher made us use our vast vocabularies to compliment each other.

I told him he was axiomatic...It means 'Proven existed.' or 'self-evident'. I don't remember what his actual response was, only that he was shouting again! 

I saw him just a couple weekends ago. Our conversation must have sounded infinitely incomprehensible.

I really like big words, and I'd like to think I use them well.  Too bad I'm not smart enough to get this blue highlighter crap off my blog.