“The English Language is a form of communication! Words aren’t only bombs and bullets – no, they’re little gifts, containing meanings. What is true in love, is equally true at law”
― Phillip Roth
I love words and using them however they arrive — written, spoken or sung. If I have a drug of choice it’s poetry, starting with Charles Bukowski and moving outwards from there.
It’s not a case of trying to be clever or different, but I love it when I find a new word and can then weave it into my writing or a conversation. As an example, I still remember watching The English Patient and hearing the word ‘propinquity’ (noun: the state of being close to someone or something; proximity) and immediately falling in love with it. I rarely use it, but it’s locked ready in for the right (timely) occasion.
These days, sadly, we’re not very interested in words or not as much as we should be. Think about it: when was the last time you reached for a dictionary to establish the meaning of something or, better still, the root of the word — i.e. an etymological investigation?
Of course, I recognise it’s important to use the right language for the right audience but it seems that unless you work in a very narrow field, in trying to cover all the bases we don’t like to be the least bit challenging in the way we describe things or the imagery resonant of our message. As for conversation, that too has been dumbed down or reduced to a few hackneyed phrases that question nothing. An example might be the usual exchange between colleagues:
“How are you?”
“Are you sure?”
What does it mean?
What does it truly mean?
Perhaps it is that people are so fearful of explaining themselves that they’ve resorted to the most vanilla, and inoffensive words they can muster. But in the process (I believe) we’re all paying a huge price in not speaking our truth, using words that matter. (To be clear, this isn’t me giving a licence to anyone to be anything other than respectful, kind and thoughtful but if we resort to something other than what we really mean, as is often the case, we never really develop our repertoire of words, let alone a deep, heart to heart conversation.)
Anyhow, if there’s a message to this slightly whimsical post, it’s to remind us all to consider the words we use and what’s really trying to be said or needs to be said. Nothing more; nothing less.
Have a wonderful weekend.
PS. I couldn’t resist posting a short video of one of Bukowski’s poems.