21 December 2010

Words: Book Club Vocabulary

My Book Club challenges me to read different books than I'd normally choose. It's enlightening and stimulating to get together with friends who've had different journeys than my own to inform their worldview. The discussions are often lively and we get off on tangents as random as any Bible study ever could.

One of the best benefits of our last book, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, was the vocabulary. Some writers throw in obscure words that do not add to the telling of the tale. Others stretch me a bit, challenging me to a broader use of the English language. On the other hand, if I read a book and do not find a new word or usage somewhere in that book, I reckon I've been cheated.

There are strategies amongst dictionary makers to retire certain words if they are not used. There are other campaigns to retire words that are over used. My dad did that when I was a kid. If we overused or misused a word repeatedly, the word would be banned until it could retake it's proper place in the English language. Thanks for the good standards, Pop!

Some of the words I've discovered, or bothered to look up so now I can use in my own writing, are familiar to you. We work, imagine, read and study in different areas, so will have different tools, colours, textures and words at our disposal. The words I've gleaned from my recent reading, either words I'm unaccustomed to or used in unique ways, are:

Atonic has nothing to do with a medicinal drink.
Insouciance seems prolific on the roads of big cities.
Amanuensis I'd seen this in my theological studies but not in my pleasure reading!
Loquacious I'd skipped over this one in characterisations, getting its sense from context.
Encomium Never used this one before, but can imagine my grandmother knowing it.
Laconic Again, a good characterisation word, but not one I've used myself.
Dodecahedron Never needed this one before.
Tetrahedron Or this one.
Macula Immediately thought of the retina of the eye, but not limited to that.
Soporific Wonder if I can use this word in relation to Auckland's weather this month?
Torpor Me, yesterday, again weather related.
Susurration Teach this to a kid in church!
Sibilants Has to do with linguistics, snakes & politicians?
Lacunae Not sure how many opportunities I'll have to use this word.
Nacreous as in Nacreous Translucence, which has something to with mothers.

Well, how many new words did you collect? I find I can understand a certain range of words, but using them in everyday conversation or writing is something else altogether.

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