29 January 2010

Picturesque Speech

English spoken or written well is a beautiful thing. I remember reading Picturesque Speech in The Reader's Digest when I was a kid. I'd read the joke pages and a few other regular features, usually including those that built vocabulary or used words creatively.

Just this past week I heard Kerre Woodham say something about "a snowball's chance in hell."
I loved the picture that formed. I also thought it great that we had a casual reference to a theological doctrine in NZ's public media.

I recently said, "mad as a hornet" and my friends cracked up. They'd never heard that. I'd never heard "a dog's breakfast" or "at the coal face" until I moved to New Zealand.

I get lazy at times and utilise common words when I could pillage my dictionary for gems of meaning and significance. Why use thing, it, alot or went when you can engage conundrum, item, issue, conflict, numerous, countless, galloped, stumbled or meandered?

Imagine using the words
a flicker of . . .
peeling . . .
tragically . . .
wafted . . .


How about these from Priti Mehta
A tiny acrobat of hope somersaulted in his chest!

The Sky is tye-dyed with clouds!
Then there is the misuse of words. Consider these humourous pictures:
...the ram who charded over the cliff because he didn't see the ewe turn

...the disappointed fisherman who went back to the tackle shop demanding a rebait

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