I am a word nerd. I can’t hide it. Anyone who knows me will happily throw me under the bus on this one. To be clear, I’m not really talking about grammar; I’m talking about words themselves. I actually compliment people on their word choices (I know it’s weird, I’ve come to terms with it). Some of my friends don’t even talk to me anymore, but hey – that’s just who I am. I also correct people’s grammar a lot, that could be a big part of it too – your and you’re are vastly different people! And yes, I put punctuation in my text messages. I’m one of THOSE people. But that’s a whole other can of worms so let’s stick to words for now.
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
Anyways, back to words. In trying to figure out how to express why words truly are so important, not just to me but to all of us, I turned to Cleverbot, the artificial intelligence robot. See below:
Nikki: Why are words so important?
Cleverbot: They aren’t mad at me.
Nikki: Why do words have so much power?
Cleverbot: They are women, things are easier.
Nikki: You are nonsensical.
Cleverbot: One, two, three and to the four.
Turns out Cleverbot…not so clever after all. So I’m sticking to my own love and experience with words on this one. Here we go!
So, not only are words fascinating because of their etymology and how the perfect combination of carefully chosen words can poetically roll off your tongue, words are fascinating because they hold such immense power. Words have the power to make us laugh or to make us cry. They can make us feel confident and proud or pathetic and alone. Words can create intimacy in a relationship or they can completely destroy our hearts, hopes and dreams. Words can evoke emotion from the human spirit like nothing else – they make us strong; they make us weak. ISN’T THAT AMAZING?! I think I just pulled a nerd muscle with that last comment. But that’s OK; it’s all in the name of lustrous language and suitable speech! You will totally jump on the word nerd bandwagon by the time I’m through with you!
My love affair with words began when I was very young with an adoration of Robert Frost’s poetry and progressively moved into my own self-expression through writing. It’s obvious that today that my affection for words is stronger than ever.
For some reason unbeknownst to me, I get such joy out of using an unconventional, but beautiful, word in every day conversation. It doesn’t have to be a word that no one understands (although that is a fun game), but just a word that isn’t heard all the time – something to spice it up a little bit.
For example, “This is getting a little superfluous, wouldn’t you agree?” or, “I’ve been meaning to call you! How serendipitous is this?!”
When discussing language, it’s nearly impossible not to mention good ol’ Will. William Shakespeare created over 1700 words during his lifetime. Some of which we could not imagine living without today. Words that include: Frugal, Lustrous, Majestic, Dishearten and Satisfying. How would we be expressing ourselves today if it weren’t for Shakespeare? I don’t even want to fathom it. Oh, how I long for the days of Shakespeare when words, and language in general, were all so indicative and romantic.
The quality of words seems to be steadily declining with each year that passes. With recent additions to the dictionary including Woot, LOL, Sexting, and Mankini (thanks for that one Borat), there seems to be little hope in sight for language enthusiasts such as myself. Words are made differently now. They aren’t created for sonnets and theater, they are created for ease of use and sometimes just for something to do.
Don’t get me wrong, words don’t need to be elaborate to be beautiful, simple words can be amazing and incredibly powerful in the right context, paired with the appropriate corresponding words. From an advertising point of view, look at some of the most popular taglines ever.
Just Do It.
It’s simple. It’s inspiring. It’s recognized all over the world.
I am Canadian.
Three simple words evoke pride and ownership from an entire country. It unifies. It speaks to us.
A specific, well contemplated grouping of tiny words changed history only a few years ago:
Yes We Can.
Three words and the United States had their first black President.
Words are titillating, romantic and can be simply breathtaking. And I’m not the only one who thinks so (even though I feel that way sometimes – and you might think so now too). My intoxicating affair with words has me in good company.
“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”
“You can change your world by changing your words… Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
“Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.”
“Words are the voice of the heart.”
“Words can make a deeper scar then silence can heal.”
Here’s a little video about the power of words and how simply changing a few words can make a huge impact…
If for some reason you decide that words are super amazing and you now want to mix up your vocabulary with a few funky words, here are some fun ones to use today in a conversation:
Canonical – authorized, recognized, acceptable
Feign – to represent fictitiously
Flounce – to go with impatient, exaggerated movements
And that’s all she (meaning me) wrote.