Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vocabulary and Turning Back Time..........

"Vocabulary, Vocabulary - how many words do you knooooow?" - Ever hear that song on PBS? 

Since the semester started at school, I am blown away by how many new words I've learned. The day my instructor rephrased what I was saying as "ambiguous" I thought, "I better step up my game, because I'm not sure what that means."

I found a new avenue for interesting words - turning back time. For one class, we studied a book written in the 1930's by a scholarly Native American. Not only did he use a Native voice in describing life, he also used a multitude of words that have grown out of fashion. Cravat?Treacle?Cosmograph?Cociferator? Some of these words don't even exist in my current Webster's online.  Another unexpected place I discovered a host of 1920's terminology used was in Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide by Tonly DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.  When I read this to my son I had to start a list of 17 unfamiliar words they used to describe "Fey folk". Now in the modern world, most people don't speak "Fey" ;0) but in the literary world, it may just come in handy someday should I ever have the privilege to listen to a conversation between DiTerlizzi and Black on a "spate of nixies", read the secret second volume of Arthur's Field Guide, or maybe even meet Brandon Mull.......

What do you do with words you don't know????


  1. I love words and learning new words! I used to make this really fun when I taught fourth grade. I used GRE words with them and so they were speaking on a graduate level. :) They loved to use those words in the writing and with adults who did not know what they were saying. When I read a book and do not know the word I always look it up. This was a great post! Have a great day!

    Mama Hen