“I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you’ve probably misunderstood what I’ve said.”
I have been endeavoring as of late to expand my vocabulary. After writing over one hundred posts I am coming to a point in the road where I keep bumping into the same words over and over and I am discovering what my regular readers probably have already observed: my vocabulary is limited, quite limited and if I keep using the same words as “quite” and “great” all the time will never be great and that is quite true.
I find I have ideas that are of a certain nature or complexity to where it is difficult to convey them with my limitations. I liken this to an artist who paints with only a limited palate. The world is much too colorful to interpret with my measly set of 12 childhood watercolors.
I am mostly self-taught. I didn’t pay much attention in school the few times I went to class. I graduated by being a really good test taker. I thought I was clever at the time. I know how much I missed out…
I’ve made up for my lack of formalized education with a lot of unformalized education. I have consumed many books on many subjects over a twenty year span, mostly non fiction with some Sci-Fi as a sort of side dressing. I think this has helped and hindered me as a writer. I have learned an array of knowledge in a wide variety of subjects. I have never been forced to pick just one field of study; I have gone merrily on my way with only my insatiable curiosity as a guide. I believe this gives me a unique overview that helps me see the bigger picture of everything and how it’s all connected.
However, non-fiction books can get pretty dry, their writers do not usually use extra words. Most are attempting to explain technical issues and many are learned people with umpteen degrees. It is the rare gem of a writer that can convey reams of information with the style and grace of a talented wordsmith.
Although life has forced me to read a few of the “Classics”, I have generally avoided them like the plague.
The few literary influences I do have: Shakespeare, Seuss and Poe do make for an interesting mix but beyond my inventing of them, I need new words. I am bored with myself and need a shake up.
I’ve been reading word power books and the like, finding the odd tasty morsel here and there. I don’t have to tell any reader of the English language that there are a lot of odd words. I am earnest and I am learning. (I can feel my vocabulary swelling as I write this.)
I am no Logophobe and I am embracing my new-found Lexicology with an ebullience that is so ebullient that I am close to exploding with new words that I cannot wait to use!
Words such as mundungus, muzhik and mugwump! And other beauties such as musth and moxibustion! My mind is swimming with new shades and hues.
Just how I will fit bad-smelling tobacco, Russian peasants and a great man with a Chinese method of treating various conditions by burning an herbal mixture on parts of the body together with a male elephant or camel in a state of frenzy, is beyond me at the moment, but I’m sure it could make for some interesting but, perhaps confusing reading.
I would elucidate, however; it is not unambiguous to me. I beseech you, please do not cachinnate at my personage.
As long as everyone is on board with that…
This reminds me of a colorful character: Federal Reserve Board chair Alan Greenspan and his famous, or should I say infamous “Greenspeak“ a carefully rehearsed cryptic language described as an “indecipherable, Delphic dialect” and ” a turgid dialect of English” that makes intentionally wordy, vague, and ambiguous statements.
“… And so you construct what we used to call Fed-speak….I would catch myself in the middle of a sentence. Then, instead of just stopping, I would continue on resolving the sentence in some obscure way which made it incomprehensible. But nobody was quite sure I wasn’t saying something profound when I wasn’t…”
♦(Greenspan in an interview with BusinessWeek in August 2012)
I could stand to be a little more like Greenspan, that colorful “mugwump”. I would know ALL the words and I would use every one in my quest to become the most successful writer of all time. HAHA!
(Stand back! I am mad with power, Wordpower!)
or should I say: Videte et Ego sum demens cum potestate, Verbum potentia!)(By the way…I have also found Google translate!)
Sometimes words can get in the way of what you’re trying to say. Words can be distracting and detracting. I suppose there’s a fine line, Just like everything else. Oh well, such is life!
- Inside The Search For 2012’s Word Of The Year (theatlanticwire.com)
- The Oracle speaks: Alan Greenspan talks utter nonsense (digbysblog.blogspot.com)
- Alan Greenspan’s Comments About The Fiscal Cliff Are Horribly Misleading And Making The Crisis Worse (businessinsider.com)