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August 21, 2013

Evaporating And Dying Words - Snollygoster

Words emerge and words are neglected until they quietly disappear from our language. But have you ever thought about who might do that or how...

...that might be done?

Words come into use for practical (perhaps work related) reasons, maybe a tool or process and words might fall out of use because of technological or cultural changes.

Shakespeare is recognized for entering many words into the English language; but many of his words did not make it into everyday vocabulary.

In the same way, many words we use today may seem awkward or archaic a generation from now.

Ever talk to someone from a previous generation and realize that it was easy for them to shift into a use of words you couldn't follow?

I highly recommend talking (on a regular basis) to someone much older (or even much younger). You just might be amazed at what it does to your vocabulary!

If you are a word-nerd (as I am) you'll appreciate this article on the process dictionary publishers go through to cull words from their latest editions. Check it out here - http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/09/when-good-words-go-bad/309426/.

Oddly enough, a word they feature in that article is a word I used in this blog back in November of 2010. Yes, it's the word 'snollygoster'. As they say in the article, all it takes is for a few of us to use it, and we just might see it restored to a current dictionary.

Whether you consider yourself a snollygoster or not, just use the word.

Take time to take delight in your word discoveries and be sure to send me any language usages or historical nuances that interest you, and be sure to let me know what it is about language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

Morf

Posted by mmorf at August 21, 2013 11:08 PM

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