more than words

i love words. really. i am a vocabulary-addicted, crossword-obsessed, dictionary-toting geek. i subscribe to the reference.com word of the day and open that message first when i check my email. i installed language translating software on my smartphone before i loaded photos or music. i keep a list of my favorite new words and phrases. i know, what a nerd.

language just fascinates me. the fact that we can open our mouths and produce a series of sounds and communicate with each other is simply astounding. obviously a larger vocabulary gives you a greater capacity to convey a message, but when you expand your discourse to additional languages or dialects you further increase your ability to deliver precisely the meaning you intended. if you search across the world you might find one concise lexeme to impart the details that require several sentences in your own tongue.

for me, this game of finding the best way to utter or pen a statement among many possibilities is more than interesting – it’s fun. a thesaurus is great, but there is always an optimal word choice that is most accurate for the situation. and i feel bad for the poor underused words that are meaningful and beautiful and appropriate. they deserve to be written and spoken, too, and offer to enhance your communication if you’ll engage them.

it’s a bit unnerving to confess this in a place where i am sharing my thoughts with words. but i don’t claim to always choose the right word – i just think the options we have are remarkable.

and they’re only growing, because language is a dynamic, living thing. new words are coined every day, and while some have permanence and some are the result of a fleeting trends, all adopted and adapted dialogue is valid “communication” nonetheless.

my favorite documentation of this phenomenon is the “lexpionage” blog word spy. some language enthusiasts are put off by the creative “spin-offs” and abbreviations, feeling it waters down our verbiage. i, however, savor the innovative additions to our lexicon, and see the growth as an interesting commentary on culture. i do grimace when people butcher the language, though, which is an altogether different issue.

as i’ve mentioned, my passions commonly feed into other interests, and this love of language seems to cover a lot of ground: it fuels my delight in reading, it incites my desire to write, it inspires my pleasure in studying other cultures and languages, and, alas, it causes me to subconsciously edit everything that i see. i like to fancy myself a linguist because of my pursuit of a higher degree in the discipline….but with that effort stalled i have to admit that i am really just someone who is easily excited by semantic complexities and lexical developments. the handy copy of syntactic theory by my desk is proof of that.

i miss my old job a little bit.

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