Tuesday, January 13, 2009

WORD-HOARD, or vocabularies

I guess everyone has his own vocabulary, the words and phrases he uses to express and explain himself and the world around him. A writer should be especially aware of this; after all, language and its levels of usage and meaning are the tools of his trade. I recently found reason to inspect and evaluate mine.

I find the most common of the words I use are those exchanged in everyday conversation, the nickel-and-dime stuff that gets me through my daily activities. They tend to be simple and direct. They also constitute only a small segment of my personal word-hoard, the common coinage of common transactions.

In contrast, the largest part of my word-hoard or vocabulary consists of the words I read and hear. The words I hear daily are closer to my own everyday language, but there are also words and phrases I hear in the broadcast media. Often bits and pieces of this become part of my daily vocabulary. Then, of course, there are the words I read. Because I don't assume that others read the same words and phrases as I do they only seldom become a part of the usual vocabulary. My reading and understanding have given me a wealth of language - languages, because many phrases and expressions in a number of languages not my own have been easy to grasp and assimilate into what I can read.

The most precious of my word-hoard are the words I write. They encompass a much greater part of the vocabulary I have than that which I speak, but also much smaller than the vocabulary I read. These are the words that have worth for me, the ones I carefully share with others but do not let go; they are my personal treasure.

Picture my vocabularies. On the one side is a cup filled with the common coins. On the other side is a huge tub filled with paper bills, cheques, and other instruments of exchange. But in the middle stands a small chest, heavy and well bound.

I have momentarily opened my treasure chest for you. I have written.

1 comment:

annaken said...

Good Morning Jefferson,

Your blog topic today reminds me of two men who were in a position of authority over two different congregations. Both men were highly educated and spoke that way in their sermons. Unhappily, their congregations were unable to understand them as they were mostly street people in one congregation in Toronto and in another city, mostly rural people from Europe. Although both these men were good men, by using language which many people could not grasp properly, they were not able to fulfil their roles adequately.

It was a great pity as they had a lot to offer. Language has to fit the situation where it is used in, in my view.