Friday, January 27, 2012

Perfect Users of Words

     Down cellar,old timey, sing small, mitten money, hike off, kissen' cousin, grass widow

Today's youth would probably not use words like these or perhaps even understand some of them.  Many are colloquialisms, but I have always been intrigued by twentieth century words such as these.I began to collect such words about ten years ago in my "writers notebook" along with character and settings photos and plot ideas. I purchased a book in 2005 called Informal English by Jeffrey Kacirk. It was both entertaining and a useful addition to my reference shelf.Kaccirk's paperback of alphabetized colloquialisms had an extensive bibliography and ended with a quote from Walt Whitman's lecture, "An American Primer":
     "Americans are going to be the most fluent and melodious-voiced people in the world,
                               and the most perfect users of words."
 Whew!  Of course that was written in mid-nineteenth century, but I believe most  writers today are indeed striving to be 'perfect users of words'. I've blogged before about the strength and beauty of words, but I am presently looking for inspirational books to start my New Year with better health and more vigor for the craft.
I might have found a good source in a contemporary writer's newest  non-fiction book, One Perfect Word by Debbie Macomber. I have not read it yet, but one reviewer says it has both spiritual and practical applications. I do know that it encourages the reader to focus on "a perfect word each year." It is on my 'to read ' list.
I do not feel I've given justice to the ideas of those who are striving to be perfect users of words, but hopefully next month's blog will have more depth and be a dight longer.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Mary,

As readers and writers I believe we are especially aware of words and language usage. Vocabulary is what we're about. I still love to read through dictionaries especially the Oxford Etymological Dictionary. Great fun learning about word origins!

Don't forget to publicize your blog so others can read and enjoy it.

mary F. Schoenecker said...

Thanks Jacqueline. We may be two of a few who enjoy dictionaries. I also like to read cook books for entertainment.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Cook books are great. I love the mystery novels that relate to food and include recipes as well.