L is for Language

So we are now on day 13 of the A to Z challenge which means that we are officially halfway through the challenge. Can I get a cheer anyone? Kudos to everyone who has made it this far in the challenge, it’s a lot of work but it’s a lot of fun at the same time.

halfway point

Today, what I love about writing is L for Language. I absolutely adore words. I love the way they can have so many different meanings and spellings. For example, take color and colour. They are both spelled correctly and mean exactly the same thing, the only difference is that the first one is commonly used in American English while the second is used in British English.

 

 

Another thing I love is discovering the etymology of a word. I was watching “As Time Goes By” with my mom the other night (It’s a British comedy with Judi Dench) and the word firkin came up. Now, I always though a firkin was a type of flask used for drinks like whiskey, but my mom was unfamiliar with the word so I looked it up out of curiosity. A firkin is actually a small cask that holds about 11 gallons.

 

ORIGIN

Middle English ferdekyn, probably from the Middle Dutch diminutive of vierde ‘fourth’ (a firkin originally contained a quarter of a barrel).

Source: Bing Search

 

It’s fun to see how words evolve and change. There are even new words being added to the dictionary ever year. For example, two new words are chillax (chill out and relax combined) and bling (flashy and expensive objects, often ostentatious). They are in the dictionary, I checked.

And when writing, there is always the search for the perfect word. You might know four words that mean roughly the same thing, but depending on context, one will be more appropriate than the others. Let’s say that your character is having problems choosing between several options. You have the options of ‘Several, myriad, so many, a lot, tons, and a bunch’. Depending on the formality of the situation, you have choices. For a less formal situation, you might go with something like, “Becky knew that she had tons to do, but she needed to just pick one and start.” On the other hand, if your faced with a more formal situation, it would be more like, “Princess Maria looked over the myriad suitors that sought her hand and wondered how in the world they would be able to house all of them in the guest quarters.”

There is a downside to words too, though. I am a voracious reader with a fairly large vocabulary. However, most of it has been gained through reading, so sometimes when I’m talking I have no idea how to pronounce a word and leave my listener baffled and myself in a state of embarrassed humor (it’s happened often enough that I pretty much just see the humor in it anymore).

 

So what is your all time favorite word?

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