Sunday, June 2, 2013

WORDS by Jannine Gallant

Words - You gotta love them! At least I love them, and I imagine most authors feel the same way. One thing that bothers (disturbs, troubles, perturbs, riles, acerbates) me about my daughter's high school English class is the fact that they don't seem to learn vocabulary any more. Back in the stone age when I was in high school (Okay it was the late 70's, but my kids assure me I'm older than dirt!) we were given 20 words a week to learn. I don't mean spell; I mean learn. We had to be able to pluck the correct word out of our memory and use it in a sentence. These were odd, esoteric words I'd never heard before. (I'm pretty sure esoteric was one of them. LOL) Because I had literally hundreds of words drilled into my head, I can say without vanity that my vocabulary is excellent. I'd love to see our kids learning words. Maybe it would encourage them to talk more instead of texting. (Ha! Ha!)

Are you guilty of thumbing through a thesaurus to find the perfect (consummate, unparalleled, penultimate) word. I can spend ten minutes deliberating between amble, saunter, and stroll to describe how the dog walked across the yard. A big fat waste of time? Maybe, but that's how I'm hardwired. I love words. Occasionally, when my long suffering CP tells me she had to go look up one of my little gems, I'll be moved to change it. Not often, though. LOL

Is your thesaurus your best friend? Do you use the online version or a trusty hardback? Which is your favorite? My college roommate gave me a paperback copy of Roget's Thesaurus for Christmas in 1982. I'm still using it despite the fact that it's literally falling apart. I love that thing!

To find lots and lots of my favorite words in book form, check out my website and blog. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Ciao!

12 comments:

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I'm slowly learning the value of chosing just the right word. While my vocabulary comprehension is large--thanks to those weekly vocabulary words--my usage vocabulary is much smaller. I've recently purchased "The Synomym Finder." It's thick and heavy, but has found a place near my elbow. I love it! Great post, Jannine.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Long suffering (tortured, writhing, enduring, uncomplaining, tolerant) CP here. You didn't say how I actually change those words and you change them back! All of my thesauruses (or is it thesauri?) are pretty dog-eared too. (Ah. Something we have in common LOL)

Barbara said...

I am so 'there' with you on loving words. Thesauruses (thesauri?:) can be life-savers for writers--but not if the writers are not really familiar with the words they choose as replacements. Some of those synonyms don't mean precisely the same. So sometimes a strange, smile-provoking sentence results--one the author didn't intend.

This sometimes happens in my English classes and I have to caution students to be sure they understand the exact connotation of the word they select.

Good Post!!
Barb Bettis

Alison Henderson said...

When I was a sophomore in high school, we made our way through "30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary", word by word. The ideas was to pump up our SAT scores, but I retained nearly every one of those esoteric words! My thesaurus is one of my best friends - unfortunately, it's currently buried in a box somewhere in the garage at the new house. I'm in withdrawal!!

Jannine Gallant said...

Vonnie,

I actually use those "big" words on occasion. My kids tell me I sound like a geek. Maybe not geek. Whatever the current vernacular for geek is. LOL

Jannine Gallant said...

Margo,

Thanks for trying to change me. LOL I do listen. Sometimes.

Jannine Gallant said...

Barb,

Very good point! Glad to hear you're teaching vocabulary, too.

Jannine Gallant said...

Alison,

No thesaurus - I'd probably curl up and die!

Debbie & Giguette said...

That is so funny about high school vocab words . . . I was just telling my kids about that same thing . . . too funny we had the same thought about the same class at the same high school with the same teacher! 33+ years ago!

Barbara Edwards said...

I think with testing not only words but spelling is going by the way. I hate to think how Shakespeare would have written Romeo and Juliet in the shorthand they use.

Jannine Gallant said...

Debbie, Yep, they don't make them like Mrs. Whalen anymore. Maybe I should devise my own set of vocab words to torture my girls with this summer. LOL

Jannine Gallant said...

I agree, Barbara. But spell check could be the downfall of spelling in the modern world. Since the computer does it for them, why bother learning! And don't even get me started on texting. Not only does it encourage kids to not spell anything - they can't seem to have a conversation face to face anymore!