Vocabulary

The comedian isn’t one whose work I was previously familiar with, but I must say¬†this¬†retelling of The Three Little Pigs is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. (Link will take you to a Youtube video – I would’ve embedded it directly, but it doesn’t seem to work here.) A thought-provoking, as well as entertaining, look at the breadth of vocabulary commonly seen in older books, as opposed to what most people are familiar with today.

The question of which words to use is one that all authors give some thought to, to one degree or another (or should, at any rate!).

No, of course we don’t want to send readers to the dictionary with every other word we use. But I think we could all agree that writers should work to develop their vocabularies, and that a love of words is a definite asset to anyone in the craft, and can enrich our writing considerably.

English is a rich language, and it’s a shame to see the number of words we can assume the average reader will be familiar with dwindling.

2 Responses to “Vocabulary”

  1. Robert Hartley Says:

    The Youtube video was wonderful! Descriptive words, wealthy in nuance, enable one to feel the world in three dimension. Writers exalted words in a past when readers and listeners actively participated and expected no less than to be transported on a journey: in a past when reading and listening were an experience and not passive entertainment.

    Nowadays persons swim in external imagery and sound: sensation piled upon sensation. To appreciate the artistry of the written word and the world such words can create requires a cultivation of the intellect. This sounds high falutin’. Maybe it’s enough to say, one must learn to appreciate the perspective art affords through experience. One must actively participate in that experience: think and take the time to reflect. Seen a lot of that lately?

    Sad to say, it does seem that writing is a dying art.

  2. Emily Sather Says:

    Very true. As I heard from several speakers at one of the more recent writing conferences I went to, these days writers aren’t really competing with other writers so much as with movies and television. The majority of would-be readers are looking for fast-paced entertainment, and have very little tolerance for books that don’t move quickly enough, or require too much investment on the reader’s part. It’s a balancing act on the writer’s part: how much to gear the writing primarily toward the readers-who-love-reading, or the wider audience. Ideally, of course, finding a way to maximize the appeal to both.

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