With words, you claim yourself, your friends, your life, your interests. You label the things around you. You gain power over them, over yourself and your emotions. You can bring people to you or against you. You teach, inspire, and cause change. As an author, my power comes almost exclusively through language. It's not only through the meanings of the words that I choose to express my points and thoughts, even, but also through the beauty of the words themselves that I make my point.
The sounds of words are powerful. Poetry and songwriting are prime examples of this. The rhythm, the pace, and the hardness/softness of the words you choose affect the power and emotion of your work. There's a big different between the sound of the word "titanium" and "pillow", for example. Even ignoring the meanings of the words, which one comes off as harder?
I think everyone, at some point, has heard a word that gave them pause, either because they didn't expect a word so fancy in that conversation, or because it had a strange sound. Words are just funny, special little things. I love them.
So here are some fun facts about words:
- "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo," is a legitimate sentence in the English language, the longest one using the same word exclusively. This is because the word "buffalo" is not only a place and an animal, but also a verb meaning "to bully [someone]." I already loved the word buffalo even before I knew this. Seriously, "buffalo."
- "Fard" is a word meaning "to apply/fix makeup."
- "Bison" also means "to throw up".
- Currently, my favorite sentence is "I need to go fard so people don't buffalo me and make me bison."
- My first favorite word, in elementary school, was "onomatopoeia", because it's hilarious to say and spell. That word refers to any word that describes a sound, like "bang", in case you didn't know that.
- Other words I've counted as my favorites include "miasma" (a very disturbing fog or mist--used more in the sense of a mental or emotional issue than a physical one), "blasphemous" (referring to treating religion in a disrespectful way, but I like it because it sounds funny), and of course, "fard."
- Being a voracious reader and a writer, I actually use a number of words on a daily/weekly/monthly basis that I can't pronounce. I found this out because I started recording my books for my mom, and she informed me that a bunch of the words I was using I was pronouncing entirely wrong. This annoyed me at first. Now I find it funny and am quite proud of it.
- I like to browse the internet to find collections of words in English/other languages that describe specific emotions/moments we can't otherwise describe in a single word.
- People can actually invent words that end up in the language for real. Haven't you ever read Frindle? (Andrew Clements is a favorite author of mine.) The word "quiz" was actually invented totally on accident.
Try paying more attention to words in your life, and I think you might start to see what I mean. And for extra fun, why not check this out: 100 most beautiful words.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY MOM, ONE OF MY HEROES IN REAL LIFE!