August 20, 2010

Words I Like

I love words. I love trying to use them in interesting ways, while at the same time preserving them. I am loathe to use the popular and, to me, heretical short forms of so many words in our language today; I use "through," "doughnut," "light" and "night," "you" instead of "U," "for" instead of "4," that kind of thing. Even on Twitter. To me, it's worth the extra characters.

English isn't an easy language, and it may not even be a beautiful language all the time, but there is something so inherently wonderful about its ability to be both flexible and traditional at the same time. It is such a amalgamation, having adopted and absorbed so much from many other languages and cultures, but keeping its identity. Its rules are many and complex, and are often confusing, but it has become the de facto global language so it must be doing something right.

I've gotten into discussions with people about what I call the bastardization of our language (and here I mean American English, just to be clear) when I'm in a bad mood about it, or the diminishment of it when I'm in a...better...mood about it. While I recognize that language is changeable -- it has to adapt and grow to survive and remain relevant -- I also believe that it shouldn't be compromised just because we're in a hurry and shorthand is easier. Contractions are a part of that adaptation, certainly, but there's a difference between contractions that developed through verbal changes to the language over time and shortcuts that I feel are just lazy and don't further it in any way. "Nite" may be a phonetic way to write "night," but it doesn't change it in any significant way, with respect to its meaning or usage, for instance.

And that wasn't at all where I intended to go with this post. Sometimes I get worked up about the subject, obviously. The point behind this was that I love words, and there are some I love more than others. I've done a fairly miserable job of keeping up with my lists, so when this one occurred to me, I ran with it.

List 6*: Words I Like

- Alpenglow
- Bailiwick
- Bespoke
- Bijou
- Cattywampus
- Defenestrate
- Flummoxed
- Ignominious
- Kerfuffle
- Lollygag
- Onomatopoeia
- Perambulate
- Portmanteau
- Preternatural
- Quaff
- Repose
- Rubenesque
- Sumptuous
- Twitterpated
- Vermilion

Care to share any of yours?

* If you're keeping track, though I sincerely doubt anyone is, my last list was marked "List 2" in error. It was actually List 5. Just thought you should know.