We want weird words

Some people love words. There are all different kinds of you out there. Here is an acknowledgment of a random few:

  • There are the people who get a thrill out of saying certain words, the sounds feeling as good between the teeth as good food tastes. Sometimes it’s like the words themselves are experts in massage, giving your mouths a luscious working over.
  • Some of you like to draw letters like they are tiny works of art, spending time picking out just the right writing instrument for every occasion.  You’re the ones who are aficionados of a truly fine ink like some people are sommeliers of wine. Others are mesmerized by the smoky lines they can make using pencils. Those people write partly for self expression, but just as much for the feel of those tiny particles of graphite sliding across each other and out onto the paper.
  • There are the people who were excited in elementary school when it was the day for the spelling test. Those tests felt far less like an important part of getting a good grade and far more like playing with real live (albeit two-dimensional) puppies.
  • Some word lovers could not conceive of being without magnetic collections of words on their refrigerators. For some of you, the act of arranging them in endless variations actually replaces the need for coffee in the morning.
  • There are the folks who look up a word in the dictionary and are so entranced that they also look up the words that are used to define the first one, and then the next one, and the next. And then they see on the opposite page another gorgeous set of letters which they cannot resist reading about, either, and they get so lost in the web of definitions that they don’t realize they’ve been caught, till, perhaps, hours later.
  • I’ve seen people at social functions who gleefully read the Tengwar, Daedrik or Hylian written on each other’s t-shirts, and instantly know they are of the same mind and heart, if only for that moment, even if in no other way, even if they never speak again.
  • I’ve met a few intrepid souls, too, who speak Klingon, Quenya, or who frequent online language generators just for kicks.  
  • There are folks out there, too, who take that whole “spelling” thing quite a few steps further, knowing the history of each of our earthly letters and how there was a time, in the dark shroud of history, when people knew the meanings of them and believed that writing them was an act of more than the creation of scribbles on a page, but also an act of magical creation in the wider world.
  • I know people whose most frequented websites have the words thesaurus and dictionary in the address. They also hold an especially warm place in their hearts for the etymology site, loving even the warm colors chosen by that welcoming webmaster, because it makes them feel more at home when they stop by for a visit. If reading the origins of words also included the aroma of hot cocoa, it wouldn’t be any better.

If you are reading this blog, I’ll trust that you’re some kind of lingo lover, too, even if I haven’t listed your type here. There are many of us who don’t display our language fanaticism in obvious ways. Sometimes its as simple as regularly reading a few paragraphs before we fall asleep. For others, it’s just a quiet admiration of the way the checker at the grocery store pronounces something in an accent we don’t recognize.

Maybe for most of your lives, lecturers on literature and professors of penmanship completely failed to notice your devotion to dialect, but those crossword puzzles, word searches, tongue twisters, rhyming games, Mad Libs, alphabetical doodling and punishing puns tell us who you are.

And I’m one of you, too. I won’t burden you with the details of my personal word-nerdery, but I will tell you that I once fell in love with a man because he voluntarily (!) shared his favorite words with me, including the longest one in the English language which we practiced saying over and over together for the better part of our second date.

Whoever you are, I’m inviting you to come on in to our clubhouse. I’m here to tell you that every one of our books has got something new for your mouth to chomp down into, something graceful and strange for your pen to trace.

We’re fashioning an iv’Ahzhvii dictionary made up of words from another world. We’re drawing up a whole alien alphabet, too. A few of the letters were inspired by wolves, so when we can get to spell and say your name, it might be even more awesome than it is already. The point of doing this is not to confuse or confound anybody, and we certainly do not need anything more that is tedious and time consuming to do. We do, though, very much, want to introduce words that at least the English language is sorely lacking. We want to have all the words at our disposal that might really make a difference in your lives, that might really make a difference to the world. They are certainly making a difference to us.

I’m with Robin. Let’s hang this on the clubhouse wall:

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world”                     Robin Williams

 

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