Tuesday 9 November 2010

Save the Words

90% of everything we communicate is done with only 7,000 words. I just read that on a fascinating website called savethewords.org. The screen is filled with words that are slipping out of usage and in risk of disappearing altogether. The words are animated and keep calling out ‘over here!’ and ‘choose me!’ It's hilarious but you'll have to visit it for yourself to obtain the full amusement value.

The Guardian Newspaper ran an article about the site this week. They urged us all to adopt a word, slip it into our conversations, emails, letters, reports, blogs and all manner of places to save it from extinction. 

It’s not hard to see why some words are on the way out. They’re not exactly relevant. [If they’re relevant to you then apologies but please start using them!] Here are just a few:

Stiricide = falling of icicles from a house
Sevous = like tallow
Frutescent = looking like a shrub

On the other hand, there are many words that deserve to be rescued. Here are three of my favourites:

Blateration = blabber or chatter
Woundikins = mild profanity
Piladex = a game where an inflated bag is hit with the hand across a table

Of course, it’s us lot who make it difficult for people to use obscure words. We’re apt to make fun, tease, say,
‘Oooooh, get him! He’s swallowed a dictionary for breakfast!’ 

As I write this, BBC Radio 2 is playing in the background. The language used by the DJs is simple and uncomplicated. It’s the sort of language that the majority of us hear and use every day. We have not only allowed, but have played a significant part in the dumbing down of our own lovely language. Isn’t that a shame?

I think we should join forces and try to turn this trend around. I’m going to adopt my three favourite words. Blateration describes the way I talk on the phone – I know it does! Woundikins is so cute even if it does mean a mild profanity, and piladex sounds like my type of game, not too energetic but with a bit of competitiveness to spur me on.

Anyway, enough of my blaterations. I do hope you’re all going to visit savethewords.org and adopt a word or I shall have to resort to woundikins! And now, anyone for a game of piladex?