Thursday, 5 December 2019

I Love Words

Are you an etymologist? Do you enjoy talking and reading about words? Have you ever listened to Michael Rosen's Word of Mouth? It's on BBC Radio 4 and, although there is no current series, the Listen Again page on the BBC website has almost 200 past episodes that can be listened to at your leisure. I confess to being addicted to them. I listen to at least one an evening while I'm getting ready for bed. Some of them I know almost by heart and some talk about things that I'd forgotten or hadn't picked up on in the first airing.

Some links: Topics range from language and writing e.g. Philip Pullman in 2017, to metaphors for the pastto a discussion with Countdown's Susie Dent on her love of words. There's even an episode on T-shirt slogans.

If you're still reading this then you must love words as much as I do and so, in case you hadn't already discovered him (but I bet you have), I recommend you read some of Robert Macfarlane's work. His books include Underland, Landmarks and The Lost Words and are a feast for word lovers. We used some of his material in the Masters in Creative Writing that I did last year - did I mention how much I enjoyed that course?

And if you love words I dare say you've discovered the website and Twitter feed called Haggard Hawks.

Have you got any word lovers' links to share? If you have do let me know in the comments. Thanks.
p.s. I just created my first ever word cloud - see above. I downloaded an app called Shapego. It's fun. I feel a new obsession coming on!


  1. I do love words, though not as much as you, obviously. I shall have to check out your links and the word cloud app - hmm - now I know what I'll do at work today. Ha!

    1. Oh no! I don't want to be responsible for you getting into trouble at work!!

  2. I hadn't heard of Haggard Hawks, so thanks for the link, Ros - looks very interesting.

    I love etymology, and one very useful tool is the full Oxford English Dictionary. It's horribly expensive to subscribe to, but some libraries (it used to be all of them) subscribe, and if yours does then you'll have free online access to the OED just by logging in via your local library site. For each keyword, the online OED gives etymology and usage throughout the centuries.

    As a non-etymological aside, your local library also gives you full access to numerous magazines online, such as New Scientist. So even if you rarely visit your local library in person, it's still worth having a library card.

    1. Thanks for visiting. I've never tried logging into the OED. Thanks for the tip.

  3. I love words too, Rosalind. I use my teaching websites, some of which have ‘word of the day’, as does my online dictionary. We can’t listen to BBC programmes here for some reason, but I’ll try your links. Thank you!


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