Friday, October 14, 2011

Word Choice

Sometimes in a conversation, someone will use a specific word or phrase that so fascinates me, that I almost forget what the conversation was about and focus on the phrase or word. For instance, a few weeks ago, I met a local restaurant owner who is from southern Mexico. He was a very interesting man who has done quite well for himself here in the USA. He spoke very good English, but now and then in the conversation, he would say something a little bit off - kind of like Ziva David on NCIS. At one point, he said, "...but I have another card up my slip." It made me blink, but I kept a straight face and kept going with the conversation. In my mind, I kept thinking of the "slip" (pun intended).

In another conversation a few weeks ago, someone accused someone else of having a "vendetta" against them. Ooh vendetta! What a great word! You can kind of punch someone with it. There I was in a serious conversation, but my mind was saying, "VenDETTA, VENdetta." Since then, I have used the word several times. Yesterday, Toby said, "You like that word, don't ya?" Ya know, I do! I have a vendetta against AT&T. I like the word "conglomerate" too, but I don't get to use it often. Of course, nothing beats "onomatopoeia," but how often do you get to use that word in a conversation?

Toby and I also discussed silly beauty shop names. You know, like: Cuttin' Up, or my favorite, Curl Up and Dye. I love those!

You would think that I would love vocabulary, but I really don't. In my tutoring these days, we do Abeka vocabulary - pretty tuff stuff. Each unit gives a pretest on the vocabulary words - multiple choice. My little student's eyes nearly roll back in her head when she sees the words. Not only does she not know the vocabulary words, she does not know the multiple choice answers either. So we go over the words. I admit that I don't know all the words and that some of the words are not all that useful. I show her how to look at the prefixes, suffixes, and root words to take an educated guess at the meanings. One day, she said, "How do you know this stuff?" My eyes blinked - I don't know - maybe it was 7th grade Latin class. Truthfully, I use very simple language, but I'm not stupid. Well, okay, I don't really spell very well, and I tend to choose the easiest words to spell. Like the time a student asked me how to spell "corridor" and I answered, "H A L L."

My little student and I have talked about words quite a bit. We discussed connotation and denotation (her eyes blinked on that lesson). We have discussed alliteration, which I love. She asked me, "How do you spell that?

I started, "A L..."

She stopped me, "A!? Doesn't it start with an I?"

Me, "No, that would be 'illertate' - meaning a person who does not know how to read." My little student burst out laughing. She is a smart girl.

Now we are studying figurative language - similies, metaphors, personification, etc. I like this stuff too.

How does that grab ya?
Like a hair hand in the dark!

8 comments:

Jo Castillo said...

I had to get out a dictionary to read this post! My spelling is good, but I don't know what the words mean. Ha. I love knowing about words though. Gene subscribes to the word of the day on dictionary.com Always fun.

And my verification word "settl", speaking of spelling.

Buck said...

I'm a word person, too. The thing I love about the Kindle is its built-in dictionary... so if you're reading along and come across a word ya don't know, all ya have to do is move your cursor to the beginning of the word and Walla!! Defined. It doesn't work on hyphenated words, though.

You like onomatopoeia? You'll LOVE the chorus to this song, then. (At the 2:30 mark) ;-)

Bag Blog said...

Jo, I just thank the computer gods for spell-check.

Buck, Where do you come up with such things? Now I'm going to be singing onomatopoeia all day.

Buck said...

Buck, Where do you come up with such things?

As I said elsewhere: the brain works in strange and sometimes wondrous ways. And stoopid ways sometimes, too. ;-)

Becky said...

I love certain words, too. Others I hate. I detest the word "portion". I can't stand it. On the other hand, my all time favorite word ever is "kerfuffle". Fun to say. Fun to get into one.

Bag Blog said...

Becky, I don't think I have ever heard of a kerfuffle.

NavyOne said...

Great post Lou. A kerfuffle is what we have down on Wall Street. . .

Bag Blog said...

NavyOne,
Thanks for dropping by! I did look up kerfuffle. It is a great word.