Wednesday, 13 December 2017


I just finished reading a book by Bill Bryson, my second by him. He is a funny, astute, critical, self-deprecating writer whose books I've enjoyed reading. In this one, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, Bryson wrote about many topics from government ridiculousness to people ridiculousness, silliness and wonderfulness. The chapter that sparked today's #WordWednesday is called "Word Play," so if you know me at all, you'll know that my reading ears perked up at that one. The first sentence of the chapter is, "Have you ever noticed that some words sound perfect for the things they describe and other words don't sound right at all?"

For example, he thinks that "Snooze…is also first rate, as are chortle, clank, gasp dribble and bloat." Well, I have to agree with him on all of those. We part ways, however, on several others. Some of his "bad words" are anorak, spatula, pantaloons and settee. I happen to think that those are excellent words, both for fittingness with the thing they name, and as a bonus, the way they feel in my mouth. They are, shall we say, double winners for me.

Then there are the words we both agree are agreeable to say, no matter how well or poorly they fit the thing they name: galoshes, pandemonium, transubstantiation, rudimentary, palpitation, kiosk, and quisling…to which I shall add abracadabra, melodious, balaclava, boobaloo, Dubble Bubble and anaconda. The word anticlimactic doesn't quite get to be on this list because though it's satisfying to say, that darned middle c bugs the heck out of me because it taunts me, making me want to pronounce it, which is instantly clumsy and much too clackety-clackish, not to mention wrong.

So, there you go. One wordster gone a little gah-gah (another good word, by the way) over language. I believe I shall don my balaclava and recline on the settee, for all this melodious pandemonium gives me palpitations Some other time I'll give myself palpitations by writing about words that are not words but ought to be, such as malodiferous. Stay tuned.

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