Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Have Logophilia and It’s Incurable

Before you panic – and I know you were almost there, trying to decide whether this requires a gift or maybe a card would be sufficient – logophilia is the love of words. Boy, do I have it and bad!

I’ve always loved words as far back as I can remember. In the fifth grade, I fell in love with pugnacious. The sound of it thrilled me. I would find any excuse I could to use it in a sentence - “You sure are pugnacious, today!” For those of you who aren’t crazy for words, pugnacious means ready to fight, combative. It wasn’t that easy to work into daily conversation without starting a fight myself, especially at age 11.

I moved on to tintinnabulation, a word created by Edgar Allan Poe, to describe the ringing of bells. Say it. It does, indeed, sound like bells pealing their musical sounds. And it’s very fun to say. So, in Junior High, I ran around saying tintinnabulation like everyone knew what it meant. I got some very strange looks.

Today, I’m a writer who rarely uses words beyond the scope of the average reader. I write very simply and I find myself annoyed by writers who will throw in a perfectly good, but seldom used word in the middle of a very prosaic sentence. Oops, there I go. I just did it. But, hey, I love prosaic – meaning dull or ordinary. I was listening to a news story on NPR this morning and the reporter referred to Congress as recalcitrant. How many listeners did he lose with that one?

Anyway – my love of words hasn’t diminished but rather increased. Only now, I don’t go around flaunting my beautiful, melodic expressions to just anybody. More often than not, I hoard them; sounding them out in my head or saying them out loud in the privacy of my own home. The interior of my car is splattered with the invisible remains of linguistic sounds I tossed out while driving just to hear them and for no other reason.

I told you. It truly is incurable.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, it was NPR, not FOX. Surely listeners knew what recalcitrant means.
    : - )