Sunday, February 15, 2015

On Vocabulary and More

There are times I do not think we give each other enough credit. These can also be the same times we let each other off the hook. 

I was thinking about this this morning as I looked up a word I did not know the meaning of: pedantic.

It is a bit ironic, perhaps, as it seems among the word's meanings is "pompous" and "showing off." There are those who use uncommon words who will be seen in that way, rather than as someone, perhaps, to be appreciated. 

Personally I have often admired a person with access to a good vocabulary. I hear it in the way I would appreciate a work of art I like.

Learning new words is something I have always enjoyed. But it seems that there are those who prefer to bring things down to a fourth grade reading level. 

Some would even say "dumb things down," although I think that says more about them than what is being done. There are those who just believe that people will not read things they do not understand. To make it accessible, you need to find a level available to most.

I am thinking that many who are capable of reading are able to access a dictionary. I suppose it could be annoying to have to look up a lot of words when one is just trying to enjoy something. I can understand why there would be those who would advocate for a simpler approach.

At the same time, I love words. I think some words just sound so delicious and wonderful. I am guessing it is, in some part, the artist in me that appreciates the larger verbal palette. 

Sometimes when I pick a word, it may be like picking a red. When I pick a different word, it's like picking a crimson red. It somehow just feels different, and paints a different picture. To use another metaphor, it also sounds "musically" different to my ears.

Language is a way for me to experience life in a richer way. I realize, though, that this won't be the case for everyone. I only have to think about things written in "Legalese" to realize how difficult language can get, and how frustrating.

Somewhere in between, though, I think there is likely to be a compromise. In this place of compromise, perhaps we can collectively have a greater palette to work from. And instead of seeing the use of words we do not understand as a "bad" thing, and feeling the need to label the writing, or person, in a negative way, we could begin to see it for an opportunity for something "good."

I am writing this, and thinking about this, in part because I know that I have a "proclivity" (tendency, inclination) to sometimes use language that transcends (goes beyond) the fourth grade level. (See? Sometimes I can't help myself! :p) There are times I struggle a little bit with the idea that I "should" write more simply than I do.

I think I heard one of Hemmingway's most successful novels was written at a fourth grade level. It, and other things, may make the argument that our language could be often be redundant. 

I suppose it is an interesting perspective to consider, especially if we want to relate to each other. But, then I think we learned one thing, is it that much of a stretch to learn another?

I have a hard time with things like this. My mind is always trying to find equivalents of the things I talk about that have me standing on the other side of the conversation. 

I do that not to drive myself crazy (although there are times it certainly feels that way), but rather to understand better what I think I am saying. Am I missing something? Is my perspective skewed in a way I am unaware of at first blush? Am I coming off in some way that I do not intend?

So many times people will say something to me about a piece of my experience, and it will sound so simple, so obvious. And, yet, what THEY think is that is nothing like that for me, the person living it.

Because of that, I am acutely aware of the fact that I could be coming off like them in cases like this one, and it certainly would not be my intent.

However, I think it is important for us to ask questions, and make statements that have us ask questions, as it helps us look at things. It has us get clearer about where we stand, and the things we believe, and believe to be our Truths.

What I write is my perspective and experience. I know it won't be for everyone, but in my sharing, perhaps there will be those who will find something for themselves in it that will either be a cause to alter what they say or do, or a validation for where they are.

Either way, I think that I write primarily for myself, so I definitely am writing for my audience. If I spur something for my additional audience, that works for me, too - even if they disagree with me and think me wrong. 

I have been learning just how much of a conduit I am for others, and while it can be painful and difficult at times, it seems to be a role I have taken on. So, I guess what I am trying to say - in the longest, most round about, way possible is if what I write "works" for you, great. If it doesn't, great. Great that you know what you believe, and will stand up for, just like what I am doing, and have done.

Given there was no blueprint and instruction book for the many facets of the human experience, we really are all just making it up as we go. And we know how that can go at times, don't we?

This is also to say, I am not claiming to be Universally Right in what I say. It is more about being clear about what I personally claim for myself. If others see validity in my perspectives, then perhaps it is a good thing. 

Therr are times I question myself, but when I say what I do, it is as good as I got at the moment. I think that is all we can ever really ask of ourselves. 

Ps If you appreciate/enjoy what I write, and get value from it, please support my body of work for as little as $1 a month at Patreon.com/Jolope. Thank you. 

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