Playing With Words

playing with wordsIf you enjoy writing, you must like words. The typical English speaker has a vocabulary of around 2,000 words, and those with a university degree may have around 4,000. Still, that’s not an enormous number. William Shakespeare used something like 20,000 words in his writing, but Shakespeare had a dirty secret. He made up thousands of those words himself.

This might sound like a pretty bad idea. After all, words are there to be understood, and if you invent words yourself, how can anyone understand what you mean? Good question, and yet if it worked for Shakespeare, it can work for you. Often Shakespeare turned nouns into verbs, added prefixes or suffixes, joined words together, or borrowed parts of words from elsewhere. He invented words like eyeball, frugal and gossip.

Do you think I’m just confoozling you? Or do you find preconfabricated words hard to understand? Well, ermahgerd!

These days, corporations have whole departments dedicated to making up words (not to be confused with the departments dedicated to making up numbers – that’s Accounts.) Think iPhone. Think Wii. Think Youtube.

It’s all good, clean fun.Inventing new words, like incanderous or fediciously (don’t ask me what they mean) is easy. So why be stuck for the right word again? Just make up one that sounds like the kind of thing you need. And far from dumbing down the language, it opens up opportunities to say something new. I think that must be a good thing, surely?

About the Author
Steve Morris expounds, articulates and wrestles with words and thoughts at Blog Blogger Bloggest.

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