I’ve had two experiences recently that have reminded me of the power of our language. With the click of most of our smartphone keyboards, our words are now auto-corrected and fixed for us. This has allowed us to “lazy up” on our language skills and need not worry about how to spell words, let alone check a dictionary to expand our vocabulary. We aren’t choosing the most sophisticated words to reflect our thoughts and feelings anymore.
To say our vocabulary as human beings is becoming quite basic in this social media, technology-driven age is an understatement. Its probably why I enjoy reading books as much as I do. I love the lessons a good book can impart and the rich words that good writers use to tell a story.
When I started my career, I had a flip book in the top of my desk drawer. I would try and find a new word a week and write it in this flip book to learn and refer too as a way to expand my vocabulary and better my writing. It was a helpful exercise (that I have since stopped doing) but it was a great way to continue to learn and expand my personal dictionary of words.
Recently, I engaged in a conversation on Twitter that I thought would be productive but it began with words from the other party that were quite abrupt to start off the conversation. These words didn’t help to foster a productive conversation, or at least make me feel like we were going to have a positive experience and engage in meaningful dialogue.
It was a good reminder. If you want to have a productive conversation with someone, don’t tell them their opinion is bad by using words that aren’t conducive to the conversation. In order to have a conversation, people must go back and forth with words. The words you choose to use can alter the direction of a conversation quickly – both in a good direction and bad.
Productive conversations, regardless of where you stand on an issue, includes language that is inclusive, respectful and meaningful. Using words that insults a person, aren’t respectful in nature, or aren’t used in the right tone can turn someone off from having a conversation with you the next time.
The second example includes a night of playing scrabble with my family at our cottage.
I haven’t played scrabble in years. Scratch that. I couldn’t remember the first time I played scrabble. I must have been bad at it when I first played otherwise I would have remembered the experience vividly (#SoreLoserAnyone?!) Off topic, sorry…
While playing scrabble, it reminded me of that first experience earlier on Twitter and how an expanded vocabulary doesn’t hurt anyone.s
Playing a game like scrabble teaches you words you didn’t realize you could even come up with let alone know the meaning for. Until you are asked to put together words with 7 of the most random letters of the alphabet and you have a killer instinct to want to WIN, it can be an exciting challenge for your brain. Scrabble made me think of words beyond the basic Twitter speak, smartphone auto-corrections and the latest acronyms like FOMO and YOLO (you only live once for those who have to google it like I first had to do!)
Examples of words from our game that you may be surprised to learn the meaning for, like I was….
Fid – a thick peg, wedge, or supporting pin.
Yuch – a variant of the word yuck..
Xi – the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet (and yes, it can be used in the game of scrabble!).
An expanded and robust vocabulary only helps you to better articulate your thoughts and feelings… oh, and wise words just makes you sound smarter. Go figure! I may just be pulling that flip book back out again to continue to add to my word bank.
On a side note, the photo of the books above arranged by colour has totally inspired me to want to do the same with the zillions of books I’ve collected over the years. Problem is, I need to find wall/bookcase space in my house. On to my next project!