I grew up watching my Mother do that. She never attended school past the eighth grade. Being the oldest, when her father died and her mother was pregnant, she had to work to help support her five siblings. One of the most intelligent women I have ever known—my Mom.
A written word definition can be a challenge. Often, one can guess the meaning of the word by the way it is used in content. Sometimes not, and sometimes a guess is grossly incorrect. It’s fun to try, though.
Words are continually evolving, having a life of their own. Studying the etymology of different words, it is evident how our language has developed and changed over the centuries. For instance, the first time “bootleg” was used was in 1634. At that time it meant the top of a boot. Then in the 1800’s “the illegal production and sell of alcoholic beverages” became another definition. “Selfie” originated in Australia in 2013. Wonder how this word will evolve?
Words in all languages are lyrical. When spoken, the English word, “Cathedral,” starts low in tone, goes higher and then falls slightly low again. Borborygmus is another musical word—in more ways than one! That word would be fun to learn to use orally. Don’t we all hear the words in our heads as we read the written word?
The Phoenicians were the first to develop an alphabet in the eighth century. The Greeks borrowed the Phoenician alphabet but adjusted it to have vowels and consonants in their own language.
Science, technology and medicine are constantly inventing new words. Medical dictionaries are huge tomes and may soon be followed with technological dictionaries. Most professions have a vocabulary all their own.
Poets know how to compress words to evoke images. I believe poetry to be an art form. Think of Haiku, so few words to portray a thought or scene. This is not Haiku, but I hope this excerpt from a poem by Mia Hollow will hold true on this ailing planet:
There are no dead poets.
Not a single word has met its end.
Like all magic, words, too, are immortal.
They are bred and bound by the souls of their maker.
Just as those before us, we will leave them here.
And a thousand years from now, they will echo;
They will find another page to call home.
Carl Sagan said, “Books break the shackles of time.” For sure, we connect with people of the past and present by reading their written words. The Bible, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Martin Luther King, Jr., and innumerable others—what a loss it would have been for us not to have had their written words of wisdom to read, to enjoy, to contemplate, to nourish our souls.
Thanks, Mom, for your example. And my gratitude to YOU for reading these written words. The susurration you hear is my orison of gratefulness!
“Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35 (NIV)
©Ann Rains--February, 2019
Subscriptions are free! Just fill out the box below.