Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Pen is Mightier

Rachel and I had a discussion this morning about learning fun new words.  The word she provided was "antepenultimate."  It sounds rather impressive, but simply means "third to last."  And when I read that, it became abundantly clear that the common use of "penultimate" is completely incorrect.  Now I hate to be the person to make someone else feel bad by correcting them.  I spent a lot of time in my younger years doing that, and all it does is make people intimidated by you, and does not get you dates.  However, I think there is a serious problem with a person not only pretending understand a word (and admittedly I do this from time to time), but then repeating it the way they think it is used. 

It is my not-so-humble believe that we should own up to our ignorance, and take advantage of the chance to learn something new!  That doesn't mean do the word of the day thing.  I have tried that, and those words would neither come up in conversation, nor be understood if you used them.  Not that I am against it, because I did earlier hunt down this glossary of fun words.  Rather, when you're reading or in conversation with someone and a word or concept that you are unfamiliar with surfaces, ask about it.  It does not make you stupid.  More often than not, people will appreciate that you didn't just try to pretend you understood.  Not to mention, it will save you the embarrassment of getting caught faking your knowledge. 

So here are my fun words for the day:

absquatulate: to flee, make off
callipygian: having a shapely buttocks.

Seriously, people.  If we have a word to describe someone who has a nice rear, shouldn't we use it?!  Goodness knows we have plenty of opportunity!

I've also been a long-time advocate of bringing back penmanship.  I have argued this with a number of people, but the fact of the matter is if your handwriting is illegible, it's rather hard to communicate.  Having a firm grasp of the language and knowing how to project it via your own hand are each an art in their own right.  I think I am going to join IAMPETH.  It's basically a society that loves calligraphy, the teaching thereof, and wants to reinstate this sort of education in the classroom.  Think of the discipline and skill to be gained!  I was just excited to find that I am not the only person out there trying to preserve this dying art.  One day, maybe I'll be an expert penman like these people.   

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