Behind the Blog

Behind The Blog #38; Finding the Right Words


Behind the Blog is a meme to help bloggers connect their life and interests to the content showcased on their blog. The co-hosts, Faye, Kathe, and Melissa will provide a different topic, idea, or question every week that bloggers can relate to themselves and the books, films, or other media they find interesting!

On February 1, 1884, the first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary was published. Neat, huh? Since reading is all about the stringing together of words to make beautiful stories, I figured we’d talk about words in our daily lives. How often would you say you come across new words that you have to look up the meaning of in your reading? Have you ever made up a word? What words do you think should be added to the dictionary?
In relation to books and media: Are there any characters in books who are obsessed with words or dictionaries? Any cool catchphrases that you’ve picked up from books or movies?

As much as I want to sit here and spout how, as a writer, I know every word there is to know and that really I’m just a brain box filled to bursting with words, I simply cannot do it because it just isn’t true. In fact, despite being an avid reader, despite being an aspiring author, and despite having gone to University and recieved a degree, I still feel like I actually know very few words. It sometimes feels like I get confused by even simple terms that are ordinary and used often. But, in all honesty, my issue with words is that I simply struggle to remember the new ones. I am not always looking words up and then remembering their definitions, I simply see a word, connect it to something and then by the time I come across it again, I have forgotten its definition once more. Finding new words is easy, but remembering their meaning is something else altogether.

It may seem odd that I struggle to remember what words mean, especially as English is my first language and I’ve been studying it for many years, but, just as I still need to sing the “ABC” to myself when sorting things out alphabetically, I have come to the conclusion that as much as I wish I was, I am not literary inclined. In all honesty, I can remember combinations of numbers easier than I remember words and word definitions. (I have the same problem with song artists and titles too, but can easily remember the track number…) I have reason to believe that this is just the way my brain works and processes and probably has a lot to do with the face that I just get maths which I understand a lot of others really struggle with.

With that being said, I can remember the last time I had to remember some new words and that was while I was reading The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont. It was a brilliant book but it also had some very intelligent writing style within it about sailing which I had no clue about and while I should have reached for a dicctionary to understand what I was reading better, I knew that sailing wasn’t something I have much interest in so instead decided to leave it. Thus, the words in that book which were associated with sailing will be long forgotten by the time I see them again, but at least I remember that there were words I didn’t know in the book, right?

Just as I rarely learn (and remember) new words, I rarely make up my own words. I sometimes wish I did or could but I often worry people will have no idea what I’m on about and I have a hard enough time explaining words that I do know the meaning of let alone ones I made up. However, there is one word that I will always remember saying and that word is; attrovely. It was a complete mix-up on my part. My brain and my mouth – as is a regular occurance – got confused and I went to say attractive before deciding to say lovely as well, and thus “attrovely” was born. It’s now an iside joke between me and my step brother, a word used to describe things that are not just attractive, but also quite lovely.

While I am sure that there are lots of books out there where the characters are obsessed with words, there is only one book springing to mind at the moment and that is Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares – but that is probably because I am currently in the middle of reading it.

dash and lilys

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  • Alexa Y.

    This really is something interesting for me to think about, mostly because I like words. I like them a lot. I don’t retain very many of them, but I do look up words whenever I don’t know what they mean! Sometimes though, I just run with the context clues and guess at their definitions.

    • Faye (Daydreaming_Star)

      Yes! Guessing at their definitions is more-or-less what I do. Especially as I very rarely have a dictionary to hand. I just wish I could retain the descriptions of words more easily but it’s always been something I struggle with :-(

  • Ashna Banga

    You’re so like me, when it comes to words! I don’t remember many new words either and hardly ever use them while writing. Though, when I come across some “good-sounding” words (heh, I just made something up :P ) I note them down with their meanings in my notebook (where everything book-related is jotted down :D ). As I open that book often, I see those words and gradually, I think of them often now while writing. That’s one technique that’s helped in increasing my vocab, if only by a few words :P

    As for books, I really liked Hazel and Augustus’s (The Fault in Our Stars) talks, the words they used and things they talked about. Very interesting post! Liked it! :D

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