Wondrous Words Wednesday (Sept 25)

wondrous2Wondrous words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted at the BermudaOnion’s Weblog. so head over there to see how you can participate.

I didn’t find any new words this week in my reading, but something I have been reading reminded me of some interesting words or languages invented by authors in some of their books.

Currently I am reading The Red Queen Dies: A Mystery by Frankie Y. Bailey. It has been a very good read so far and as I get near the end I’m no closer to working out who the serial killer is, which is good, because it means it hasn’t been predictable. The book has lots of literary references, some obvious, some perhaps not so. As you may guess from the title, there are a lot of Alice in Wonderland references, but there are also references to The Wizard of Oz and Lolita, among others.

What got me thinking about invented words and languages was when one old lady in the book was beaten up by a gang of young people who called themselves ‘droogies’. I recognised the reference right away, which was later confirmed in the book when it was mentioned that they called themselves this in honour of the thugs in Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange. This got me onto my train of thought of authors who have invented words/languages in their writing.

Anthony Burgess, who invented the Nadsat mode of speech for A Clockwork Orange was in good company. Other famous authors who have done likewise include George Orwell, who invented Newspeak in 1984, and J.R,R. Tolkien, who invented at least five languages for his The Lord of the Rings series and its associated books.

I’ve read A Clockwork Orange a few times now, but I remember the first time I read it having a little trouble getting used to Nadsat. After a while, though, it was easy to get used to and makes the book a great and, at times, disturbing read. In giving his main characters the language of Nadsat, Burgess wanted to create something that was timeless, figuring that the slang of his day wouldn’t stand up to march of time. I think he pretty much succeeded in doing this. I find the combination of Russian and English that he used to be quite fascinating, acknowledging that, like Tolkien, Burgess was a linguist.

Some examples from the book are:

  • droogs – friends
  • gulliver – head
  • platties – clothes
  • devotchka – girl
  • millicent – policeman

As you read the book, the meaning of many of the words start to become clearer. The following is from near the beginning and could cause one to want to stop there and go no further, but it does get easier the more you read:

“Our pockets were full of deng, so there was no real need from the point of view of crasting any more pretty polly to tolchock some old veck in an alley and viddy him swim in his blood while we counted the takings and divided by four, nor to do the ultra-violent on some shivering starry grey-haired ptitsa in a shop and go smecking off with the till’s guts. But, as they say, money isn’t everything.”

i have to admit that words fascinate me and I guess what all of this is leading to is that I’m going to have to read this book again soon!

Wondrous Words Wednesday (Sept 18)

wondrous2Wondrous words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted at the BermudaOnion’s Weblog. so head over there to see how you can participate.

I didn’t find any interesting words in my reading this week, but my wife probably found a few as she was laughing her way through The Giddy Limit Fifth Anniversary Book by Alex Leonard. This is a compilation of very funny comic strips written in the Orkney dialect. I grew up in Orkney and usually recognize most of the words, but just in case I don’t I have a copy of The Orcadian Dictionary close at hand. With this in mind, I thought I’d share a few Orcadian words with you this week.

DSCF1877Here are a few of my favourites:

hoodjiekaboogle (noun) – thingamabob

nitteran (adjective) – grumbling

peedie (adjective) – small

pernickety (adjective) – precise, fussy

snushan (adjective) – snorting, expelling air noisily through the nose

These are just the tip of the iceberg. I enjoy reading through the dictionary every now and again to see what words I may have forgotten or to discover ones I never really knew in the first place. Of the ones I shared, ‘peedie’ is probably the one I used the most and am sometimes still tempted to use. However, not many Canadians have any idea what it means, so I have to check myself.

Wondrous Words Wednesday (Sept 11)

wondrous2Wondrous words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted at the BermudaOnion’s Weblog. so head over there to see how you can participate.

This is my second week of participating in  this meme. I enjoy finding new words when I read and always try to work out their meaning in their context before turning to the dictionary. I’m just starting to read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World for my Classics Club list. I’ve noticed so far that Huxley liked words. I’ve found quite a few interesting ones so far. Last night while I was flipping through it to find a couple of sentences for yesterday’s post I came across the following two words in the same sentence: brachycephalic and hypnopaedic. The context for the words was:

The Warden was a blond and brachycephalic Alpha-Minus, short, red, moon-faced, and broad-shouldered, with a loud booming voice, very well adapted to the utterance of hypnopaedic wisdom. (page 83)

I haven’t reached this part of the book yet, so I’m not sure who this Warden is or what part he plays in the story. But I did check the dictionary for the meaning of these words, so that when I get to this point I might actually know what they mean! Their meanings are as follows:

brachycephalic – (adjective) short-headed or broad-headed with a cephalic index of over 80.

hypnopaedic – (adjective) from the noun hypnopaedia, which is the instruction of a sleeping person especially by means of recorded lessons—called also sleep-learning, sleep-teaching

By the time I get to this point in the book I’ll probably have forgotten what these words mean, so I’ll end up back here to find out. What new words did you discover this week?

Wondrous Words Wednesday (September 4)

wondrous2Wondrous words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted at the BermudaOnion’s Weblog. so head over there to see how you can participate. I’ve been trying to find some different memes to join and came across this one today, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I like discovering new words and try to find the meaning of ones I find while reading. I recently joined The Classics Club in an attempt to read some of the unread classics that have been sitting on my shelf or my e-reader for too long. I came up with a list of 50 of classics to read by the end of 2017 that I haven’t previously read. Currently I am reading Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre from this list and am discovering all kinds of new words and phrases, as it seems that the language used in the classics is much richer and broader than that which is used today.

Tonight, while reading Jane Eyre, I came across a couple of great words used together in the same sentence that really caught my attention. The words were assiduous celerity. The handy thing about reading this on the Kobo app on our iPad is that you can just highlight the word and get the meaning from dictionary included in the app. The meanings of the words are as follows:

assiduous – (adjective) showing great care and perseverance.

celerity – (noun) swiftness of movement.

The words were used as follows:

…she proceeded to arrange the cups, spoons, &c., with assiduous celerity.

This just sounds so much better than ‘she quickly and carefully set the table’. Sometimes classic books take a little longer to read, but when words such as these are discovered it is time well spent. What wondrous words have you discovered lately?