One of the questions, though, got me thinking.
What is your least favorite word?
|The first page of Beowulf; courtesy of Wiki Commons|
- moist (I think this was the most common)
- some assorted swear words
And, I had a short conversation with Leigh over email discussing the "loogie-like" quality of one of my FAVORITE words: slew. I still defend my word, whether it will involve a big wad of spittle or not!
Okay, besides the negative connotations with many of these words, most of them have something else in common. With the exception of moist (which I will NOT defend), vain and lush, these words all have Germanic/Old English roots (okay, well, technically glower might have been borrowed really early from Old Scandinavian, but it's not French, okay?)
Why do we oppose our strong Anglo-Saxon linguistic roots? Favorite words included those pulled from Greek, Latin, French, Spanish (one of mine was Yiddish, but I suppose we shouldn't look at mine, eh?).
My writing teacher last semester repeatedly said, "If there's something you can say with an Anglo-Saxon word, use it." And I agree. Otherwise it can sound pretentious (which is from French) or, perhaps, highfalutin.
An example, perchance:
The monarch's confidant departed for foreign countries, carrying beautiful presents of silver and gold.Compare:
The king's friend left for far-away lands, bearing shimmering gifts of silver and gold.Now, how do these different sentences make you feel? Does the second inspire more emotion? Can you imagine the situation better/differently? With a couple exceptions, the words in the first example have foreign roots, and the words in the second have Anglo-Saxon roots.
|Nutmeg seeds; courtesy of Wiki Commons|
We shouldn't do that with our language, either.
Enjoy the meat, and flavor lightly.
And if it means talking about a slew of loogies instead of copious saliva then so be it :)
Do you agree? What's your favorite Anglo-Saxon word? Not sure if your word's Anglo-Saxon? Check here.