A love of words is a requirement for a writer or editor, and I definitely consider myself to be a word geek. I am thrilled when I come across new words.
I am part of a Toastmasters Club, and one of our meeting roles is that of Grammarian. This person keeps tabs on grammar throughout the meeting, and also introduces a word of the day to expand member vocabulary. This is an oft-hated role in our club, but as you might have surmised, it’s my favourite role. I have post-it notes glued all over my fridge with interesting words I enjoy, to ensure I have a quick reference guide when I am club Grammarian. I regularly refer and add to the list with glee.
Technology has only helped me to become a better wordsmith. Websites such as www.thesaurus.com provide me with a plethora of word choices when I write. I even have a dictionary.com application downloaded onto my new Blackberry, so I can quickly look up definitions to unfamiliar words, wherever I may be.
However, this new application has resulted in a bit too much word obsession over the past months. I am a voracious reader of news websites, magazines and books of all sorts. Since I read so much each day, I find I regularly come across both new words and familiar words whose definitions I have gleaned over the years from simple context of use, rather than looking up their true meanings.
With my new phone app at my fingertips, I find myself needing to confirm the exact definition of too many of the words I come across each day. When I first downloaded the application, I looked up a word I was sure I knew the definition for. It turns out I was wrong. This wouldn’t do! It made me paranoid about my grasp of the English language, and I now find myself looking up the definitions for rather mundane words. My daily reading is now being interrupted by my search for accuracy.
Just you try to enjoy a novel when you must constantly interrupt yourself to ferret out definitions. I am currently reading a Charlotte Bronte novel, which wields many a word not in regular use today. I may be on the verge of driving myself mad. I have therefore begun banishing my phone from my presence when I start to read, lest my love of individual words destroy my truer love of reading. Here’s hoping this proves an effective elixir for my lexicon ailment.