Friday Dialogue from Your Two Favorite Educators
As Emily and Aubrey look back over the week they use their razor sharp wit to assess their innermost feelings about vocabulary.
1. What is your favorite word in the English language?
Aubrey: Snow Day. Hmm…Summer, Hemingway, hipster, coffee, Sunday, Cubs, hammock, IPA, popcorn, myriad, accrue and garnish. No. All of those are wrong. It should be Interwebs.
Emily: My personal favorite is “insidious.” I love the way it rolls off the tongue. Insidious. Insiiiiidddddious. I also think it is one of the few words that truly sounds like what it means.
2.) Something I secretly like about teaching high schoolers is that I feel like I’m in the loop on the trends I wouldn’t otherwise know as a lame 30-year-old, like Mumford & Sons and feathered earrings. What words are creeping their way into our teenagers’ vernacular that you like the most?
Aubrey: I really liked when they started using “dagger” to describe when someone was “owned” by someone else. Since I frequently own people I used to go around shouting dagger a lot. It’s odd. Nobody seems to use that word any more.
Emily: Is it inappropriate to say “ham”? It makes me laugh every time I hear it in the hallway. It isn’t something a true lady says…unless she is watching an intense Ohio State football game.
Aubrey: What does that mean? That is not a word we use here.
: I can’t tell you because it is inappropriate for a blog of our moral stature. However, check out Urban Dictionary
for a thorough definition. You’ll also hear it a lot on Sportscenter and in rap songs.
3.) The number of words that exist in our century is vastly larger than what existed when Shakespeare wrote. Shakespeare is credited with using roughly 15,000 in his plays, which pales in comparison to the prolific authors of today who average 7,000. If we have more words available to us, why is it that we use fewer?
Aubrey: We say things more concisely? We are smarter? We ask more rhetorical questions?
: Nice one. Good comeback. I think we are just lazier. I always play the game with my kids when conferencing about their writing. I drop my finger on a random word and asked when they
learned it. They usually respond with, “uh…I, like, um…I like don’t really know. But, like, I guess I’d say, like, first grade.” My point is usually proven. I think the other big difference is just that actual communication/discussion is usually limited. I love reading old books to see how the way they talked to each other on a daily basis was so much more eloquent than ours. I know some people like to blame it on technology and tweeting (which I understand to a degree), but I also just think that people don’t talk with a respect of the language and that filters into our writing.
4.) In a more enjoyable game, how many words do you think our students average?
Aubrey : Twenty-five. The majority of these include: can, I, go, to, the, bathroom.
Emily: I’m impressed “can” made it in there. Mine usually only use the contraction “I’m.”