Orion Magazine | Landspeak

A new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published. A sharp-eyed reader noticed that there had been a culling of words concerning nature. Under pressure, Oxford University Press revealed a list of the entries it no longer felt to be relevant to a modern-day childhood. The deletions included acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip, cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture, and willow. The words introduced to the new edition included attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player, and voice-mail.

Orion Magazine | Landspeak

Cormac McCarthy’s Vocabulary Is Better Than Yours: Blood Meridian {spoilers!}

sprent
anchorite
tailorwise
carbolic
chancel
halms
scantlin(g)
vernier
hasping
jacal
purlieus
bistre
sotol
kerfs
scoria
ratchel
porphyry
mare imbrium
apishamore
marl
ignis fatuus
cibolero
enfilade
acequias
spanceled
azoteas
debouched
topers
chert
eskers
escopeta
shakos
caparisoned
serried
devonian
charivari
catafalque
ciborium
guttapercha
shacto
vedette
suzerain
almagre
roweled
withy
criada
sutlers
billets
spalls
whinstones
scrog
chorines
alameda
vigas
guisado
sclera
baldric
lemniscate
tiswin
demiculverin
revetment
holothurians
morral
alcalde
skelps
baize
cabildo
lazarous
scow
thaumaturge
atavistic
scapular
fard
sprues
alparejas
mansuete
replevined
pampooties
skifts
burins
dosshouse
pitero
matracas
nickered
bagnios
scapegrace
peignoirs

A Wealth of Words by E. D. Hirsch, Jr., City Journal WInter 2013

There’s a positive correlation between a student’s vocabulary size in grade 12, the likelihood that she will graduate from college, and her future level of income. The reason is clear: vocabulary size is a convenient proxy for a whole range of educational attainments and abilities—not just skill in reading, writing, listening, and speaking but also general knowledge of science, history, and the arts. If we want to reduce economic inequality in America, a good place to start is the language-arts classroom.

A Wealth of Words by E. D. Hirsch, Jr., City Journal WInter 2013

Laconic (adj.) – Online Etymology Dictionary

I never knew the word was connected with the Spartans. Awesome:

“concise, abrupt,” 1580s, probably via L. Laconicus, from Gk. Lakonikos, from Lakon “person from Lakonia,” the district around Sparta in southern Greece in ancient times, whose inhabitants were famously proud of their brevity of speech. When Philip of Macedon threatened them with, “If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta to the ground,” the Spartans’ reply was, “If.”

One source of this story is Plutarch’s On Talkativeness.

Laconic (adj.) – Online Etymology Dictionary

Phonestheme – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The word refers to the “systematic pairing of form and meaning in a language” where “a word with a phonestheme in it has other material in it that is not itself a morpheme.”

For example, the English phonestheme “gl-” occurs in a large number of words relating to light or vision, like “glitter”, “glisten”, “glow”, “gleam”, “glare”, “glint”, and so on

I love this stuff. Here’s a list of English phonesthemes.

  • /st/ is stable, stalwart, staunch, steadfast, steady, stolid, stout, and sturdy
  • /sk/ scuffles, skips, scuttles, scoots, scampers, scurries, and skedaddles
  • /dr/ drips, dribbles, drools, dredges, drizzles, drops, droops, and drags with the dross, dregs and the dreck

Phonestheme – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia