Save the words!

Posted by Kelsey Johnson

In this world of acronyms and abbreviations, where variety and depth give way to conciseness and accessibility, I quaeritate you: What will happen to all the words?

The Oxford Dictionary has similar worries, and has created a site called Save the Words in an attempt to stop the foppotees from destroying our language.

As a journalist, I know the importance of clarity and purposeful writing. I understand how short words and sentences can help explain complex information and enhance reader understanding…but the word lover in me still wants to fight to save the more obscure ones.

I know, I know, you didn’t have any idea what I was saying when I referenced “foppotees” or when I “quaeritated” you. Honestly, even spell check is having a fit  at my using them. They do little to aid my reader’s understandings, and if anything they obscure my point more than they enhance it.

But this debate goes beyond the words themselves.

What ever happened to dictionaries? When did looking up words you didn’t recognize become such a hassle, such a chore, such a hurdle to understanding. Often times these “archaic” words have such specific meanings that they could, if understood, help clarify exactly what a writer means in the most concise way possible. But of course, their use incites annoyance and even anger within readers, and will more likely cause them to toss the article aside rather than type the word into Google.

Is there even a place for these “archaic” words in modern, get it and get out journalism? Should we even bother trying to save them? Or is it out with the old in with the new? How long will it be until we start cutting out more and more words in the name of clarity and conciseness?  I dream of a world where readers have a traboccant love for vocabulary, and writers and journalists could use fun, colorful words whenever they wanted, and not fear alienating readers.

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4 responses to “Save the words!

  1. I think we need to SAVE all the words, this may be the English major in me speaking. But I love that we can use all of these words to describe the ways that we think, feel, do, etc.

  2. I think this needs to be read by all. I agree with everything you said about clarity and conciseness, but I do think that some words have a power that can’t be replaced. I personally enjoy stumbling upon new words in articles and books, because then I feel that I have just added to my vocabulary arsenal. But because, like you stated, journalism is so in and out, the need for this words will become arbitrary.

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