Use it or lose it!

I realised this morning that language is something that you need to use or lose. Most of you are probably thinking…

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… but it was quite the light bulb moment for me. I was in the car with my fiance and we were talking about how his use of the English language is primarily for stating the obvious in simple terms, and it bugs me! After some very entertaining discussion where I crowned him Captain Obvious, we agreed that we would both use more descriptive and complex words in our every day conversation. Shortly after this conversation he used the word “tardy” and although not a complicated word it was definitely one that I hadn’t heard him use, ever. I laughed for a long while at that because it made me so happy that he was actively trying to use “bigger” words.

After our giggles subsided he came to the conclusion that he’s always trying to “dumb things down” so that everyone can understand what he means and that because of that he always goes for the simple explanations. I was shocked, I said “what about me? You can use big words with me!” We realised that by using the big words around each other that we could extend and maintain our own vocabularies. When he raised the question of “what if I or you use a word that we don’t understand?” I replied with “then we’ll find out what it means so that we know.” He laughed and jokingly said that it can be part of what helps to build and grow our relationship.

The point of me sharing all this with you is because I want others to think about making the commitment to use the big words so that our language doesn’t deteriorate further. I am concerned by the fact that we feel the need to simplify our language so that we can be understood. We should be using the big words but then providing simple explanations or alternatives so that in our every day conversations we are using more descriptive and complex words. I feel it’s the only way that our current and future students will have the confidence to use the English language in all its glory.

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