Having fun with language

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Yesterday’s post got some coverage, and it caused a few people to tell me what they really thought. If you write an article in that style, you’ve got to own your shit. It helps you grow. The beauty of the internet is that you’re exposed to hearing some pretty blunt truths, not by childhood friends or close colleagues, but from strangers you will never meet. This is not the first time the internet has taken this tone with me, and I doubt it will be the last.

A few people however, got in touch to compliment me. Someone late in the day called me a wordsmith, which was pretty rad. This was only my second ever post, and if I were being completely honest, my process is quite elementary. I just brainfart raw ideas onto a text document, then fine-tooth comb it with my dictionary widget handy. It’s cohesion that I find tricky. Our brains don’t naturally package trains of thought with a beginning, middle and end. And they don’t include a defined moral to the story; or explosions to engage the audience. That’s all done via post-production. It helps that I find it fun.

“People seem to be able to find sensual and sensuous pleasure in almost anything but words these days.”  - Stephen Fry

My dad raised me on a steady diet of Monty Python, Black Adder and Fawlty Towers. I would say that from an early age I was encouraged to have a freedom with words, to enjoy and play with language. Living with an English teacher has helped me maintain.

Much of what humours me relates to how situations can be represented in various ways. Sometimes you don’t realise how ridiculous a situation is until you reenact it as a sketch. Freedom with ideas and words helps you see the funny side in more situations.

If I could make one point, it would be to use more words. Try new words in the wrong places. Look up antonyms. Check the meaning of words you’re confident on; even ones you learnt when you were 10 years old. Experiment with sentence structure and tone. Help others get over their fear of failure. Teach them to fail and fail often. You’ll get pulled up by a few nazi’s every now and then. But it’s extremely liberating to realise it’s not as bad as you thought, and it affords you the confidence to explore.

Between my dad signing up to Facebook and hell freezing over, I’m sure we can change the attitude towards rebellious and adventurous aspiring wordsmiths. Hell, I’m going to need some slack if I’m bashing out one of these every day for the next month.

  • http://benjaminpaton.com benjaminpaton

    Nice post. I use the in-built dictionary on Mac OSX so much. Type a word into the Spotlight (Command + Space if you want to get tricky) and there is the dictionary and thesaurus ready to go.

    • http://peacock.st wernah

      Thanks mate! Yeah I four-finger swipe into dashboard (not too tricky) and my dictionary widget is ready to rock. I seriously think I use it more than any app on my phone or lappy.

  • Rob Ryan

    Nice HN coverage, much better to get a somewhat negative response than have an article never even make the front page.