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let’s all circumambulate

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In the great scheme of things, the following item is of minor importance. Its playful purpose is to draw attention to ways in which we use and discard words.

For two-thirds of my life I’ve been speaking a foreign language. Although I speak it with an accent (“What are you … Irish, South African, Dutch …?”), I fuss about word usage and tend to be critical of native speakers. I think it comes from being a foreigner, this eagerness to use an adopted language correctly and, in the process, to notice and flag improper usage.

This afternoon, lolling about while recovering from surgery, I listened to a story on NPR about words which are no longer used and consequently deleted from the Oxford English Dictionary. A website out of Kuala Lumpur invites us to preserve perfectly good words by adopting a word and use it in conversation and correspondence. 

If you’re game, click on COMMENT and post a word that seems to have fallen into obscurity, one you think deserves preservation. Feel free to pledge a simple way in which you might come to its rescue.

image: Tibetan pilgrims circumambulating (walking around its circumference) Mt. Kailash they believe to be the home of Shiva.

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5 responses »

  1. what a great website – i want to adopt all the words! thanks p… learning a lot from the little voices crying out pick me, pick me… ;0)

    Reply
  2. ok this may not be a discarded word, but certainly a rarely used one: lorn, as in sad from lack of companionship or separation from others.

    Reply
  3. i did find many words that i liked, this one though “frutescent” caught my eye – “having or approaching the appearance or habit of a shrub” used in the sentence ‘she gave her hair a frutescent makeover to prepare for her role as a tree….’ lol how fun!

    Reply
  4. so, nancy, it’s just you and i. what fun indeed.

    my randomly selected word — how appropriate during this time of convalescence — is odynometer: instrument for measuring pain. as in “madge, kindly turn down the odynometer, it’s making me want to scream and vomit.” 🙂

    Reply
  5. This doesn’t directly fit but I’ve been trying to use the word “Tartle” whenever possible lately. I don’t believe it’s a dead word, just a more obscure word with an overly specific meaning. It comes up a lot a weddings. http://www.wordnik.com/words/tartle

    Reply

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