Friday, October 2, 2009

A Didactic Post and Aspirations of Wordsmithery

What? What word did you just say?

Well, before you mosey away without finding out the meaning of this wonderful word, read on:
(compliments of Merriam Webster)
Pronunciation: \dī-ˈdak-tik, də-\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Greek didaktikos, from didaskein to teach
Date: 1658

1 a : designed or intended to teach b : intended to convey instruction and information as well as pleasure and entertainment
2 : making moral observations

— di·dac·ti·cal \-ti-kəl\ adjective
— di·dac·ti·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
— di·dac·ti·cism \-tə-ˌsi-zəm\ noun

So, how marvelous that the REASON this is a didactic post is that its main purpose is to teach the meaning of the word didactic?

I think a lot about words. I was born with a love of words. I said my first one when I was 5 1/2 months old. (Nature Boy spoke at 6 months with "mama"; Amilia followed suit, saying "dada" at 5.5 months.) I have always had a voracious appetite for words. I have been told that I use uncommon words in everyday speech. I have been told that some are put off by this, as some think it is an attempt to impress or intimidate. I have been told by some "I have no idea what you just said." I have been told that I know these words because of my course of study in college...or because I went to college. While I credit my educational path some because I learned industry specific words and jargon there, this indictment (accusation of only knowing certain words because of college degree) is mostly off the mark.

I have been lovingly called Webster and Worm (bookworm) by my family since I was about six years old, and if anybody ever needed to know a word, the pronunciation of a word, or the spelling of a word, they came to me. I participated in spelling bee every year from 4th through 12th grade. I got close enough to Nationals one year to almost "taste" it. I have often read the dictionary for fun. On my lunch breaks. (Megan, do you remember my word of the day emails?) In fact, I lament the fact that in recent years, I have fallen off my game somewhat. My memory and instinctive spelling ability are not what they once were. But my love of words prevails, and I continue to consult the dictionary often.

Grammatically, I often choose to break rules. Especially in my blog. Like, how I sometimes make use of sentence fragments. And end sentences with prepositions. And other small infractions. Sometimes, I have typos or other unintentional mistakes. I am okay with this.

All of this brings me to the conclusion that I miss Word Wednesday. I have forgone my self-created meme of teaching words for fun on Wednesdays because I found the Change the World Wednesday challenge a worthwhile endeavor. But I have given up my words in exchange for consorting with eco-warriors. And I feel a void.

So, I will either be sharing two posts on Wednesdays, or I will be moving Change the World Wednesday posts to my sister blog, Sharing Our Gifts, or I will just offer a smattering of Word Wednesday inspired posts on days other than Wednesday.

What do you think?


Deb G said...

I've been accused of the same things. :) Used to read the dictionary when I was in high school just for fun, searching for words I didn't know. The research on words that are being lost because they aren't used is sad. Of course, we seem to be creating new ones all the time....

Allison of Dominant Hands said...

I love my dictionary, scrabble, New York Times Crosswords and Boggle! Enjoyed this post.

Nancy said...

I actually like the words...As a person ages and especially when they leave the work force, reading is the only source of "new" or "unheard of before now" words. So, I have enjoyed your Wednesday words but I have missed them, too. So back to the words, or do two posts, would be my suggestion.

Queen Oblivia said...

I've faced the same conundrum regarding my love of words and trivia. Despite the fact that my vocabulary is not the result of an actual education, people do seem to think that I'm trying to seem superior when I speak the way it naturally occurs to me to speak. I've always thought that a love of information was an especially generous hobby: a baseball card collecter keeps his cards to himself but an information collector shares their collection willingly. How can that be misconstrued as trying to be better than someone? My dad has frequently had to offer me this advice: never feel guilty about excelling at something.

Sinclair said...

@Queen Oblivia: Interesting. I never thought of it as a generous hobby. I like the idea that sharing what one learns can be an act of generosity. I am always thankful for the generosity of others willing to share information and knowledge. This willingness of others has helped me learn new knitting techniques, fabric dyeing techniques, and other useful things.