My A-Z of Reading: W is for Words

December 20, 2016

I suspect everyone has a favourite word, or some favourite words, that they particularly like the sound of, or the meaning, or the shape… what are yours?

For some reason, I have always liked the word CONCATENATION. And ELEEMOSYNARY is probably my favourite of all, because of its bizarre etymology: it’s the adjective from the rather shorter English word ALMS…

As a child, I loved the nonsense words in Jabberwocky, which I can still recite (with glee!) And, as you’d expect, I enjoy Scrabble, when I can find someone who will play. I always find this a little unfair, as although I do have a decent vocabulary, the letters one gets in the game are random, and usually infuriating. I am a little proud of the fact that I once, many years ago, won a game of French Scrabble, against French opponents.

And then there is the internet, which has spawned a host of websites offering information about words. My favourite is still A Word A Day, to which I was introduced a very long time ago, in the very early days of the internet, by one of my students. You get a new word every day, usually on a theme for the week, its definition, pronunciation and etymology along with some examples of its use, and a random quotation that has nothing at all to do with the word, but is always worth reading. All in an e-mail, for nothing.

Finally a mention for another of my favourite sites, language hat, who blogs most days about words, language and reading, and has far more followers than I do. I come across lots of interesting things there.

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