While watching "Phineas and Ferb" the other evening ("Aren't you a little too old to be watching children's cartoons?" "Yes, yes I am.") I decided on a word-hoarder challenge. Well Luke and I decided together. The fictional brothers of summer high jinks and wild imaginations (really, you ought to watch at least one episode) compiled a list of atypical words for kids to use in their everyday conversations, and then they began using them. Brilliant! It was then, actually, during a walk that we hit on the idea to make our own list. Of course, the list would be fashioned for our use, but where to find the words? Random searches in the dictionary? Words we had often heard but rarely used? We chose to start with the words of the fictional "grand master of detection," Nero Wolfe (and if you haven't read any Nero Wolfe mysteries, you should also give one of them a try).
Wolfe is a stickler for proper usage of the English language. In one story he even destroys a dictionary, page by page in the fire because it was a new edition that, in his mind, blackened the beauty of the language with vile acceptance of some definitions. But proper use doesn't mean there won't be a "pfui," "confound it," or "blatherskate" escaping from his lips when he is agitated. Why burp when you can eruct? Why call someone stupid when they are really fatuous? See the fun? His right-hand man, Archie, often has to look up words in the dictionary just so he can understand Wolfe. Luke and I have to look the words up too. And why look up a new word if we never plan to use it?
If we could only use a dictionary to look up Geddy's words! He's got a few recognizable ones now, however. Adding to dada, mama (which merges with more, or more correctly mo), he now articulates hot (or ot), truck (or uck), and tickle (or gltigltigl). I think he calls outside sigh. Maybe he even says shoe as su. But Luke and I think it would be chucklesome if Geddy's first big word were something like egregious or supercilious. Tantamount? Chicanery? And not because we practiced a big word with him 100 times a day but just because he heard us use it and liked to play with it on his tongue and then start saying it on his own. What sagacity he would radiate.
Currently our list is not complete, and maybe it never will be. I'm adding daily to my note on the kitchen cabinet. I don't want it to be onerous but fun. I fear too often I will be pusillanimous and not try out a new word when I have the chance. For now I shall aim to be temerarious.