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Literary Shop Talk > Excessive Vocabulary?

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message 1: by Sally (last edited Jul 12, 2016 02:27PM) (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments I have received comments back from three beta readers of my current work-in-progress. They are consistent in noting that the vocabulary I use in my current WIP is far broader than any they've read before. These people have educations as broad as mine (but not perhaps in the fields that interest me). I don't have anything more advanced than a BA, but I do have somewhat unusual life experience since, and a continuing interest in historical non-fiction.

They all tell me that they have to dig out a dictionary to look up quite a number of the words I use. They don't say this is necessarily bad, but if a majority of people find this, it's something I should be considering.

OK, I have a couple of options. One is to find out which words are throwing people off and use something simpler. (I don't necessarily know which ones they are - just about everything I use is typical of the way I speak and write, so I don't find them unusual.)

Another option is to take the Beatrix Potter stand. She was told by potential publishers of her Peter Rabbit stories that she should eliminate the big words she used, because children would not understand her stories. She stood her ground, stating (quite correctly, as it turned out) that she would not write down to children because they would understand the unfamiliar words she introduced to them. The context in which they were used would reveal the meaning of the words. So I could take that path and keep these unusual words, but rework my material in order to make sure that the context makes quite clear the meaning of these words in my work.

Anybody have anything to offer about this?


message 2: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (sharonstar) | 3392 comments I wouldn't write down. Too many authors do that today. I'm currently reading "Kine", a children's book by a British author and wondering the whole way through if children in his day were smarter than they are now or whether it's the difference between Britain and America. It's likely some of both, but mostly we are dumbing everything down for people these days.

Imagine how much worse our leaders can get in years to come!

I love reading books that send me to the dictionary. The world needs more authors like you, I'm guessing, even though I haven't read your work.


message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18494 comments Mod
As a teacher, I never underestimate what kids can do because I see them babied (and unchallenged) by too many others. I take the same approach to readers. Stay the course!


message 4: by Longhare (new)

Longhare Content | 15 comments If you are writing for an audience that doesn't like digging out the dictionary, take out the big words. I suspect you are not. If you are using the vocabulary you are comfortable with, you will attract readers that are also word hoarders.

Some readers will complain, but you can't please everyone. Challenging words only become a legit problem when a) the author only thinks he/she knows what they mean and b) when an occasional word seems pointlessly grandiose and out of place, as if the author found it in a thesaurus. TC Boyle frequently plants an outrageously arcane word in his stories, but in his case, it's like an Easter egg for word nerds.

On the other hand, understand that typically the larger the vocabulary, the smaller the readership. You may be in company with William Vollmann, which is very respectable, but James Patterson is always going to be in another universe, sales-wise.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Sally, this is a group of word nuts. There is little doubt most of this mob will endorse using words that are spot on. If they are appropriate to the character.

Have you asked the same question to a group of genre readers?

Would you be willing to post a couple of samples here?

Jon


message 6: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments Jonmontanavega wrote: "Sally, ...Have you asked the same question to a group of genre readers? Would you be willing to post a couple of samples here?..."

That's probably a good idea. I think this story falls under mainstream (or general) literary fiction, so it should be of interest to readers of that ilk, which is pretty general. [Should I be using "ilk"? ;-) ] I think my beta readers fall into this category. It definitely does not fall under historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, Western, urban, romance, or any others I can think of. It possibly can be classified as 'magical realism' (which Wikipedia defines as a story in which magical or unreal elements play a natural part in an otherwise realistic environment), since there is a paranormal entity that figures largely in the life of one of the main characters, and the other main character has a form of ESP.

I'll have to go through the manuscript and try to find a select passage or two that will illustrate this 'excessive vocabulary' question. Considering that I don't need a dictionary to define them, I might have a hard time with this! I might need to contact one or two of those who have brought this up to give me specific examples.

(One person thought that the word 'fluorescent' was not a word that someone would ever use in conversation - but then I pointed out that regular folks use the word all the time - "The fluorescent lighting at work really bothers my eyes" or "Can you pick up some four-foot fluorescent bulbs at the hardware store for the basement?"

So my dilemma (if it is one at all) is really quite flexible - subjective, one might say, perhaps hard to pin down.


message 7: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18494 comments Mod
The subjective part is defining "excessive vocabulary." One reader's "hard word" is another's "mainstream word."

What you need to avoid at all costs is $10 (usually Latin or Greek-rooted) words where a $1 (usually Anglo-Saxon) word would have served just as well. But if Lat.-Gk is le mot juste then that's the word you want.


message 8: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments Ken wrote: "As a teacher, I never underestimate what kids can do because I see them babied (and unchallenged) by too many others. I take the same approach to readers. Stay the course!"

I agree wholeheartedly with this observation. I never ceased to be astonished at the capacity of my K-12 friends. They are intelligent, discerning, and creative.


message 9: by Feliks (last edited Jul 13, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) Treating the complaint at a wider scope (and exempting the 2-3 readers in this initial test group which first reported discomfort) I'm pretty sure it's the "falling brow" of the reading public lately which is at fault here--rather than our energetic, capable authors.

Many interesting-looking, reasonably-challenging words are just not being used as much any more; and thus when they are encountered it's this 'infrequency' which is causing readers to stumble. Said another way: all the 'pandering' authors who dumb-down their works make it tougher for our 'wordier' scribes to find acceptance.

Take a word (for example) such as, 'desultory'. I'd certainly consider this term commonplace and unremarkable for any work of classic English literature [including post-war British or other 20 c. lit in either America or Britain]. Once quite common; its growing slightly more rare with every passing year.

On the other paw, a word which I don't consider common anywhere--for any timeperiod--might be something like, 'parvenu'. If I meet this word in a novel; I might make a mental note of it, sure--but it's not ruining my day because I have to pause for an instant to peer at it.

Anyway: more power to authors. To hell with readers.


message 10: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments I think that in my writing ( and I'm not sure that I have thought about this in a direct or deliberate fashion until now), I want to share or entice my readers with the joy I find in using a rich vocabulary. The written works that have drawn my interest for many years have been primarily 19th Century authors (mostly non-fiction, but their prose is still quite rich) and 1st-half-of-the-20th-Century authors (mostly fiction). The reading I have done as a part-time living historian has spiced my vocabulary with some old-time terminology. Some of it is old-fashioned, but most of it is far broader than the language we use today, and I have come to prefer it.


message 11: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments Some years ago, I read "Beowulf" out loud to myself, just to hear the music of the language, although I understood probably less than half of what I was reading. Yeah, I'm kind of weird, but I'm OK with that. :-)


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

A British author recently wrote a Western. She had a female character, mother of a daughter, describe her daughter: "She's quite a mischief."

Not a usage common in the States,. Whether or not it would be a likely usage in the 1880's in Kansas, it precisely described the character of the young woman as we came to find out.

I wasn't familiar with that usage of mischief. Finding it has a delightful precision, it added an enjoyable fillip to a so-so genre book for me.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Another welcome use of language in fiction IMHO [!] is the terns of art in a trade or profession. I like learning it while otherwise engaged in a fictional tale.

Homer Hickam has a story titled Red Cap or Red Hat. It tells the story of a woman who trains to work underground in a coal mine. We learn that red is the color of the helmets worn by newbies in a West Virginia coal mine for safety reasons.

The story of a woman trying to break into a man's job isn't new. Adding details and words unique to the job helps set the story apart from similar stories.


message 14: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18494 comments Mod
Yeah. Like that word FILLIP, who I think was a king of Spain....


message 15: by Sally (last edited Jul 14, 2016 04:38AM) (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments Ken wrote: "The subjective part is defining "excessive vocabulary." One reader's "hard word" is another's "mainstream word..."

That's exactly right! Thanks! I am leaning in Beatrix Potter's direction, but I can no doubt improve context to reduce the 'suddenness' of words that may be unfamiliar to some of my readers.


message 16: by Doug (last edited Jul 15, 2016 11:42AM) (new)

Doug | 2590 comments Sally,
You go. Oh, what the heck, fluoresce.


message 17: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments Ruffles and fluoresces ... oh, yeah, that belongs on the word association discussion...


message 18: by Doug (new)

Doug | 2590 comments Ken wrote: "Yeah. Like that word FILLIP, who I think was a king of Spain...."

I was "filliped" off in traffic just the other day, or was that "flipped off"? Sometimes it's hard to tell. I think it was an animadversion though.


message 19: by Geoffrey (new)

Geoffrey | 126 comments Jonmontanavega wrote: "A British author recently wrote a Western. She had a female character, mother of a daughter, describe her daughter: "She's quite a mischief."

Not a usage common in the States,. Whether or not it w..."


But there would be no need to delete that word from the sentence, nor substitute it. Anyone with half a cranium would understand immediately.


message 20: by Geoffrey (last edited Jul 15, 2016 01:19PM) (new)

Geoffrey | 126 comments Sally wrote: "I have received comments back from three beta readers of my current work-in-progress. They are consistent in noting that the vocabulary I use in my current WIP is far broader than any they've read ..."

You're not giving enough context to the situation re:the beta readers. Have you already been received a contract from a publisher and the beta readers are looking over the manuscript? Or are they just professional colleagues who have offered to proofread it? That is a more important point in deciding whether or not to take their advice.
One possibility if the paper hasn't been submitted is to include in your cover letter that you were given feedback and are amenable to making changes according to their critiques. You could attach a second document in which you do selectively choose some pages and down write to show the publisher that you are both willing and capable.


message 21: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments Contract from a publisher? Nothing that formal (I'm going the self-publishing route again) - just professional colleagues giving it their once-over. I agree that I evidently need to improve context.


message 22: by Stephen (last edited Jul 17, 2016 08:45AM) (new)

Stephen (havan) | 1023 comments While I'm in general agreement with those that say "Don't dumb things down." I would suggest that you do consider if the word usage is in dialogue if it fits with the character.

Two mistakes that writers have made that have annoyed me...

Unlettered characters using words that they wouldn't know.

Using a "showy" word when a plainspoken word is actually better.

I have "dinged" an author for their word choices in the past but only when it was egregious. See my review of Pastoral for some examples.


message 23: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (sharonstar) | 3392 comments Stephen has good points. Writing should sound natural even if uncommon words are used. I especially agree with him on what characters say in stories. They shouldn't all sound alike or like the author.


message 24: by Ken (last edited Jul 17, 2016 10:19AM) (new)

Ken | 18494 comments Mod
It's a bit disconcerting because so much depends on context and accuracy, YET there is a growing strain of anti-elitism (and the "anti-" forces get to define "elitism," thank you) in this country which might include dismissing authors as pretentious because of their word choice.

So if I don't know x number of words as I read a book, do I get to dismiss both it and its author, to claim no one can enjoy the book because no one can understand it? In truth, we read many books and articles every day, skipping over words we flat-out don't know or know in a general sense but couldn't quite define if called on the carpet. Yet we still comprehend the text perfectly well.

I took a quick flip through my book and came up with the words that follow. Are they "inaccessible"? Too difficult? "Excessive" vocabulary? Who's to say, and isn't it all subjective, reader by reader, anyway?

diaphanous
hubris
glyphs
scrim
muntins
mullions
carapace
kvas
particulate
striated
schist
peristalsis
connubial


message 25: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (sharonstar) | 3392 comments I don't think these are bad at all, but I have a little background in medicine and science. Scrim is becoming common again in writing. The British kids book I just read has words worse than this for rarity in use In this country and maybe in modern UK as well.


message 26: by Longhare (new)

Longhare Content | 15 comments Ken wrote: "...YET there is a growing strain of anti-elitism (and the "anti-" forces get to define "elitism," thank you) in this country w..."

I don't think the phenomenon is confined to the US (if that's what you mean by this country). And it isn't new either. It's as old as the hills.

I think it's natural for words that aren't used to become arcane, and there really isn't much use for arcane words in the life of the average Joe-Jane. Although I can't imagine anyone not having their own specialized vocabulary--slang, jargon, regionalisms, and whatnot--a farrier from Bakersfield knows a whole lot of words that would leave a Cupertino neurosurgeon confounded. I would hope that the contractor blowing out my ill-considered 1970s aluminum single panes would be comfortable throwing around words like muntins and mullions, but without spending some time in the land of glaziers, how could the average person be expected to know what these are?

Okay, wait, I have an answer for that: A body might read something about windows--in a decorator's catalog or a home style magazine or a book in which a horse kicks a farrier through the window of a saloon. Word squirrels tuck curious words in their cheeks and stash them away for later. A lot of people don't devote gray matter to storing words they aren't likely to want or need again--the Marie Kondos of reading.

Stephen is quite right that a character's vocabulary should make sense. That is, word choice in dialog is character development. An unlettered character may in fact have a surprising vocabulary, but only if he or she has had the opportunity and capacity to absorb and assimilate a range of words. (Unlettered not being equivalent to unintelligent, this should not really be surprising so much as indicative of the native intelligence and experience of the character.) Conversely, a neurosurgeon may have a tellingly narrow vocabulary outside the scope of her occupation.


message 27: by Stephen (last edited Jul 17, 2016 04:27PM) (new)

Stephen (havan) | 1023 comments Can't say that I know anything of muntins or mullions... (though thanks to Gilbert & Sullivan's model of a modern major general I do know what a mamelin is)

I am curious how you used the word scrim,Ken.

Having a theater background I knew of its stage usage, but was surprised to learn of its wartime meaning.

And I'd never encountered the word kvas before.

I think of words as tools to convey thoughts (and to help us think more clearly) and I'm the kind of guy that likes to collect odd tools.

I'm not even above coining one two new ones myself. Of course there are limits. Jabberwocky is brillig but A Clockwork Orange or The Buffalo Tree may be a bridge too far for some folks.


message 28: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18494 comments Mod
Longhare -- You're correct. I didn't mean to imply that anti-elitism is new or special to the U.S. I only meant to say that it is in one of its resurgences of late, as personified by a certain populist candidate not named Bernie.

LOVE the line "the Marie Kondos of reading," though I didn't much care for her book (which is odd, me being a "simplify" guy of the old Thoreau order).

Stephen -- Kvas is an alcoholic drink favored by Russian peasants and often seen in Turgenev and Tolstoy novels, for instance.

As for scrim, I used it with poetic license as the "fabric" of dawn in the first stanza of the poem "Another Country":


Under the frozen dome of December
mornings, the scrim of dawn
not even an orange thread
caught in the eastern branches,
I often marvel at the dog's earthly
preoccupations when my nose,
called to greater heights, sniffs
at the cold and dry scent of the heavens.


message 29: by Longhare (new)

Longhare Content | 15 comments Ken wrote: "Longhare -- You're correct. I didn't mean to imply that anti-elitism is new or special to the U.S. I only meant to say that it is in one of its resurgences of late, as personified by a certain populist candidate not named Bernie..."

Indeed.


message 30: by Doug (new)

Doug | 2590 comments My Mother sewed a lot and I heard her use the word scrim (skrim) often. I knew it to mean an edging of a different material. It may have been ruffled or diaphanous or not. This is still common so why would the word go obsolete? Is it because there is a lack of reading and communication except through lexicografically (I made that up) constrained outlets?


message 31: by Stephen (last edited Jul 18, 2016 07:37PM) (new)

Stephen (havan) | 1023 comments In theater a scrim is particularly useful. It's a open weave material and so thin as to be transparent when lit from behind. Yet it can have a backdrop painted on the front that appears quite solid when lit from the front.

The war-time usage I was referring to was the reinforcing strips of paper that covered windows to keep broken glass from flying freely


message 32: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 16153 comments Mod
Yes, I know it from sewing, but mostly from the theater. A thin semitransparent piece of fabric.


message 33: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments Doug wrote: "This is still common so why would the word go obsolete? Is it because there is a lack of reading and communication except through lexicografically (I made that up) constrained outlets?..."

I wouldn't doubt it. Teachers aren't allowed to teach much in the schools these days.


message 34: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18494 comments Mod
Not true of all teachers. I am blessed in that way. Though I have to teach common books in our 8th-grade curriculum, I have a free hand when it comes to selecting and teaching poems, short stories, essays, and plays.

Yes, we have a set vocabulary book, but I throw words on the board that I use in class, too.


message 35: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments Huzzah! I am glad to hear this! In school, I was always blessed with excellent English teachers, and am old enough to have benefited from phonics. I don't remember the specifics of phonics (50+ years ago), but I recognize now that it was this method that enables me to read aloud any body of text upon first sight without stumbling, with appropriate inflection. My realization of this skill has only entered my awareness in recent years, as I engage in group studies with people whose educations weren't as good as mine. I can thank a group of dirt-poor nuns for endowing me with this lifelong skill. They didn't have much, but they knew how to teach.


message 36: by Longhare (new)

Longhare Content | 15 comments Sally wrote: "Huzzah! I am glad to hear this! In school, I was always blessed with excellent English teachers, and am old enough to have benefited from phonics. I don't remember the specifics of phonics (50+ yea..."

Phonics took a back seat to "whole reading" for a while, but it never completely disappeared. You can't teach reading without phonics. Whole reading stepped back years ago when it became clear that a greater concentration on basic phonics was necessary. I think the experiment did some damage (I could go on and on), but it isn't true that public schools are bad.

My children are twenty and twenty-three. They were both taught rigorous phonics and are both excellent spellers with large vocabularies. I had many persnickety objections as they were growing up. For example, in first grade, one of my daughters was given long, long lists of words every week that she had to learn to recognize and pronounce. She did not need to know what the words meant. (She had a separate list of vocabulary words that she did need to know.) In the very early grades, she could read nineteenth century literature overflowing with unfamiliar words with impeccable pronunciation--without understanding a word of it. Looking back, I have mixed feelings. At the time, it really bugged me, but I have to admit she grew up with a high comfort level around challenging literature. My other daughter learned under a different system and has off-the-chart reading comprehension, but candidly her reading tastes are what I consider easy reading. They are both excellent writers (far better than I was at that age) and they excelled at top ranked universities. They didn't go to private school--they went to pretty middling-to-crappy-ranked public schools. What they had that many kids don't have are parents that participated in their education. I don't mean homeschooling--I mean we read to our kids every night for years and we talked to them about music and science and politics. We shared our interests and asked them what they thought. We encouraged them to think critically and to articulate their thoughts. Teachers only have a handful of hours a day to teach some fundamentals and introduce an enormous range of subjects. The bulk of education happens (or not) at home. So kids may learn "synecdoche" in English class and "scrim" from a sewing parent or either from a book. They will sponge up whatever they find in their environment. We all do.


message 37: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18494 comments Mod
Teachers only have a handful of hours a day to teach some fundamentals and introduce an enormous range of subjects. The bulk of education happens (or not) at home.

Amen to the entire post, but especially the line above. My experience is that parents are increasingly ceding the entire task of education (including ethics, in some cases) to teachers because, frankly, they're too "busy" (often with work, computers, and their phones).

That said, many other parents remain active and engaged in their child's "big picture" education as Longhare describes it just north of here.


message 38: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments Excellent observations, Longhare. Thank you! Parent participation is a shrinking activity - I see some (not all, by any means) educational administrations discouraging it, and I see simple economic demands eroding it - parents who must each have jobs in order to make ends meet, more especially difficult for single parents. It makes direct and active involvement in children's education very difficult.

After my elementary school nun experience, I attended public school for junior high and high school - part of my terrible experience with junior high was my own advance into the terrible teens, which I had early. Some of the teachers were very good, others were very bad, which made getting me through junior high difficult, for my parents, teachers, and school administrators to find that balance between what was my problem and what was the school's problem. Once I entered high school, however, the hormones having calmed down, I blossomed under the tutelage of many fine, dedicated teachers, some of whom I am still in touch with. There again, I was blessed.

I do find some educational trends disturbing, but this is not the forum for that discussion.


message 39: by Longhare (new)

Longhare Content | 15 comments Doug wrote: "This is still common so why would the word go obsolete? ..."

I don't think words ever become obsolete (bumped from usage by something more up to date)--unless there are shifts in the language, as in from middle to modern English. Many words are or become arcane (little known) because they are specialized or out of fashion. Scrim is still used by people who sew or do theater, so it isn't obsolete--it is just specialized.

It's lovely to use a word like scrim figuratively, and if there is a loss to common language it is the hoard of formerly household or barnyard words that no longer carry the instantly recognizable meaning in a metaphor. There are many new words capable of doing the job, though the feel and expression also changes with word choice. In that sense, there is an element of obsolescence. A nineteenth century novel has a different feel from, say, a John Irving novel, though they have much else in common.

Luckily, we have dictionaries. Personally, I like to see high-powered words used well. I like to pick up an unfamiliar word that carries a very particular nuance. I like to see the correct term used for a thing instead of a vague description. Word choice in fiction is revealing: "He was hurled into the stern sheets" suggests a nautical POV--the character or the narrator is perhaps a sailor. "He was thrown into the back of the boat where all the baggage and gear was stored" suggests a lubber or an author who either hasn't done his/her homework or is writing for an audience that wants story, not new words.


message 40: by Doug (new)

Doug | 2590 comments Huzzah? Hoo-Hah! I like this thread. This is one of the good things about poetry. You do not have to stay in the present or follow anybody's rules of usage. The picture is painted with the right colors and the poem with the right words. Some words contain an entire philosophy but they are not not the common ones. Once again, the building is not the school; the teachers are. But both are valuable. I would not say those nuns were dirt poor. That degrades the product of their labor. Children being the crop. A farmer that is dirt poor is rich when his crop comes in.


message 41: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 16153 comments Mod
Actually, I was once criticized in a poetry workshop for using the word "scrim." not because it was too hard, but because, in poetry at least, it has become overused.


message 42: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18494 comments Mod
And I was criticized for writing a poem about my dog. Dog poems, too, are apparently overused.

These critics need to read Ecclesiastes. There is nothing new under the sun. And anything old can be written about in a novel way.

Neo-scrimism, call it.


message 43: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments And even that far back, in the days of the writing of Ecclesiastes, there was nothing new under the sun. What's new is how each of us individuals interprets our personal world to our fellow travelers in life.


message 44: by Doug (new)

Doug | 2590 comments I decided to look into scrim (skrim) a little more. I think it means something extra. So what is scrimshaw? Carved whale bone or teeth sailors or farm workers used their extra time to make. So scrim is extra (work or time, etc.) But can also refer to the resultant object of the time. Then I researched shaw and wonder if it was originally sham which is a copy or fake. I came up with that it means spending time making copies (art) or the art object itself. >>>OR<< If it were originally skrimscrawl it would have meant spending time carelessly. Wasting time was a big no no for my Mom so skrimshaw could also be a way to get value from extra time or waste material. This is what I mean that a word can have a whole philosophy in it. If scrim is thrown into disuse you lose the philosophy contained in a single word. If that thinking is discombobulated, (uncomfortably composed) please let me know.


message 45: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 166 comments Doug, please discombobulate with alacrity, and often! I love it! I love word etymology! I had been thinking along the same lines as you, wondering if and how 'scrimshaw' was related, but didn't take the time to get that far. Thanks!


message 46: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (sharonstar) | 3392 comments I've seen scrim used in this way: and they disappeared into the scrim (of people). Not the dictionary definition, but it paints a picture.


message 47: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18494 comments Mod
We're not scrimping on our discussion of scrim, that's for sure. Are there any more overused words we can defend (or condemn)?


message 48: by Mark (new)

Mark Burns (TheFailedPhilosopher) | 49 comments The provision of extra vocabulary, beyond that a teacher can offer is something I have always considered to be a job for parents. However, I do not mean that this should be done in some kind of home-schooling scenario. Merely encourage and foster a love of reading and let them garner extensions to their linguistic capabilities naturally. Specialist language is fine if it is appropriate. Having an extensive vocabulary is a boon. It allows one to be concise, unlike me.

The only time to write down is in a paper. Like don't write things like "...the hermeneutic problem of historical exegesis" as your entire point in a scripture essay. It is not appreciated. (That was one I had to experience to learn).

(Yes I am making an obtuse point about how most of you understood that).


message 49: by Longhare (new)

Longhare Content | 15 comments Your first paragraph was extremely concise. The second two were confusing to me. To be candid, I'm not at all sure what you meant, but it wasn't your vocabulary that threw me. Are you saying that you used scholarly language in a scripture essay and got slammed for it? I remember perusing my sister's theology textbooks when she was studying to be chaplain. The language was pretty daunting to me.

Pardon my own obtuseness, but how did I understand what now?


message 50: by Mark (new)

Mark Burns (TheFailedPhilosopher) | 49 comments I can not remember exactly but it was about how you could just apply your own interpretation and method and get the result you wanted.


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