I have a program on my computer that critiques my writing. All too frequently, it gives me a red mark for sentences that are too long or for a vocabulary it says might challenge the average reader. The computer assumes I want to appeal to the average reader. And, I do. The difference is, I don’t hold the average reader in the same low regard as my technical program.
What’s more, I delight in words. The English language is lush and rich, so that I never fear of running out of learning experiences. This week I came across words I’d seldom heard:
Feuileton – a newspaper or magazine devoted to light literature.
Samadat – a clandestine publication
Oleaginous – oily, unctuous flattery
To be honest, I learned the last word, oleaginous, some time ago, but didn’t know how to pronounce it. Then I discovered a device on my computer that allows me to hear the word as well as read the definition. Discoveries like that make me forgive my computer for its many failures.
In June of 2015 I shared a word coined by writer Rebecca Solnit. (Click) She invented mansplaining to describe men who feel they must over clarify things to women. (Click) Her word so resonated with her sisters, it became vernacular. Happily, The Oxford English Dictionary has caught up with “womenspeak.” The editors have added mansplaining to their dictionary — which makes me love our language even more.