Don’t tittle your i’s – just dot them.
A wonderfully wordy friend pointed me in the direction of “50 things you had no idea they had a word for.” (Yes, I know it’s another post based on a link I was sent – but hey, it’s the school summer holidays…)
I knew only five of the fifty (and surely “rasher” is just there to make up the numbers) so have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the other forty-five. It’s probably the closest we get to understanding the joy young children get from learning new words. I love watching my two when they discover a word. They try it out, they roll it round their mouths; it’s like they are tasting it. And then with sheer delight they repeat it, at various pitches, until they’ve captured and fixed it. “Hey, I knew that was a Thing, but now it’s Thing with a name!”
And this lovely list gives names to Things we know but didn’t have a word for. I’ve always loved the smell of the air after rain – and now I know I’m experiencing “petrichor”. What I’ve always called “dad dancing” can actually be referred to by its proper name of “balter” (less offensive to fathers); and I was delighted to learn that “Oh **$@!!!^^%?” is called “grawlix”. I was taught to cross my t’s, but had never appreciated that I had to tittle my i’s. (Ooh, lots of little red squiggly lines as I type. And I’m not even gambrinous…)
Of course (here comes the serious bit), it’s wonderful to learn new words, even at my advanced age, and great fun to try them out on people. But aside from this blog post, you won’t be coming across them in my writing. There’s no point in cluttering up copy with obscure and overcomplicated words, however appealing they are. It’s not a sign of intellectual superiority to use “long words” for the sake of it – unless you know your reader shares your lexicon or you’re engaged in writing technical or professional text, it’s just a sign of failure to communicate.
So it’s unlikely you’ll see any of these gorgeous terms on my website again – no “i” tittling here. In that case, for one last time – I shall have a quick pandiculate then go and do some runcation in the garden.