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Monday, May 23, 2005

Slipping down the Syllablic Slope

According to the experts, the average educated adult has a vocabulary of 50,000 to 70,000 words.

Of course, these so called professionals aren't considering the "kid" factor.

For example, weren't your conversations full of three syllable words, philosophical tangents, and deep thoughts before the pitter patter of little feet?

I can remember the days when I actually used the words 'perhaps', 'obliterate', 'existential', 'malfeasance', etc. Now my daily ramblings consist of single syllable commands, warnings, and ultimatums often in or near a public restroom. Of course, this in and of itself will have some long term damage on my children's psyche and require intensive therapy for their public facility phobias, but that is another blog post for another time.

The fact that our brains house thousands of unused words is pathetic. They sit in the corner, dusty and cobwebbed, waiting for that magical day when they can fall from our lips during a PTA meeting. Of course, that will cause backstabbing and gossiping as we will be known as the 'snooty' one with all of the fancy words. Again, another post for another time but the intricacies and politics of the PTA is second only to the Congressional goings-on in Washington.

The hardest part about falling from vocabulary grace is while trying to write another novel, I am constantly blanking out on simple words or phrases. Dr. Suess had it made, what with the rhymes and inventions of unknown animal names or foods that wouldn't be eaten if real. Maybe that's what I should do - write children's books instead.

Out of the 50,000 word pool I supposedly have at my discretion, I'm fishing out the same ten or twenty for everyday use. I need new bait. Tomorrow, I shall unearth some rarely heard gems for my patients. This too, of course, will incite grumblings beyond the normal "she works me too hard" or "That smart mouth on her gets on my nerve." But if I can work in 'perhaps', it will all be worth it.


  • Great post. I never thought of that before. Kids...can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

    By Blogger I.M. Dedd, at 8:20 AM  

  • I totally know what you are talking about. When put into a social situation with all adults it seems so hard to speak as eloquently as I used to. I feel like I am constantly struggling to say something clever, but it always seems to come out wrong. I am so glad that someone else out there feels the way that I do :)

    By Blogger Summer, at 9:39 AM  

  • Tish, you are RIGHT ON TARGET. But in the fullness of time, they really do grow up (mine did at least) and then you look back and kind of miss the "smart mouth" stuff.


    By Anonymous GMRoper, at 10:26 AM  

  • Prezactly, T. I am a step above just grumbling at people.

    By Blogger trisha, at 1:18 PM  

  • Right on, so well stated. It is true, I volunteer with incarcerated juveniles, most have dropped out of school in the fifth to seventh grade, there is already a language barrier, as most are hispanic and english is their second language, so I find myself communicating with everyone on their level. Summer was right, it's hard sometimes to bring it back up to an adult conversation when you need to.

    By Blogger Live, Love, Laugh, at 4:18 PM  

  • Hey there Tish, great post. For help with the thesaurus an indispensable facility is Fire Fox with the thesaurus.com link in that nifty little box in the upper right-hand corner. Then again, you probably already have that covered.



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:18 PM  

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