Fear in Writing: Humans

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Humans

Guidish. (adj) of or pertaining to the Guido culture

At midnight on Christmas Day we finally got to the point of making up words. So delirious and stuffed with yummies were we, that I coined this term. (Don't ask why we were talking about Guidos and 'Jersey Shore.' Let's just say it was a long and varied conversation.) Everyone readily agreed this was a great term and one to become part of Websters's Slang and Other Stupid Words.

It made me think about Language. How easy and difficult is it to create a new word? Why are words slipped so seamlessly into our Cultures, either temporarily ('hater'--please let this be short-lived) or longlasting (blog, webcam, etc.)?

The answer is simple. We are a social species. We are constantly looking for ways to describe to others what we see and feel. We must interact and therefore communicate. And books are one of our favorite methods of passing on our ideas and beliefs. Not only can we tell great stories—some based in fact and with some import—but we can also express our innermost fantasies.

Think of the worlds created by Tolkein and Carroll. Think of the twisted reality that was the mind of Hunter S. Thompson. Or even the society mele that was Truman Capote's existence. All of these lives translated into great—or at least interesting—works of literature.

So, whether you are creating words a la Jabberwocky or settings a la CassaStar, you are participating in a very human concept—eternal life through social interaction.

Go forth and live forever!

7 comments:

  1. Oh Michele, Alex is gonna love this!

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  2. Michele - Mary's right; Alex is going to love this!

    Vygotsky theorized that all knowledge is socially constructed. That includes language. We create language through our contact with others, and we learn through our interactions with others. Your post just reminded me of how much support there is to his theory.

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  3. This is great! Ron and I just read Bill Bryson's book on Shakespeare. He invented tonnes of words! People didn't used to be so precious about accepting words but that is because they didn't have dictionairies - there was no definitive say so on spelling or meaning - it was way more organic than it is now.

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  4. Love it! One of the books my students love is Frindle which is about this very concept! :)

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  5. Humans/people are the most important thing in the world, so it only makes sense.
    And I confess I made up a few new words...
    Hope you had fun in the snow this weekend!

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  6. CassaStar FTW! Loved his characters and settings. You are so funny to sit around making up neologisms. Must have been a fun group.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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