First Friday Wordfest gets down and back up again

I have been neglecting the wordfeasting of late, I have realised.  So I thought I’d come back with a bang, so to speak.  (Pun will become clear later.  I hope. Otherwise you’ll just stay confused!)

It all started when I was reading some pages from a draft of a friend’s novel.  It was a very dramatic scene, in which the protagonist was holding his lover in his arms, unconscious and bleeding and looking near to death.  (In case you’re wondering, it was his lover who was unconscious and bleeding.  It’s very hard to hold anything when you’re unconscious. And I, at any rate, tend to lose my grip on things while bleeding.  It’s the sewer’s and cook’s instinct not to bleed on the product. But I digress…)

Dog, Supine

Anyway, it was very moving, until I came to the bit where the writer had inadvertently said (it was a draft, remember) that the unconscious and bleeding one was lying prone in his arms.

Now, many people might not have thought anything of it, as prone is often used to mean ‘lying down’.  But it actually means lying on one’s stomach.  So suddenly, this terribly moving scene was invaded, in my head by a mental image of the hero holding his love face down as she bled out.

The tender-hearted of you will be glad to know that I pointed this out to the writer.  I couldn’t in all conscience let her proceed, only to have every doctor (say) who ever read her book, burst out in inappropriate giggles in the middle of her death scene.  (I say doctor because I have found they tend to be both familiar with words with Latin roots and particular about distinguishing between fronts and backs of people.)

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First Friday Wordfest: All the lovely sounds

For my second Friday Wordfest, I’ve decided to concentrate on just one word – but one which leads to many more.

The word is onomatopoeia.

Onomatopoeic words are words that sound like what they describe.

Words that describe sounds are the obvious ones.  Everybody knows animal sound descriptors, like meow, woof, moo, hiss and baa – they’re among the first words children learn.  A few minutes thought will remind you of dozens more. Birds alone have tweet, hoot, coo, warble… the list goes on.  Then there are the animals that are named for their sound, like the cuckoo.

But there’s a lot more to onomatopoeia than replicating barnyard sounds, especially for writers.  Onomatopoeic words introduce to written works the subtle, glorious power of sound.

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First Friday WordFest

A little while ago, I read a blog post (and when I track it down, I will come back and update with link to it, promise!) saying that we need to use the words we love, or we will lose them: they will become lost to everyday understanding.

I thought this was an excellent point and in honour of the great words, I thought I would dedicate the first Friday of every month to my favourite words.

To get the ball rolling, I offer today:

According to my Collins English Dictionary (yes, an actual book, with pages and ink and all) this is an adjective and means
1. lacking vitality and purpose or
2. lazy or idle, especially in a dreamy way

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