My newest endeavor is to increase my vocabulary (and yours too). As a logophile, I hope to learn and master a minimum of one word per day. Sometimes the process of learning a new word leads to the learning of an additional word or two. While it is extremely difficult to get an actual count of the words in the English language, to the best of Oxford’s knowledge, there are 171,476 words in current use and another 47,156 obsolete words. If you add to these around 9500 derivative words, the number climbs to whopping 228,132. Take into consideration that we who speak English also use French words for cooking, German words for academic writing, Japanese words for martial arts and origami, and Latin words for medicine, science, and law. That’s a whole lot of words!
So let’s just round the number off at around a quarter million, even though it is estimated that there are between one and two MILLION words. Many of those words belong to chemicals, science, and botany – such as the 600,000 species of fungus. The average Joe Shmow will never need to know those. So, for the sake of my purpose here, we are going to just talk about the quarter million that will serve our purpose best, and add to our vocabulary the words we might actually use in conversation. Obviously learning one new word per day will increase our word base by 365 words; if we learn two new words a day (do the math), we will increase our vocabulary by 730 words in one year. In twenty years, we will have a grip on over 7000 new words. Taking into consideration that the average American already knows about 35,000 words, we can safely say that we will never in our lifetime truly know the meaning of every single word in our own language, especially in light of the fact that a new word is added approximately every 98 minutes. We better get busy! I will provide the definition, part of speech, and a sentence using the word.
Taking into consideration the words that teenagers make up, the words that are in the Urban dictionary, and the words that come to us through internet usage, we have a great deal of ground to cover. Maybe I will get ambitious at some point and go for five words a day! For now, we will start with one. Start with a manageable number, I say. We can always add more as we go. One of my favorite new words is bloggerati. Can you guess what that means? OK, I will help you one this one. The definition is people who write successful and popular blogs. A little self-fulfilling prophecy is hoped for here!
*For this purposes of this endeavor, I will be using Macmillan Dictionary and dictionary.com unless otherwise noted.
**Please feel totally free to suggest words for this post.
***My friend, a math teacher, told me my idea for a logophile blog, my (b)logophile, would be boring and that nobody will read it. I am going to try really hard to prove him wrong. In order to do that, I will need your help. Leave me some comments, suggest some words to use, or just give me a thumbs up. And then I will smear this in his face!