Apologies for the late posting link to Five Minute Friday at http://katemotaung.com/. I’ve been away for the weekend (more of that in my next post) and didn’t take my tablet with me. I wrote the post on my phone but sadly couldn’t post from it. Hope it was worth the wait.
I love to know the definitions of words – in the past, perhaps because defining a word meant precision and exactitude; it gave it clear boundaries, put it in a nice neat box. When I worked in mental health, one of my clients, with extreme OCD, would question almost every word or phrase I used – there was no room for sloppiness or throwaway remarks with him: it provoked too much anxiety.
But language is more slippery, more tricksy than that. Having studied French and R.E., I learned that often there is no direct translation for words. Or they can have multiple meanings, the context needing careful study to deduce it. Or in poetry it can be an advantage to play with ambiguity of definition.
And I love that.
I love learning the etymology of a word, which brings depth to its meaning. I love a thesaurus, the multiple alternatives bringing a breadth of meaning.
Words are birds, swooping and soaring like swallows, not caged like canaries. We can pin them down like a Victorian butterfly collection and admire their precise detail or we can let them fly, letting our minds and hearts adventure with them to unthought of sources of nectar.