A Walking Thesaurus

The grammar appalled me.... 😀

It was been brought to my attention last week that I have a tendency to use words that bamboozle and flabbergast my students.

I don’t do it on purpose. The words just pour out. They cascade from me before I have vetted my audience. I have to translate about half of what I say to them. I spend twice as much time talking as I should.

I come from a lover of language. My mother, a librarian and avid book gorger, fed me books from a young age. I could read before I went to school, much to their annoyance. At aged 5, they had sent me home with a book with just pictures in it, at which I scoffed and asked for something a little more my own age.

By aged 9, I had read all the children’s books in our local library and was constantly ordering things in. I moved on to vetted teen titles and by aged 12, I spent my evenings reading Shakespeare, Daphne du Maurier, Dickens & Terry Pratchett, as well as the fluffy reads like the  Goosebumps series, which began my horror novel obsession.

I am also lucky to have fallen on my feet with a partner who puts up with my lavish embellishment of the english language. Although I’m sure he reads the dictionary at night, once I’ve gone to bed, because he beats me everytime at Scrabble.

The turning point, my realisation, came last week when one of the young people gave a perfect example of an analogy, to explain group dynamics. I praised him, and he rolled his eyes and shrugged. “What’s an analogy?”

Other staff shrugged, unable to explain it. Which prompted my need for my ‘Posh Word of the Day’ on the whiteboard in the classroom.

I try and use words the students will hear in the future, and ones that may be used in their reports or that services may use in front of them. I also love to chuck random fun ones in there (ones that just sound good!), just so they are constantly broadening their minds. For example, this week has included ‘onomatopoeia’, ‘insipid’ and ‘gesticulation’.

I include  phonetics underneath so they know how to pronounce it, and a short definition.

I know it’s a winner when I was told this afternoon not to be pedantic!

Any suggestions for my ‘Posh Word of the Day’?


6 responses to “A Walking Thesaurus

  1. I don’t have a posh word suggestion, but I do have a book suggestion (if you haven’t read it yet)! It is called “Little Bee” by Chris Cleave.

    You will love it!

  2. Now I know who to ask when I don’t know what something means!

  3. I’m afraid I’m with the boy – don’t know what it means and can’t find it in dictionary. Perhaps you can enlighten? It is nice to learn new words, although I try not to use hard one if simpler one expresses same idea – though the exact meaning of words, or perhaps even their unspec ified but hidden association, gives English its great subtlety. Amusing recollection of a child improving his homework by use of thesaurus, which resulted in a ‘perpendicular couple’, instead of upright, and has passed into family jokes. I tend to have a word of the week which I use to death, (commits it to the memory banks ) and this week’s is ‘conflate’; from Ian McEwan’s Solar, where the ‘hero’? had won the Nobel prize for an ‘Einstein conflation’.

  4. 😀
    An analogy is where you describe the relationships or situation of something, in a different context.
    My student described the group dynamics like an electronics circuit, if one member of the group wasn’t functioning right, then the whole lot couldn’t function. A very concise deduction!
    I have had to go through many a homework with a student and ask what words mean after they’ve been let loose on Word with the help of the thesaurus!

  5. Sorry; I was mis-spelling it. It’s a grey, wet January morning – we don’t seem to have seen the sun for days.

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