Choose your words


Well …  I’m all in favour of a discriminative vocabulary (“adj. that marks a difference; characteristic; observing distinctions”:  Chambers 9th ed).

landmarkedThe format here is a little unconventional.  Short sections, each describing a particular book and its impact on the author, alternate with glossaries, focusing on specific aspects of the natural environment (weather, sea, or woodlands for example).  Alphabetical order is fragmented into multiple sequences and parts of speech are ignored altogether, sometimes making it tricky to locate a word, and occasionally quite difficult to work out how to use it (and no pronunciation guide either).   The words are often in Gaelic, occasionally Welsh, mostly in regional dialects of English, ranging from slang to technical vocabulary to nonce-words.  The principles of selection are opaque.

Some of the words are excellent, and I’ve appropriated a few for personal use:

  • roke – “fog that rises in the evenings off marshes and water meadows”
  • bungel – “clod of turf used as a missile”
  • gallitrop – “fairy ring”
  • foggit – “covered in moss”
  • thalweg – “deepest part of the bed or channel of a river or lake”
  • spronky – “of a plant or tree: having many roots”
  • purdlegog – “top of a stile”
  • one of my favourites, and a word I’ve been needing for years:  lyring – “shallow depression in tidal sandflats in which sea remains at low water”

and one I can use this very minute:

  • dobbles

(as I was clearing the vegetable patch this afternoon and picked up a good set of them.)


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