Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Word Power

When I say word power, I do not mean that the person with the most books or the most knowledge of words can use that power to take over the world (I know, this makes me cry too). What I mean, is that words have power. The pronunciation and the spelling of words holds a magic that cannot be described (ironically enough) in words.

My favorite word is aluminum, but only when pronounced as the British do, Al-oo-min-ee-um. Consider dialects in books and in your own writing. The appropriate pronuncation, when written out holds the magic to show a reader where that character is from without having to say he's Russian, or she's German. And, different pronunciations hold different power for words. When someone says: "sugar" it holds a different meaning than when someone says: "shug".

Spelling is important too. Trooth, (unlike Krab, being fake crab), is more troothy than "truth". When Jack Nicholson said "You can't handle the trooth!" in A Few Good Men, it held more power. If he had said "You can't handle the truth!" he surely wouldn't have received a nomintation for an Oscar for that role. If caught in a lie, you can always ask "Do you want the truth, or the trooth?" Usually people won't know the difference between the two, and will request the "truth", and since it's less troothy than trooth, you can tell them a weaker version of the trooth (just f.y.i.).

Another example of the power of words: In the olden days, okay, not the 80s, but the olden olden days (pre-1980's) Kings who suspected the poisoning of their drinks would say: "I'm rubber and you're glue, attempts made on my life bounce off me and stick to you." Upon speaking these words, poison would jump out of their cup and into the mouths of the one who poured it in the cup. Literally. I've seen it happen. And when I say poison I do not mean the band Poison because this is pre-1980's, I mean actual toxins that can kill you, kind of like what Bret Michaels is spreading around on his love shows...or so I hear...

Moving on. Word choice is very important. Do you every wonder why an author chose one descriptive word over another? Do you, as a writer, find yourself disgusted with your own word choices, wishing that you could find stronger words for your stories? Words should not be taken lightly, they hold a magic like no other (especially when describing magic) so choose your words wisely, especially when speaking or writing the trooth.

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Book Reading Bonanza update:

I recently finished Welcome to Hard Times by E.L. Doctorow. This is his first published novel. I enjoyed the description and the moral discussion that is created by the characters and their thoughts and actions. In this novel, a man named Blue watches the destruction of his town during the wild days of the American West. Unable to accept failure, and full of renewed hope, Blue - with good intentions - manipulates those around him to rebuild the town; bringing in new settlers and old wood. But some things never change, and some mistakes have to be made twice.

4 comments:

I^3 said...

Ah, I see, so in stead of "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!" he was explaining why they chose truth, as follows: "You want the truth, [for] you can't handle the trooth [it is far too troothy].

Amanda said...

I never knew it was so easy to avoid poison! Now if only Ninja attacks were so easy...I agree with your statements about proununciation. In Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" for example, because the character Jim speaks primarily in an un-intelligible dialect, we are left to assume that he is the most intelligent and powerful character in the novel because if the reader can't understand him, then surely the other characters couldn't either right? Or maybe I missed the point entirely. God I hate Mark Twain...

Jennifer Innes said...

But I love Mark Twain so much! Now I know who my true nemesi is! >:o

Amanda said...

Is it Mark Twain because he is pitting sister against sister? Or was that Lincoln and the North...I can never remember.