A dictionary filled with words that don’t exist but maybe should. A favourite: Sonder. Meaning the realisation that everyone is living their story from their perspective. With their own world views and truths. In which we are just extra’s. So grant. And so confusing! No wonder we have need to simplify and find order.
As with this title, Ash Ambridge’s writing cuts through the noise. Not because it’s filled with swear words. Not because of all the puns or witty jokes. But because, its metaphors are spot on. It’s filled with experiences instead of knowledge. And her sentences are active instead of passive. See what you can learn from her style!
Some words are impossible to translate. And every language has a few of these. “Gezellig" anyone? Ella Frances Sanders collected many of these and illustrated them beautifully. Tsundoku. A Japanese word that describes leaving a book unopened after buying it. Trepverter. A Yiddish word for a witty comeback you only think of only when it is too late to use it. Totally! I want that word! Or Fika of course.
Every culture develops its own language. But how does the language we speak develop the culture? It turns out it does. You might save more if your language doesn’t differentiate between the future and the present. Or you might be good at orienting yourself if your language uses north or east to indicate where something is from you instead of left or right. Or you might be very fast to know your own gender (that was weird) if you grow up with many linguistic gender markers around.
You might be very surprised that Trump has become so popular. His ideas seem ridiculous. His views offensive. And that hair!! Remind you of anyone? One of the reason is his use of language. He’s quite the NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) expert. And wins over crowds by framing an argument in such a way that it plays on their emotions. The New York Times went over 95,000 words of transcripts of his public speeches and found some patterns. Interesting read.
Also, check out this video analysis of how Trump talks by Nerdwriter, another favorite of mine.
Writer tip to bring your language back to life: Avoid all Zombie Nouns. The what now? Zombie nouns. Nouns (zelfstandig naamwoorden) created by adding a suffix like -ity, -tion or -ism to a verb, additive or even to another noun. Congrats you’ve just created a new word that sounds super smart! But that word is as good as dead and will send the reader to sleep. Prevent these toxic monsters! And if you prefer video, here it is.