Today I received a small morsel of Linguistic Enlightenment from a retired English teacher.
I was checking out books at the library and began sharing about how I was writing a curriculum for a book series I was reading for homeschool. I am currently in the Vocabulary phase and I disclosed that I was busy writing what seemed to be endless lists of Vocabulary Words.
The librarian behind the counter looked at me for a moment then said this, “I’m going to give you a bit of a hard time about something and I hope you won’t be offended.”
All within the space of a few seconds, I thought in my head, Oh, dear. What could be the matter? I quickly began mentally checking things off the list of stand out “might be” issues:
Maybe my hair was a wreck, after all, I had been caught in a bit of a downpour on the way to the car. And as everyone on Pinterest knows rain, high humidity, and curly hair do not mix well. Carefully and surreptitiously, I reached up and felt my curly locks…nope, no excess frizz.
Maybe there was a bit of food on my shirt somewhere. I did have to quickly wolf down supper in order to get to the library. I definitely could have missed my mouth and never been the wiser. Quickly glancing down, I checked. Nope, I’m good. No crumbs or globs of egg and toast to be found anywhere on my person.
I was quickly running out of ideas and time, because she had finished checking in my books and was now looking at me as I glanced up from dusting off the front of my shirt, just in case I had missed something.
She opened her mouth, “Again, don’t be offended, but you said you were listing Vocabulary Words. I used to tell the kids in my class that the phrase Vocabulary Words didn’t make any sense, because they were just saying, Word Words.”
I looked at her perplexed. I knew that I should be having an epiphany or something from her obviously sage filled statement. But I had nothing, I simply stared at her with what I’m sure was a look of, A-derrrrrr.
After mulling over her words for a full minute, but what seemed like hours in my mind, as she watched me waiting for that elusive “Light Bulb” moment, I finally had to fess up.
“I’m sorry, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
She gazed across the counter at me with a look filled with pity? Mild irritation? Defeated resignation?
Then she spoke again, “It’s okay, a lot of people make the same mistake and never even know it.”
I left the building still in a bit of a daze. The entire drive home, my mind was filled with the phrase, Word Words.
In fact as I sit here working on my Vocabulary Lists, I can’t help calling them Word Words Lists in my head.
So, for all of you Language enthusiasts out there, just remember…saying Vocabulary Words is the same thing as saying Word Words. 😮
Blue Moon Thinker