My daughter has been writing since she could pick up a pencil, more or less. Right now she's going through a stage that I remember going through myself (though I was older): collecting words, the bigger the word, the better. I first noticed this as she was writing thank you notes for her Christmas presents. She ended up thanking my parents "supercalifragilisticexpialidociously much" for a new dress. Because "very" just wasn't cutting it anymore.
The other day she asked me to read a story she was writing. I noticed that the story featured a girl standing on the "periphery" of the seashore, "pondering about" something. She told me that Alexa had given her "periphery" when she asked for a synonym. A later draft had a couple of word sketched in very lightly, because she planned to later fill those in with stronger synonyms. Once she discovered them, anyway.
I was reminded of a story that I wrote in junior high, full of words like "frangible". The teacher had me read it aloud to the class. Recalling how pretentious it was makes me cringe. But I was a true lover of words. Does anyone remember the "It pays to increase your word power" feature from Reader's Digest? I certainly do!
I suppose it makes sense that my daughter is using the much more state of the art tool of Alexa to learn new words. Do you think she'll one day be talking about how old-fashioned it was to need a standalone AI for that? Of course, for both of us the vocabulary words that we learn and use come mostly from reading.
Not completely, though. The other day my daughter correctly used the word "cronies" in conversation. When I asked her about it, turned out she had picked that one up from a song in the school play (she had a small role in Aladdin).
Words are everywhere. You just have to look. And listen.
© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage.