Il piacere delle nuove parole

Verlyn Klinkenborg scrive del piacere di imparare nuove parole.

Being lost in all this terminology — struggling, for instance, with the nautical meaning of “scandalize” (a temporary reef [which means gathering-in] of a sail) is a familiar feeling. I realize that I’ve spent most of my life happily sailing into fogbanks of specialized language. Some, like the vocabularies of philosophy and literary theory, never lost their slightly foggy quality, thanks to their inherent abstraction. But others, like the languages of fly-fishing and hog-raising and horse-riding, cleared up just as soon as I laid hands on the objects they named. I wondered for a long time what a “pulaski” was, (a multipurpose firefighting tool) until I used one. There is something endlessly appealing about the care with which the contents of the world, and especially the tools of the working world, have been named.

Those words — like “fid,” (a tool for splicing rope) — seem to have been smoothed by the friction of so many hands over the years. This is the elemental poetry of the human mind. And yet it is all just vocabulary until it comes alive.

L’articolo è nel NY Times e si intitola Ving, Vang, Vong. Or, The Pleasures of a New Vocabulary.

Postato da: IM

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