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by JP Bill / June 16, 2007 1:24 PM PDT
Vocabulary: Are we losing our lexicon?

With the Lord of Loquacity on trial in Chicago and schools playing down language to level the playing field, is the mind-expanding power of a well-stocked vocabulary becoming a thing of the past?


From Saturday's Globe and Mail

June 16, 2007 at 12:19 AM EDT

The last days of long words! The sunset of syntactical surplusage!

In Chicago, in a downtown courtroom, lawyer Edward Greenspan won't let Conrad Black take the stand.

The problem is Mr. Black's fondness for whacking big words: tricoteuses (knitters of yarn, used to describe reporters and gossips, augmented by the adjective "braying"), planturous(fleshy), poltroon (a coward, a.k.a. former Quebec premier Robert Bourassa), spavined (lame), dubiety (doubt: Mr. Black rarely uses a simple word where a splashy lemma will do), gasconading (blustering) and velleities (distant hopes), to list just a few of his verbal smatterings. Mr. Greenspan fears the Lord's lingualism will turn off the jury.

Meanwhile in Toronto, at the Ryerson School of Journalism, Ivor Shapiro is teaching his class to write clearly. The decor is Early Modern Factory ? flat window, false ceiling of black metal grille to make the room seem less cavernous, giant TV suspended in a corner like a moody spider.

"One has to tell students in journalism school to express themselves simply, because they have been taught in high school to use big words in an effort to impress their professors," Mr. Shapiro says.

jp Bill, a man of few words, usually of less than 3 syllables.

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I once tried using
by drpruner / June 16, 2007 7:08 PM PDT
In reply to: Words/Vocabulary

words of only four letters, but that didn't work either.

On a serious note, I think the judge may be out of line.
"Mr. Greenspan fears the Lord's lingualism will turn off the jury."
Isn't that the problem of whichever attorney put Lord L. on his witness list?

Remember the story about Sam Clemens and his nitpicking editor? (It may even be true.)
Clemens wrote 'the killer went on trial...' or some such. The editor pointed out that it was correct to say 'the alleged killer' and went on in this vein at some length.
Clemens' next story happened to be about a society event attended by the newspaper's publisher and "the woman alleged to be his wife." Happy

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The judge is not out of line.
by Kiddpeat / June 17, 2007 5:21 AM PDT
In reply to: I once tried using

The judge was not mentioned in the story.

The lawyer is probably Mr. Black's lawyer.

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And we forgot
by drpruner / June 17, 2007 5:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Words/Vocabulary

what the judge should have told him:

"Eschew obfuscation."

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