Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Slice of Life: When You Meet a New Word . . .

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Lisa, and Melanie
                    for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

When you meet a new word, you can be sure that you'll encounter it again soon.  There's something about that new meeting that makes you ripe for more encounters with the word.  I like to call it "the popcorn effect" - meet a new word and it's bound to begin popping up in other places.  I noticed it all the time when I taught sixth grade as we explored our weekly WOW (word of the week).  My students would come in excited to share newfound discoveries of our weekly words in their world.  "I heard arduous on a PBS special on mountain climbing."  "My math teacher said that half the class was stymied by the problem."  Usually we'd had time for three words by the time our parent night was scheduled in the fall.  I challenged the parents to use the words of the week in the note they left for their child.  It was fun to see the creative ways the parents would utilize arduous, perturbed, and plethora in their notes.

I recently met a new word, lagniappe, in Margaret Simon's post.  I had no idea how to pronounce it, so off I went to the computer to hear the pronunciation.  I liked this word so much that I jotted it into my notebook along with Margaret's definition "a little something extra," and the pronunciation (lahn yahp).  Imagine my surprise this past week when my husband showed me the following sentence in the Federal Income Tax textbook for a class he's teaching and asked if I knew the word "lagniappe."  

I grabbed my writer's notebook and told him that thanks to my friend, Margaret, from Louisiana, I had the definition and the pronunciation for this word!  I love how the reader can use the context clues to find the meaning.  There it is, right in the textbook, "something extra thrown in" just as Margaret had defined it for me in her post.  And this convoluted sentence from a law school textbook housed a lagniappe for me - one of our 6th grade words of the week, benevolence.  Even though I've been retired for two years, my heart still leaps when I hear or see one of our words of the week at work in the real world!


  1. Collecting words is a lifelong hobby, isn't it? And, that Louisiana word is an all time favorite of mine - I just enjoy saying it!

  2. I love words and my vocabulary usually grows when I enter your little space! Still waiting for the perfect time to use winnow! kind of ironic that a tax document would use a word that means "something extra!"

  3. So much fun and JOY from being a "word collector". Love any words that add to "precision"!

  4. Yay, words! (Today's word-of-the-day calendar served up 'turophile' - a lover or connoisseur of cheese.) Your observations reminded me of how purchasing a new car suddenly makes one notice more of the same vehicles on the road. Variation on confirmation bias, maybe?

  5. I love your phrase "popcorn effect!" Suddenly seeing new words everywhere happens to me all the time. I wonder what words I'll see today? Thanks for sharing, Ramona!

  6. Yes! I lived in Louisiana for 5 years, and that word has always stayed with me. Plus there's a LA-themed seafood restaurant in Destin, FL (where we Alabamians often choose to beach) by the same name. May your word-love never cease! xo