He said, “I can now boast of having claque…”
I thought he said crack, though he pronounced it ‘k-lake’ and the fact that he is not from western part of India where a snack is pronounced as ‘snake’ confused me as to what he was actually saying… While I was thinking this my train of thought went on to think about whether ‘klake’ was some kind of venereal disease and that he’d got it somehow… but then again why would he talk to me about it and even if he told me why would he say that he could boast about it? [The entire duration of this thought-train was less than a fraction of second – yeah, I know I am fast… 😉 ]
Confused and bewildered I asked him about what ‘klake’ meant this is when he asked me in a way that belittled me… “YOU don’t know what claque means?” I almost was on verge of deciding to commit suicide or something equally drastic when he continued condescendingly, “probably you have never come across this word…” he continued “it means ‘a group of fawning admirers’ so that is what I meant when I used it…”
He continued his diatribe for another 12 odd minutes during which I chose to be an audience wanting desperately to cut short the discussion before he used another word which did not form a part of my vocabulary… By the time he had ended the conversation I had decided on one thing… I will add atleast two new words to my vocabulary everyday ending with a godfather-type quote ‘Let’s see who has the last word…’
This little incident also got me thinking on the usage of the so called big-words… A colleague recently mentioned that she was terribly put-off when she had purchased a well publicized book by Salman Rushdie and when she attempted to read it she realized that she had to go back to dictionary to find the meaning of words far too often… She said the experience left her feeling irritated that minus the articles (the, of, and) she had to use dictionary to find meaning of every other word. She said it was like reading a dictionary minus the meanings…
I had a similar experience when I read a novel recently it’s goes by the name ‘Anything for you Ma’am’… The author, it seemed, had used Microsoft Word to his advantage where he found the toughest looking words to use instead of lot more easy-to-understand synonyms… I mean how low can you stoop? 😉
Though I have been similarly accused by couple of my blog followers of trying to do the same and I, for once, can only attribute this to me being a red-blooded male 😉 Let me explain…
The following is an excerpt from a book that I’ve read…
Having no specific brain location for speech, the male needed to be able to communicate the most amount of information with the least number of words, so his brain developed specific areas for vocabulary, located in the front and rear part of the left brain. In women, vocabulary is front and back of both hemispheres and is not a strong ability. Consequently, definition and the meaning of words is not important to a woman because she relies on voice intonation for meaning and body language for emotional content.
This is why the meaning of words is so important to men and why they will use definition to gain advantage over another man or woman. Men use language to compete with one another and definition becomes an important tactic in playing the game. If one man is trying to make a strong or forceful point and says, for example, ‘… he wasn’t making his point clearly or getting to the bottom line so that everyone could understand what he meant’, another man may interrupt with, ‘He didn’t articulate?’, to better define the point being made and ‘get one up’ on the first man. Or the competitive man may use the word ‘articulate’ to summarize the other person’s entire sentence.
[From: Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps – A very interesting read]
All said and done I think it’s easier when you don’t treat your readers condescendingly (I did it again didn’t I…) if you use simple language they are more likely to come back again in case of a blog or in case of a book read some more of your work 🙂 Words are a way to communicate and hence a ‘means to an end‘ and though both of them are equally important in the end you will do more damage if the ‘end‘ is not achieved than the ‘means‘ used and hence whichever way you look at it end is more important than the means…
Importance of choosing the right word…
As their first assignment, the English students are asked to write a paper about their summer.
One student wrote a paper about going to the coast and getting a summer job on a fishing boat. He described how, without any skills, he was still able to obtain work as a “bait boy” on the boat. It was his job to make sure the bait was provided, cut up, if necessary, and even put on the hooks if the customers wanted him to do that.
He did well, was given more responsibilities, and advanced quickly in the job. By the summer, he had done so well that he was made “master baiter.”
Oh and the two words for today are…
Mellifluous – pleasing to the ear
Septuagenarian – someone whose age is in the seventies