Every new job comes with a new round of acronyms and the secret language of the existing culture. The new love interest is different than the last and leaves one yearning for King Ptolemy V to commission another Rosetta stone and share the cryptic expressions of love. Learning a foreign language is well, like learning a foreign language. We listen intently to piece together the unknown and known.
A friend was reflecting on her relationship with her daughter and wanted to take decisive steps to improve this connection. She decided to start with communication; more specifically her use of encouraging words. This successful professional recognized she didn't have a sufficient vocabulary to be specific. I was inspired when she quired the Google oracle and found 62 different ways to express her appreciation and affection for her 11-year-old.
Over the past two years, I have been broadening my reading diet, and one of the most exciting elements is learning new words. New words expand my understanding of the familiar. These new terms push into the nuances of the material and drive further questions and learning. I now draw a rectangle around any new word and look it up to understand the authors intent.
Most of my life I would depend on the context of the sentence to fill in the gaps for an unknown word. No longer. Taking the additional step to understand why the author chose this particular word, over all others, has reinvigorated my appetite to learn.
In his monthly newsletter, The Journal, tech builder, and investor, Kevin Rose, introduced readers to Japanese words that do not have an English equivalent. My favorite was “Kintsukuroi." This term describes, "the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver joining the pieces and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken."
If the Sami people can have hundreds of words for reindeer and the Inuit have dozens of words for snow, then surely we will enhance our experience if we poke into the corners of the hidden meaning of world's we didn't know existed.
Adventure, fortune, and encouraged 11-year-olds await.
What prompts you to learn new words?
What words did you discover in the last month?
How do you increase your vocabulary?