Day 12:The Power of words to inspire

Etymology of language:
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I have always had a love of language and especially linguistics (inspired in no small part by a wonderful lecturer at Southampton university). I am fascinated by the way language constantly changes and evolves, and in my lessons my aim is to evoke that same fascination in my own students. Some of them are already looking forward with great anticipation to the day when all French verbs are regular “er” verbs and they no longer have to deal with the complexities of faire or peindre. The signs are already there with skier, tchater and even googler!
This year I have had the opportunity to teach literacy to two year 8 classes and having listened to a radio 4 broadcast on neologisms I challenged them to make up their own words to describe an object or action that did not, as yet, have its own dictionary entry. We looked at some of those suggested by radio listeners such as floordrobe (a teenagers wardrobe) and slowvertaking (the action of 1 lorry trying to overtake another) and then it was over to them.
They were, as I expected, incredibly creative. Two of my favourites were “intelliflop” (verb) – when an intelligent person does something stupid (like asking how much something costs in a pound shop) and “engamed” (verb) – when you are so engulfed in your game that you don’t notice what is happening around you.
The power of language to inspire – long may it continue.
Michelle Heighway @HeighwayM
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