Monday, June 4, 2012

The Word Fairy and the Word Goblin

I've made some important conceptual development on my thesis so I'm rewarding myself by writing a light-hearted blog post. The fact that I need to start with that explanation is indicative of the lingering sense of guilt and defensiveness I feel.

The Word Fairy is a mythical creature who drops bright and shiny and erudite-looking words (such as 'erudite') into your head as you're writing. These are often little-used words, whose meaning you're not exactly sure of. It's always best to check the Word Fairy's suggestions in a dictionary as sometimes they will be completely wrong, but you'll still want to use them because they seem such a good word. Often it takes many readings for the shininess of the word to wear off and as you're reading it you'll get a self-congratulatory buzz for using such a big, important-looking word and thus being a big, important-sounding person.

The Word Goblin is the nemesis of the Word Fairy. Rather than deliver sparkling gems of words, it takes them somewhere between the tip of your tongue and your typing fingers, leaving only the ghostly impression that there is a word for that. Sometimes, sadly, there isn't and the Word Goblin is the much maligned victim of a lexical gap.

*Original idea by Debbie Prior

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