Friday, 16 May 2014

Words that keep cropping up

The use of words is something dear to all our hearts. They are, after all, our tools and we should polish them with the care taken by an artisan when polishing a chisel. I recently came across a web page published by the Now York Times saying that the titles of every British book published in English in and around the 19th Century — 1,681,161 of them — were electronically scoured by American researchers for key words and phrases that might offer fresh insight into the minds of the Victorians.
The article reckoned that among words cropping up regularly were “God” “love,” “work,” “science” and “industrial”.
Makes you wonder which words we use a lot or maybe too often. I do know there are some words I use too often in my writing - murmured, chuckled to name but two - and my favourite poet Barry MacSweeney, with whom I used to work on an evening newspaper, had a thing about the word ‘argent’. And I know another writer who slips the word ‘obsidian’ into every piece she ever produced.

John Dean

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