I ran across an article the other day which reminded me once again of my age – not a pleasant topic of conversation considering my birthday is this week. Here’s a few words and phrases which will reveal your age:
Fuddy Duddy – Just say “old fart” and you’ll be understood.
Dear John Letter – if you have to explain what a “letter” is, you can forget the “John” part.
Davenport – stick with sofa or couch to be safe.
Long-distance call – Ha! even the word “telephone” is fading, along with “operator” and “collect calls”.
VCR and Videotape – now inhabiting every antique store in the nation.
Little Black Book – hmmm….perhaps check your contacts list.
Wet blanket – I prefer party-pooper myself!
Making Whoopee – “hooking up” or the old standby “having sex” will get the idea across.
See the full article HERE if you need more!
Anyway, the issue, as it relates to my writing, is the challenge of creating believable dialog for characters who come from outside my own age group. Fortunately, I don’t write for children or young adults so most of my word/phrase choices are at least minimally understandable to my readers!
What can I say? I’m a product of my generation, which includes the way I speak and the words I use to communicate. Now don’t repeat this, but I enjoy utilizing uncommon words or phrases when possible to make the text more interesting. If my readers don’t know what something means, it’s easy to look it up and learn something in the process.
It is thought there are at least 250,000 distinct words in the English language, with 171,000 in current use and 47,000 on the obsolete list. What richness to draw from when writing! So, go head, choose a few antiques for your next book, story, or blog entry which no one uses any more. You can educate your readers AND rescue some perfectly good words from the “obsolete” list at the same time! You don’t want to be a party-pooper do you?