Words, words, words…


They’re one of the most important ways to communicate. Obvious – but we take them for granted at our peril – and I’m not just talking about authors. I’ve been thinking about words a lot recently. Finding the correct ones to advise, console, instruct, write…  Personally, I need to learn to cut out unnecessary words. Less is more; make each and every word count and earn its living. When editing, think about the phrases on the river stones that I use to remind myself on how to shape, prune, improve my work…DSCN0334

At a Sunday lunch in a local restaurant last week (Sunday lunches are definitely not “less”), we were sitting opposite a pretty, intelligent young Italian called Elena who was good at semantics.
For some reason I had been telling my friends how much my lovely husband adored his muck heap (polite expression); how his eyes lit up when the local farmer brought a trailer load of the sheep manure down our track for my husband’s “orto”. They laughed. Elena then asked me, “Did you know that the Italian expression “lieto” (meaning delighted to meet you), stems from the same Latin root, “laetus”, meaning manure?”
We thought she was joking but it turns out she’s spot on and my husband is at one with the Romans in their appreciation of sheep and cow shit.DSC06886
So, I started to ponder about other words and their derivations and then, on Twitter, I posted a photo of what I thought was an orchid. (I follow a friend I’ve never met who is an expert). That is not an orchid, he retweeted. It’s broom rape.
I thought it an ugly name for an attractive plant. To cut the semantics short, the rape part of the name does not signify something violent and ugly. My expert informed me it could also be called a broom turnip. Click went my brain. Rape in Italian means turnip. DSCN2882
As authors, words are out tools. We mustn’t take them for granted.


About Angela Petch

Bit of a story dreamer, written two novels - a third in progress. I love my little family and in no particular order afterwards: Italian culture, food, wine, walking everywhere I can and especially in the Apennines, East Africa, tennis when I can, reading, reading and more reading. So much to discover still before I die.
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3 Responses to Words, words, words…

  1. I was also considering words, well, language, really, when I was walking along the street looking at the cars and the buildings and marvelling at how human beings have developed. I don’t think it would have happened without words. “In the beginning was the word.” It seemed so true.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jessiecahalin says:

    Intelligent musings – as always.


    • Angela Petch says:

      Thanks, Jessie. I’m sure there’s loads more to say on the subject. I was just having a muse over a glass of wine. By the way, what is your favourite word?

      Liked by 1 person

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