Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Word of the Day

Yesterday, I learned via Deadspin about a list of 100 words that Houghton Mifflin believes all high school graduates should know. Conspicuous by their absence were some of my favorite words, such as the, is, and like. In all seriousness, I love words, especially ones like these that no one ever uses in conversation, and I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I don't know every word on the list. It seems like every time I learn a new word or a new historical fact, I come across a reference to this new piece of knowledge the very next day. This has happened to me so many times that I'm sure that it's not a coincidence and it must happen to other people as well. Sure enough, on my way to work this morning, I was listening to Frank Deford's weekly sports rant on NPR. He ended his missive about the twin spectator death marches that are the NBA and NHL playoffs with the top 100 word jejune. This phenomenon makes me wonder how often I encounter words or facts that I'm not familiar with and just ignore without even noticing it.

2 comments:

Michael David said...

Your last sentence is really interesting. I think a lot of people just sort of skip over things they're not familiar with, rather than engaging it and trying to learn more about it. I try not to do that, and I think two inventions -- Google and Wikipedia -- have made me a lot better about stopping and trying to learn about something rather than just moving on.

dhodge said...

I try not to skip over things that I'm not familiar with, but I must do it fairly often for this phenomenon to keep occurring. It certainly is a lot easier to educate yourself these days. I seriously can't really fathom what life was like back before you could give yourself an instant online primer on anything you could type into a search box, and that was only about eight years ago.