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DuckHairback
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28 Jul 2022, 9:13 am

Hello. I've notice in other threads a couple of people have mentioned that they don't like when some of the people writing here use long, uncommon(?) words that many others might not be familiar with.

I know that I am one of those people. Growing up my vocabulary was always some way ahead of my peers. I don't think about it. I'm not trying to be clever or make anyone feel inadequate. I don't even notice I'm doing it.

But people have said to me that the language I use alienates people. And I wonder if it does add to the various ways in which I put people off in social situations.

For me, I think it comes from a desire to be precise. I choose my words very carefully and I often find that the lengthier, multisyllabic words carry nuance that isn't there in shorter words. I want to be precise because I'm scared of being misunderstood, as I feel I have been all my life.

So what do you think? Is there value in simplifying your language for others? Is there an obligation to do so? Why isn't that 'talking down' to people? If your goal is to be precise, but you end up turning people off, did you fail?


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KitLily
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28 Jul 2022, 9:18 am

There's nothing wrong with being precise. If I see a word I don't know, I look it up. Other people can do that, the internet is always available.

I don't understand why 'big words' annoy people. Just go to a dictionary and look them up if you don't know! It's an easy solution.


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Twilightprincess
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28 Jul 2022, 9:53 am

I try to vary the way I write based on who I’m responding to. Some people could struggle with using and understanding a dictionary.

In general, though, I’m fine with big words and use them all the time myself. They are helpful in terms of precision and efficiency.


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KitLily
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28 Jul 2022, 11:43 am

Or perhaps just ask what the word means? I love explaining what words mean and helping people understand things. It's very interesting.

I don't understand why people get annoyed about words. Get annoyed about injustice, cruelty, abuse etc. Not the meanings of words.


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Twilightprincess
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28 Jul 2022, 11:58 am

KitLily wrote:
Or perhaps just ask what the word means? I don't understand why people get annoyed about words. Get annoyed about injustice, cruelty, abuse etc. Not the meanings of words.


Sometimes it’s more efficient to just use simple words. It would not be efficient to have to have a side conversation to explain what individual words mean, which would be inevitable in certain situations.

Being annoyed about the use of words doesn’t preclude one from being annoyed about other things. Having said that, I don’t get annoyed about it, but I find it strange at times.

Some members have intellectual disabilities; others have a language other than English as their primary language. Being courteous towards those individuals by using words they’d most likely understand, especially in threads they start, helps encourage inclusivity IMO.

Most people vary their choice of words based on their audience.


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KitLily
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28 Jul 2022, 12:22 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:
It would not be efficient to have to have a side conversation to explain what individual words mean, which would be inevitable in certain situations.

Some members have intellectual disabilities; others have a language other than English as their primary language. Being courteous towards those individuals by using words they’d most likely understand, especially in threads they start, helps encourage inclusivity IMO.

Most people vary the language they use based on their audience.


Maybe not efficient to have side conversations, but fun though. Talking about words and their meanings is so interesting. Usually better than the 'lawyer' conversations that social media often turns into, where evidence of who said what to whom keeps on being presented long after the subject has been worn out.

Would people who struggle with reading and writing would be using a written forum like this? Maybe if people wanted to increase their knowledge of English, but otherwise why would people be attracted to something they don't enjoy. Like, I hate using the phone so I avoid it.

Yes, people vary the language they use based on their audience, that's correct. I suppose if someone wanted to show off long words they knew, they wouldn't vary it. I don't think DuckHairBack is like that though.


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Twilightprincess
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28 Jul 2022, 12:26 pm

KitLily wrote:
Would people who struggle with reading and writing would be using a written forum like this?


I can think of several people on here who struggle with reading and writing. They use WP because they want to receive support and engage with other people, like anyone else.


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Last edited by Twilightprincess on 28 Jul 2022, 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rse92
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28 Jul 2022, 12:27 pm

When I was a teenager my father got angry at me for using "big words" and accused me of being stuck up and of having a feeling of superiority. Actually all I was doing was speaking the words that fell out of my mouth, which happened to be the precise words for the conversation. I simply had a large speaking vocabulary. It was quite hurtful. Having a feeling of superiority was never a state of being for me as a young man (quite the opposite).



Twilightprincess
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28 Jul 2022, 12:32 pm

I was teased for using big words. A friend said that she only understood 3/4 of the words I used - an obvious exaggeration.

I spent more time reading Victorian novels than hanging out with people my own age which may have impacted my speech at the time.


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KitLily
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28 Jul 2022, 12:34 pm

rse92 wrote:
When I was a teenager my father got angry at me for using "big words" and accused me of being stuck up and of having a feeling of superiority. Actually all I was doing was speaking the words that fell out of my mouth, which happened to be the precise words for the conversation. I simply had a large speaking vocabulary. It was quite hurtful. Having a feeling of superiority was never a state of being for me as a young man (quite the opposite).


Yes, I was the same. Accused of being 'posh' 'snobby' etc.

What is it with such people? It's just that we have a wide vocabulary, nothing more, nothing less. Some people are good with words, some people are good with music/ maths/ spatial awareness/ nature/ physical movement. One type isn't better than the others. :shrug:


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DuckHairback
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28 Jul 2022, 12:43 pm

DuckHairback wrote:
I don't think about it. I'm not trying to be clever or make anyone feel inadequate. I don't even notice I'm doing it.


Thanks for your thoughts so far. I find this interesting.

I've quoted myself because in thinking more about this I've realised this isn't strictly true. I mean the bit about not noticing, not the bit about trying to be clever.

I actually really like words. It's almost as if I'm collecting words. When I come across a word I don't know I do look it up and think about it and turn it over in my mind for a while. Then if I get to use it in conversation or writing then I'm pleased to be able to do so. In my mind this is like sharing a secret or showing someone a little treasure you've found and in my ideal world they'd be as interested as I was to learn it and add it to their vocabulary, if they didn't know it already.

A couple of days ago I learned the word dysnomia, which is a learning difficulty where you're unable to recall the correct word for something. I've thought about that word many times since I learned it. I like the efficiency of that word, it explains something that otherwise takes ten or so words to explain - but I appreciate it's useless if who you're talking to doesn't know what it means.

I think I probably do moderate it in conversation if I sense that the person I'm talking to doesn't know what I'm talking about but in writing on a forum, you can't really know who is reading.


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28 Jul 2022, 12:44 pm

DuckHairback wrote:
Hello. I've notice in other threads a couple of people have mentioned that they don't like when some of the people writing here use long, uncommon(?) words that many others might not be familiar with.
At least sesquipedalianism is not a bannable offense!

:wink: Yet.



Joe90
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29 Jul 2022, 4:35 am

I feel that on WP 'big words' are used more often, but there's nothing wrong with it. I'm always typing words into Google when I'm here but sometimes I still can't understand the definition. Also I'd like to use big words myself but I'm not very good at that. I do use the online thesaurus thing to find more intelligent synonyms of a boring simple word but even that doesn't always work.

I may be good at writing and making my sentences make sense and I'm good at using the correct spelling and punctuation and all that, but my vocabulary isn't that big, just average or even below average. Sometimes when I do use a big word people often say "that's a big word for you!" I don't get offended, because it's true, and they don't mean it to be nasty.

Using big words on WP does get your point across easier and can even win you at some arguments. So that is when I struggle and tend to avoid intelligent discussions, especially about science and politics.

I do have a little list of big words I collect from people's posts here and write them on a wordpad app on my phone, ready for when I might need them. Just so I can have a chance to win at an argument one day. :lol:


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babybird
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29 Jul 2022, 11:57 am

DuckHairback wrote:
Hello. I've notice in other threads a couple of people have mentioned that they don't like when some of the people writing here use long, uncommon(?) words that many others might not be familiar with.

I know that I am one of those people. Growing up my vocabulary was always some way ahead of my peers. I don't think about it. I'm not trying to be clever or make anyone feel inadequate. I don't even notice I'm doing it.

But people have said to me that the language I use alienates people. And I wonder if it does add to the various ways in which I put people off in social situations.

For me, I think it comes from a desire to be precise. I choose my words very carefully and I often find that the lengthier, multisyllabic words carry nuance that isn't there in shorter words. I want to be precise because I'm scared of being misunderstood, as I feel I have been all my life.

So what do you think? Is there value in simplifying your language for others? Is there an obligation to do so? Why isn't that 'talking down' to people? If your goal is to be precise, but you end up turning people off, did you fail?


Yeah I struggle to understand the spoken word more than I do the written word. I have to really concentrate. Everything sounds jumbled up to me even in my own language. I only really started to read a couple of years ago as well and since then I can read more threads on WP whereas before I just couldn't so it was hard to get involved for me. For me I understand individual words but I struggle with sentences. I just think it's a learning difficulty that I have.

I mean it is quite easy to look things up on Google these days. In the old days I used to always have a dictionary at hand.

I don't have an issue with people who use big words personally because even though I do have my own struggles I do happen to like words and where they come from and their meanings as well.


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29 Jul 2022, 12:05 pm

Lol, first minute-and-a-half of this video........



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Twilightprincess
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29 Jul 2022, 10:40 pm

:lol:


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