Words. Even in a moment when we think none will suffice, we are searching for them. The world of words is subject to the same buffeting and jostling as every other person, place or thing in the public realm: some words stick around forever and some disappear, tossed away like the ‘cassette player’ to keep pace with our need to make room for the ‘mankini’.
Words can be the longest: Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism, and they can also take up a number of columns in the dictionary. In the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, in 1928, the definition-rich word was identified as “set” (75 columns of type, some 200 senses). “Set” sounds sort of relaxing, I think: let’s set for a while, we’ll set that down and when it’s all set, the sun will finally set on the horizon. Ahhh… But, don’t relax for too long because the winning word in 2011′s speed obsessed world is the three-letter word “run.” Run away my friend as the day’s run away from you, you run hot and that seems to run in the family. Wait!
All of this interesting lexonicographic information is cited from Simon Winchester’s article for the New York Times. Putting together the 2037 revised issue of the Oxford English Dictionary is no small feat: Peter Gilliver, the Oxford English Dicitonary’s lexicographer working on the letter R spent greater than nine months to determine that the verb-form alone of ‘run’ has no less than 645 meanings. Run with that, we say.
The four words, in the following order, with the greatest number of usages in the English language are run, put, set and take: in honour of these four famous words, we’ve run to put together a set of wonderful fiction and reference books to take your vocabulary building muscles out and give them a run for their money.
Dictionaries are wonderful and flipping through the pages of one is a sure-fire way to build vocabulary. They’re also numerous and finding the right one for you can require the same careful kind of trying on as a bathing suit… Call us or come by and we’ll find you the perfect fit.
There are writers who explore the lexicon of language with more vigour than others:
‘Bullfrog was hot. He was dirty. He had not showered in many days . And he smelled… (turn the page) Pizza! Bullfrog was HUNGRY!’ An educational language skills book masquerading as a fun picture book with a charming protagonist. Ages 6+
An instrumental story told through homographs or words that are spelled the same but sound different and have different meanings. Fun! Ages 4+
Ah, the thank you letter… Welcome to the land of revision and re-writing as Jack learns to express himself and finds necessary words to say thank you. A great story about using words in a more formal way. Ages 6+
Perfectly chosen words and lovely embedded definitions set the tone of each chapter. Ages 6+
…”the word rickety, you probably know, here means ‘unsteady’ or ‘likely to collapse’.” Follow the Baudelaire children’s exploits as explanations and definitions abound in this popular lexicon-friendly series. Ages 8+
Must we say more? Pseudonymous Bosch’s clever wordy text, filled with anagrams and word games is a delightful word-lover’s dream. Ages 10+
The reference section overflows with vocabulary-building inspirational reading: here’s a small selection of books to boost your word-power.
Grammar Girl, other-wise known as Mignon Fogarty, has built an empire on her blog and podcast devoted to “quick and dirty tips” on writing and grammar. This volume is devoted to helping your high-school-er with boost to their baseline vocabulary.
Basher’s graphic brilliance takes on the building blocks of the English language, visually breaking grammar and punctuation down into their specific roles and rules of usage. These are a must-have reference for your visual learners, ages 6+
Step-by-Step vocabulary building doodles… “Seeing with your eyes can help you see with your brain. Seeing a picture of a word can help you to understand and remember its meaning.” Visualize rather than memorize! Ages 10+
20 chapters x 15 new words = 300 new words. The promise here is painless acquisition and here’s a free app for you to check their methodology out for yourself.