Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Words APtly Spoken (and Written, too)

As Vera winds up her month long adventure with writing about writing a NaNoWriMo novel, I also am winding up my adventure of doing the same.  One thing I really like about Vera is how much she likes words.  Hmm, maybe a little bit of me slipped into my protag.  I’ve never had a French foreign exchange student as a BFF nor a crush on anyone named Eddie though.

Like Vera, I have collected a few words along the way as a writer, reader, and teacher.  I love to store them up, and find they pop out unexpectedly. My freshmen tend to give their, “What did she just say?” look when this happens.

Over the last week I’ve been preparing a list of words which will be handy for AP students looking and learning to broaden their working literature vocabulary.  Currently I have close to 160 terms that we will cover.  Most will be known; however, some might be new. I know there are a few I’ve just made acquaintance:

1. aphorism: a terse statement of known authorship which expresses a general truth
2.caesura: a pause within the line of verse.
3.Deus ex machina:a phrase from Greek plays where an actor was lowered onto the stage to solve the plot; an artificial contrivance that forces the solving or terminating of a plot.
4. doggerel: crude verse that contains clichés, predictable rhyme, and inept meter and rhythm.
5.enjambment: when one verse runs into another verse
6. hamartia: the central flaw of a character, usually in a tragic hero
7. litotes: a form of understatement whcih makes an affirmative point by denying the negative, as in “It isn’t very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain.” (Catcher in the Rye)
8. metonymy: from the Greek meaning “changed label”; it’s basically a substitution, as in “the White House sent out this new announcement” instead of saying “the President issued an announcement.”
9.portmanteau word: an artificial word combining parts of other words; e.g. brunch
semiotics: semantics the study meanings of which they signify; semiotics studies the signs themselves

The whole “words aptly spoken” proverb takes on a new meaning and direction as I apply these to our Advanced Placement Literature lessons.

They say the best way to get an education is to become a teacher.  I couldn’t agree more. I’m always open to new terms.  Know some?  Send them my way!

English: So many words to keep track of!.

English: So many words to keep track of!. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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6 thoughts on “Words APtly Spoken (and Written, too)

  1. nice….i agree…having a great vocabulary or learning new words allows you to use language in new ways in your writing…popped over cause i got the ping at dverse

  2. There were many vocabulary words on your list I haven’t thought about since the thesis paper I wrote in college! Thanks for the jolt into the past!

  3. Latin phrases are the best!

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