August 12, 2011
Two days ago, we received a tweet from Lana Gay proclaiming that: "90% of what we write is communicated by only 7000 words", with a link to a website called:
This website, sponsored by the Oxford English Dictionary is dedicated to the preservation of words in danger of becoming extinct as a result of being underused. The concept is wonderfully simple: you register with the "Save The Words" campaign, select a word from their endangered list (or have them randomly select a word for you), and agree that you will assume stewardship over this word, and help to ensure its survival by making regular use of it on a daily basis.
After a quick scan through their list, I was astonished to come across the word "impudent", and immediately selected it to be SIR's foster-word. The on-line OED offers the following background information:
not showing due respect for another person; impertinent
"he could have strangled this impudent upstart"
I was astonished, not to learn that there are unusual and valuable English words that risk extinction, but that the word "impudent" should be one of them. It seems like a pretty regular word to me. Having gone through the adoption process, my dismay at the deterioration of modern society's verbal and textual (that is text as in "written", NOT electronic text-messaging) communicative skills was tempered a little by my delight at the existence of such a website, and by the sense of pride which, I'm told, is often shared by those who adopt (or create) human offspring.
Merely one day later, that feeling of dismay was restored to its normal (heightened) level by the news that Winnipeg's self-proclaimed "Cultural City Hall", Aqua Books and the Eat! Bistro will soon be closing its doors. Although, to my regret, I have found myself in recent days largely without the time or means to purchase literature, eat in restaurants, or attend the majority of the events held there, the few times in which I did have the pleasure made me proud to be part of a community in which such an enterprise could (as far I knew) thrive, and made me appreciate brave entrepreneurial souls like Kelly Hughes, who are willing to gamble on a great idea which, clearly, contributed more to the people who were able to advantage of it than it did to his finances. I lament that I didn't/couldn't offer more support.
In a larger sense, I lament what I can't help but view as the latest casualty in the gradual decline of the written and spoken word. So, at the risk of sounding impudent:
GO TO THE "SAVE THE WORDS" WEBSITE & FIND YOUR BABY!!! THEN, TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER FOR A FEW HOURS AND VISIT YOUR NEAREST NEW OR USED BOOK STORE!!! THEN, AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE, BUY A TICKET TO SEE A PLAY!!!
SAVE THE WORDS!!!