Decline and Fall of My Talk Thingy

“Your vocabulary is somewhat lessened of late…” -Gandalf, LOTR/TTT (sort of)

Michel Thomas, one of my favorite autobots, er, polyglots… says that the ‘active vocabulary’ of anyone, in most major languages, is between 500 and 1500 words. 500 being the rough estimate for a 5th grader and 1500 for a reasonably developed speaker of the language. In NY, a major newspaper determined that they use only 600 words in a given sunday edition of their paper.

That’s handy if you want to learn a new language- you’ve only got to learn about 600 words and you should be all set. These seem like really low numbers. Maybe because the Merriam-Webster dictionary has just under a half million entries. It seems as though doing more (communication) with less (pointless words) works. It does make me wonder about all the other words, though. What are they for? I have a hard time believing that all those other words are specialized, industry specific words.

I try not to use fad words for more than about 4 weeks. But ive been using “nice” as an exclamation of approval for several years now. Yeah, it got old after about four weeks. I don’t even need big words or fancy words- just the excellent use of words. But if i keep using “nice” then i’m not really making good use of my active vocabulario. GAP rotates its offerings about every 6 weeks (3-4?), which is interesting, since khakis and polo’s are pretty much all they do. They have less variety and change things up more than any other place i know of. Less, apparently, is interchangeable and seems to be working.

So in comparison, my vocabulary looks like a Goodwill store. Scattered items, mainly utilitarian, bargain prices, reasonably accessible… and things can sit on shelf for a long, long time.


6 Comments on “Decline and Fall of My Talk Thingy”

  1. meg says:

    How does our language compare to the very old English? King Arthur, likely a descendant of Constantine,probably spoke Latin, but our ancestors, the Wuffinga, spoke the root of our present language and used so many words to say a simple sentence! Was it more expressive or just more wordy? Know what’s funny? King Arthur likely fought against our ancestors since they were the Anglo-Saxon invaders! But both were “Christian”! So who was a heart believing Christian, and who was a Christian in the religious sense only? Could they both have known Jesus in thier hearts and still fought wars to the death?It’s a strange world we live in Master Jack.
    I feel an article coming on, but it’s getting late.

  2. Cara Donahue says:

    I are getting dummer by the minute apparently. I just found out my blog is reading at the 5th grade level. Believe it or not, at won point I wuz at the 7th grade level of readability.

  3. metamoses says:

    @cara: i realised later i should have included one of those nice links in the post. according to the Fleisch-o-meter, this blog coasts along at about 4th grade, generally. That short i just finished up comes in at 5th grade. sheesh.

  4. meg says:

    Ever heard of Vita Merlini ?? Very Cool! It’s the life of Arthur’s Merlin! By Geoffery of Monmouth in the early 1100’s. Arthur lived in the 5th and 6th centuries. I haven’t read it yet, but bits and pieces are intriguing. Merlin has been known as a wizard, king, historian, prophet, and more. We’ve heard the thing about wizard, but could that be because he followed God so closely that God did incredible events through Merlin?? It is obvious Arthur was “Christian”, whether of the heart or just religion is hard to say, and yet the “Age of Chivalry” would indicate a something of the heart. But the Wuffings were Christian also. Would they fight to the death if they were truly Christian? So many questions!
    Steven Lawhead, did he write of those times, or similiar? Have you considered your childhood interest to be from God for some distant reason? Wild? Maybe. Maybe not. God made our imagination, and He will guide us in it as we submit to Him.

  5. meg says:

    Wait a minute! The Wulfings were not Christian until after they fought the Romans and settled in East England, converted by Augustine! And many were true Christians!

  6. meg says:

    Words—I’m seriously thinking of learning Latin!

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