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← In defence of obscure words

Zeuglodon's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Zeuglodon

Comment 25 by Cartomancer

I took out the egregious references to French ennui and German weltschmerz from the precis. There's nothing quite like inserting trendy foreign language terms all over the place to make a piece seem faux-academic - pretentious and artsy in the case of French, serious and technical in the case of German, pretentious, artsy, serious and technical all at once in the case of Latin or Greek. It's a very cheap way of seeming like you're much more cultured and widely read than in fact you are.

Isn't that positive discrimination of a sort - privileging or excessive elevation of people from a perceived outgroup (French, Germans and so on) at the expense of the ingroup (admittedly a kind of inverse racism)? I think I understand, all the same.

As much as I like obscure words, the main concern in talking to others is that I convey my message so that others understand it. People can take a strange word if you make it clear from context or provide a definition for it. So long as you don't overload them with too many words at a time, then people can accept additions to their vocabulary. Communication should be clear, fluent, and (if possible) enjoyable. When it isn't even understandable, I suspect mischief is afoot, so my sympathy with Self is limited.

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 19:10:44 UTC | #936778