Logophile

I am a proud logophile.

Google it.

Words are my talent. I say that with confidence and ease. I know how to use words to hurt and to heal. I am not picky; big or small, I love them all. Whether I am reading, speaking or writing them, I just love how words interact with each other to form sentences.

Reading.

It's that simple

I have been reading ever since I was a wee little lass. I started off with fairy tales and picture books before moving on to Secret Seven and Famous Five among other appropriate child novels. The Sweet Valley books were my shit! Kids, Twins, High, University – I read them all. My favourites though were SVH and SVU. I wanted to be both Elizabeth and Jessica. By the time I was 12 I had graduated to adult novels with Sidney Sheldon’s Nothing Lasts Forever being my first adult read.

I was also that weird kid who read the dictionary. Believe it or not. I would go from page to page learning new words, trying them out in speech as well as in my primary school compositions. Till now I remember when I came across the word dyslexia. Its complexity impressed me and I just had to try it out. So in one of my compositions I referred to my sister as dyslexic. Lol? My English teacher had to pull me aside and tell me that I cannot carelessly say such things.

It has been proven that children that regularly read for enjoyment have higher test scores, develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures than their non-reading counterparts. This may seem like a humble brag, but I cannot articulate just how important reading is for my personal growth. I have learnt empathy from reading. Unlike film, a book really puts you in the mind of a character. You get unfettered access to their thoughts, allowing you to completely understand the reasons behind their actions even if you do not agree with them.

Reading is my passport to other countries. Judith Butler says “we lose ourselves in what we read, only to return to ourselves, transformed and part of a more expansive world.” I have been to Manhattan, Rome, Nigeria, London, Paris etc. etc. all from the comfort of my bed.

Between 2015 and 2017 I took part in a global reading challenge. The 2015 one was from PopSugar and the 2016 and 2017 ones were from Goodreads. This year I am not taking part in a structured reading challenge as the prompts were just whack. That does not mean I am not reading. I am always reading. My favourite way to spend the lunch hour at work is to read as I eat. I cannot go to the CBD and not check if the second-hand booksellers have anything that tickles my fancy. With a price of KES 100 for a book I have bought many on a whim. Maybe because I like the cover or the title or it has a sticker saying ‘Oprah’s Book Club’. As a result I have a shitload of unread novels on my bookshelf. I challenged myself to read at least 30 of my unread books this year and I am currently on book 29 of 30.

I am also book-bosomed, so my everyday handbag has to be big enough to accommodate my current read. eBooks are not my thing; real books have curves. Lol. There is something about how a book smells and feels in my hands that is lost when I read an eBook. I feel terrible when I cannot find a paperback version of a book I am dying to read and have to resort to the eBook.

No eBooks

I am building a library one book at a time and it is my hope that at least one of my future twin girls will also be a bibliophile.

Speaking.

I am keen on pronouncing words correctly, not just because I love English, but mostly because I respect words too much to mispronounce them. I do not like it when people mispronounce my name so I try not to do the same to words. Which probably makes no sense to most people, but hey, logophile.

In high school I was that insufferable classmate who was always correcting everyone’s pronunciation. I was such a pompous lil’ bitch it is surprising I had any friends. Lol. I have reigned it in nowadays but from time to time I cannot help myself, especially when the mispronunciation is potentially embarrassing.

I have a colleague who mispronounces faux. She says it as fox and tends to go heavy on the X, so it comes out as foXXX. We have bad blood with this colleague so when I hear that foXXX I get a little bit like this.

Mispronunciation

Normally I do not laugh at people’s mispronunciation, but as I said we have bad blood. There is absolutely no love lost between us. I am not an asshole but I am also not a saint.

Different words feel differently in my mouth. Some are smooth like velvet, others have bite. I also love how some words roll off my tongue. That sounds weird AF but I am not the only one. Watch this cute AF video of Brielle where she talks about her love for the word phalanges.

To me synonyms are not always interchangeable as no two words are weighted the same. For example, a guy once called me fascinating and to date it is the best compliment I have ever received. Interesting may be a synonym for fascinating but I find it too bland a word to convey the depth of the latter. Beguiling is a much better substitute word. I am very specific with any word I use in speech and I have to keep reminding myself not everyone is like me.

I have a list of words that I intend to use in my posts. I started making these lists after high school when I would come across new words in books. I would look them up in the dictionary, write them and their meaning down on a foolscap and tape the foolscap to my bedroom wall. I loved how these new words felt in my mouth and the goal was to use them often in speech till they were no longer new.

Writing.

Adelle journals
My BFF has gifted me these journals over the years

I have loved writing for as long as I can remember. I had a huge imagination as a child and loved to make up stories. In primary school my compositions always got high marks. In class eight our English teacher would read out the most impressive composition of the week. More often than not it was mine. You can imagine what that did for my Leo ego. Lol.

I signed up for the twelfth edition of Biko Zulu’s Creative Writing Masterclass last year. After putting it off for a while, I was finally ready to take my writing to greater heights. Which is where we are now with this creative writing blog.

My current wedding song is broken by lovelytheband. Not like I am even dating but, semantics. I read somewhere that lead singer Mitchy Collins kept coming back to the phrase “broken like me” and knew he had to use it somewhere. I go through a similar experience when I write. I spend a large part of my day writing, whether typing out posts or formulating phrases/sentences/ideas in my head. I can be trying to sleep when a phrase/sentence/idea comes to me and I immediately write it down. There have been a lot of late nights as a result, but it is so worth it. I do not always know where I will use the phrase/sentence/idea I come up with. But I write it down anyway knowing that sooner or later the article it fits will become apparent. It gives me immense satisfaction when after playing around with words I manage to craft a great sentence.

After I challenged myself to write 31 on 13 I came up with a content calendar. Those 31 posts were not going to just shoot out of my ass. As a result I have found a method I love and will continue to use going forward. I am always thinking ahead, looking for ways to best bring out what I want to say. If my words feel inadequate I look for a visual or lyric that helps bring the emotion(s) of the post to life.

My love for writing technically makes me a graphophile, but it is words in their many forms I fell in love with first, which is why I identify as a logophile.

3 thoughts on “Logophile

  1. Oh Val!
    How have you described me in your post?
    Some people do not understand me when I say that I have a favourite word or how I love the way certain words sound so sophisticated when they roll of my tongue.
    I would read the dictionary as well and I fondly remember coming across the word ’embezzlement’ when I was in class three (7 years old) and I asked my dad how to pronounce it. I was quite dismayed when I couldn’t use it much in my day to day conversations. However, I soon came across the word ‘psychologist’ shortly after and bam! I wanted to be a psychologist; not because I admired the profession but I liked the word. I sounded fancy shmancy when the rest of my classmates wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, pilot and there I was… a psychologist. A cut above the rest. Haha!
    Did you say Sweet Valley High? I named my Barbie Doll Jessica because of that novel. Did you read Nancy Drew? Hardy Boys?
    I can go on and on.
    Let me zero in on the word ‘dyslexia’. I wrote a term paper on dyslexia while in Campus because dyslexia is a word that automatically grabs your attention. I was not particular about the reading disorder; I was particular about the word itself. I like the fact that ‘y’ and ‘x’ peacefully coexist in the same word. Xylophone.. see? 🙂
    Let me stop there lest …

    Like

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