Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Word Nerd

           The other day a friend posted her results of one of those Facebook quizzes. You know, one of those that tells you what kind of animal, car, state, cookie you most resemble? I generally scroll right past them, but this particular quiz caught my interest. It claimed to identify the kind of “thinker” one is, and it classified my friend as a Linguistic Thinker. Such a thinker, along with other traits, “...is intrigued not only by the meaning of words but also by the sounds of them and their rhythm.” 
            I was positive I was a Linguistic Thinker as well. More and more these days, I find myself in awe of words, either spoken or written. They don’t necessarily have to be complicated, polysyllabic words, although it’s okay if they are. As long as they communicate ideas with sincerity and clarity, I’m impressed. Add a touch of local color or creative flare or—as stated above—arrange them in a particularly mellifluous combination, and I’m downright gobsmacked. (How do you like that last word?)
Martha Bryant, on the left, claimed the
title of current reigning Word Wizard
with the word gunsel. Look it up.
Rest assured, the competition to unseat
her at our next gathering will be fierce.
            I don’t claim to be a philologist (another great word!) by any stretch  of the imagination. I’m not an expert who applies “a critical attitude toward words, their roots and their meanings.” (WSJ, 4/5/14). Rather I’m a dilettante—a dabbler in diction, an amateur tripping through a garden of wordly delights. A word nerd, if you will. I often enjoy a book as much for the way it’s written as for the story. As a rule, card and board games don’t interest me, but give me one involving words and I’m all over it. I’m a faithful solver of the Daily Cryptoquote in the newspaper. (I used to be obsessed with crossword puzzles but gave them up when I realized what a timesuck they were becoming.) Only a word nerd would have dictionary.com for her homepage, right? And who else but a word nerd would spend an entire evening with other “nerders” (aka the Inklings) in a cut-throat, high-stakes word tournament, vying for the title of Word Wizard?
            So with all this evidence of my linguistic leanings, I saw no need to take the quiz. But I did. I breezed through it, scoffing as I clicked off the too obvious answers that would identify me as a...Philosophical Thinker??? What? Surely not! Philosophical Thinker couldn’t possibly apply to the person who gave up reading Sophie’s World because she couldn’t follow the geared-to-middle-schoolers explanation of existentialism. The same person who, full of ambitious optimism, bought a book entitled Half Hours with the Best Thinkers and fell asleep fifteen minutes into the very first half hour. The person who pored over the two-paragraph explanation of secular humanism in the The Bathroom Book Edition III and still remains clueless on the subject.  
            Needless to say, I’m crushed. My entire thinking paradigm now must shift from “What is the meaning of this word?” to “What is the meaning of life?” and let me tell you that is a major shift. Quite frankly, I’m not sure at my age I’m up to the challenge. One thing I am sure of, however, is that I’m through with Facebook quizzes. A few more life-altering discoveries like this one, and I’ll be lucky if I can think at all.   

            Want to know what kind of thinker you are? Here’s the link. But be forewarned. You might not like the results.

 

           

             

10 comments:

  1. Linguistic Thinker here!

    (Not sure how that happened. I don't think of myself as a talker. Mostly I like quiet, and I was rarely one to roam the halls looking for someone to talk to, but when I'm with people who make me feel comfortable, I suppose I tend to . . . babble?)

    Really enjoyed this post, Dee Dee!

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    1. Thank you, Sonia. So happy this reached you across the pond! Actually, I think the "talking" issue is what messed me up. This will probably come as a shock to a lot of people, but I'm not really a talker, either, unless I'm comfortable with the people around me. And you, babbling? Never!

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  2. I know how you feel - I took the bird one (with much the same attitude as you) knowing I'd be the fierce eagle. I ended up with 'Dove' or something similar enough that 'fierce' was not an adjective that worked. While I admit the description seemed to fit me (mediating middle child that I am) but I was still quite annoyed.

    My writing buddy has a post coming up on words that you will probably appreciate. I'd tell you what kind of words, but there was a big word to describe them which I wasn't familiar with and can't remember!

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    1. Shel, you've just given me confirmation that my decision to avoid all future FB quizzes is the right one. With my luck, if I'd taken that bird quiz, I'd have probably come out as a looney bird or a cuckoo. As far as the post on words, I'm looking forward to it. Be sure to send it to me when it comes out.

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  3. Linguistic thinker here too! Great post, a lot of fun to read. I look forward to playing in the Word Wizard challenge someday, even though it also terrifies me pretty thoroughly.

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    1. Thanks, Mari, and well you should be terrified. Ha! Just kidding. You've survived critique sessions with us. Compared to those, Word Wizard will be a walk in the park! :-)

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  4. I'm the same way, Dee Dee. Although I don't think I would ever write it, I love literary fiction just because of how beautifully they tend to be worded. Those quizzes aren't always accurate, haha. Sometimes they're spot on too. It just depends. I took this quiz about which element I am, and it said I was fire; passionate, quick to speak, and with a temper. I'm passionate, but I am none of those other things lol.

    ~K.J. Bryen, plungingintothenovel.blogspot.com

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    1. K.J., thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. Yes, those quizzes are sometime alarmingly accurate--which is why I scrolled right past the one asking which Golden Girl are you most like. I would've probably gotten Sophia! :-/

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  5. Laughed while reading your thoughts, and enjoyed the comments of the others as well. I recently did one of those silly things that supposedly tells what your "old lady name" is. Mine was Gladys. REALLY?

    Recently finished reading The Invention of Wings (Sue Monk Kidd.) Love what that woman does with words!

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  6. Natine, Many years ago I read The Secret Life of Bees and fell in love with Sue Monk Kidd's literary style. I've heard good things about The Invention of Wings. It is definitely on my TBR list.

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