Friday, March 6, 2009


Winston Churchill said "Eating words has never given me indigestion." Perhaps he was not loquacious (From Latin loquacis, ‘talkative’, from loqui, ‘to speak’). I don't get the impression that he was talkative, chatty or given to excess conversation, either. Noah Webster said, "Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground."

I know many loquacious people and some that could be said to be the opposite. As Mark Twain said, "
The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause." He also said, "An average English word is four letters and a half. By hard, honest labor I have dug all the large words out of my vocabulary and shaved it down till the average is three and a half... I never write metropolis for seven cents, because I can get the same money for city. I never write policeman, because I can get the same price for cop.... I never write valetudinarian at all, for not even hunger and wretchedness can humble me to the point where I will do a word like that for seven cents; I wouldn't do it for fifteen."

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