Idea du jour

I have a LOT of “word books”: dictionaries, glossaries, usage manuals, specialized lexicons, etymologies, slang, commentaries on how she is spoke… This seems to be the moment to consider that trove, that tranche of my home library, and to put it to work.

This thought arose as I was exploring my mountain of Kindle texts and happened upon

Grenville Kleiser
Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases: A Practical Handbook of Pertinent Expressions, Striking Similes, Literary, Commercial, Conversational, and Oratorical Terms, for the Embellishment of Speech and Literature, and The Improvement of the Vocabulary of Those Persons Who Read, Write, and Speak English

which can be downloaded via Project Gutenberg and, in another form, via LibriVox (e.g., https://ia800208.us.archive.org/11/items/15000_useful_phrases_librivox/useful_phrases_003_kleiser_64kb.mp3 )

and there’s even a 10 hour YouTube video of a Dramatic Reading: https://youtu.be/luTcjXsFbNI

The tipping point for me was glancing at a page of Kleiser’s phrases and seeing that just about every one I looked at was somehow relevant to the Moment we find ourselves in:

abandoned hope
abated pride
abbreviated visit
abhorred thraldom
abiding romance
abject submission
abjured ambition
able strategist
abnormal talents
abominably perverse
abounding happiness
abridged statement
abrogated law
abrupt transition
absolutely irrevocable
absorbed reverie
abstemious diet
…and so on

And so I found myself thinking about Boccaccio’s Decameron which, if you didn’t already know, consists of “…100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death, which was afflicting the city…” in the 14th century.

…and bethought myself that there might be a Decamoron which collects dumb-ass commentary and jokes about the present straits; and a Decamiron for ironic commentary on the same; and perhaps others (Decamuron might be the tales of mice… etc.)

Anyway, I’m thinking to begin a Project to blog a dictionary-a-day (or maybe not quite so often), with a scanned page showing a particularly wonderful something from that volume, and providing some context for what each dictionary/word book is actually good for.

2 thoughts on “Idea du jour

  1. Pingback: Collateral Language | oookblog2

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