I am by no means a “word snob.” Never have been, never will be. I use the word “like” too much when talking to ever be considered an aficionado of the English language. Sure, I love words, I covered that in my post where I admitted to reading the thesaurus for fun. But when it comes time to using them, I usually stick to the comfy, everyday words to get my point across.
I never understood why some people feel the need to use big words when speaking to others. I’m not saying that we should all walk around sounding like we’re reading from a random teenager’s text message log, but for some people there is this incessant need to sound intelligent.
Now granted, four months ago I never would have used the words “aficionado” or even “incessant” in a blog post. Then again, four months ago I wasn’t blogging. I understand that when you’re around words on a daily basis you pick up new words, new ways of using those words and new ways of sounding like a pompous ass.
This all stems from my days in college. I’ve already said that I was an average student, I made the Dean’s List several times, but all in all, I was one of those girls that just did what she had to do to get by. There was a girl that was going for English education and so she was in the same classes as me. Nice girl outside the classroom, a little stiff with her formalities, but every now and then I could break down the wall around her and make her laugh.
All hope for fun was lost the second we walked into the classroom. For some reason stepping over the threshold made a girl from Jersey sound like a stereotypical New England, old money Mitsy drawing out her words until her voice croaked from the strain. Every time she spoke I had to turn around to make sure Katharine Hepburn didn’t just walk into the room. “Well, hello, daaaaaaaaaaaahliiing.”
Whenever she answered a question I found myself reaching for a dictionary. Hm. Maybe that’s when my thesaurus/dictionary carrying became a habit. Of course, she wasn’t the only one who tried to impress the prof with their intimate knowledge of the English language. She was, however, the only one that did while looking down on the rest of us.
I’ve said it before, I love to learn; teach me, show me new ways of looking at things, open my mind to new experiences, I’m game. Just don’t do it with the air of superiority. We’re all in the same boat, wanting the same thing, reaching for the same goals. At that time it was a college degree, now, for me and many others, it’s finishing a publishable book.
When I first ventured out into the Twitterverse I was scared I would run into people like good old Mitsy. I was still recovering from insecurities that were born in those English classes, but instead of being looked down on for my simple vocabulary I was welcomed.
I thought I would have to strive to sound intelligent. Not at all, I just have to sound like me and that I can do. The writers I’ve met are very supportive, open-minded, welcoming, low key and extremely intelligent.
My vocabulary is growing and every once and a while I’ll admit that it feels good to throw a stronger word out there when I could have easily used a simpler one. But I am who I am, its not me to want to speak over people’s heads. If I would have to constantly explain myself I would have to question my idea of a great conversationalist, something I strive to be.
Have you ever come across someone who used their intelligence to knock you down? How did you pick yourself back up…or knock them down a peg? Do you come across people like this often in your work, the know-it-alls that need to rub it in your face? And why can’t we all just get along?