Saturday, 15 October 2016

Bran Tub # 5: Difficult Words ...



Life Sciences … our (University of the Third Age) Geology Group has morphed into Life Sciences … and with it, as you would expect, the course will be looooong … so the words in use will be of extended length too … no doubt with many worryingly challenging ideas.




The Use of Difficult Words


I eschew arcane, esoteric and recondite exemplifications of
sesquipedalianisms;

Notwithstanding, in erudite and sedulous graphomania, 

oftentimes and habitually replete with ephemera,

this be not customarily so felicitious,

where it behoves one to be veritable, manifest and unequivocal.




To translate ….


I avoid obscure, mysterious and difficult examples of

the use of words containing many syllables;

However, in academic and complex writing,

frequently and regularly full of seldom-used material,

this is not always so easy

where it is necessary to be true, clear and explicit.



Our friend and class-taker … not good English - sorry! … advised:


I will do my best to avoid

gobbledegook,

but in scientific discussion,

with many detailed definitions,

it is not easy

where detail is important.


As a by - note ... the above will be arduous and laborious to adhere to ....



Environmental Life Sciences
c/o LIFE SCIENCES - ALS


Then he goes into definitions … one of which is magnificently worth letting you know about … I just feel your school might not have advised you about this ….


A Definition of Life:

“A sexually-transmitted, terminal disease”


… I’ll add – while you’re still alive – enjoy it!


c/o Despicable Minions


Some members did leave somewhat bewildered ... me I was taking notes for my blog! and thankfully I did comprehend most of it ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

64 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Big smiles.
And yes, I have come across that definition of life before.
Off topic I came across this article and thought of you immediately.

Bob Scotney said...

'arduos and labourious' is too 'difficult' for me!

Bob Scotney said...

And I can't spell!!

Anabel Marsh said...

Laughed aloud at the definition of life! Then the jellyfish finished me off.

Gattina said...

Oh my goodness ! I struggle with "normal" English sometimes, so this one is tooooooo difficult for me !

Patsy said...

He he. I like the way our language can be used both to explain and to confuse. Sometimes managing both at once.

My Life in the Charente said...

Far too complicated for me, I hate it when I am reading a book, and suddenly they come up with a word that I am sure that they know the bigger percentage of the population will not understand! I do like the jelly fish comment and it certainly applies to a few people I am sure :-)))
Interesting post though even if some of the words are beyond me. Have a great weekend Diane

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

It reminded me of the master of ceremonies at an old time music hall - "And now, for your desirous delectation Daisy from Deptford will ... etc" English is a wonderful language with a vocabulary that provides almost infinite subtlety and, sometimes, a very precise term is needed. That said, I realised long ago that many people hide behind obscure, sometimes manufactured, terminology because they are simply very inadequate people and want whatever their supposed area of expertise is to be regarded as a black art. I think many chefs, authors of management books, politicians and internet 'gurus' are guilty of this. For tonight's assignment, give an example of this from your own experience.

Out on the prairie said...

i have made up a few of my own words by mistake, and Word tells me they aren't true to the english language. At a store the other day I ordered some promuscuto, an adulterous form of proscuttto.

Mike Goad said...

I worked in an industry with its own special words and acronyms. Even in "venues" with specialized terminology, it's best to speak as plainly as possible and make sure your audience understands what you are talking about. Using unnecessarily long, sometimes obscure, words in speech or writing can just seem pompous.

Jo said...

Love the definition of life and the jellyfish. I looked up sesquipedalianisms before I saw your translation. According to what I read, it actually means the use of long words.

Interesting course. I love words like that.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC – that’s great … I like big smiles! I thought some would have seen the definition of life … but I hadn’t – so it had to go in …
Oh yes – the toilet article you linked to is great – I’ve never come across it before – I haven’t looked per se … but thought if I’d seriously looked I’d have found something …

@ Bob – oh ok … great … the whole was too arduos and labouriouso for me .. it’ll be a fun ‘course of long duration’ ! I mostly can spell, but things slip through …

@ Anabel – delighted to see you laughed out loud – that’s the reaction most of us had, when it was put up on the screen … while the jellyfish seemed to tie it all together - I found that elsewhere … but it clicked into place here …

@ Gattina – yes .. but you do well with your English …

@ Patsy – he he, exactly … and the English language is a muddling thing isn’t it – but fun … particularly for those of us who are wordsmiths!

@ Diane – actually interestingly if there’s only one or two words that I need to look up, but the book is reasonably intelligently written … then I’m happy – but quite understand your comment.

Yes – I can definitely put a few people into the jellyfish category … I’d never use some of those words either …

@ Mike – people are clever wordsmiths … but I love your ‘for your desirous delectation Daisy from Deptford will ….’

English is a wonderful language isn’t it … I wish I was more adept at it and had a better knowledge … but I agree if it’s forced obfuscation … the article reads really strangely … let alone ‘untranslateable’ …

At the moment much of the Brexit stuff is convoluted … I think I’ll stop there … obfuscation is my word in this comment!

Oh yes I remember … as kids, when we were home from school for a weekend, we asked my younger brother what he was studying – he was about 7 … his word was vocabultry … and said in a 7 year old’s voice – that was difficult to work out … of course it was Latin vocabulary …. we were in hysterics afterwards …

@ Steve – oh it’s so easily done … and I’d hate to say as one gets older – I know I struggle here sometimes – at least if I’m with someone I can ask them! I love proscuito … but promuscuto – is an excellent alternative …

@ Mike – I don’t think I know enough special words to muddle my posts up … and the same applies when I give talks, or write articles … but, yes some people are just pompous …

@ Jo – thanks the definition of life and jellyfish go together so well don’t they …

Thankfully I deny responsibility for the slides – they came from somewhere in the ether! And I didn’t check it up – but I hope I copied it correctly … oh well – the gist is there!

Thanks so much to you all … it’s been fun reading the comments … cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know all of the words you used and have used them myself when speaking to others. I try not to use any online or in my books though. I want everyone to understand.

Vallypee said...

Oh excellent, Hilary. I too loved the definition of life. Brilliant. As for the jellyfish, I'm wondering about the hope bit! It sort of fills me with despair when coupled with the definition of life.... :)) What a great post!

Botanist said...

I met that definition of life many years ago and it's still one of my favorites! Yes, sometimes scientific precision needs the right technical words, but there's no excuse for using a long word where a short one would do. I blame the education system which rewards that kind of writing, and it's become an ingrained expectation that that's how "educated" people write. I think there's also a sense of insecurity - if I can write so clearly that anyone can understand it, then I won't be seen as clever.

TexWisGirl said...

laughed at your opening paragraph. such a dissertation!

laughed again at the definition of life...when you put it that way...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Deliberately using ultra-long words few people have ever heard when a shorter word will get the point across just fine and dandy is just showing off. Or an attempt to confuse people... like when lawyers and the government do it. :)

That sounds like a really fun course.

Kathleen Valentine said...

This reminded me of a poem my mother used to say:
Scintillate, scintillate asteroid magnific,
Feign would I ponder your nature specific,
Loftily poised in the ether capacious,
Strongly resembling a gem carbonacious.

Translate that!

A Cuban In London said...

I love "sesquipedalian". I use it whenever I can.

Greetings from London.

Robert Bennett said...

Reminds for of a favorite quote.

"Don't use a big word when an singularly unloquacious and diminutive linguistic expresion will satisfactorily accomplish the contemporary necessity."

Melissa Sugar said...

Indeed, confusing words used to explain. However, lawyers don't always do it to confuse, sometimes lawyers must recite legal words and use exact terms when making a record for an appellate court. I realize that some lawyers, like people in many professions often overuse big words, unnecessarily.
I loved the definition of life. I ran across it many years ago, but forgot about it. Glad to have it again.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Ha, ha, ha! I love "a sexually transmitted, terminal disease" as a definition of life. Touche!

Paula Kaye said...

Loved it! My laugh for the day!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex – well I didn’t! However I’m glad you use them … but not in your books or online – I agree it’s so important we can understand what we’re reading.

@ Val – it was fun to hear, and I immediately thought it’d make a great post … jellyfish and hope – yes … where does ‘hope’ come from with no brain to draw on. Add in the word ‘couple’ and I get your gist … more amusing …

@ Ian – that’s great, it’s one of your favourite definitions. I know and understand the need for scientific precision … but as you say, where we can, we can always write so it can be understood by most people. People can be pompous can’t they … when they speak or when they write …

@ Theresa – good to read you laughed at both aspects …

@ Susan – showing off can be the norm can’t it … and definitely some lawyers and civil servants or government just add unnecessarily to the morass of excess verbiage …

The course will be interesting – the person leading it is very thorough in what he gives us …

@ Kathleeen – wonderful poem from your mother … what a great descriptive riddle … love it … thanks for telling us … I’d translate that to be ‘a diamond in the sky’ …

@ ACIL – gosh, another Alex, I’d never heard of “sesquipedalian” – let alone use it! I’m just glad you’ve embraced our language so fully …

@ Robert – wonderful quote … I’ve often heard the ‘don’t use a big word ….’ then it tails off … giving us the rest of the sentence really clarifies the situation!

@ Melissa – I appreciate that in some professions we must use the correct terminology to be precise and accepted by that profession and its standards and norms. Glad I reminded you about the definition of life!

@ Dianne – I couldn’t not put that explanation here could I – we really needed to be reminded about ‘our life’ …

@ Paula – delighted you had a good laugh …

Thanks so much ... I'm glad this article amused you ... let's carry on restraining ourselves for our own posts! Cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank goodness for your translation as I never would've figured it out.

beste barki said...

These words would take up a lot of the allotted 140 characters but to prove we're better than jelly fish we definitely need them.

Fil said...

Hehehe I love that definition of life - very good... Good luck on the course - I'll look forward to hearing more gems from it :) Fil

Nilanjana Bose said...

Haha sesqui...that's just too hard to say never mind spell...thanks for the translation! Whew! I was just thinking of their possible uses in poetry :) on second thought maybe not...

Liz A. said...

Ah, but it's so much fun to use big words just to confuse those around you. I do it all the time. The quizzical looks make it worth it.

Marja said...

lol I love the jellyfish one and I did hear the definition of life before but it's a great one.
It might indeed not always be easy to use simple language, where detail is important but there should be a balance. I usually switch of when there is an overuse of complicated words.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane - it's not easy is it .. and I too am glad it was translated for me ...

@ Beste - not good Tweeting material ... but thankfully we can rise above the jellyfish brain ...

@ Fil - it's fun isn't it ... the course is a voluntary one - we do it for interest, and Brian does it because he wants to take the class ...

@ Nila - ah ..considered for poetical purposes ... now that would definitely make some interesting verses ... but 'no' I hear you say ... probably sensibly ...

@ Liz - yes it can be fun ... and I can imagine you doing that ... enjoy using these if you get the chance ...

@ Marja - that's great to see you've heard and seen these before ... while saying things simply and easily is the best way - can be challenging at times ...

Cheers to you all - thanks for the visit and it's proving a fun post ... take care and have a good week, one and all - Hilary

Rosie Amber said...

This was fun.

Denise Covey said...

Ha Hilary! Clever lady you! It made a fun blog post. It pays to understand gobbledegook! Have a good week!

Denise :-)

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love the way the words *sound*, although I probably wouldn't use them in my own writing!

And I like the Jellyfish Minion meme. :)

Rhonda Albom said...

LOL - I don't think I could have taken too many notes as I wouldn't have been able to spell most of the big words.

Bish Denham said...

That's is just too, jocose! Love the thought from the Minion.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Great definition for life. The jellyfish graphic--perfect.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thank you for the translation, Hilary, or I would have been completely lost! Haha, I wonder how it would have read in Spanish?

Christine Rains said...

Hehehe! Loved that! And I did need the translation. I feel a bit like a jellyfish this morning. :)

Joanne said...

funny and yes, thanks to jellyfish there is hope for us all.
I do think computer directions contain the most gobble-gook or leave out some important "click" or "swipe".

"Oh, you should know to do that"....no, I do not.

Any material for the blog is good material. Fun

cleemckenzie said...

You've started my week off exactly right. I love to laugh on Monday. Thanks, Hilary. As to the jellyfish. . .I appreciate the optimism.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rosie - thanks ...

@ Denise - glad it made a good fun post .. made me laugh. Oh yes we do need to understand gobbledegook at times ...

@ Elizabeth - they have a ring to them don't they ... but I too wouldn't use them in my writing - but a post is all right isn't it! The Jellyfish I had to include ...

@ Rhonda - I didn't take too many notes .. but thankfully he sent over the slides for us!

@ Bish - good word = jocose ... and the Minion he had to appear ...

@ Holly - the definition of life tickled me ... and jellyfish graphic is perfect isn't it ...

@ Joylene - thankfully the translation was included! I am not going to wonder how it would sound in another language!! Way too much like hard work ...

@ Christine - life catches us sometimes ... and getting our brains into gear can be difficult ...

@ Joanne - yes there is hope for us all via that jellyfish. Most directions need that extra note, or swipe - frustrating because you know it should be 'easy' ... but it never is!! I know have you switched the machine on .. is another thought ...

Thanks - I'm happy you enjoyed this one ...

@ Lee - that's great a good laugh at any time, but sometimes a Monday is especially good ... poor old jellyfish .. he's probably cleverer than most of us?!

Cheers to you all - and delighted you've enjoyed this post ... Hilary

Chrys Fey said...

Well, I guess I can see how life could be considered a "sexually-transmitted, terminal disease." We all come from sex. ;) HAHAHA

Suzanne Furness said...

Some fabulous words here, Hilary! Many I knew, a few were new to me! Interesting definition of life too. Fun to read.

Nick Wilford said...

I liked the definition of life, for sure. I have a tendency to overuse long words, so I would probably have enjoyed this...

DMS said...

I hope the "Life Sciences" group won't be filled with words that are too bigs. They can be okay in moderation- but lots of them can make our brains hurt. :)
~Jess

Munir said...

Oh wow ! if Jellyfish have hope, then I guess I do too. LOL.
I hope that all is well with you. I have been really out of touch with the blogger world. Will try to read as much as I can now that I am working only part time. Take care of yourself. Cheers.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Chrys - yes absolutely ... but it's a good definition isn't it ..makes us laugh ...

@ Suzanne - one or two I didn't know, but could guess ... I'm just glad you enjoyed the post ...

@ Nick - I think I probably, at times, can have your tendency for long words ... but I'm enjoying the course ...

@ Jess - nope ... I 'm sure we'll be understanding what's the course is teaching us ... it's educative, not baffling! I hope and expect ...

@ Munir - good to see you and I'm sure we all have done pretty well - we are still here.

Thanks so much for your visit - I'm glad we've all had a good laugh ... cheers Hilary

Lynda R Young said...

My brain hurts when that kind of detailed precise language is used. I love the definition of life.

Nicola said...

Language can be such fun! Super post, Hilary, and I loved the definition of life :) have a lovely week.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Those quotes remind me of the words of Woody Guthrie "Any damned fool can get complicated!" and I think he's right too; clear thinking should be able to be expressed in clear words. Good luck with it anyway!

Crystal Collier said...

Yikes! I think I would be taking copious notes to and figuring out how to warn ALL LIVING CREATURES to avoid that particular pitfall.

Jeffrey Scott said...

I don't fear long or even archaic words. I actually like to use many. However, if when writing, they are peppered generously, the reading can be laborious and tiring.

Sometimes simple is the best. ;) :D
But new words are great to hear when used sparingly.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That sounds like a fun class I would enjoy. And that is lots of amusing material for your blog.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Isn't the English language beautiful. Oh, to be able to use some of those words - and more. But the official advise is to use simple words rather than complicate prose just for the sake of it. I do try to sneak the odd complex word into my stories. In fact, in one of my stories there's a word I have to look up whenever I read it, because I can't remember what it means :-)

diedre Knight said...

Leapin' Lizards! Glad you repeated that in layman's terms. Words I've never heard before fascinate me to distraction until I learned the meanings - course, that doesn't mean I plan to use them in everyday conversations ;-) Love the 'Life' quips!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynda – it’s fun to read, but I’m glad the translation came up … while the definition of life is just fun.

@ Nicola – language is wonderful … especially if you’re an English speaker! The definition is just great … makes me laugh still.

@ John – great quote from Woody Guthrie … thankfully the course will be fun and its voluntary attendance!

@ Crystal – we’re lucky ... someone is prepared to take the course … us, oldies, just toddle along and enjoy ourselves … but learn. What would happen if all living creatures could suddenly talk?! I think I’ll wander along now ….!!

@ Jeffrey – yes … all things in moderation and sometimes adding in long words, just makes the conversation less serious and more fun. Simple is usually best … but as you say – it’s good to learn …

@ Susan – thanks ... I expect a few things will come up for the blog … but I have a stash or two here already!

@ Annalisa – I quite agree … it is a pleasure to read well-written English and I love looking back at words etc Oh! as I read your books I’ll have to keep that in mind that there is a word you need to look up … I guess I will too …

@ Diedre – well done … Leapin’ Lizards … good exclamation … and I too wander off and look words up, and look up where they came from … I do wonder sometimes how I knew (and know) some of them … the brain is a hidden repository ... I couldn’t resist putting up the ‘life’ story one!

Cheers to you all – thanks so much for your visits … Hilary

Lynn said...

I admire that you are taking that class!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Lynn - it is interesting ... so I'm happy and there's no exam: so if I miss something - it wanders over my head!! Cheers Hilary

Gattina said...

I am not a real vanilla fan, but I couldn't live without it neither, especially for ice cream. A very interesting article and it shows again how important bees are in our life !

Susan Scott said...

Ha ha thanks Hilary! So what is sesquipedalianism - is this a many syllabic word? I don't think I can even pronounce it -

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - thanks for visiting .. wires got muddled and appeared here - vanilla is the next post, in case anyone is wondering ...

@ Susan - it was fun wasn't it ... I agree I couldn't pronounce sesquipedalianism either .. and it has to be polysyllabic doesn't it ... our language is wonderful, yet strange ...

Cheers to you both - thanks for commenting - Hilary

J Lenni Dorner said...

Great post! I love when people whip out full use of the language. Maybe not quite so many all at once... LOL. But it's fun to see an obscure word now and again.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks JLD ...