Humbled Vocabulary

It’s more common for me to silently correct someone’s grammar (adverbs anyone) than for a person to use a vocabulary word I don’t understand. Reading a foreign word in a book, yes, likely, but orally and with confidence can be humbling. Especially since I fashion myself a writer.

When I was about seven years old I was swimming in my grandmother’s pool with her friend’s granddaughter. We got along very well and she appeared as bright as I. Then she used a word nosh. It was the first time I heard the word and was immediately able to deduce its meeting. Then I tried to use it again, only instead of saying nosh I said nash. She asked me what that meant and I sheepishly told her it was the same word she had used hours earlier. She corrected me and now I’m comfortable using that word, but I did not appropriate any more of her vocabulary that day.

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