The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘word’ as a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, a unit of language comprising inflected and variant forms.
I love words. Words like idiosyncrasies, cantankerous, schlep, philocaly and petrichor. I love words that pique my interest, curiosity and inquisitiveness. We all use words to express our sympathy, empathy and gratitude towards others. It goes without saying that it is through words, countless sermons and discourses that famous people became, well, famous. Not to mention Martin Luther King, Jr, Barack Obama and Malala Yousafzai. And even the worst speakers out there gain recognition through their poor choice of words.
We all started as novices in speech, with each one of us starting with mere babbles. But as we grow and develop our speech and language skills, babbles slowly turn into words and then into sentences. I was only 8 months old when I said my first word. And when I started school, I was elated about the prospects of learning more about the ABC’s, sharing them with others and most importantly, finding ways to build a solid foundation of learning for the little me. When I got into middle school, words came to me at every direction – good, bad and neutral. I learned more about nouns, adjectives, the language, the culture. Words. I learned to love words. I was only 7 years old when I nailed through every single quiz bee within our school. And when I had the privilege to go to high school and university, I learned to love them even more. I learned that embezzle is a bad thing. But I love the word because it sounds like bedazzled. Although I wasn’t as intrepid as other kids were, I still love it because it means to be resolutely courageous. I love words like oblivious, obsequious, panacea and impeccable. Deride, despot, diligent and lithe – jubilant is the word to describe my zeal for unwonted words.
And maybe, true love.
Now in my twenties, when I meet someone I always interpret their character through words– whether they are demure, modest or eloquent and feral. Whether or not they are erudite, maverick, meticulous or venerable. But no biggie because I don’t just judge people based on my own words. My own discernment. After all, the way we talk is just the tip of the ice berg. I just love to play with words. I mean, where would we all be if there had been no words at all? Words are friends, but they are enemies too and so you ought to learn how to be careful with them.
As I grow and mature every day, I also learned that words are powerful and difficult. And problematic if not thought through. I often find myself in times of predicament and when I do, I’d become taciturn, but not impertinent. Inevitably though, words do have the potential to vex someone or worst, someone dear to you and me. And when they do, I just cannot seem to find them – or the right ones, at least – to compensate for the jarring, inharmonious and relentless words that flew out my blabbermouth like endless rain. And suddenly, I become morose and lethargic. But I remain optimistic, hoping that one day you will accept my arsenal of apologies. Of words.
And if only I could have a few with you right now.