Rachel Ann Harding | Rachel Ann Harding / Boulder, CO / Storyteller, musician, writer, explorer, ukulele trainer

Chewing on beautiful words

tumblr_n6vt9oEDDx1ri67xpo1_500I am always looking for new words to love. One episode of Doctor Who introduced me to the word “petrichore”, which is the smell of dust after rain. It is almost as pretty of a word as the smell is.

Another one I found in the book The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairy Land in a Ship of Her Own Making¬† . The word was “widdershins” or to move counterclockwise. In looking up that word I found that it was considered an unlucky direction. I have always liked unlucky directions being that I am left handed, and so predisposed me to choosing things that seemed against the norm, if only in the smallest ways.

New words feel like candy in my mouth. As I work my tongue around them the sharp edges smooth out and the sweetness becomes more evident.

Introducing new words through storytelling depends on context and your audience. When emerging from a cultural context some words need to be explained – “bairn” is the Scottish word for child. However, I doubt many American children (or adults for that matter) would know that. So I might add a short explanation as I introduce the word for the first time, or I would mime holding a baby.

Then there are the audiences. I was at a middle school recently and a good portion of the children were learning english as a second language. I was asked twice what the word “torso” meant. It was a good reminder to check my stories beforehand for any confusing words, and also to encourage the children to ask if they did not know what a story meant.

As I find new words I will post them here, and I would love to hear your favorite words of the moment.

Until then, adios!

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