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Cloud 2M. pointed my nose toward this article on the Guardian, in which a bunch of writers were asked to share their favourite words.

A lovely idea, I think: writers are wordsmiths by trade, with an ingrained love of words (often bordering on obsession, if the writers I know, including myself, are anything to go by…), and their choices are bound to be interesting.

They are, and they reflect the wonderful richness of the English language, with its penchant of iconicity and onomatopoeia.

And here is Rebecca Mead, of The New Yorker, interestingly commenting on these choices, and on how most of the writers seem to root for the indigenous words over the Latinate ones. Mead posits that there is a greater immediacy, and effectiveness to Old English words that their more erudite counterparts lack.

An interesting point that made me reflect about my word choices in writing, especially dialogue: I find that in general I apply this “principle” as a characterization device – so it must be intrinsic enough to the language for a non-native speaker to absorb without too much conscious thought…

Anyway, favourite words: for myself, I love things lile glimmer, glitter, glint, glow… – and the whole family of words gathered around the gl- consonant group to depict the play of light. But also think of the Elizabethan equivalent clinquant: you can almost feel the light tingle…

And, while we are at it, I might confess as well a weak spot for labyrinthine – a word that is a labyrinth in itself. Latinate, yes, and from a Greek word for good measure – but then, as a chimney-sweep once informed me*, I am a typical product of Italy’s Humanistic studies…

And what about you? What are your favourite words?


* No, really.