Use Your Words

Posted on May 9th, by risser in Joy Brown. No Comments

For my last blog post of the academic year (I’ll be back this fall), I thought I’d provide some educational value to your valuable time.

By the time I joined the Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Writing Program in summer 2015, my vocabulary already had improved thanks to the godforsaken GRE requirement. I spent hours with flash cards so that I didn’t have a cursing and crying meltdown in the testing center. But when I actually began studying rhetoric, I realized I was still nothing but a hack, a bad writer with bad clichés and puns and a boatload of wretched hyperbole. It took some more time to get up to speed so that I could express myself somewhat articulately, so that I could hang. It also took a lot of painstaking notes and patience while pouring through books like “The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present” (which also functions well as a doorstop).letter beads

So without further ado, I present to you some of my favorite big academic words. The study of rhetoric sometimes overlaps with philosophy, which is evidenced below. Feel free to incorporate these into your own blabbermouth repertoire to impress and intimidate dates, spouses, condescending friends, toddlers, barflies and other unsuspecting folks who don’t yet realize you’re actually not all that intellectual:

  1. Perspicuity (audio pronunciation) – Short and sweet. Concise. Brief and understandable. The opposite of this blog post. Ex: “Perspicuity is not Joy’s strong suit.”
  2. Heuristic (audio) – Learning, discovery or problem-solving by experimental and trial-and-error methods. How the heck does this work? Nope, not that way. Ex: “YouTube cuts your traditional heuristic timeline, and your survival rate, by about 99 percent in regards to many home repairs, caring for your nine ducklings that you just rescued that day, and power washer operating.”
  3. Exigency (audio) – That which is required in a particular situation. Urgent demands. I want a margarita and I want it now. Ex: “The exigencies of living in Northwest Ohio in April are enough to cause spikes in vitamin D and antidepressant sales.”
  4. Ethos (audio) – The trustworthiness or credibility of a writer or speaker. Whatcha talkin’ bout, Willis? Ex: “My ethos is bigger and better than your ethos. Huge! Massive! Largest ethos you’ve ever seen!”
  5. Axiomatic (audio) – Self-evident or unquestionable. Duh. Ex: “It’s axiomatic that Charles Lightner is the heart and soul of Social Findlay, the apple of our community’s eye, and the darling of digital media.”
  6. Epistemology (audio) – The study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge. Who told you that? And you believed him? Ex: “The idiot friends one keeps in middle school could be compelling material for a thesis focusing on social epistemology.”
  7. Dissensus (audio) – Difference of opinion. He said she said. You’re wrong, I never said that, why do you never listen to me? Ex: “Dissensus, the foundational principal of Jack and Jill’s relationship, ruined many New Year’s Eve parties for everyone else.”
  8. Kairos – (audio) A Greek term meaning the time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action, particularly regarding the use of specific words for desired effect. Did you ever see the movie “Serendipity” starring John Cusack? I loved it. I also loved “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Anyhoo… Ex: “Lou Gehrig’s ‘farewell to baseball’ speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, was the epitome of kairos.”

Eight words. Eight is enough for now.

In the coming months, I hope to take a course, start in earnest on my thesis, dig up more overgrown vegetation in my yard, enjoy my porch swing, and burn some meat on the grill. And with that, I bid you a temporary farewell, and hope you have a delightful summer!

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