Another Wednesday, Another Word,
One you've read or one you've heard.
Bring the books and bring the drives,
Then you'll find from where derived.
You know how I come across new words? Usually I read them. Most of the time my discoveries take place while I am reading a boring text book written by someone who enjoys writing "clever" more than they enjoy writing to communicate. I know that authors of textbooks want to inform or teach and as such they try to use big words in a hope that their readers will learn something from it. However, I struggle to see why they choose to do so at the risk of alienating their readers. Unless, these authors have a share in dictionary publishing I can't see why they would want their reader to disengage from their enlightening text because they simply don't understand what they are reading.
I also understand, that as a proficient reader, I can use a range of strategies to gather clues and resources from the surrounding context and make a meaning for that word without having to leave. However, I also understand, that many readers would rather not have this burden when they are already trying to learn new concepts.
Last week, I was reading a magazine which contained a review of the new film The Bourne Legacy. The reviewer was pointing out the parallels between this film and the biblical message of accountability (a subject for another post at another time), and used the word CASTIGATE. I read and re-read this word until I finally decided to read on and insert my own word that could make sense. Ever the wordsmith, I decided it was time to visit my friend dictionary.com once again and get a real understanding of this mystery word.
cas·ti·gate[kas-ti-geyt] Show IPA
verb (used with object), cas·ti·gat·ed, cas·ti·gat·ing.
to criticize or reprimand severely.
to punish in order to correct.
So, there it is people. Why the writer could not just say chastise, reprove, reprimand, scold or criticise, I don't know.