Some folks consider themselves connoisseurs of the finer things in life, like fancy wines or jewels. Allergic to wines and really rather simple of taste, if I am a connoisseur of anything—it is of words.
Not that I am a self-proclaimed word connoisseur, meaning that I hold myself up as an expert qualified to judge how other people use them; no. That is not a connoisseurial role to which I aspire.
Rather, I am a self-proclaimed connoisseur in that I love holding up words, examining them from every angle, enjoying and savoring them, as a wine taster or jeweler might do with expensive wines or jewels.
If you are a connoisseur of words, too, I need not say more. You know what I mean.
When I examine words, I appreciate their etymology, how and when they came to be in time and place, as well as their component parts–prefix, suffix, root. I love the cultural aspects of words, how they are borrowed and shared.
(Once, in an undergraduate linguistics course, I learned one, exceedingly long sentence that read in English, but consisted of totally borrowed words. More than once in recent years, I tried to find that sentence. No luck!)
Without admitting to a contradiction to my connoisseurial role, or apologizing for my predilection (much against the best writing rules, I admit), I enjoy sprinkling my conversations—oral and written—with common, worn-out expressions like “Great minds think alike.”
The last time I used that expression in response to a comment on a post, it got me remembering what else I learned in that linguistics course. Language is fluid. Words come into use, and fall out of use, until they totally fall out of sight. As well they should and might. Other words, as well as combinations of words (e.g. common expressions) stay, but change meaning.
Now that I’m on Twitter, I was thinking that when the current generation of youngsters hear their parents say, “A little birdie told me,” the image they might have in mind will not be a busybody neighbor, but a little blue tweet-producing bird, as in the Twitter logo!
“A little birdie told me…” Backyard-fence face-to-face interactions, landline conversations, cell phone text messages, Twitter private posts…who knows what will be the next means to keep parents appraised of their offsprings’ shenanigans.
One thing’s for sure. No matter how secret youngsters think some of their doings and sayings are, an adult, parent or not, will undoubtedly become privy to them!
Meanwhile, as for me, I’m delighted that the little blue bird is tweeting me, not celebrity gossip or exposés, but carefully measured snippets of information that pique my interest into learning more about a variety of topics of both personal and professional interest.
If the bird’s the word (to quote a old song), the word to me is: fly higher–keep learning; that’s the underlying message I hear the little blue bird tweeting to me–140 or fewer characters at a time. And the little bird’s invitation to continue to learn as I enter retirement is music to my ears!
What kinds of information is Twitter inviting you to grow through?