June 21, 2011

New Vocabulary

For those of you who think today is Tuesday and I am late posting my Monday post let me just say....



you may be right.

Seriously, what happened to Monday?
... sucked into the void...
But never mind.  Here we are.

This may shock you, but I am not the most technologically advanced person.  In fact, (this is so embarrassing I have to whisper) I don't even really know how to text!  Of course, this is partly because I have a cell phone from the Roosevelt administration (Teddy), a situation which is hopefully being remedied this week so I can join the rest of civiliaztion as we know it...  But I digress...

Anyway, along with all the technology I find confusing, there is a new vocabulary.  Can you imagine what people would have thought 20 years ago if you'd told them you were googling them?  Or if you had answered a query of "What have you been up to?" with "I'm blogging"?  When did we start having beta readers as opposed to just readers?  And who the heck is Mr. Linky?

Really, although these words now make sense, a lot of them sound made-up, along the lines of caaberry (which was my daughter's personal word for strawberry.)

But made-up words can be fun.

At the risk of dating myself (again) I'm wondering if anyone remembers Sniglets, brain child of comedian Rich Hall?

If you don't, a sniglet is "any word that doesn't appear in the dictionary but should."  For example, "sark - the marks left on one's ankle after wearing tube socks all day," "lactomangulation - manhandling the 'open here' spout on a milk carton so badly that one has to resort to using the 'illegal' side," and "doork - a person who tries to enter through a door clearly marked 'exit'."  There were books and calendars of sniglets, and even a game.

Two of my favorites for which I can't remember the sniglet were the dance you do when attempting to put on stockings (possibly chub?) and the act of trying to vacuum up fluff that won't come off the carpet, so you pick it up, look at it, then put it back on the carpet to try again.  If anyone remembers that word, please tell me!

As writers, there is a place for inventive language, and as writers of books for young children, a place for nonsense words as well.  Language was meant to be fun as well as useful.  What better way for children to learn and appreciate language then to play with it?

What words have you made up in your writing?  What words have your children invented?  Do you have family words you use for certain situations?  Do you have favorite kids books that play with language?  Do you remember any sniglets?  Please share!!!


  1. Oh, love this post! (especially the whisper, because I only just learned how to text recently too!)

    I also used to get a big kick out of sniglets. Lactomangulaiton. ha ha.

    Love reading books with made up words (Seuss, etc) The Hiccupotamus by Aaron Zenz is a fun one too!

  2. My little brother used to call sandwiches "traumas". And then there's my daughter who called any kind of snap or zipper a "do up". I love made up words! I keep trying to put them in my novels.

  3. *hangs head* Hasn't learned to text. *sob* And my cell phone dates back to the 1800's. It's one of those humongouzoid (made up word) phones. :-)

    I love making up words. So much fun. I think I should print a dictionary of all my made up words.

  4. I always end up making up words by just tacking on suffixes and prefixes. I'm curious as to what the word is when you can't vacuum up fuzz, that happens to me all the time! Fun post! :)

  5. Great post! And you think you're not funny... As a fellow kid's author, I appreciate fun sounds and am always rattling them off- to my husband's dismay. My dog loves when I call him my shnookerbopper, though he's not too happy when I wipe the skoogers (mucous) out of his eyes.

  6. I don't even have a mobile phone, so you're one up on me lol. Sniglets sounds similar to the made up words Alison Miller was talking about on her blog. Totally forgotten the name (the technical side of my brain is clearly not working yet today) I don't deliberately play a word game with the kids, they just come out with ridiculous things and we ham it up from there. I think watching Cat in the Hat helps :)

  7. Hehehe I can't really think about any sniglets, although that word alone is awesome. ^_^

  8. Corey - for mothers, and in light of your most recent post, lactomangulation could have a whole nother meaning!

    Andrea - I love "traumas" - how do you get that out of sandwich? :) And "do-ups" is so cute :)

    Robyn - LOL! And definitely print a dictionary of your made up words and share them with us!

    Madeline - I make words like that too, or by removing prefixes or suffixes. For example, if you can have uncouth, shouldn't the opposite be couth? :)

    Iza - you are the queen of playing with language!! :) I my dogs get to be my pookies :)

    Catherine - I will have to look for Alison Miller's blog!

    Misha - it is a good word, isn't it? And if you think of any, please share them here!

  9. Sniglet is an awesome word for made up words. I hadn't heard that one. Loved this post!

  10. It's true, all those new word are so normal for us now! I've had to make up a bunch of new words for my futuristic sci-fi, and it's been fun!

  11. Laughed out loud at "lactomangulation." You should write that in to the powers that be in dictionaries. I'm going to use it as a real word from now on....


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