July 28, 2021

What if you lost your words?

Remember how boring "vocab" was when we were in school? Learning the meanings of endless words that we probably would never use? 

I don't think of vocabulary very often, but since my dad had a stroke on Tuesday, it's been top of mind. He briefly lost his ability to communicate, and even hours later, was still transposing words and unable to capture the words he wanted to say.

My dad is a COMMUNICATOR, in all caps! He's always loved words and language, and when I was growing up, "Get out the dictionary" was our most-repeated command! I get my love of language and words from my dad, most definitely. ๐Ÿ“š

He reminded me the other day, from his hospital bed, of the enormous vocabulary I had as a child. He said, "Remember when they tested your vocabulary in elementary school? Remember how many words you knew?" I don't remember the number, but apparently it was impressive.

He reflected on how it's better to start out with a huge vocabulary, then if you have a stroke and lose some of your words, you'll still have plenty to work with! Haha - My dad and I are both optimists. We're all about the silver lining. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿป‍♀️๐ŸŒฅ

How is vocabulary relevant for you as a speaker and communicator?

First of all, don't go out and start using a bunch of big fancy words in your presentations. 

๐ŸšซNever use language to distance yourself from your audience.๐Ÿšซ

But consider how you use vocabulary to express yourself in a way that's aligned with your personality, your speaking style and your intellectual property. 

Are you still learning new ways of expressing yourself? Are you still building your vocabulary?

My favorite vocab-builder is the old-timey thesaurus (and I still love the dictionary), but I don't use it to find words or expressions that are not authentic to me. I use the thesaurus to find words that fit my communication style, but ones I haven't remembered or that express my idea better than the original word on my mind.

Of course, reading is always a great way of improving vocabulary, as well as actually using new words in context in conversation.

I know that the older I get, the more I lose vocabulary. I forget words I once knew because I'm not using them regularly or I haven't come across them in my reading.

I'd love to know if you are a ๐Ÿค“word nerd๐Ÿค“ or a ๐Ÿ’language lover!๐Ÿ’ Comment below. ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ

And my dad is doing great. He had a second stroke in the hospital, but sounds like his old self and will hopefully be going home tomorrow. We're having long conversations at his bedside, which I hope are helping his brain retain his words!

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