1. Stefan
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    Stefan New Member

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    Interesting....At least, I thought so.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Stefan, Mar 28, 2007.

    I recently heard that there are five times as many words in the English language today than when Shakespeare wrote. This considered, I think our writing should be a lot better than his. If this is not yet the case, we should get on it. That's all.

    (I'm willing to concede that that might not make much sense, but I thought the fact was interesting anyway.)
     
  2. wordwizard
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    wordwizard Contributing Member

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    Yup it certainly is interesting. Thanls for sharing. I am a sucker for pointless facts. I love the randomness of them.
     
  3. ariella
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    ariella Contributing Member

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    Ah but Shakespear was a master at what he did. It doesn't really matter if we have 5 times the number of words than what shakespeare had, it all comes down to the way we use those words. That is the one thing that he had mastered and perfected.
    You can't really compare anything to shakespeare for nothing can ever come close to the perfection of his words.
     
  4. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    A large reason for having 5 x the words nowadays is that we have 5 x the technology and concepts nowadays. computer, spaceshuttle, radiator, cancer, antibiotic etc
     
  5. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    If anything, it means we should be worse. Who is the master: A person who makes a perfect compass out of a walnut, some water, and a toothpick, or the one who receives a fully-made compass from some distant country?
    Like that with today's language: Who is the master, someone who writes over a hundred pieces with x thousand words, or someone who writes around 40 pieces (An average guess at the common author today) with x million words?
     
  6. Stefan
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    Stefan New Member

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    wow interesting thoughts everone
     
  7. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    That is interesting. Not sure if it's true or not though.
     
  8. Stefan
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    Stefan New Member

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    As promised, I concede it doesn't make much sense. I think you're totally right with your painting analogy.
     
  9. Meledin
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    Meledin New Member

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    This is really interesting. The interplay of language and culture is delicate, but the way it can yield perceived 'golden ages' of literature is testament to the fact that the lexicon of a culture, among other factors, can affect the quality of its literary output. Louis XIV championed the arts and it bore him Moliere and Racine - like, the French Shakespeares if you will...

    This thread reminded me of something I've JUST read. It concerns French historical linguistics... yeah I know... but it makes a good point:

    "The demand for precision is far from constant. A decline in culture involves the abandonment of fine distinctions, so far as the general vocabulary is concerned. This is clearly revealed in the abandonment in Vulgar Latin of many words which are more or less synonymous[...] e.g. the interesting example of the many Classical Latin equivalents of 'to shine', reduced in Vulgar Latin to a mere half-dozen. The subtle shades of meaning and connotation which distinguish apparently synonymous words, and which characterise a literary language, are lost or ignored; and absolute synonymity is a luxury no language can afford. The French writers of the 16th century allowed themselves to indulge in this luxury, with a consequent sacrifice of precision. It was left to the 17th century to bestow upon the French language that precision which remained its chief virtue. This was accomplished by setting up clear distinctions between so-called synonyms or by dropping one of the synonymous words. In this way, quite apart from other pruning methods, the actual number of words was greatly reduced, but precision was achieved." (Ewert, The French Language)

    I always found it interesting that what English conveys in one word, 'love', Greek does in four (or more?), each with different shades: agape, eros, philia, storge. Now... is that a good thing? Well... I suppose it could hypothetically avoid lots of confusion... but other than that?
     
  10. Kit
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    Kit Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow some interesting arguments here... I don't think that because there are more words we should write better because words are nothing without a writer's image behind them.

    Still... nice fact. I did not know that. :D
     
  11. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    words are only words till you give them meaning

    colour is only colour till you give them feeling

    and a circle is just a circle till you give it shape

    sorry just something that popped into my head after reading all of this. It may not make much sense to some of you, but I enjoy adding poetry to my point these days lol.

    But just because you have more colorful blocks than i do does not mean that my castle is not going to look as good as your is, in fact my castle may look far more ellegant than what yours does as your your castle may look eciting and fun and gain more traffic but mine may gain more class.

    Ok well that is just another way of saying that bigger more descriptive words may and the larger vocabulary we have today may seem far more intruiging and people think it is better, but that is not the case at all. With the simplest of words i can say to you the "To love oneself will only cause despair and solitude"
    then put it this way
    "Self centred ignorance leads you to destruction"
    both saying 'to me' as the author of those words that loving yourself is ok but loving yourself too much will lead you to a very lonely place.

    There are mutliple ways in which a writer can say one thing and mean something totally different. Shakespeare may not have had as wider vocabulary as what we have now, but it was the way he crafted his words each and every time that made his words so powerful and meaningful, what he put into his words.

    The only thing that can improve your skills as a writer is not extending your vocabulary, it is using the vocabulary that you already have and sculpting it into a masterpiece, and also dedication and time.

    I could show give you 20 new words a day but it will not make you a better writer, because if i find a new word for an old word it is still the old word. It is the way you deliver your words that captures an audience not the actual usage of the words, but the sculpting of the entire piece.

    Well that is my little rant over with and yeah......


    ~Torana
     

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