She has a way with words.


I like words.

When Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes fame died, they called him a “curmudgeon”, a bad-tempered or surly person.  Ever since then, I’ve been trying to use curmudgeon in a conversation.  I haven’t found a good way to casually slip it in.  But I will someday.

I like when words roll right off your tongue.  Words like “onomatopoeia” and “lackadaisical” are slippery fish to handle.  I feel so smart when I can toss one of these babies into a sentence like it was nothing.

I like words, but I suck at spelling.  I am of the first generation to use computers.  I was raised with Spell Check for words and calculators for math, so I’m a moron in both subjects. Now that I’m an English teacher I realize that it’s not entirely my fault.  I blame the “schwa”.  If you don’t know what a schwa is then you likely were never taught phonetics in Elementary reading class.  Because of schwa, no one can tell the difference between any of the vowels in an unstressed syllable.  If you can’t hear the difference, how can you spell it?  So I’m sure that “Hooked on Phonics” is a scam.

There are some words that I misspell regularly.  Words like tongue, tomorrow, vacuum, dilemma, definitely, furniture, curriculum, congratulations, and jealous are forever underlined red when I click my trusty Spell Check.  When I was a Freshman in college I worked in a bakery.  Every time I needed to write “Congratulations” in frosting on a cake I would write in on a piece of scrap paper first so I wouldn’t mess up someone’s sheet cake.  I understand Winnie the Pooh when he says that his spelling is a little “wobbly”.  Mine is too.

It’s true, I like words, but I’m seriously thankful that I’m not learning English as a second language.  I think I might give up.  Whenever I go through a fast food drive-thru and hear a foreign accent over the speaker I think two things:  First of all, who was the cruel manager that scheduled that poor person to work the hardest job in the world for a non-native speaker; and second of all, I want to applaud that dear soul for making such a herculean effort to understand English spoken through a crappy intercom system.  I doubt I could do that in Spanish without sprinkling my speech with expletives every now and then.  That would most definitely turn me into a curmudgeon.

About amamiot

My family and I are missionaries in Costa Rica. Before that we lived in Mexico and before that we came from Minnesota. I am a teacher, an artist, a "journaler", a quilter, a cooker, a baker, a hostess, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I like reading and watching movies (ehem, and quoting movie lines). I would love to be in a Jane Austin movie but I don't know how to ballroom dance or play Whist.

2 responses »

  1. Again! Huray or is it huraw? I’m cursed with the same deflection or is it infection. Anyway, I really loved this one because I too seem to be cut from the same mohair itchy fabric of sucky spelling. And of all things our parents at least appear to be very good at it. 🙂

    I love this post because I actually relate so much to it. Well okay, I’m not an English teacher, nor a mom, but well, I get the part about being a word smith despite have spelling skills that are less than stellar.

    Like your sister posted recently on FB, about her long standing love affair with her old friend Mr. Onomasticon, I too have often turned to that source to help me on my life’s journey. Because I love good words too.


    • If you ever read any of the original documents of the founding fathers you’ll see that they just spelled things any way they wanted… and sometimes even used a different spelling for the same word a few times within the same document. I bet they would have been sent to the Gifted and Talented program in school… but I still misspell genius 9 times out of 10.

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