Saturday, July 24, 2010

Words I hate part 1

I find it annoying when reading a short story and the author uses the word "akimbo." Why does it bother me? That the word isn't used in everyday speech? Why should literature follow the register of common speech? But that's just it--the narrative is usually written in an everyday educated register, the narrative presents itself as natural speech, so that "akimbo" becomes as jarring as if they had revivified a word of forgotten Chaucerian. It creates a Brechtian alienation effect--one is absorbed in the mimesis then this word reminds us we are reading a constructed text of an author, who probably learned to use this word in a creative writing class.

Another word I hate to see in fiction. "Situation." Too overused on television and movies.

"Energy." Unless reading a physics text.

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