I love words. I love the way they rearrange and group together to change things. I love to arrange and rearrange them myself and I am a word-watcher. I notice and appreciate the way word-skilled people carve with them.
Words build and destroy; encourage and devastate; control and free. You can do a lot with words. I hope I am never without them. Words are my friends and like all exciting friends, they've bailed me out many times and they've landed me in trouble more times than I can count.
I'm intrigued with the way people who supposedly speak the same language can have a conversation and be totally in the dark, too.
When I first moved to Northern Wisconsin from Central Illinois, I had to learn a new dialect. "Come by me once, eh," meant "Please come here." Who knew?
When I moved to Appalachia I learned again. "I kindly just cut iverthang off," meant "I conserve electricity."
Friends from Australia were amazed when we asked them if they "shagged." Ooops. We meant danced.
And Brits! Well, one hardly knows where to begin. They don't know a torch from a flashlight, a chip from a fry, or fancy from like. And while the Aussies are often crude, the Brits think it's rude to come out and say what they mean. It's amazing that we aren't at war with them.
Where I grew up the word you could mean one person or several people. Up North multiple people were addressed as yous. In Appalachia it's you'ns. In the South it's ya'll. And using the wrong word can cause you to sound snooty, stupid, alien or any combination of those.
All this mumbo-jumbo, gobbledeegook, and falldarall just to make a point. Words are important. We must choose them with care. When we don't make sure that a word or phrase means the same thing to you as it does to someone else, we risk a great deal. We could ask someone to dance and end up in a most embarrassing situation.