Utah is the 45th state admitted to the Union, and there is no state remotely like it.
July 27, 2012
In a recent study, Daniel Oppenheimer, a psychologist at Princeton, wanted to see if short words were more effective than long words.
(And you thought we aren't researching the more important things.)
He took a handful of writing samples and replaced the simple words with longer ones.
In short, he created the kind of writing by thesaurus that some business people and techies employ when they want to sound intelligent.
The result? As the language got more complex, the estimation of the intelligence of the authors decreased.
Oppenheimer titled the study:
"Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly."
We can only hope it was meant to be ironical. Sorry, funny.
But Oppenheimer’s findings make perfect sense when you think about it. How can you improve on short words?
Love. Sun. Fun. Home. Grass. Food. Mom. Dad.
Short words are the words we grew up with and first uttered. Oops, spoke.
Happy is probably the best two-syllable word. Or benign, according to Woody Allen, especially if you put an it's in front of it.
Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954, five years after it was awarded to William Faulkner.
Neither writer cared for each other.
Faulkner declared that Hemingway had "never been known to use a word that might send the reader to the dictionary."
"Poor Faulkner," Hemingway responded. "Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don't know the ten-dollar words? I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use."
Although both were great writers, one might have to side with Hemmingway on this. If the idea is to stir emotions, all those trips to the dictionary might get in the way.
Some long words come in handy. If you’re a lawyer, for instance, you can throw in a few to confuse us. Works every time.
“30 days to a more Powerful Vocabulary” is the classic if you want to learn a few long and unnecessarily long words.
It helped me understand what pusillanimous meant, when it was unexpectedly spoken, with great power, by Richard Burton in ”Look back in Anger.”
However, too many long words can lead to hipomonsteresquipedalophobia, which is the fear of reading or saying long words.
That's why, as a rule, it’s best to follow Winnie the Pooh, who said:
“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?”