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New Words 2

October 18, 2013

 Some of you may remember my blog entry of 2nd December 2012 on the subject of New Words. It was all about the need for new words to take care of concepts which lack words to describe them. A book I’ve been reading recently reminded me of it: Norman Rush’s Mating. In it, the unnamed narrator and her lover Nelson Denoon play a game which they call ‘Filling in the White Spaces in the Dictionary’, where they invent new words for unworded concepts. The example given is skreel, which means the noise made by a police whistle – as the narrator says, this can currently only be referred to by a two-word phrase, shrill blast. I like that. Does anyone have any other concepts that lack words to describe them?

PS My review of Mating is in the Independent on Sunday this Sunday, 20th October.

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