This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Sunday Rest: dactylology. Word Not To Use Today.

I used, long ago, to be a bell-ringer. English bell-ringing is a scientific intellectual exercise (as well, of course, as being a physical one) and as it turned out I hadn't got either the brains or the muscles for it.

I do not understand why, but more or less every Englishman knows, and is proud to know, the scientific term for bell-ringing, which is campanology. Sadly, faced with a bell-ringer, very few Englishmen can resist showing off their knowledge. So, they'd say (the more self-aware of them trying not to smirk) you're a campanologist. And I'd smile weakly, agree, and edge towards the door. 

Because, you see, I was a ringer. A bell-ringer, if you like, to distinguish me from bird-ringers, but campanologist was way, way too pompous for anything with which I wanted to be associated.

The same is true, I would suggest, of the word dactylology. Though it describes a very fine and sophisticated means of communicating with people who can't hear, the use of the term sign language will make you look, in ordinary circumstances, much less of a dork.

File:Sign language V.svg

Sunday Rest: datylology. The Greek word daktulos means finger.

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