Inspired by Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks I’m building up a bit of a personal lexicon of fabulous words. The word hoard will focus on strong, single words with the ability to shape our sense of self and our sense of place.
Macfarlane argues that words can act as topograms – tiny poems that conjure scenes in a single word.
‘Language is fossil poetry,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1844.
‘Without a name made in our mouths, an animal or a place struggles to find purchase in our minds or our hearts.’ writes Tim Dee
I’d go further and argue that our essential sense of self is undone if we lack the language to articulate, express and animate it.
There are two distinct strands to my word trawl:
underbath – a Derbyshire dialect-based list of words from the land beneath our feet
screed – literally a narrow strip of anything, especially land, however in this context it’s a narrow list of words, words that have caught my attention or piqued my interest.