By Curtis K. Shelburne: Religion columnist
I love words. Perhaps I’ve not fallen into epeolatry yet, but it’s always fun and interesting to meet a new word. (Like “epeolatry,” which is “the worship of words.”)
One of the best places I’ve found to discover new words and interesting things about words of all sorts is through the free e-mail publication “A.Word.A.Day” offered by www.wordsmith.org. Then a graduate student in computer science, a fellow named Anu Garg created the site in 1994. His daily subscriber list has grown to almost 600,000!
I like that. It’s good to know that somewhere out there are still some folks, endangered species though they may be, who think that words and the thoughts and ideas they convey are important. Word-lovers tend to believe that our society not only needs the technical know-how to make things work and build great new gadgets, we need to know how to think and speak about where we’ve been and where we’re going. Even though we’re making excellent time on the trip, it might be nice to consider if we’re pointed in the right direction at a destination worth reaching. Words help us consider such things.
Today’s “Word of the Day” from Wordsmith.org is a particularly interesting one, but I’m afraid you’ll have a hard time slipping it into ordinary conversation down at the coffee shop.
Univocalic. (Pronounced “yoo-niv-uh-KAL-ik.”)
“From the Latin uni- (one) plus vocalic (relating to vowels), from vox (voice).”
Univocalic is “a piece of writing that uses only one of the vowels.”
Wordsmith gives an example of univocalic that uses only the vowel “e”: Seventh September. And they note that the longest one word univocalic is “strengthlessness.”
They also mention that according to Ed Park’s article in “Village Voice,” Canada’s best-selling poetry book ever was Christian Bok’s work, Eunoia. In the main portion of the book, each chapter used just a single vowel, producing sentences such as this: “Enfettered, these sentences repress free speech.”
If you’ve got a little extra time, you might try your hand at writing univocalic in just a sentence or two. It is difficilt, if nit ilmist imp . . . Oops. I probably shouldn’t say that.
Oh, well. Words are fascinating and univocalic is interesting stuff. But I’m thankful to have at my disposal a deep bucketful of words that use all the very fine vowels English makes available.
Still, univocalic is intriguing. “I think I’d writ it jist in fits” and “never get these endless sentences enfleshed.”
When God speaks, he uses many vowels all pointing to one Word, “Jesus,” and one word behind every letter of His Word, LOVE.