How much do I want to read more? 5/10
It seams this book is a search for the perfect words that capture the rich and infinite landscape of nature.
Just like poets are short on words to capture their feelings.
I agree it can be such a relief and pleasure to find the perfect match for words to convey emotions to the reader.
But now I'm rather oriented in a reality with no words at all. To look at the source directly, without any distortion.
This books lists several glossaries of forgotten words like museums do with lost art from the past.
I think language tends to unify, so I'm not really into archeology. We may loose some language's treasures of the past, but never the richness of nature right in front of us.
1/ The Word-Hoard
The ten following chapters explore writing so fierce in its focus that it can change the vision of its readers.
Ammil is a Devon term meaning ‘the sparkle of morning sunlight through hoar-frost’, a beautifully exact word for a fugitive phenomenon I have several times seen but never before been able to name.
Shetlandic has a word, af’rug, for ‘the reflex of a wave after it has struck the shore’; another, pirr, meaning ‘a light breath of wind, such as will make a cat’s paw on the water’; and another, klett, for ‘a low-lying earth-fast rock on the seashore’. On Exmoor, zwer is the onomatopoeic term for the sound made by a covey of partridges taking flight. Smeuse is a Sussex dialect noun for ‘the gap in the base of a hedge made by the regular passage of a small animal’;
‘Language is fossil poetry,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson.
I would not have guessed at the existence of quite so many terms for animal dung, from crottle (a foresters’ term for hare excrement) to doofers (Scots for horse shit) to the expressive ujller (Shetlandic for the ‘unctuous filth that runs from a dunghill’) and turdstool (West Country for a very substantial cowpat).
It is my hope (but not my presumption) that the words grouped here might in small measure invigorate our contemporary language for landscape.
‘Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind,’
I want people not just to think of “trees”, but of each individual tree, and each kind of tree.
Books, like landscapes, leave their marks in us.