Wednesday, 27 January 2021

The Power of Words by Claire Fayers

 I learned a new word this week. Knerp. It's Dutch, and it means the sound your foot makes when you tread in fresh snow. This inevitably led to me spending several minutes stamping on the one millimetre of snow in my garden, shouting 'Knerp! Knerp! Knerp!' Words are fun.

I have always loved the sound of words. Ask me for my favourite word and it'll either be 'mellifluous' or the Welsh word for congratulations - 'llongyfachiadau.' I love all those clashing syllables. Then there are the lovely onomatopoeic words - shudder, slither, crispy, whoosh, warble. And puns. I wrote a five-line poem about a citrus fruit the other day. It was a lime-erick.

I'm guessing that if you're a reader or a writer, then you love words too. They are our raw material, the way our ideas get out of our brains. It's surprising how much emotion and memory one small word can hold.

Consider this list, which will forever conjure up 2020:

  • Lockdown
  • Self-Isolate
  • Furlough
  • Pandemic
  • Sanitiser
  • Facemask

But there have been good words, too.

  • Zoom
  • Unmute
  • Hygge
  • Support Bubble
  • Friendship
It makes me wonder what words will characterise 2021. The year is still young - let's spread a few good words around. I would like to see:
  • Recovery
  • Holiday
  • Anticipation
  • Celebration
and, of course,
  • Publication

What words would you like to see this year? 

Claire Fayers is the author of the Accidental Pirates series, Mirror Magic and Storm Hound. And a new book of Welsh legends and fairytales coming out in February. Website Twitter @clairefayers


Anne Booth said...

Thank you so much for this - I absolutely love the idea and task of thinking of positive words for 2021 - it is cheering me up already.

Sue Purkiss said...

Nice post! How about: kindness, renewal, reset, friendship?

Nick Garlick said...

This is a lovely post. It made me laugh though, because I've lived in the Netherlands for 30 years and I've never once heard the word 'knerp'. My wife *is* Dutch and she had only a vague recollection of it and had to look it up to be sure. So thank you, Claire, for adding a word to our vocabulary.