E is for Etymology

By definition: Etymology [etəˈmäləjē], is  the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.
I’m a word nerd. I love words. I feel that a large vocabulary is a beautiful thing, and I weep over some of the words being admitted into the Oxford English Dictionary of late.
I was reading, actually reading (not memorizing), books before kindergarten. My mom loves to read, and imparted the fun and importance to me. She communicated with actions to her small child, that one of the best things in life is to be a constant reader. I think the reason I started early was through sheer will to be just like mom, to curl up in the armchair or on the corner of the couch with big glasses on, with a cup of tea or Suisse Mocha and just get lost in a book, surrounded, yet not bothered by, the activity of the family beside me. Now, at 40, I’m still waiting for this picture to really take shape. Most often, I’m usually found reading without my cheaters on (they are the lowest prescription, and I only got them recently), with no drink next to me, and sprawled out, not curled up.
All through school, I tested in the 99th percentile of the country in reading/writing/cognition and was recommended for advanced placement/skipping grades. My parents never accepted, though, which was a good decision, because I was so shy even with kids my own age, I can’t imagine how I would have fared being dropped into a classroom of older kids.
I took Latin in high school, because I knew that I was already fascinated with the origins of words, and my 8th Grade English teacher advised me to start Latin, and start early. I hated Latin. It was the most boring class taught by a teacher who did not want to teach. He wanted a job. He wanted us to write sentences out of our ancient textbook onto the board and ridicule us whenever we did so. I did not take a second year, I switched to Spanish, figuring my Portuguese background and Latin 1 knowledge would really help me learn this useful language. And it did. I took seven years of Spanish, including Spanish Cinema (a degree-level college course) and Spanish for Health Care Professionals. I am from a region with a huge Spanish-speaking population, and this decision has served me very well in my life.
I always wanted to be an editor. I wanted to be a book editor. I wanted to be the person who got to belly-flop into the “slush-pile” of unsolicited manuscripts, and wade happily for hours in search of a book to publish.
Sadly, this is not a whole job. This is an aspect of many (usually intern’s) jobs. So, no problem, I could work at the publishing house as a proofreader, and play in the manuscript pool as often as possible, right? Wrong. It never did work out that way. After college I took writing and proofreading jobs, but never landed at a book publisher. I did work in magazines, though.
Nowadays, most people think Microsoft Word is going to catch all of the mistakes and books have been published with grammar and spelling mistakes for as long as I can remember. Every book I own has dog-eared pages marking not favorite passages, but errors, as this is what I want to come back to when picking up this book again! I do this with my Kindle as well, I highlight the passage and bookmark the page. It is infuriating.
Now I have parlayed all of this experience into both writing and document/data management. It’s not nearly as fun, but it is certainly more lucrative.
Okay, this post is getting pretty wordy. The guidelines for the challenge state that these posts should be brief, so consider this the culmination of this post, here at 659 words. Eeeesh.
P.S. I’ve tried everything to fix the formatting of this post. I apologize for any difficulties reading it. Going off to hide in the corner now.
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9 thoughts on “E is for Etymology

    • I started reading early, too, and I remember being so excited when my dad got me a book called “Careers for Bookworms” back in the late 80’s. Still wishing I could be a slush pile reader, too… Nice to meet you, btw, and best of luck with the A to Z Challenge. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I took etymology in high school and Latin in college because I love words, too! My first Latin teacher (for two semesters) was AMAZING and so passionate. If you asked the meaning or root of a word and he didn’t know, he’d run down the hall to his office to get one reference book or another. Sadly, my last two semesters were taught by a frump, so I didn’t learn much and have forgotten pretty much all of it.

    I mark errors in books, too! It really pisses me off when a book published by a major publisher has really simple errors in it. I know people are only human and can’t catch everything, but *I* caught it, right?!?!

    – Allison
    http://www.allisonwrites.com

    Like

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