- For Teachers
In American cartoon-The Simpons, the long missing grandma of Lisa's suddenly went back, everyone was very pleased. The grandma and Lisa sat side by side on the doorstep and talked to each other happily. They shared a lot of similarities.
Grandma: You know I feel like I have an instant rapport with you.
Lisa (with an admiring surprise): You used the word of "rapport".
Why did Lisa feel surprised that her grandma used "rapport"? Is it big or wonderful?
Welcome to the forums. Thank you for your help. Yes, the grandma of Lisa's refers to Homer Simpson's mother. I think your answer is close to the context and my previous assumption but I couldn't make myself clear about this.
Homer and his wife are both high-school educated. Do Western schoolchildren not learn this word in school? Could you please enumerate some words that Homer might not use?
Enumerate there are hundreds of thousands. In any medium-sized dictionary, of say 80,000 words, Homer could be expected to use fewer than half. In the OED, he might know about one word in 25.
A good one I heard yesterday - Raymott could check this, it's in the OED - is "onomatomania" (the annoyance one feels at not being able to find the right word).
onomatomania n. [compare French onomatomanie (1885 in Charcot), Italian onomatomania (1834) and earlier ONOMAMANIA n.]
(a) irrational fear of a particular word; frustration at being unable to think of an appropriate word; (b) an obsession with or extreme love of names.
1892 New Sydenham Soc. Lexicon, *Onomatomania, morbid dread of some word; intense mental anguish at the inability to recall some word or to name a thing. 1919 Proc. Classical Assoc. 16 28 Within the narrow compass of the primitive cell..onomatomania runs riot.
Also, there are some folks who think you're being haughty or snobbish if you use out-of-the-ordinary vocabulary words when a simpler word will suffice. For example, my husband (who has a university degree and an ample vocabulary) rolls his eyes at me and pokes fun when I say "Where would you like to eat tonight? We have a plethora of restaurants from which to choose." He'll adopt a very precise, British-type accent and reply "'Plethora'?! Well, pardon me while I go play the grand piano!" (Only it sounds like "grahnd piahno" when he says it.)
I don't roll my eyes at people who say "plethora", so long as they get the stress right.
Thank you for your responses.
You couple are adorable and enviable. But it seems you are always at "disadvantage" from restaurant choosing to watermelon eating. Did you ever poke fun back at him?
And I don't really follow the joke : "'Plethora'?! Well, pardon me while I go play the grand piano!" I know "plethor" means "many" and "an excess of blood". Could you explain why your husband said that?
And both my former Chinese and English teachers encourage us to use small words in our writing. What do you think of this in English writing? Thanks!
Back to the Simpsons - the Simpson's Grandma would not be your typical user of the word, rapport. That's why the child is in surprise and admiration of her grandmother using that particular word.