“Once Upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – fading away like water on a stone. The words were those that children used to name the natural world around them: acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker – gone! Fern, heather, kingfisher, otter, raven, willow, wren…all of them gone! The words were becoming lost: no longer vivid in children’s voices, no longer alive in their stories.”
I have a book at home called The Lost Words and it is a gorgeous spell book. This is the excerpt on the back sleeve. “…When the most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. Acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter and willow. The words were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these lost words were replaced by attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions — the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual — became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world. In response, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a “spell book” that would conjure back twenty of these lost words, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren. By the magic of word and paint, they sought to summon these words again into the voices, stories and dreams of children and adults alike, and to celebrate the wonder and importance of everyday nature….”
If you are interested in reading more about this beautiful book here is a link. So with this in mind, one of the sketches that I will be asking my students to complete will be creating an acrostic poem and drawing its being for a “lost” natural being that they could not part with in this world… I chose a tree -)))
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook Art Plus Large
4 thoughts on “:: The Lost Words ::”
Just a note to let you know that I have a copy of ‘The Lost Words’ – a beautiful book that I cherish. Thanks for bringing it to a wider audience. I hope to see you at this year’s Squarefoot exhibition. Unfortunately, I did not make the cut this year but plan to drop by anyway to see the artwork and renew my acquaintance with those artists I exhibited with for two years. Will try to submit again next year. See you then!
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Hello Elke — I did not submit for the Square Foot exhibit this year as I had some health issues… happily they are past -))) You know this book? Isn’t it wonderful? I am planning a project for my students based on the idea… thanks for commenting Elke -)))
I am a tree hugger and a tree woman, don’t climb anymore, still evaluating green management trees and their health benefits in urban areas with my telescope and binoculars. I’ve been active amongst the first Montreal team to follow Brundtland. School parks, students making their designs at grade3 so to have them realize the project by the end of the sixth grade. Environmental highways with the adopt a tree program from St Louis. In the missing names of nature, I recognize the house and the holder. And yes they are becoming rare words.
I’m touched by your sensitivity and thank you for going forward with your living tree.
Aménagement, foresterie urbaine
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Ah thanks Elaine — we think the same as I am a tree admirer and I consider them to beings and not « its ». Thank you!!!