Friday, 14 March 2008

Word of the day - Wortschatz

A Schatz is a treasure (Schatz can also mean "darling" as in my treasure)
Wort is word.
A Wortschatz is literally a word treasure or a treasure of words. It's not a dictionary but rather a vocabulary. Linguistically it's the German term that can be used for a thesaurus or book of synonyms.
I love the idea of a treasury of words, each one with a precious meaning to be used for just the right thing. I also like the idea of unlocking the treasury to try and find the right word.
When I was a child my mother would often talk about Palgrave's Golden Treasury which was not a thesaurus but a book of English poetry and lyrics. I suppose in a way it is a celebration of poetic vocabulary.
Aynyway, use your words carefully they're precious things.