The Scots have no fewer than 421 words for snow, I learned just the other day. (This amazing discovery was made, I found out, as part of a study at the University of Glasgow, in preparation for publishing an online Historical Thesaurus.)
There are, for example, flindrikins (slight snow showers), snaw-pouthers (fine driving snow), and spitters (small drops or flakes of wind-driven rain or snow). What’s the big deal? Weather has been a vital part of people’s lives in Scotland for centuries, and the number and variety of words show how important it was for Scottish ancestors to communicate precisely about the weather affecting their livelihoods, one lecturer at the University explained.
Having devoted the last ten years of my life to wordsmithing of blogs, I know firsthand that variety can be the spice, not only of life in general, but of business blog content. And, while I’d be hardpressed to find 421 different ways to express any one concept, I know it’s absolutely important to build up a substantial “bank” of words ready for “withdrawing” at any time.
“Just as really good mechanics can pull out the right tools to make a good engine even more powerful, good writers power up their writing with a strong vocabulary,” Time4writing.com says..
Gray Matter, the Elevate blog, explains that the larger your vocabulary, the easier it becomes to break away from old thought patterns. We view our thoughts as shaping our words, but our words shape our thoughts, too. A large vocabulary isn’t for showing off – it should be used to expand your thinking – and that of your readers. There’s just so much content out there – being boring is a certain path to the bottom of the heap when it comes to engaging readers and converting them to buyers. And with English, we have such a rich, rich language to work with, I tell writers.
One core “commandment” for us blog content writers is that everything we write must be about “them”, meaning the target readers. That means adjusting our communication style to appeal to different types of recipients. Changing communication styles in a blog gives us the chance to reach different types of readers, and that means varying our vocabulary.
While our personal “thesaurus” may not approach 421 different ways to describe snow, there’s a valuable lesson blog content writers can learn from the Scots – vary our vocabulary!