February 18, 2014

Perambulating and Ruminating and Perusing

Dear M,

One of the remarks that most Indian writers receive when they display their work to others (especially to readers better-versed with the language) is about our choice of vocabulary.

I have received that comment, and I have seen someone else being given similar feedback.

It has something to do with our learning of the foreign language, and our 'perusal' of it. Apparently we use elaborate words where simple, straightforward verbs would suffice; and we are too ordinary where flowery stuff could be afforded. It is not easy to cross that hurdle, without knowing exactly what they are talking about. For instance, I know writers who are fond of words like ruminating and flabbergasted.

Surely you have heard of this Dr Johnson statement: "While I was perambulating in the nocturnal hours of the previous day through the combined latitudes and longitudes, I spied a rustic, whom I interrogated and with the rotary motion of the cudgel in my hand, I made his perpendicularity into horizontality."

It is important to know when to make a statement like that, and when to say that in the simplest terms.


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1 comment :

  1. yes, could not agree any lesser with you...a plot is often lost in too much of literary decorations.