Terms of art, special vocabularies: "I would turn to you for a good, working definition of trope, synecdoche, or metonymy." Actually, I would find it difficult to give you definitions or these terms. Oh, I could look them up in the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics, sure, but I'd much rather find examples to present to you. Not that I don't think one can make meaningful generalizations--it's just that, to my mind, examples carry more force. (I've always thought that the various sub-divisions of metaphor, for example, invented by critics are mostly hair-splitting.) Birds: My vocabulary for birds is not terribly large, though I keep a Petersen's Field Guide on the coffee table & a pair of binoculars nearby. I can identify the common species that visit our yard, but my friend Angie has a vastly larger vocabulary of birds--she can identify warblers, distinguishing between the many, many species of this small & nervous bird, often identifying them by their song. This is a prodigious act of naming, I think. Poetry: When I was in grad school my teacher Sandra McPherson gave our poetry workshop an assignment to discover a specialized vocabulary--plumbers' jargon, airplane parts, etc. & build a poem around it. It's a way of entering another domain of language use & I've given the assignment myself.


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