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Get Edgy with Edge-words

Updated: Apr 10

I continue to be astonished yet also pleasantly intrigued that although I’ve been an English teacher for 14 years, run a language school, and love reading and writing, I regularly encounter English words whose meaning I’m uncertain about.

I call these words “edge-words”, as they are at the periphery (or edge) of our knowledge. They occasionally come up naturally while reading or listening, yet are also unfamiliar to many, if not most, English users. They are, as it were, on the borderlands of our comprehension, neither so common as to be widely known or easily used, nor so uncommon as to be dismissed as unimportant.

Many years ago, in an effort to rectify this confounding state of affairs, I began a project of tracking every edge-word I’d come across in a spreadsheet wherein they now number approximately 650!

But my ever-expanding list of words has not only improved my vocabulary, it’s also turned into a fun social activity with friends and family.

Most notably, some friends and I started a vocab club in which we quiz one another on various edge-words we’ve encountered recently. Our plan is to get leather jackets emblazoned with “Vocab Club” in bejeweled font!

This winter, one of the interns helping Lingobility, Amna, had a great idea: she suggested that we post a word-of-the-day graphic to boost our social media presence and spread the word, pun intended, about Lingobility’s focus on stimulating and fun language learning.

I then had a light-bulb moment of inspiration! What if Lingobility’s word-of-the-day has a unique twist: edge-word of the day?

And that’s the project that we are commencing today! Every week from Monday to Friday you’ll get to see the edge-words that I’ve been collecting for years. Each one will be presented with its definition and a (sometimes) funny example! In the comments, you can participate by creating your own sentences with the word: the science of language learning indicates that creating sentences with new words is the best way to learn them.

We’ll be posting them daily on our Twitter as well as posting one weekly edge-word on our other social media.

Whereas the gaps in my vocabulary could have been a source of embarrassment, I’ve embraced them as a fun and engaging opportunity to learn while also improving my ability to write and speak with more precision.

We encourage you to join Lingobility’s Twitter Vocab Club, which you can follow here, and learn along with us each day.

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