Words we forget

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Words we forget

Post by Phil White » Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:27 pm

Does anybody else have specific words that they regularly forget? I don't mean outrageous words that you have only heard a couple of times and would probably only want to use a handful of times in your lifetime at most. Nor do I mean occasional temporary lapses of memory when a word eludes you. No, I mean individual, relatively commonplace words that you systematically forget.

I know that I have a handful of such words,, although I can only call two of them to mind at the moment.

If ever I speak about someone who can express themselves very well, I am absolutely aware of the fact that the word I want to use begins with the letter A, but for some reason I invariably end up using the word "eloquent" before, several minutes too late, the word "articulate" finally struggles into my consciousness from the gloomy corner of my memory that it has made its abode.

And another that I regularly need during the course of my translations and which is similar in meaning to "random" also begins with the letter A, and also appears to have the slippery skin of an eel when I try to grasp it. Fortunately, when translating, I have the time to delve into dictionaries and thesauruses, only to feel extremely annoyed that I appear to be completely incapable of remembering the word "arbitrary".

It is a bizarre phenomenon and, as I say, appears to affect only a very small number of words, and always the same ones.

In the second example, it may be primarily a translation issue, where German does not distinguish the two nuances, and "random" is more or less the standard translation. Be that as it may, however, the word "arbitrary" regularly fails to arrive at my tongue on time, even if I am not translating.

At the risk of people responding "no, you are just a freak," I wonder whether anybody else occasionally experience is the same phenomenon.
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: Words we forget

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:18 pm

If you include the names of actors, singer, films and books, then yes.

For some mysterious reason, I used to have a particular problem recalling the name of the actor Donald Sutherland -- until I was able to associate it with the name of his son Kiefer, whose name I (equally mysteriously) had no trouble recalling. Nowadays I don't need Kiefer's mnemonic crutch.

This example doesn't even scratch the surface of the peculiarities of the protean, mutable and slippery phenomenon which is my memory, which I know is afflicted by misperceptions, cognitive biases, suggestibility, ignorance, wishful thinking and the fact of getting older. Partly, I suspect it is my mind trying to create for me an artificially comfortable view of myself, constructed to a greater or lesser degree out of manipulated and manufactured recollections.

I am, of course, better at identifying such processes at work in others than in myself.

(And so is almost everyone else...)
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Re: Words we forget

Post by Phil White » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:26 pm

So that was "no", then?
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: Words we forget

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:12 am

Yes and no.
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Re: Words we forget

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:42 am

.. what was the question??

W
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: Words we forget

Post by Bobinwales » Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:26 pm

Does anybody else have specific words that they regularly forget?
.
Sorry, I can't remember.
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Re: Words we forget

Post by tony h » Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:53 pm

Absolutely.

One of the things I find odd is that the words differ between speaking and writing. In particular I can't dictate documents but I have to dictate speeches otherwise the words don't flow.
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With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: Words we forget

Post by Wizard of Oz » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:21 am

.. Phil since your post I have been conducting a sort of running record but to date I have not found any specific words that I constantly forget ..I am aware that I am finding it harder to remember less common words which then pop into my head 24 hours later with no specific stimulus .. and then as I rush to tell my Rhonda the lost word it takes a different road and is lost again ..

WoZ needing a WordNav device
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Re: Words we forget

Post by hsargent » Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:08 pm

My word is "Renaissance" Man. I was considering this question and could not think of the work and them Rick Steves' Travel Show just references the Renaissance.

For some reason my first thought is Cosmopolitan Man which is totally different.
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End of topic.
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