Some words are useful, like dog and tea, and some words are really nice, like hope and bonfire. Some words are pretty and frivolous, like petticoat and jubilee.
I’m not talking about what the words actually mean. It’s the sound that makes them workaday or pretty.
Working words feel short, monosyllabic, direct. The tongue doesn’t roll around much in the mouth. Such words have no wet softness to avoid brutalism.
Say “cake” or “bag”. Such utterances are like modernist architecture, and what you say is what you get!
Say “bungalow” and the labial rolling of the tongue makes it worth lingering over a little. It is, perhaps, worth noting that this word was borrowed, or stolen, from India, and so has the suppleness and curve of the sub-continent, rather than the pragmatic clean lines of northern Europe.
But some words, the lexical crème de la crème, as it were, are just extravagantly beautiful. Each of them is a poem, so short and evocative that they make Japanese haiku over-written and in need of a good editor.
Palindromic. Indefatigable. Emollient. Lanolin. Fallopian. Deodorant. Subliminal.
Interestingly, a lot of them seem to be connected to cleanliness. Or biology. Certainly, the letter L seems to play a part.
But I think my favourite, because it combines the tongue and a wonderful, monosyllabic functionality, is “yes”.
So I need to say “Yes” to as many things as I can, before mortality comes along with its final and eternal “NO”.