The vague nature of a word

The English language has so many descriptive words that describe a person, event or feeling. This blog post will concentrate on how you describe a person and how different words mean many things.

I always find there are many ways to describe someone whether it be on the physical appearance like beautiful or handsome. To their personality with descriptive words like funny, rude and kind. As we all know there are many more.

However the one word that I feel we overuse and can be vague is the word NICE! For example how someone is a nice person.

The definition for nice is as follows as an adjective: “giving pleasure or satisfaction; pleasant or attractive”. The origins of the word nice are as follows: “Middle English (in the sense ‘stupid’): from Old French, from Latin nescius ignorant, from nescire not know. Other early senses included ‘coy, reserved’, giving rise to ‘fastidious, scrupulous’: this led both to the sense ‘fine, subtle’ (regarded by some as the ‘correct’ sense), and to the main current senses.” Sourced from Oxford Dictionaries Online:

So after reading that definition, the question is what is a nice person?

Many could say a nice person is someone who is amicable, friendly, kind and caring. So why don’t they say that instead? Reasonable to ask is it not? Or is that nice is seen as a general term for all these things. But the person commenting on say their friend is lazy in description or is just being nice? See the problem I am examining, nice is vague as it could mean one thing in what I have already mentioned but there could be another reason.

The answer to simply be polite. Horrible when you put in that context that the only reason you would describe someone as nice is just to be polite when maybe asked for an opinion. In that case you might as well talk about the nice weather.

Personally it is something I have been described of in the past and recently. For me I want more depth then one small word which sounds okay but has many different connotations in different circumstances. I would be worried if someone who I had known as a friend came up with the word nice, I might feel a little disappointed. As then I would feel do they really know me? Then again you might feel satisfied with that response.

In another circumstance of meeting an acquaintance and it was the first time you met them and you said they seemed nice. This situation derives back to the definition of a pleasant person. This seems acceptable to say the word nice.

In conclusion the word nice is vague nowadays, but like all words there is a way to use them and timing. Saying a nice person of an acquaintance is okay to do. But someone you call a friend maybe think again of what nice means to you and how it applies and instead say that word instead.


Writing to convince

Recently I decided to start writing a novel. A story that has been whirling around in my mind for a while, so I thought I would give it a shot. The problem is not the story but the characters I am writing.

In my mind I know the strengths and weaknesses and even the dark side to them, bit like us all in a way. But the problem I have is making them convincing and reliable. Also relatable to people in an everyday situation. I am scared in a way to make them too much like myself. I am aware a writer puts something of themselves into a story, whether from a situation to a character aspect. But could you bare too much of yourself in a piece of writing.

In a way it is similar to poetry. A poem reflects how you feel about something, someone or an entire event such as a season. A poem can also bare a writers soul as it shows just how they feel something, but not always why.

The why is a safety for the writer. Even in a novel the why of why would the character do that. Or why that situation? Only the writer or the poet knows.

In my opinion all art is like this, even a painting. It is painted for a purpose, but over time the why or the purpose is lost. The best example is the painting by Leonardo Da Vinci of The Mona Lisa. It is a painting of mystery because of the speculation of why was it painted. Who was it? All these questions converse into all creative means.

The answer is that only the artist, writer, musician, painter knows why they are doing it and what it is about. Rather then just the shallow of it was done in a time period. But the true layered reason of the purpose behind it is lost, as we can all write a story, song or paint a picture. The value it holds is the key question that sometimes is never answered.

A landscape is never the same

Recently when looking at my family tree I have been intrigued at where they lived. Looking at the census’ and seeing what street names there are on the documents and using google maps to locate them.

After a few tries I have had success, but with many I could not find them on a modern map. Thus I decided to research old ordinance maps to see if I could get a better idea of where certain streets were. In this avenue I had a lot of luck. Looking specifically at a map between 1890-1913 I managed to find the streets I was seeking. I was happy at finding them, but it seemed bittersweet.

Upon overlaying the old map to the modern one, I found old streets were replaced with car show rooms and large supermarkets. I was also surprised in a way at how much green space there was with mills, halls, collieries, tanneries and the ever important public house situated in a group of houses, where the community spirit seemed to thrive.

Looking at the contrast it was with a little sadness knowing how much a place can change. Not that I am bothered about changes, but more with what was replaced with where the houses used to be, including a motorway which is obviously useful for transport. The motorway replaced the railway. As Victorian and Edwardian times lived, thrived and depended on the trains and the links they had from town to cities all over the UK.

I understand the times of change but it just shows you actually don’t know what somewhere is like really till you compare the old and new. What is your normal might not be the normal in a 100 years time. Odd when you think of it like that. Just shows how a landscape is always changing and never standing still, with the updates in construction and technology, a place cannot stand still. No matter how much we want it to stay the same.