your gob will be smacked

Thursday, January 26

One of my classes this semester is on 20th Century Literature, so I was doing some reading today around the subject of 'modernism'. During this reading I came across a brilliant word. It is not an English word. It is a German word. This word is... (but wait! I will now withhold revelation of this this word for a little while in order to create a feeling of suspense in you, my reader... cue the tense music!)

The thing about dictionaries of literary terms is that one definition tends to lead you onto about seventeen other related ones. For example, the definition of ‘metaphor’ directs you on to other terms such as 'figure of speech’, ‘idiomatic phrases’, ‘simile’, ‘catachresis’ and so on. Today, the definition of ‘modernism’ led me on to the term ‘alienation effect’. And it was here that I came across the word. It was in brackets, it was in italics, it read (...are you ready? *Pulls curtain to reveal the word):
Ha ha! How fantastic is that! I’m not going to hazard a shot at trying to pronounce it. I just liked how it looks and was staggered by how many consonants are crammed inside its eighteen letters.
(p.s. if my somewhat unsubtle and rather ineffective suspense-manufacturing built up a sense of expectation in you that was disappointed by this word: sorry! I recognise extreme consonants are not exciting to everyone.)
(p.p.s. pictures are, once again, from: Marc Johns)


  1. I read this and couldn't help remembering that one of MY favourate words is: solipsism/solipsistic! I wonder what that says about me...

  2. Oh, I like that word also. It feels nice to say.

  3. Haha how is 'Verfremdungseffekt' even a word?! I agree it's brilliant though. I loved the dramatic lead up to it too. Never underestimate the power of tense music ;) xxx

  4. Ha ha, thanks :) And I know... I admire all those who can actually pronounce it! x


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