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Feb 23rd 2017

The cure to lethologica

Charles Dickens resorted to caffeine after he was unable to come up with the right word to describe Pip's wretched feelings (after Estella left him out). Lethologica would be the inability to think of the right word (or expression), which could be the result of many things. Forgetfulness, if not the limited vocabulary. Let's not include the lack of knack to come up with new words, which authors tend to do while composing the draft of their written material. In the case of Dickens, he imagined the letters of the alphabet in a cereal bowl. He stared at it, thinking what would be the apt term to describe such a feeling. It won't be COMFOOZLED, which seemed too un-English to the ear.

If you happen to be an English major student suffering from lethologica, and you have a deadline to beat, then you can Google it. A minute at the most, yet you wonder if there would be another way. Keep your mobile phone out of the equation, as you're a serious student who might consider authorship as a career option. And it's not similar to the inability to think sharp (due to lack of sleep or pressure of the coursework). Here are some friendly tips:

Sleep it off. Your brain might be screaming for a break, but you may be unaware of it. Assuming that you manage your time well enough, then you can afford to lie down. Sleeping will guarantee a clear mind (after waking up), yet this is a luxury to many students. If there are several deadlines looming ahead of you, then don't panic right away. An upbeat, can-do attitude will help you think well during those pressing moments.

Pay attention to the written text. If you can't figure out the meaning the word, then read the previous sentences. Look at the succeeding paragraph. There's a high chance that the author will describe that word indirectly, if not in a subtle way. After all, literary analysis is about interpreting the obvious meaning, as well as the hidden one(s).

Ask your professor about it. Asking questions shows your interest in the subject matter, and clarifying about a certain word (or expression) reveals your eagerness to know more about the English language. It can be a rewarding experience even if the challenges may be too much for you. Keep in mind that you're not alone in this journey.

Spend more time in front of the computer. Social media is not mandatory while it would be impractical to learn useless information. The Internet will help you locate words you hardly use in daily conversation. Remember that it won't be nice to use the same word (or expression) often in your essay. It will prompt you to do an online research.

Read lots of books. There's no other source where you can learn new words and their usage. Archaic language is included here, even if you don't feel like using it. (There's a high chance that you'll be branded a snob.) A paper and pen must be within reach, as it will help you jot down those unfamiliar words (or expressions). There's no need to memorize it, as frequent use is the only to way to remember it. Create a document (and put it there).

If you don't have anything else to do, then why not try follow the above-mentioned suggestions. It will be an exercise, so it can be a fun thing. There's no excuse for not doing it.

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