TLC Blog

Love literacy with unusual words #2

by Nina Jackson on April 23, 2015

I REALLY do love unusual words

I’m not ‘posh’ but I’m proud of being Welsh, and Welsh is my first language. Learning English and using the language correctly has been a bit of a challenge at times. I love to listen to people speak and when they use complicated and difficult words I am fascinated by what they might actually mean. I guess it’s curiosity and wonder. So, I delve into a dictionary or I search online to see exactly what the words mean.

Because of my curiosity around complex words, I have had a fascination for a while now about the more unusual words in the English language. I think it’s because I feel at times that my down to earth, plain and simple use of the english language doesn’t always represent what I’ve achieved academically and within my world of work. My social oracy is very Welsh and my professional oracy is well, a little more polished let’s say, but it could be better. However, I have no intention of speaking with marbles in my mouth to get rid of my Welsh accent, that will stay forever.

So, why do I love unusual words?

They might be unusual to me or ordinary to you, but one thing I know for sure is that when I’ve done this activity with children, they are not only fascinated by the sound of these words but with the pronunciation too. It becomes their curiosity and wonder too. It’s a particularly good way of getting them to do some creative writing with at least a few unusual words, because they tell me it makes them sound all ‘posh and that!’

What a hook into Literacy!

I try and learn new and unusual words everyday and fit it into conversations with people. Although today’s conversation beginning with ‘Pocket the Passion’ as a pedagogical tool with @ICTEvangelist

So, I’d like to share with you my 3 favourite unusual words for today, and hope that you can finish it off with a 4th, or more – if  you’re up for a challenge?

1. Gelogenic


a. Laughter-provoking.

As you line up children to have a class photo, you look through the camera lens and exclaim: ‘Ah Johnny, would you mind standing slightly in front of Jade? You’re a little more gelogenic, I think.’

2. Afflatus

n. A sudden rush of divine or poetic inspiration. Whilst in the staffroom one day, you may just jump out your seat and say ‘Listen everyone, I think I’ve just had an afflatus‘ – then you can share your poetic moment ! If you do get one, get someone to capture it on video won’t you, because it might cause a gelogenic experience.



3. Stentorophonic

a. Speaking very loudly. And we’ve all had a few stentorophonics in our classrooms I’m sure.


I think it only fitting that I share a Welsh word with you today as well so that you can understand that learning new words can be both beautiful, curious and full of wonder.


Hedd is peace or tranquility. You will often hear people saying ‘hedd perfaith hedd’ which is ‘eace perfect peace’, but when it’s spoken in Welsh it has much more emotion.


This is Hedd Perfaith Hedd and I can see it everyday when I am home.


So, for now I hope that you will consider using unusual words to hook in your learners, because from experience they love the more complex and unusual words than they do everyday literacy – it can be bad if they like a challenge can it.

Here’s a little Welsh invitation for you…..because that’s what Gwahoddiad means.

Do let me know your thoughts won’t you?

Over and out – Ninja x




Nina JacksonLove literacy with unusual words #2

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  • Kelly DaylightExplorer - July 18, 2015 reply

    Lovely post! I know exactly what you mean about learning new words but I have a terrible memory for them so I can never remember them in the long term! Thanks for sharing.

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