Judge Dogood’s Vocabulary Lesson

Judge Dogood’s Vocabulary Lesson

Dogood was invited to Maranda County to talk to language teachers on creative ways of teaching vocabulary.

“With new words being coined every day how are we expected to master the core vocabulary?”  Dogood introduced his presentation.

“The English language has many words, with many unpredictable spellings and pronunciations. Just when you think you have mastered the pronunciations of words starting with ‘ch’, you come across words like chinook, chimera, chacma baboon. How are they pronounced and what do they mean?

“With all the 21st Century distractions, the job of the language teacher has just become impossible. To say that you are expected to be imaginative, creative and resourceful is not even stating the obvious. That is why we have to use short stories, flash fiction and anecdotes to teach specific vocabulary items.

“Perhaps the lexicographers at Oxford Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, and any other place would make our work easier if they had many entries like let’s say, ‘haboob’.  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, haboob is a violent dust storm or sandstorm especially of Sudan.

“That is an easy word  to remember and pronounce. A word that easily excites the imagination. And the sounds and syllables are easy on the vocal organs. This word has immense memorable possibilities which are not far off from the meaning of causing a storm. In fact you can consider each meaning as a storm of some kind. It is the type of word that can inspire many learners to fall in love with morphology, etymology and lexicography, see:

her+boob: a woman’s asset

ha! boob: surprise at seeing one

huh! boob: disbelief and confusion at seeing one

“Wouldn’t your work be easier if all the words you have to learn or teach were like that?

“Some words, however, require a short story to come alive. Others, might even force you to bite your tongue as you try to pronounce them correctly–discombobulate. For today’s session we will use the word “insidious”.

“In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, insidious means awaiting a chance to entrap: treacherous; harmful but enticing:seductive; having a gradual and cumulative effect :subtle; of a disease :developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent. A quick glance and one can see  the word inside inside of insidious.

“That is the dictionary meaning. Is it memorable enough? Let us try an insidious short story. We will borrow one from the Bible.

“Abraham the patriarch of our faith and a father of a great nation had to wait for 25 years  after the promise  before siring an heir.  In between he wavered in his faith.

“Lot’s tent faced Sodom. As he left his tent, his first visual was always Sodom. When the time came for him to part with his uncle, he naturally chose Sodom because the liking and desire had grown on him insidiously.

“But the real insidious elephant in the room is that matter of Ishmael. How did Sarah convince Abraham?

“She might have gone for the direct approach and asked him. And Abraham being a guy had responded with, ‘I thought you would never ask’. Before either could blink, or even Sarah could reconsider,  there was a boy named Ishmael.

“Or may be and most likely, she went for the insidious approach which could have taken years. It is an approach that requires patience and persistence.  It is as effective as lethal. Many people who have been victims of the approach cannot fully explain what happens. Usually it starts with a person swearing loudly, “Me, me, me, I cannot do such a thing.” As they say the words, the right hand index finger is rhythmically pecking the words into their heart. Then a few years later, after the deed is done, “I do not know  what happened.” “I do not know…”

“So, Sarah knowing very well Abraham was a man of strong faith might have decided to go for this approach. At the most unexpected time, for instance, when serving him food, she would say the right words. And we are talking about the kind of meal that was prepared when the angels visited .

Abraham would say, “The food is good, it is very delicious.” In between bites and while pecking at it for emphasis, he might have been still talking about how delicious the food was.

Sarah says, “Hagar helped me.”

When in the bedroom, Sarah would say, “You know, Hagar is such a wonderful woman. She is beautiful, she is hardworking and she is an Egyptian. She can help us with the small matter of a son.”

The rest is history.


Martin Mburu

Judge Dogood © is a fictional character created by Martin Mburu

One thought on “Judge Dogood’s Vocabulary Lesson

george kimaniPosted on  8:49 pm - Apr 20, 2022

good voca’s or is it a new word for vocabulary.

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