This discussion forum was inspired by my high school English classes where we were assigned to write three sentences using our weekly vocabulary words. The theory was that if you could use the word in three sentences, you owned the word and would be able to call upon it for the SATs as well as in daily conversation. Many years later, I was working at a law firm during the summer, and met a precocious high school sophomore who was in the throes of studying for the SATs. We implemented a system of three words a day to be used in three sentences, and she would pop into my office randomly, blurt out her sentence and then we would both go back to our work until she had the next usage.
Years later after I was well into my legal career, and she had successfully graduated from Dartmouth, we renewed our "Word of the Day" ("wotd") exercises, although now we only had to use it in one sentence. From my vantage point, the exercise gradually morphed into something more interesting for me. In law, we are taught that there are no true synonyms, so it became my duty to explore the subtle differences of usage of words we thought we knew, based in part on the wotd offerings and some more erudite conversations with my friend.
As you'll learn in the coming postings, I'm an insurance defense litigator with a penchant for statutory analysis and a professional musician. I use as my daily source http://www.dictionary.com/wordoftheday/, often referred to as "Doctor Dictionary" or "DD" since that's who the emails indicate is the sender. Occasionally, I take outside submissions of comparison words. The only rule I have is that all words must be English. All phrases, hyphenations, slang, and foreign words will be ignored.
I hope you will find this discussion as intriguing, insightful, and, at times, inane as I do. And now on to the word comparison which gave me the title for this forum:
Parlance v. Vernacular.
April 12, 2016 Update
I am alive and well, and nearly ready to resume this blog after a long hiatus. I will attribute this in large part to OED not being available free online, and therefore, the nuisance of having to get out the really heavy books and use the magnifying glass just got to me, and from there it was a slippery slope what with moving and the job and moving again and the job again.
In the intervening 7.5 years, a lot has changed. I practice as a freelance legal ghost writer (civil motion and appellate practice, commercial lease drafting) and I provide litigation support as necessary attendant to the motion and appellate practice (oral argument, discovery). My friend is now married with two children and much less time for wotd exercises than I. And Doctor Dictionary is now just Dictionary.com, but we'll still call it DD for continuity. And some things do not change. I am still a professional musician, I love statutory analysis from alcoholic beverage licensing laws to zoning regulations, and I think I will always sympathize with the defendant's side of the v. since that was how I first came to be introduced to law.
Thank you for your continued readership and comments. Let the analysis recommence with the forthcoming:
Pertinent v. Relevant