The pen is mightier than the sword. -Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Such truer words have never been spoken err… written. Words… their meanings, their placement, their usage… words play a huge role in how we define ourselves and our society. With only words, great people are brought down by rumor and small nations are informed that the rest of the world doesn’t like you very much so stop making those darn nuclear weapons (nanny-nanny-boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo if you don’t).
Sticks and stones may break our bones but damnit, words can be lethal.
But how does one measure the importance of a single word? When you break down language into its smallest coherent piece, The Word, how do you judge how important a single word is?
One website has proposed a answer and it is a simple one. You only need to look at how often a word appears in the texts and documents of a language in comparison to its alphabetical brethren.
WordCount.org is the online extension of the British National Corpus, a group dedicated to the collection of written and spoken words. BNC has samples of over 100 million words. WordCount.org shows the results for only 86,800 of the most popular words.
While WordCount.org has been around for awhile, it just dawned on me today to investigate how important words related to gardening are to society, using this particular measurement.
‘Garden’ ranks 904th. It ranks merely 2 positions behind the word ‘potential‘, making me wonder if the world of words has a sentient understanding of the universe in that the potential always comes right before the actual garden.
Garden also ranks a scant 5 spots behind ‘husband‘, proving that your spouse is more important than your garden, but only just.
Apparently though, some parts that make up a garden are more important than the garden itself. ‘Rose‘ comes in at a rank of 897th.
I am not sure how I feel bout the fact that ‘garden’ is more important than ‘sex‘ (1236th), I always thought they would be a bit closer together, though I am not quite sure which should be ahead.
It may take our egos down a few notches to know that we, the people who tend to our gardens, are hanging way out in right field. ‘Gardener’ ranks at a measly 8497th, right ahead of ‘strains‘ and ‘obstacles‘ and, a bit shamefully, right behind ‘disco‘. We really need to work on that, people. Disco is a dance fad from the 70s for goodness sake. I really think the the National Garden Association or one of the other gardener support groups needs to take this up as a public awareness issue. We cannot stand by idlely and let ‘disco’ be more important than ‘gardener’.
Words make up our languages and flowers make the language of our garden. In the end, no great measure of the importance of words or flowers can judge how they affect our own lives and gardens. ‘Roses’ and ‘war’ may be more important to the world than garden, but I, thankfully, have neither ‘roses’ nor ‘war’ in my yard. I do have plenty of ‘love’, ‘sun and ‘water’, far too much ‘work’, ‘strains’ and ‘obstacles’ and not nearly enough ‘summer’.