Yesterday, I got in a new book on William F. Buckley Jr.’s use of the English language: Buckley: The Right Word. Compiled by the editor of many of Buckley’s books Samuel S. Vaughan, it examines letters, articles and passages from his books strictly from a linguistic point of view. His use of unusual (but lapidary*) words is legendary. I read, erm, studied the first three chapters last night and I can’t wait to continue.
This is very similar to William Safire’s books compiling the best of his long running On Language column with the New York Times. Safire’s books are always great.
BTW Two of Safire’s out of print books are available at Amazon for .01 (plus shipping of course):
Wait a second. William and William? Could this be a mere coincidence? Perhaps I should have named Makoto ‘William’.
William Shakespeare. Most definitely. How could anyone accommodate before Shakespeare coined ‘Accommodation‘? There would be no ‘foregone conclusion‘ had he not said it first. And of course, I would never be able to reply to my wife’s concerns with “There’s a method to my madness.” About.com has a neat article listing some words believed to have begun with the Bard. In it, they write, “He invented over 1700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original.”
Bill (William) Clinton was pretty good with language. After all he showed incredible linguistic prowess questioning the definition of the copula.
William Shatner? I’m not sure. ‘Enterprise’ is a kind of big word, but I guess it isn’t too uncommon.
In short, there does seem to be some benefit in naming your son ‘William.’ I wouldn’t recommend it for your daughter, though.
* lapidary adj (of language) elegant and concise, and therefore suitable for engraving on stone