There are dead words everywhere, and there are words that are dying. It’s an annual thing, a monthly thing, a daily thing. Dialect words, slang words, jargon words bubble into life and wither.  Whole languages, evolved by tribes whose lands are being burned, bought and looted, are being eroded right now, sacrificed to greedy uber-tongues like English. A melancholy fact, certainly. And one which makes me want to turn my own endangered favourites to the light, rescuing a few of the badmouthed words, the unfashionable ones, the impossibly delicate ones. I’d like to create my own little ark of these words, over time, creating something that isn’t quite a dictionary, but which nods fondly to the great Dr Johnson (now there’s a man who knows how to make a dictionary definition into a prose poem: look, for example, at how he defines the word ‘icicle’). I’d like to daisy-chain together my chosen words, writing a 100 word essay on each (I still haven’t written enough of my bonsai essays). My methodology will be simple ( check the etymology, check my lodestar Johnson) and my principles decisively erratic. I’m aiming for a bit of drift and digression; indirections finding directions out and all that. I want to get all eighteenth-century about these words. You can’t go wrong with a bit of eighteenth century in the gigabyte age. I’ll start with the word ‘crooner’.  But I intend to meditate on the subject until at least tomorrow. Until then…