Grammarian – Adam’s Axe

8/17/2011———- Adam Kutell

For this first article, I would like to bring up a topic that I touched on the last time I was General Evaluator.  The Grammarian is the role we trust to assist us with our language arts during a meeting and hopefully with information we can take away afterwards.  Although Toastmasters International lays out more comprehensive duties for the Grammarian, the most commonly known duty of the Grammarian is to introduce the meeting attendees to a “word-of-the-night” , and our club is no exception, so this article is  narrowly conceived on is topic.

In the rest of the world, a word of the day can be anything: a favorite word, colloquialism, slang, old-English, foreign-import, or even a word that has fallen into disuse.  In Toastmasters, we try to become better speakers and communicators.  We get to meet once a week, which is a privilege, considering many groups only meet every other week, and some meet less often.  Considering the low frequency of the meetings, the rare weekly Toastmaster word should be something remarkable.  It should be something the meeting attendees will want to use to impress others in their daily lives.

The Grammarian is responsible for displaying the word-of-the-night, explaining its definition, giving one of more examples of its use, and later judging members on whether they used it appropriately during the meeting.  If a visitor comes to the club, learns a SLANG word from the grammarian, and then hears every member try to use it one or more times in their speaking opportunities, will they think we are a serious improvement club?  Do you want to take a slang word home from the meeting with you and use it all around the office?  Maybe you will if you work at The Funny Bone.

I believe every Grammarian has the right to introduce ANY word as the word-of-the-night, however it is the Grammarian’s RESPONSIBILITY to make sure that if the word is not a common-use ENGLISH word, that he/she takes the time to explain the HISTORY (or etymology) of the word, and why Toastmasters should add the word into their growing grammatical repertoire.

This message is not aimed at any one member. During several meetings, I had plenty of fun using (and listening to) words-of-the-night that were slang and non-English, but they did not help me grow and my communication skills did not get better from their introduction.

If you are the Grammarian, you should want to make a splash.  Come up with a good word and make it remarkable!

This is the first in a series of periodical “streams of thoughts” from Adam Kutell

 Some of you may know Adam as one of the tougher or more critical evaluators in the club.  Adam would like anybody who is an evaluator for him to be as thoughtful with points for improvement as he is towards other members.  The toughness of Adam’s evaluations is always intended to assist with the growth of our club towards more advanced speakers, communicators, and leaders in our club, just as he hopes other members will be tough with him to help him grow as a better communicator.


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