Avoid words that impede communication

Articles that educate me are always welcome.

But I do wish the writers would remember: Part of the reason for writing is communication.

As in, educate me, but don’t send me running to the dictionary to look up a word I can’t even find there. That distracts me from learning what you are trying to teach me. Try simplifying.

Case in point: Associated Press writer Leanne Italie’s take on what not to say to new parents (The Maui News, July 24). It was hilarious, it was informative, but when she used the word “doula,” I couldn’t find it, even in my biggest dictionary.

I suppose it means expert, as when you say “maven” in Yiddish, or “akamai” in Hawaiian. Even I would have known what she meant. But . . .

I am a teacher of young children, my strongest area is in language arts and I love to help the kids improve their communication skills. If I don’t know a word, we try to analyze it, figure it out from context, or look it up in the dictionary.

Good practice all around. But if we can’t even find it there . . .

Dave Slocum