A beautiful post by Robert Macfarlane in which he discusses the words people have created by inhabiting a landscape.
In the wake of the Oxford Junior Dictionary replacing nature-related words such as 'bluebell' or 'acorn' with technical terms such as 'attachment' or 'blog', Macfarlane's article is a reminder of the wonderful joy there is in the peculiar ways landscapes can carve their way through a language.
Many of the glossary words are, like ungive, memorably vivid. They function as topograms – tiny landscape poems, folded up inside verbs and nouns. I think of the Northamptonshire dialect verb to crizzle, for instance, a verb for the freezing of water that evokes the sound of a natural activity too slow for human hearing to detect (“And the white frost ’gins crizzle pond and brook”, wrote John Clare in 1821). When Gerard Manley Hopkins didn’t have a word for a natural phenomenon, he would simply – wonderfully – make one up: shivelight, for “the lances of sunshine that pierce the canopy of a wood”, or goldfoil for a sky lit by lightning in “zigzag dints and creasings”. Hopkins, like Clare, sought to forge a language that could register the participatory dramas of our relations with nature and landscape.