Let’s be honest, leitwortstil looks like something you order at the deli. “I’d like a pound of the best wurst you have, two pounds of un-holey Swiss cheese, and half a pound of leitwortstil.”
Now, for the sake of fairness, since we have been honest, let’s be dishonest. Or rather, let’s be imaginative and fictional and say you make this order at a word deli. Afterwards, you go home and write a story in which you make the protagonist eat “best wurst” and “un-holey Swiss cheese” meal after meal because that’s what leitwortstil does to you.
When Germans try to say “leading-word style” in English, it comes out sounding like leitwortstil, so we must learn to deal with that. This is a good reminder to English speakers to make sure to be the first ones to say new words; otherwise, we will be stuck with words that are hard to pronounce, like Schadenfreude and Fahrvergnügen. Leitwortstil, which should technically be capitalized since it is a German Noun, is the repetition of certain words or phrases in a story or body of work that the writer uses to develop a motif or theme. In layman’s terms, think of it as the “Are we there yet?” refrain that a child repeats over and over on a cross-country car trip, which helps establish the theme of your family vacation and ultimately your life: madness.
Although I am only a typist, it occurred to me that perhaps I have unwittingly or possibly half-wittingly employed leitwortstil on this blog. This led me to VocabGrabber, a website that allows you to enter a text and sort the words by relevance, occurrence, and familiarity. In addition, words are marked in seven categories: geography, people, social studies, arts and literature, math, science, and the puzzling category called vocabulary. You can imagine how helpful a website like this if you need to waste several hours of your life.
In a desperate search for my leitwortstil, I began copying and pasting my posts into VocabGrabber and made three important discoveries. First, the two words I repeatedly repeat are “are” and “have.” My literary style of typing brings truth and light into the world by explicating and complicating the two basic human needs: existence and possessions. As Descartes might say if he were still alive and we were both yearstricken: we are, therefore we have.
The second important discovery came when I entered the text for my blog about joining the pantheon of the blog gods. Overcome with whimsy, I clicked on the relevance button, which VocabGrabber declares are the words “most significant for the average reader.” In that post. the most relevant word to you, dear reader, is earwax, a word lodged in your mind and ears in a strikingly relevant way. And right after earwax, I discover that eructation is important to you, followed by narcissist, key word, epitomize, and flatulence.
For research purposes and because I have wasted so much time at VocabGrabber what is another ten minutes, I typed in all of the above paragraphs. You still find earwax the most relevant, followed by holey, eructation, Swiss cheese, explicate, and narcissist. You people surprise me. I had no idea these things meant so much to you. I did notice that you are not having as much trouble with your flatulence today. I’m happy to hear that, or not hear that if you know what I mean, and I’m sure the people around you are too.
My third discovery daunted me. VocabGrabber reveals more about word usage than leitwortstil, so I must continue my quest. And it reveals more about you than you may have wanted me to know. I will try to use this knowledge wisely. Your secrets are safe with me.