What does the word 'palafitte' mean?

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  1. Phyllis Doyle profile image96
    Phyllis Doyleposted 4 years ago

    What does the word 'palafitte' mean?

    And -- do you sometimes use archaic or obscure words in your writing?

  2. JayeWisdom profile image92
    JayeWisdomposted 4 years ago

    Palafitte refers to house built on raised piles, sometimes called 'stilt houses.' Most of the ones I've seen are in areas prone to flooding and the bayou country of Louisiana. These houses can actually be built in the water rather than just on land that might be flood-prone. There are probably more houses rebuilt on stilts in the New Orleans area that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina than Louisiana ever had before. 

    As for using archaic or obscure words in my writing, I try to avoid it because I don't want to make readers search for a dictionary or wonder about a meaning while they're in the process of reading my work.  If I wrote historical fiction, I would be more likely to use such words if they were in use during the relevant era; however, I don't write that genre.

    I have a broad vocabulary due to nearly 7 decades of reading, so it's often a great temptation to use what my granddad called three-dollar words in my writing. I do my best to avoid that temptation for the sake of my readers. If I slip and put some in, they are usually the first things to be cut in my second draft. We don't write solely for our own enjoyment if we want readers. We must think of them and how they perceive the words on page or screen. Stopping to look up the meaning of a word (or even continuing to read while feeling puzzled about what the word meant) is a distraction for the reader. We should never do anything that will distract a reader from our fiction or non-fiction writing.

    1. Phyllis Doyle profile image96
      Phyllis Doyleposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Awesome answer, Jaye. I totally agree with you. Thanks for participating and sharing your thoughts on this question.

  3. Denise Handlon profile image90
    Denise Handlonposted 4 years ago

    I learned a new word today, 'palafitte' thanks to Jaye's response.  And, since I now know what it means I can say I stayed in a palafitte home on the beach this summer at the Outer Banks, NC.  Thanks!  smile

    No, I try not to use words that are too obscure or archaic unless it happens to be an historical piece.

    1. Phyllis Doyle profile image96
      Phyllis Doyleposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Hi Denise. The Outer Banks are so beautiful -- I bet that was quite a lovely time you spent there. I agree with you on the use of archaic or obscure words.  Thanks for participating, Denise..

  4. MizBejabbers profile image92
    MizBejabbersposted 4 years ago

    I learned a new word today, too, thanks to the both of you. Although I am familiar with these houses, I didn't know this word for them. I try not to use archaic words in my writing unless the time period is appropriate. In my job as a legislative editor, we try to delete or substitute more modern language for archaic words or to rewrite archaically written sentences or paragraphs. Since this is part of my training, I do it instinctively.

    I have to say that I dearly love reading electronic books because of the built-in dictionary. I just place my finger or stylus on the word and the definition pops up.

    1. Phyllis Doyle profile image96
      Phyllis Doyleposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Hi MizB. That is a good feature of electronic books. 

      I am in the process of writing an historical fiction and wondering about words and terms that might effect the feeling of authenticity.

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