Words are fascinating to me. I am monolingual because I only read, write, and speak English. I truly admire friends of mine who read, write, and speak in multiple languages. My brain hurts just thinking about thinking in any other language than my native.

I immigrated to America before I turned 30 and had to re-learn English. I had to learn – for a second time in my life – how to spell. And, I had to learn a different vocabulary – or, at the least, an entire set of new words. Then there was the pronunciation – I could not always be understood, nor did I often understand the words being spoken to me by Americans.

Certainly, there are some accents and dialects I have always struggled with – Scottish English, for one, my grandfather’s native Irish English for another. For those and some others, I believe I am usually two to three sentences behind the speaker, but I usually understand.

When I discovered my passion is storytelling, my Australian English delivered me a word – raconteur. I needed to check it out. Here are some of the definitions I found.

What fascinated me most is that raconteur is not a word common in American English. In fact, I do not believe I have ever heard it in the U.S. or read it in a U.S. publication. It is difficult to use a word in a country where it does not exist in the vernacular. No event planners looking for speakers will find a profile that includes raconteur. Which is disappointing, because raconteur is the absolute perfect definition of who I am, of who I desire to be.

My favorite of these definitions is “a person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way.” It is my goal to continue to learn and hone my craft, so this definition truly fits me.

So… I have found my passion – I am a raconteur!


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Trevor Perry