Last Revised: December 27, 2002
Prior to the day of the meeting, you select the word of the week, which should be challenging and thought provoking. You may also wish to use a word which is related to the theme of the meeting. Avoid common words, clichés, technical terms, slang, and words which will clearly be difficult to use during Table Topics and conversation. For example, you may wish to avoid such words as cool, dude, wow, Guaiacum, hypotenuse, zymology, and Zuni . You may find that a dictionary or thesaurus is helpful.
On the day of the meeting you arrive early and write the word of the week on a flip chart. Please include its pronunciation, a brief definition, and an example of good usage in a sentence.
Early in the meeting, at the Toastmaster’s request, you concisely describe your duties and introduce the word of the week. Encourage members to use the word throughout the week and remind them that they must use it during Table Topics to qualify for Best Table Topics. You have sixty seconds maximum. You are encouraged to be brief, or you will eat into time reserved for Table Topics.
During the meeting you listen carefully to all speakers, taking special note of members who demonstrate excellent, creative use of language as well as those who demonstrate poor, uninspired use. You will probably want to keep notes.
During Table Topics, you listen to each speaker and note if he/she used the word of the week correctly. At the conclusion of Table Topics, at the Table Topics Master’s request, you report which speakers used the word of the week correctly.
Near the conclusion of the meeting, at the Toastmaster’s request, you will concisely report on use of language, citing specific examples and members when appropriate. Avoid praising members for using clichés or commonplace aphorisms, e.g., “to each his own”, “what goes around comes around”, “comfort zone”, etc. Instead, praise members for imaginative language. Avoid only reciting words or phrases which you found noteworthy. Instead, give a balanced report which includes comments on grammar. You are the Grammarian, after all.
Note: The Grammarian has responsibility for reporting both excellent and poor usage. Virtually any meeting will include some poor usage. If you fail to cite it, you are whitewashing, which fails to encourage members to improve. Therefore, please cite poor usage.