Relative to my education, including self-education, I think of myself as commanding only a limited English-language vocabulary. Some of this comes from having studied two foreign languages as an adult, which means picking up vocabulary in other languages instead, as the marginal value of a word in the foreign language usually will be higher. Another factor is the complementarity of “direct speech” modes and a fairly modest vocabulary; it doesn’t make sense to talk common sense and suddenly interject “albescent.”
There is also a third reason. I think of “flowery” vocabulary as operating against what Richard Hamming calls “compound learning.” Compound learning occurs when your new learning, and your new analysis, builds steadily upon the old. Over time, learning is a bit like compound interest and it cumulates.
When compound learning is possible, you wish to keep a relatively well-defined set of analytic pieces on the table. It is fine and indeed essential to add to those pieces, but then the new piece should be one that will stick around for a while, again so that you may learn with it. Furthermore it should be readily shared with other people, used with ease on the blog or Twitter, and stick in your mind without much if any effort. It’s a bit like having a consistent programming language or micro model to share across a lunch table, or indeed with yourself over time.
Should I write of a “velleity,” or of a slight, non-fervent wish?
The former seems to me rather periphrastic.