Category Archives: Language

The Sound of Wind Rustling in the Trees

I have added another word to my vocabulary, though I can’t guarantee it will stay.  Thanks to my friend, Trish, I now know that psithurism (a noun) means, according to various sources, the sound of wind in the trees and … Continue reading

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Morbid Curiosity?

I stumbled across something intriguing this morning.  It was of sufficient interest to warrant the further investigation which followed.  My fascination with language and its role in the human condition prompted my search and what, ultimately, might be considered morbid … Continue reading

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In the Beginning, There was the Word

The concept of human language is fascinating to me.  How is it that the sounds constituting Japanese and English and Arabic are so remarkably different, for example? And, quite apart from the differences in spoken words, how and why did written … Continue reading

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We Can Borrow Them

木漏れ日 The symbols above constitute a Japanese phrase for “sunlight filtering through tree leaves.” The English spelling of the phrase is komorebi.  I see no need to reinvent the wheel, or create a new word in a language that already has some … Continue reading

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Another Lover, Same Story

So many definitions of love, such a vast array of wildly disparate  viewpoints of an emotion; yet people seem to have stunningly similar, deeply intimate perspectives on the emotion that feeds on intimacy. I have fallen in love again, for perhaps the thousandth time, but … Continue reading

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Starving Artists and Other Crimes

I love words—the way they work together to express thoughts. But they can work together with context to form thoughts, too.  The title of this post, for example.  If I had been clever, I could have called this post a how-to guide, but … Continue reading

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There’s a term for that…

Repetition has the interesting effect of making perfectly normal words sound like nonsense syllables.  Try it. Prong. Prong. Prong. Prong. Prong. Prong. Prong. Prong. Prong. Eventually, perhaps already, the word has begun to sound like gibberish. It will work equally … Continue reading

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Lengua Confudido

Question: What is a powerful narcotic one might find in Addis Ababa? Answer: Ethiopiate. Question: What statement about a word cannot easily and simply be made in written form without using non-alphabetic symbols? Answer: There are three ways to spell the word whose sound is best … Continue reading

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Which Came First?

I watched several instructional YouTube videos yesterday, videos posted as marketing pieces for online art instruction.  My purpose in watching them was to learn a bit about painting with acrylics, something I’ve done several times without the benefit of any instruction … Continue reading

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April 17, like all other days, provides me with an opportunity to exhibit random curiosity. Today’s random curiosity found itself exploring the meaning and origins of the word “crimson.” I can’t say with even a shred of certainty why that … Continue reading

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Red Herring

If you make a point, every day, of thinking about and then learning about something of which you know little, you will expand your intellectual horizons.   That’s what I say. Today, I explored the etymology of the term “red herring.” … Continue reading

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Lagniappe in Suspension

A few years ago, my wife introduced me to a term I’d probably heard before, but did not quite understand: amuse-bouche. She introduced the term to me as we sat in a Mexican restaurant and were served a very nice … Continue reading

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On Accident

I listened to an NPR radio talk show the other day, A Way with Words, and learned something interesting about the way language is evolving almost in real-time.  A high school English teacher called to inquire about some language usage … Continue reading

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There, but for the grace of God, go I

“There, but for the grace of God, go I.” I’ve often wondered about the origin of that phrase. I finally looked it up. If the online presence of “Britannia: America’s Gateway to the British Isles Since 1996” is to be believed, … Continue reading

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Putting My Shoulder to the Wheel

Have you ever allowed your curiosity to lead you far, far afield of where it started? I do that quite a lot.  Recently, I heard someone say “I need to put my shoulder to the wheel and get this done.” … Continue reading

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State of Being in Strange Streams of Consciousness

The good news: I sold the hammered dulcimer yesterday.  I got less than I paid for it in 1994, but we have more space in the house than before. I got a call yesterday morning from a woman who wanted … Continue reading

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Cognitive Development Conspiracy Theory

I have vague memories, from my college years, of reading about and discussing the role of language in cognitive development, and vice versa.  Somewhere, deep in the recesses of my mind, I harbor memories of Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive … Continue reading

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In the ‘Hood

Sometimes, you just have odd questions. Sometimes, they get answered. Sometimes, they don’t. Adulthood Falsehood Parenthood Babyhood Livelihood Childhood Knighthood Bachelorhood Likelihood Brotherhood Personhood Priesthood Sisterhood Statehood Sainthood Motherhood Boyhood Girlhood Manhood Womanhood Nationhood Fatherhood Widowhood

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I Forgot I Didn’t Have Amnesia…But…the Dream

UPDATE: After my wife woke up, I told her about what I had written. Her memory is better than mine.  My comments at the end reflect the original version; the revised and corrected information in the body of the post … Continue reading

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