I snapped the featured image at my former house in another part of the state in which I lived. I love the way the foliage framed this bird, which now I can’t remember if it is a robin. The color is not there, and I am looking at backside of the feathered creature. Of course, my featured images do not necessarily have anything to do with my story. I just like to post interesting pictures. Today, I shall discuss language.
Language is a beautiful thing, no matter the mother tongue. I continue to be amazed at the sounds, the phonemes of languages. The way the words tumble in the throat, the mouth, on the tongue, and over the teeth are like music to me. One time I was at an international bike race in Madrid, Spain. I stood in a crowd of spectators. I heard Castilian, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian! Total ear candy to hear and experiences all those wonderful languages. That was more than 10 years ago, and that was about the time I began to collect words. I have a little book in which I often write some of those words. I don’t always have the book with me, so it’s missing many great words. Most of the words are in English, but many are in other languages. Then, the English language dictionary is a product of, roughly, 75 different languages. I learned this phrase from a friend, Linda, who is a writer: “English doesn’t borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, and knocks them over, and goes through their pockets for loose grammar!” I don’t know who originated this thought, but it does explain why speakers of other languages often struggle with phonetics and grammar when learning English.
When I collect words, often, I write them in this little book I carry in my hand bag.
Here are some of my words. Say them, and think of how they sound, and what parts of your mouth, tongue, throat, lips, or teeth you use when saying them.
Clostridium Botulinum – the bacteria that contributes to food poisoning
Senegalese – People from Senegal (Beautiful people from a Francophone country in Africa)
Evapotranspiration – The process of water transferring from land to the atmosphere, from soil, surfaces, and plants.
Heuristic – Hands-on learning
Agitized Dolomite – Simply, flint. There is a great place north of Amarillo, Texas, called the Alibates Flint Quarries. It’s a great place to see this lovely mineral.
Monongahela – One of the rivers that converge around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It meets the Allegheny (another one of my favorite words), and the Ohio rivers. Pittsburgh is a lovely city, and the rivers offer a spectacular view! The names of the rivers likely come from Indigenous languages of the Lenape peoples.
Hamor Gador – This is Arabic for “You big donkey!” Be sure to roll your “Rs” when you say the term.
Epigentics – (Spell check does not like these words!) – It’s the study of changes in organisms that do not involve alterations to the DNA sequence.
Be assured, that I’m not an expert in all the discipline from which I gather these words. I have picked them up along the way of my reading.
Forsythia – A lovely, yellow bush that blooms in the spring. It’s in the olive family.
Crepuscular – For 22 years, I was a volunteer teacher at a zoo. My specialty was birds and geographical distribution of animals. Some of our education animals (we called them, “ambassadors”) were active, primarily at twilight (dawn and dusk). They included hedgehogs and chinchillas. Other animals, not in our education program, include skunks and bobcats. I am a hunter, and the best time to harvest a deer is at dawn and dusk.
Geosynchronous – Awww…One of my most favorite, being a geographer, is when a satellite’s orbit is with that of earth’s rotation. (Geo, meaning earth). Another one of my favorite geography words is, Cartography, map-making.
Shukriya – is Urdu for “thank you.” It’s pronounced Shoe-cree-yah. Lightly roll the “r.” It’s a lovely sound. I learned a few Urdu words from a group of Pakistani farmers visiting the experiment station where I used to work. It was great fun working with them.
Yikes! – This is American English slang for “Oh, my!” Perhaps it can be likened to the Swedish, “Ufda!” or the Yiddish, “Oy Vey!” Some of the others are escaping me at the moment.
Sebastian Cabot – This is the proper name of a British actor who no longer lives among us. I saw him in a weekly television show called, Family Affair. He played the butler to the bachelor who inherits a deceased relative’s children. I just like the poetry in the sound of the name, Sebastian Cabot.
Speaking of names, I have a friend who recently married (I was the officiant of said marriage!). Anyway she took the name of her spouse, and her name became, Christina Rose, and that’s another given name that has a nice rhythm to it. I feel like one could conduct, with a baton, when one utters this name.
I like the rhythm of names, bi-nomial-ly speaking, especially when there two syllables to one of the names followed by one syllable or vice versa. For example, my own children’s names are Stevie Dean and Riki Lee (may her name be for a blessing). I’m not sure that I did that deliberately (since it was nearly 4- years ago), but I know I’ve always liked the rhythm of words and names.
There are all forms of words and their sounds. Perhaps another blog could focus on words that phonetically imitate sounds that describe them. One of my favorites is oink! It’s the sound a pig makes, but when one says it, it’s hard not to think of a pig’s, sort of, greeting!
As long as I’m going for random, here’s a picture of another favorite: rock hunting. I snapped this photo while rock hunting on the Arkansas River in Colorado, not far from the headwaters of this river that starts in Colorado, runs through Kansas to Arkansas (Ar-can-saw). Kansans call it the “Ar-Kanzaz” river, which took me a bit to get used to when I moved to this state 30 years ago.
Thank you for reading. Next time, I will tell you about some of my latest kitchen tests.