I’m trying to figure out what I can do with my life that will benefit the world. Take as a given that I’m good for something, I just have to find or invent it. Two years ago, I started tagging words on I wanted to understand the unexpected spelling similarities between words that do not sound like each other. I used C and V to stand in for consonants and vowels in terms of  alphabet graphemes, not IPA phonemes. Some linguists got mad. I understand why,  but tagging convowels was an important outlet for me at the time, and I don’t regret that I’ve left a mark on wordnik. [and then suddenly…]


December 11, 2011

in Autobiographical,websites,wordnik,Words & Origins

1. “A” You’re Adorable (The Alphabet Song) – Perry Como

2. African Alphabet – Ladysmith Black Mambazo ft. Kermit

3. An Elf Sings His ABCs – Neverhood Soundtrack

4. Alphabet Aerobics (2) – Blackalicious

5. The Crazy ABCs – Barenaked Ladies

6. All Together Now – The Beatles

7. Z Y X – They Might Be Giants

8. ABC – Jackson 5


November 2, 2011

in alphabet,Music,Playlists,short list

1. Stephen Fry

2. Will Shortz

3. David Mitchell

4. Erin McKean

5. Anatoly Liberman

{ 1 comment }

October 22, 2011

in Autobiographical,dictionaries,famous people,Stephen Fry,word games,Words & Origins

Once upon a time, I learned that seeing -fer or -phor in a word means ‘to carry or bear.’ I love it a lot, I made a great comic about it, everybody’s happy. Yesterday I read Chapter 1 for my Syntax class, and it mentions the term anaphora. Examples of anaphors are himself, herself, itself, and themselves. Hmmm, said the brain. This term carries something, but what does ‘ana’ mean? At first I thought it was a simple negator like ‘a-‘ as in atypical, but no! [and then suddenly…]


October 20, 2011

in anagram,english,Etymology,greek,insignificant linguistics mystery,University of York,Words & Origins

There’s a big library on campus currently under noisy refurbishment, but this is not a list of that York Library. That would be a really long list, and I don’t think you would learn much from it. On the other hand, the books that I decided to carry across the ocean with me were chosen based on weight, relevance to the program, and proximity to my heart.

[and then suddenly…]


October 18, 2011

in Autobiographical,Books,dictionaries,latin,libraries,literature,University of York,Words & Origins


September 5, 2011

in #36,2011,IPA,Linguistics jokes,Monday Comic,phonetics,Webcomic,Words & Origins

1. Patriarch – Latin – pater – father
2. Maternity – Latin – mater – mother
3. Filial – Latin – filius, filia – son, daughter
4. Fraternity – Latin – frater – brother
5. Sorority – Latin – soror – sister
6. Nepotism – Latin – nepos, nepotem – grandson, nephew
7. Avuncular – Latin – avunculus (little grandfather) – uncle
8. Puerile – Latin – puer – boy
9. Juvenile – Latin – juvenis – youth, young person
10. Virulent – Latin – vir – man, husband
11. Uxorious – Latin – uxor – wife

{ 1 comment }

August 25, 2011

in Etymology,latin,Words & Origins

Boarding a flight from PDX to SJC, I sat in the window seat, waiting for the plane to fill. A man buckled in and settled into the aisle seat and then I realized- I was missing something important. I felt terrible, but asked the man to let me get by. I opened the overhead compartment, unzipped my backpack, and grabbed one little green thing. I closed everything up, swung back into my row, and felt relieved. What the man thought, I’ll never know. What I grabbed was Failte.

[and then suddenly…]


July 29, 2011

in best post ever,career,China,countries,europe,france,gaelic,korea,latin,Panda,pandas,travel

The University of York Coat of Arms

Most likely, the title of this post means nothing to you. For me, it was signpost in a series of cute irresistible signposts that suggested I go to the University of York in the fall to get my masters in Linguistics. [and then suddenly…]


July 20, 2011

in best post ever,career,Etymology,history of language,insignificant linguistics mystery,latin,University of York,Words & Origins

There are so many words in the world, I can’t blame anyone for not knowing the original meaning of any specific word, even when its a simple compound made of two familiar words. We’re so busy using language as a communication tool that we rarely stop hammering to look at the thing itself. A funny old thing, the dashboard. [and then suddenly…]


May 28, 2011

in cars,english,Etymology,etymonline,history of language,horses,insignificant linguistics mystery,wikipedia,wordnik,Words & Origins