Month: March 2017

!نوروز سال ۱۳۹۶ مبارک (Happy New Year 1396!)

Last Monday was the first day of Spring.  Officially known as the Vernal Equinox, from the Latin vernālis (“pertaining to the spring”) and aequus (“equal”) + nox (“night”), the first day of Spring also marks the start of the Persian New Year. The Persian celebration of نوروز  (Noruz, which translates as “new light” or “new day”) goes back thousands of… Read more →

Counting in Korean: A Myriad and 18 Challenges

In the early weeks of the Couch to Korean Challenge,  I have been focusing exclusively on evaluating Korean resources and on learning the fundamentals of the Korean writing and sound systems.   This has been a conscious plan, in order to maintain the pure experiment of systematically learning the language from scratch. I have enjoyed learning the basics, but I am… Read more →

From Schönberg and Bel Monte to Belmont: Beautiful Mountains across the US

We recently spent time in two different American towns named Belmont, and that got us thinking about the origin of the name Belmont and its presence in many places across the US.  So today we put on our Lexplorers toponymy hats. On the surface, the two Belmonts we visited are remarkably similar, despite being 3,000 miles apart.  Belmont, Massachusetts is… Read more →

At the Corner of Thingvalla Ave. and Ericsson St.

Walking through a nearby neighborhood in Cambridge MA, I often pass Thingvalla Avenue, and I have been curious about the origin of the name. Thingvalla is not a traditional English-sounding name, and it stands in sharp contrast to adjoining Cushing and Exeter Streets.   Its intersection with Ericsson Street should have provided me a good clue as to the origin… Read more →

The Yin and Yang of Korean Vowel Harmony

In my first post about the Hangul writing system, I touched on the history of Hangul and the linguistic motivation for the characters.  For example, the Hangul consonant characters were designed to indicate the point of articulation, as shown in the image below (from The World’s Writing Systems): While I certainly appreciate the linguistic basis for the consonant characters, I… Read more →