Category: Lexcogitation

Water Meat and New Gold: Fun With Korean Vocabulary

During this phase of the Couch to Korean Challenge, I have been focusing almost exclusively on vocabulary.   Building vocabulary is the most important part of learning any new language.   Unfortunately for me, Korean vocabulary draws very heavily from words of Chinese origin, and I have no background at all in any Chinese languages.  So I could not bootstrap my… Read more →

Looking for the Star of Wood on Six Moon Three Ten Sun Gold Day

The Lexplorers are always on the lookout for public multilingual displays, such as the neighborly and friendly signs that have been popping up in the area.   At the local playground last week, I was happy to stumble upon a set of spinny cylinders showing the planets of the solar system, with the planet names in English, Japanese, Chinese, German, Spanish,… Read more →

A Rheumatic Rhinoceros Rhythmically Ruminated On Rhododendron and Rhubarb

It’s rhubarb and berry season, and the Lexplorers recently shared a freshly-baked rhubarb and strawberry pie with a visiting non-native English speaker.  As we enjoyed the pie, we tried to explain to our puzzled visitor that rhubarb is one of those rare English words that begins with rh-.  We were unfortunately unable to provide any wisdom as to how to… Read more →

Libraries Are For Everyone And We’re Glad You’re Our Neighbor

Walking around town on a sunny Spring afternoon, the Lexplorers were pleased to find two multilingual displays of openness and acceptance. The first was at the local Public Library, where they have filled a large bulletin board with the message “Libraries are for Everyone” in 24 languages. In the middle of the bulletin board is a poem by children’s book… Read more →

!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 →

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 →