xenolinguist (zenə-liŋgwə̇st)

Nyota Uhura was portrayed by  Nichelle Nicols in the original Star Trek. Zoe Saldana currently portrays Uhura in the newer Star Trek movies. (Image from rottentomatoes.com)

Nyota Uhura was portrayed by Nichelle Nicols in the original Star Trek. Zoe Saldana currently portrays Uhura in the newer Star Trek movies. (Image from rottentomatoes.com)

Star Trek Beyond was released a few days ago and I couldn’t resist writing about one of my favorite Star Trek characters, Nyota Uhura. Lieutenant Uhura is the chief communications officer on the USS Enterprise. She is an expert in xenolinguistics and can speak and understand many alien languages, including Klingon and Romulan.

Xenolinguist comes from the Greek roots xeno-, meaning foreign, and lingu- meaning tongue. A xenolinguist is someone who is skilled in foreign languages, or in this case, alien languages.

I love this character because she is smart, beautiful, and strong.  Additionally, we both have a lot in common. We share a love of linguistics and our first names both mean “star.” Nyota means “star” in Swahili and Tara means “star” in Sanskrit. I would love to be a xenolinguist when I grow up!

pacific (pəˈsifik)

Last week, my family and I went on a relaxing vacation to beautiful Monterey, California. Monterey, a small seaside city on the central coast of California, is one of my favorite places to visit because of the mild weather and beautiful beaches. My sister and I love to stroll on the beach and hunt for sea glass that washes up from the Pacific Ocean.

The Pacific Ocean is the biggest ocean on Earth, covering 59 million square miles and containing more than half of the free water on Earth. The Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan is responsible for naming this large body of water in 1520. Because of the calmness of the water, he named the newfound ocean “pacific.”

Pacific comes from the Latin root word pac- meaning peace or calm . The Latin suffix -fic means to make or do. The word “pacific” literally means “to make peaceful.” The word “pacific” is both a noun and an adjective. As a noun, the word refers to the “Pacific Ocean,” but when used as an adjective it means calm or tranquil.