Bluegrass Literacy Project

Hello everyone! I haven’t posted in a while and I wanted to give you all an update.

Last fall, I submitted a project proposal to the Davidson Institute for Talent Development to be a part of their Young Scholars Ambassador Program (YSAP). This program “fosters civic engagement through community service, volunteerism and leadership” (from the Davidson Institute website).

In December, I found out that I had been accepted into the Class of 2019 Young Scholar Ambassadors. For the next 18 months, I will be working to develop and implement my project, which I’ve named the Bluegrass Literacy Project. Through my project, I hope to continue to share my love of words and make a positive and lasting impact in my community. You can read more about my project here.

I’m really excited for this opportunity, but unfortunately it also means that I may not be posting as much as I would like on this blog. However, I will do my best to continue posting interesting words as time permits. Thank you all for your support and encouragement!

 

 

Name That Animal: Challenge #7 (Halloween Edition)

If you see this creature on Halloween, beware, it is deadly. (image via www.topito.com)

I say goodbye to my friends after a successful night of trick-or-treating. I am suddenly aware of how long I’ve been out and look for short cut home. The crescent moon shines weakly as I see a familiar-looking alley way that I immediately turn into. My boots click on the uneven, old, brick pathway. The night is eerily silent and acherontic, save the wind howling around me. It feels as if the temperature has plummeted sharply and I shiver. I start walking faster and feel a sense of relief when I reach the warm safety of home.

As I reach for the doorknob, I feel a burning sensation pierce the back of my hand. A  mephitic odor diffuses through the stygian darkness. I look down and see a spider – no,  not a spider, but a terrifying spider-like creature quickly skittering away. I hastily snatch up my phone and with trembling hands, manage to capture an image of this crazy creature.

For the next several hours, I feel odd and queasy. I wake up in the middle of the night with a splitting headache and decide that I need to go to the emergency room. As I get ready, I walk past my window and something draws my attention. I gaze at the reflection, and I see two bright yellow eyes peering back at me.

I am admitted to the hospital with an unknown condition, most likely caused by the bite of the bizarre creature. I try to tell the doctors that the culprit looks like a cross between a strigiform and an araneiform, but they simply stare at me quizzically, and blame the bite for my deluded state. Help me name the heinous creature that has cursed me.

Greek:

arachno-                                             spider

-pod-                                                    foot

xantho-                                               yellow

brunne-                                              brown

-morph-                                             shape, form

dasy-                                                   shaggy, woolly

octo-                                                    eight

-soma, somato-                                 body

-ops, opto-                                          eye

nyct-                                                    night

-haema, haemato-                            blood

Latin:

=strix                                                owl

strigi-                                                owl

-iform                                               in the shape of

fasciat-                                             banded

vittat-                                               striped

flav-                                                  yellow

hirsut-                                              hairy

aranei-                                             spider

oculi-, -oculus                                 eye

noct-, nocti-                                    night

sanguini-                                         blood

 

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out  Name That Animal Challenge #1, Name That Animal Challenge #2, Name That Animal Challenge #3, Name That Animal Challenge #4Name That Animal Challenge #5, and Name That Animal Challenge #6.

 

 

 

homonyms (hä-mə-nims)

homonymsThe English language is full of homonyms, or more specifically homographs, homophones, heterographs, and heteronyms. This is enough to make your head spin! Such words serve to make English one of the most difficult languages to learn. They are the bane of my existence, and probably yours too.

Homonyms are words that are pronounced the same or have the same spelling but have different definitions. The word homonym comes from the Greek roots homo- meaning same and -nym meaning name.  Homographs and homophones are a subset of homonyms.

Homographs are words that have the same spelling, but have different meanings. The Greek root -graph- means to write, so homograph can be translated into “same writing.” An example would be “bat” (animal) and “bat” (baseball bat).

Heteronyms are a class of homographs. The Greek root hetero- means other or different so heteronyms are words  with “different names.” They share the same spelling, but have different pronunciations and meanings. An example is “minute” (time unit) and “minute” (pronounced mīn.yüt – meaning very small).

Homophones are words that sound the same but are defined differently. Homophones literally mean “same sound” (-phon is the Greek root for sound). If the homophones are spelled the same, they are also homographs but if they are spelled differently, they are called heterographs.

Heterographs are words that have “different writing”. They have the same pronunciation, but different spellings and definitions. “Knight” (soldier) and “night” (evening) are examples of heterographs.

For the next several posts, I’d like to delve further into this category of English words. To help me explore this topic, I’ve enlisted the help of some of my fellow National Spelling Bee participants who have volunteered to write about a pair of words that they find to be particularly irksome.

Are there any homonyms that always manage to trick you?

 

 

 

 

 

Name That Animal: Challenge #6

What would you name this mysterious creature? (Image from pinterest)

It’s time for a Name that Animal Challenge, so here’s Challenge #6!

Pretend that you are a scientist and you have just discovered this new species and you have the privilege of naming it. Scientists usually name new species by using Greek or/and Latin roots because the prefixes, stems, and suffixes are just like building blocks that you can utilize in countless ways.

Your challenge is to name the strange animal in the picture above using your knowledge of Greek and Latin roots. Keep in mind that you can use characteristics like size, color, or shape to name this animal. Feel free to search my blog to find root words to help you or use the list below!

Greek:

lago-                                                 hare

ornitho-                                           bird

cephal-                                            head

-cephalic                                         head

-cephaly                                          head

-pter-                                               wing

phag-                                                eat

-phyll-                                                leaf

Latin:

lepor-                                                hare

-corp-                                                body

cunic-                                               hare

-capit-                                               head

ali-, al-                                              wing

avi-, av-                                            bird

I came up with lagcephalopter. The letter “o” is the most common way to link Greek roots, and the letter “i” is used to link Latin roots. However, you can do whatever you like and enjoy!

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out  Name That Animal Challenge #1, Name That Animal Challenge #2, Name That Animal Challenge #3, Name That Animal Challenge #4, and Name That Animal Challenge #5.

Insider’s Guide to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee

I am excited to announce that I will be writing another Insider’s Guide to the Scripps National Spelling Bee! In March, I won the regional bee sponsored by the Louisville Spelling Bee Collaborative to qualify for the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.  I am looking forward to returning to Washington D.C. for the fourth time to compete at the national level.

For the last two years, I have written a series of posts detailing Bee Week and my personal experience and I would love to do the same this year. I hope you all enjoy reading my Insider’s Guide to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

This year, there will be 291 spellers from across the United States and abroad competing at the National Spelling Bee; I am speller #207.

If you would like to read about past National Spelling Bees, search Insider’s Guide on this blog.

Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me!

Artwork by my fabulous sister, Anya.

I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for three years! A big thank you to all of my blog followers for your support, likes, and comments.

As you can see, I have set some lofty goals for this following year. If you know anyone who loves etymology, please refer them to my blog. If you are a frequent visitor, please consider following my blog so you never miss a word!

 

demiguise (demē-gīz)

A Demiguise is a peaceful creature who can make itself invisible at will. (image from www. harrypottercanon.wikia.com)

A Demiguise is a peaceful beast, according to Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by Newt Scamander. They are found in the Far East, however, it is difficult to spot them because of their ability to make themselves invisible when they feel threatened. Since they are also able to predict immediate future events, it makes this creature hard to capture.

A Demiguise resembles an ape with fine silvery hair, which hides its big black eyes. The pelts of Demiguises are valued because they can be woven to make Invisibility Cloaks. The Ministry of Magic classifies these creatures as XXXX, meaning that they are fairly dangerous.

Demiguise contains the Latin root demi-, meaning half. It also contains the word guise, that which conceals the true nature of something. This name is fitting because a Demiguise can conceal itself by becoming invisible. Additionally, their ability to predict the future, which is always half-concealed and varying based on certain conditions, also makes this name relevant.

This concludes my series of posts on Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. I hope you enjoyed this theme!