origami (ȯr-ə-ˈgä-mē)

"Hojyo Takashi's Violinist" by Joey Ilagan.

Hello everyone!

For the last two weeks, I was at the Ohio State University studying Linguistics as part of their Summer Linguistics Institute for Youth Scholars, also known as SLIYS (pronounced SLICE).

It was a great opportunity to learn about the sounds of languages, the meaning and structure of words, and different writing systems. I also learned about how linguists gather data about languages through consultations with a native speaker of a foreign language. During my first week, I worked with a native speaker of Farsi. I had to figure out linguistic rules, morphosyntactic agreement, and how to create consonant and vowel charts for Farsi. It was particularly challenging because our consultant was not allowed to speak English on the first day. I also learned about many other languages such as Greek, Japanese, and Tagalog.

In this post, I want to introduce you to a couple of Japanese words and talk about rendaku – a linguistic phenomenon that occurs in the Japanese language.

Most everyone is familiar with origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into beautiful figures. The word origami is a compound word that consists of the Japanese word ori meaning fold and kami meaning paper.  Yes, you read that correctly. Logically, the word should be ori-kami, not ori-gami. Here’s where rendaku comes in.

The reason the word is ori -gami and not ori-kami is because of rendaku. Rendaku occurs when the second part of a compound word changes from a voiceless consonant to a voiced consonant. If you can feel a vibration in your throat when you say a certain consonant, that means it is voiced. If you cannot feel the vibration in your throat, that means that the sound is voiceless.

In this example, the k-sound in kami becomes a g-sound when it is added to ori. Below is a chart of other sounds that can be changed:

K ———–> G

T ———–> D

CH ———> J

S ———-> Z

Rendaku doesn’t always occur. For example, when the first word ends with an voiceless sound, rendaku usually doesn’t happen.

I look forward to sharing more linguistics-related posts as I delve deeper into the field! Please comment and let me know if you enjoyed this post.

Name That Animal: Challenge #9

What would you name this unusual creature? Image from Twitter @animalhybrids

It’s been a while since my last Name That Animal Challenge, so here it is!

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 like building blocks that can be utilized in countless ways.

Your challenge is to name the unique 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. I’ve provided you a list of roots with their definitions to get you started.

 

Greek:

branchio-                gills

-cephal-                    head

cerato-                      horn

ichthy-                      fish

-morph-                   form, shape

rhino-                       nose

 

Latin:

pisci-                         fish

-iform                       shape              

-corp-                        body

-capit-                       head

 

The letter “o” is the most common way to link Greek roots, and the letter “i” is used to link Latin roots.

My sister would name this unique creature biceratoichthyomorph. What would you name it? I’m looking forward to reading all the fabulous names you come up with so don’t forget to leave a comment!

 

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, Name That Animal Challenge #6, Name That Animal Challenge #7, and Name That Animal Challenge #8.

25k milestone

A few days ago, I was thrilled to see that the word explorer had reached 25,000 views! Thank you for all of the visits, comments, likes, and follows!

Summer vacation officially started today – I have a lot of ideas for blog posts and I look forward to exploring new words with you this summer.

For more specific statistics on thewordexplorer, visit my About page!

doraphobia (dōrəˈfōbēə)

Happy Halloween from Coco! (for more pictures of Coco, please visit her Instagram @ladycococuddles)

Happy Halloween! In the past I have explored phobias during the month of October, and I thought I would continue the theme today.

Doraphobia is the fear of touching the fur of an animal. It comes from the Greek roots dora- meaning fur, and -phobia meaning abnormal fear of. Doraphobia is not the fear of the popular Nickelodeon television character who explores the world with her trusty companions, Mr. Map, Mochila, and Boots!

Do any of you have doraphobia or any other phobias?

To explore other Halloween related posts, search my blog with the key words “halloween” and “creature feature.”

eruditio et religio

Hello everyone!

I just got back from my first official college visit to Duke University in North Carolina.

My dad graduated from Duke so the visit was especially meaningful. I understand why this place holds such a special place in his heart because I LOVED it there. The campus is beautiful and buzzing with life.

Duke’s motto is “eruditio et religio” which means “erudition and religion.” An erudite person shows knowledge that is gained through meticulous studying. The Latin prefix e- means out, and rudis- means rough. This could mean that the university will literally transform students from rough or undeveloped into wise and knowledgeable people. Religio- (religion or faith) is possibly referring to Duke’s Methodist background.

Many colleges and universities have mottos that are written in Latin. After a quick search, I discovered that universities all over the world have Latin mottos showing that the language is indeed alive and well.

What is the motto of the college/university you attended? If you’re not in college yet, what is the motto of the college you would like to attend? 🙂

Looking forward to hearing your mottos; please be sure to comment!

Name That Animal: Challenge #8

What would you name this magnificent creature? Photo via galleryhip.com

It’s about time for a Name That Animal Challenge!

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:

cyno-                                                dog

hydro-                                              water

cephal-                                             head

enalio-                                              sea

-cephaly                                           head

-soma-                                              body

somato-                                            body

oceano-                                            sea

-delphus                                          dolphin, womb

 

Latin:

cani-                                                  dog

-corp-                                                body

mari-, mar-                                     sea/ocean

-capit-                                               head

aqua-, aquato-                              water

-delphin-                                         dolphin

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 #4Name That Animal Challenge #5, and Name That Animal Challenge #6.