Ancient Word of the Day: Ubuntu

A beautiful and ancient word that denotes the deep collective power of empathy and humanity. Ubuntu is a Xhosa word that denotes sharing what you have. As in, my humanity is inextricably linked and bound up in yours. Ubuntu recognises that true healing is impossible without recognition of our common humanity and common destiny. ‘TheContinue reading “Ancient Word of the Day: Ubuntu”

Ancient Word of the Day: Snu

The smell sensing organ in animals is often described as a Snout and when someone is annoyed with you, you may get snubbed by them. Humans since prehistoric times have been sniffing, snuffling, snorting and sneezing and when we are blocked up, we have a lot of snot. Philosopher’s lamp, 1936 Rene Magritte These nasalContinue reading “Ancient Word of the Day: Snu”

Ancient Words of the Day: Week Days

Why are there seven days in a week? A week is a cycle of seven numbered or named days most likely due to the Jewish calendar. However things get complicated as early medieval Europe inherited the idea of the week from imperial Rome, via Christianity. Name days are similar across all European languages: English, German,Continue reading “Ancient Words of the Day: Week Days”

Ancient Word of the Day: Nightmarish Nursery Rhymes

The sweet little rhymes and refrains that fills out childhoods are actually full of ghoulish and gruesome revelations. Here are some creepy examples… The rhythmic patterns of nursery rhymes provided an ideal framework for infants and children to develop language. Mary, Mary, quite contrary,How does your garden grow?With silver bells, and cockle shells,And pretty maidsContinue reading “Ancient Word of the Day: Nightmarish Nursery Rhymes”

Ancient Words: Cute words in Polish and how to say them

PB and I were thinking about what we would name our pets. Once we get a place where we can have a backyard so that animals can run around, we will be getting a rescue dog and cat or perhaps a whole menagerie. What we discovered was an astonishing number of cute words in Polish,Continue reading “Ancient Words: Cute words in Polish and how to say them”

Ancient word of the day: Twankle

Twankle To twang your fingers on a musical instrument or absent-mindedly strum or play an instrument without thought. Other concatenations include: Twiddling, twandling, tootling, plunking, noodling, thrummling or tudeling. Tudeling (origin) German dudeln – to perform badly. The crappiest song that almost everyone can play on the piano Chopsticks was invented in 1877 by composerContinue reading “Ancient word of the day: Twankle”

Ancient word of the day: Adder

Snakes, serpents, vipers, adders – they all convey ancient power of life over death, of emerging in ones full power to take back what belongs to them, of transformation and return. A potent ancestral spirit and augur from the Land of the Dead. Adder The Adder Vipera berus is the only venomous snake in Britain.Continue reading “Ancient word of the day: Adder”

Eight words in Polish that have no English equivalent

Around ten years ago now I tasked myself with learning Polish. Not for shits and giggles or just to challenge myself but for the very practical reason of being able to communicate with my partner’s family who live in Poland. It was a hard slog and some even consider Polish to be the hardest ofContinue reading “Eight words in Polish that have no English equivalent”

Ancient word of the day: Algorithm

The ancient Muslim empire in the city of Baghdad was the birthplace of the word (and the concept of the) algorithm. In the year 820 AD, a Persian genius named Muhammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi created the concept of the algorithm and algebra in an ancient book called Kitab al-Jebr. The book Kitab al-Jebr (later latinisedContinue reading “Ancient word of the day: Algorithm”

Ancient word of the day: Uncanny

The ancient word of the day is Uncanny. This is the feeling of encountering a landscape, person or object that is both frightening and unsettlingly dissonant. Freud coined a similar word for this “unheimlich”— which is to say, eerie and both homely and unhomely. I’m sure you would be able to recall some uncanny encounters,Continue reading “Ancient word of the day: Uncanny”