Ancient Word of the Day

Ancient Word of the Day

Words dredged up from the pelagic zone of language


Ancient word of the day: Athene Noctua or Athena's Owl

Ancient word of the day: Athene Noctua or Athena’s Owl

The Greek goddess Athena had as her sacred animal familiar the owl, also known as the Athene Noctua in Latin. The Romans, fond as they were of stealing from the Greek pantheon, renamed Athena to Minerva. Athena and her owl are considered to be symbols of wisdom, in both cultures. Athene Noctua Athena’s owl orContinue reading “Ancient word of the day: Athene Noctua or Athena’s Owl”

Sumatran orangutan close up by craig jones

Ancient Word of the Day: Orangutan

Orangutan: n. Orang ‘forest’ hutan ‘person’ or forest person in Malay Orangutans belong to the great ape family, our closest biological relatives. This familial link is reflected in the word orangutan itself, which Malay speakers today can still recognise as deriving from the phrase orang hutan, which means “forest person”. This term goes back over aContinue reading “Ancient Word of the Day: Orangutan”

Lar gibbon thumbs up

Ancient Word of the Day: Gibbon / Kebong

The word gibbon entered European languages through French in the 18th century. The French adopted it from the Malay word, kebon. However etymological research shows this Malay word originally came from a group of languages called Northern Aslian, spoken by indigenous communities in peninsular Malaysia. In Northern Aslian, it was probably pronounced kebong. Gibbons are a type of apeContinue reading “Ancient Word of the Day: Gibbon / Kebong”

The Three Blind Mice nursery rhyme

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”

Amazing Website Alert: The Deep Sea

Amazing Website Alert: The Deep Sea by Neal Fun

The Deep Sea is a scrolling deep-dive into ocean life and charts how deep each organism can go into Earth’s final frontier, the deep ocean. There are a lot of surprises and little-known facts about obscure ocean creatures you have never heard of. As well as tales of adventure from humans who dared to delve

A history of the world's languages as a gnarly willow tree

A history of the world’s languages as a gnarly willow tree

The world’s mother tongues have blended and intermingled since humans first stood upright and emerged out of the primeval forests. Here’s a really awesome family tree beautifully illustrated by Minna Sundberg. Minna is an immensely talented illustrator who has been creating a wonderful tales set in northern Europe for her online web comic Stand Still,Continue reading “A history of the world’s languages as a gnarly willow tree”

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