Speaking of interesting word websites – here’s another!
Forvo is an audio pronunciation database which aims to have every word in every language (yes, even swear words and slang) pronounced by a native speaker. It looks like it’s already most of the way there for the more widely spoken languages – at least any random thing I tried in English, Spanish, German, Italian, and Japanese was available.
The interface is presented in multiple languages, but any word in any language can be queried from any of them without needing to specify the language of origin. Words not natively in Roman characters can be searched for either in the native script or their Romanized versions (e.g., 犬 or inu).
Common words also tend to have multiple pronunciations to listen to, phrases with the word, and translations to other languages as well. If you’re a native speaker of a language whose word is not yet included, or is not pronounced to your satisfaction, you can help Forvo out by submitting your own words and pronunciations.
One of the most important benefits of language is that it fosters the organization of thought. One of the most interesting things about the study of language in its many forms is what it tells us about transcultural psychology.
For instance, do you know what is perhaps the most widely disseminated term in a given language?
Gracias. Grazie. Merci. Danke. Arigato. I’m willing to bet that the majority of you native English speakers could tell me not only what that means, but also the language to which each of those words belongs. I bet many of you have even used one or two for fun in an otherwise English conversation. And yet, I imagine most of you couldn’t tell me off the top of your head what the word for ‘I’ is in those same languages.
That says something kind of nice about what we at large have felt is most important to be able to convey to our fellow earthlings, don’t you think?
I hope everyone had a pleasant Valentine’s Day. If not, here’s an elephant that loves you.*
*(It might not love you)
Anyway, thanks to harulawordsthatserve, I have been recently made aware of a traditional form of Japanese poetry known as the tanka. It is effectively a haiku with an added lower phrase of a 7/7 pair. Considering the relative popularity of the haiku, I’m a little surprised I’ve not before encountered its extended brother. But, alas, I have now, and must of course write one.
The Monday Spider
Creeps slowly on the sidewalk.
Should I pick it up?
As I ponder this, it leaves.
I guess it must be Tuesday.