Fun with words

The Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus is an interesting experiment in organizing and associating words. Have you ever brainstormed by drawing webs connecting different terms and ideas? It's a little like that. Unfortunately, the free version is only an evaluation, and you can only play around a little before you'll be prompted to buy. But what're you gonna do.

The Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form, or OEDILF, is a project to define every word in the dictionary with its own limerick. They're up through the bn's. Wish them luck.

Be you human or canine or camel
Your ameloblasts make enamel;
Thus the teeth in your mouth
Right and left, north and south,
Have some apatite—if you're a mammal.
(S. A. McBurnie)

Color Code, "a full-color portrait of the English language," is a really neat experiment. Words are given a color based on the results of a Yahoo! image search for that particular word; the colors of associated images are averaged together to determine that the word "class," for example, is a soft pastel blue. The words are grouped together in giant maps based on related meanings, in clusters like "furniture," "disease," "happening," or "flower" (shown below); they can also be arranged in one big spectrum according to color. As a synaesthete who does habitually associate color with words, I find this project especially intriguing.
Via Mindful Things.

Color in Motion, "an animated and interactive experience of color communication and color symbolism," is a cute flash animation exploring various associations for different colors. Each color is featured as a stick-figure character in a movie showcasing different aspects of that color. There are also "meet the colors" features which list different words and associations that apply to the them, and finally, at the end, there are some toys you can play with to make your own movies.

The Quack-Project goes around the world collecting recordings of children performing animal noises in many different languages, and shares the results. You can listen to audio files of children quacking, mooing, oinking, crowing, neighing, barking, and ribbitting in Cantonese, Bengali, Italian, Hindi, Somali, and many more. No written animal sounds, unfortunately -- those can be quite interesting, too.

The Eggcorn Database is an amusing and sometimes surprising listing of misheard and commonly-mistaken idioms and turns-of-phrase -- "dog-eat-dog" becomes "doggy-dog," "boisterous" becomes "voiceterous," "cease and desist" becomes "cease and decease," and, providing the project its title, "acorn" becomes "eggcorn." It's interesting what people come up with when they only hear these expressions in speech and never see them written down.

Speak Up has a carefully-considered critique of the alphabet.

B b
This is a very nice pair; whoever did this was really thinking about the relationship between the two. I like the way the capital B can have some variation in the proportions from top to bottom. Obviously designed by a man, the ball and stick of the lowercase b is simple and, appropriately, half of the cap B. Talk about male and female! The buxom, pregnant cap together with the excitable lowercase.

SEW is a short film about a girl diagnosed with OCD who can't stop playing a particular, very demanding word game in her head. Artistic, informative, and touching, the film was made by a student about one of his close friends, who is also a filmmaker. Both of them have made a lot of other films which are well worth checking out (just click on their names on the intro page to see their other work).

The Phrontistry is a great site with obscure word lists and vocabulary resources. Visit the International House of Logorrhea or the Compendium of Lost Words; learn about lipograms, writing omitting a letter of the alphabet; read essays and rants on language; or browse an extensive list of glossaries, from Divination and Fortune Telling to Feeding and Eating, Three-Letter Rare Words, Manias and Obsessions, and Words of Wisdom.

Fun with Words is "a celebration of the English language" with lots of neat features for the logophile: lists of collective nouns for animals, commonly confused words, word oddities, palindromes, pangrams, conflicting proverbs, unusual word forms...oh, so much good stuff.

The sidebar has been updated with a lot of new dictionaries and language sites, too. Happy browsing!

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Anonymous Virge:

Greetings BlueWyvern.

I'm glad you've found the OEDILF interesting and am pleased to see our fame spreading through the net.

I'd be grateful if you could include the name of the author of the ameloblast limerick together with the work. His name is S. A. McBurnie.

Thanks in anticipation.

Blogger bluewyvern:

No problem. I apologize, I hadn't noticed your quoting guidelines.

Thanks for visiting. And wonderful project you have there.


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