Fun with words, and birds

Check out the Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form (OEDILF) to learn some new words (offerings span Pre-A- through Em– thus far; estimated date of completion is currently March 5, 2039) and broaden your appreciation of the limerick.

e.g. (with unintentional ornithological theme)


On our crest, with a roo, Aussies team you.
You taste best when we stew (it’s supreme!) you.
You can’t fly. You’re absurd.
You’re our fat old Big Bird,
Yet we love and esteem you, o emu.

(by rusty – who has also completed a series of wordplay-heavy entries on musical keys.)


The Eskimo curlew, or doughbird,
Is a vanished-a-long-time-ago bird.
Had it kept on its toes,
As it froze in the snows,
It might still be a go-with-the-floe bird.

(by Stephen Gold)


My favorite random language fact of the week, from a feature in The Believer magazine on pangrams, sentences including every commonly-used letter in a given alphabet (e.g. “the quick brown fox…”):

The Iroha, a perfect Japanese pangram (contains every kana once and only once) and typically Japanese meditation on life’s evanescence, became so famous that the order of its kana was used as alphabetical order up until the late 19th century. Cool. See its Wikipedia entry for the full poem, two translations, and lots of interesting history.

– E

Coolest random tidbit from a random book of the week

From Arika Okrent’s In the Land of Invented Languages: of the 500 invented languages that Okrent profiles, the two most commonly spoken today are Esperanto and Klingon.

This is probably one of those things that everyone [in nerd land] already knew but me, but still. Wow, Trekkies. I was always a Star Wars girl, but color me impressed. (Also, this makes me wonder how the number of Klingon speakers compares to the number of people who would declare Jedi as their religion.)