Author Archives: Benjamin Yang

Onomatopœia


July 10, 2019 ||

The term onomatopœia, derived from the Greek ὀνοματοποιία (ὄνομα (ónoma), “name” + ποιέω (poiéō), “to make, to do, to produce”), refers to words whose phonetic forms originate from the sound of the thing or action the word represents. Common examples from English are “oink”, “beep”, and “hiccup”. Japanese is known for having a very large […]


The Most Common Words in PanLex


March 7, 2019 ||

The PanLex Database contains a large diversity of languages and dialects. This diversity allows us to explore interesting language facts, illuminated by casting PanLex’s wide net across the languages of the world. One question, originally suggested by our founder and director emeritus Dr. Jonathan Pool was: What’s the most common word in the PanLex Database? […]


Fake Words Are Based On Real Words


January 14, 2019 ||

Each month, PanLex generates and publishes new “fake words” such as “unequalitis” and “adjustache” to entertain our newsletter readers in the Fake Word of the Month challenge. But how, exactly, are these fake words generated? We use an emergent property of the linguistic information contained in the PanLex Database, and a simple probabilistic algorithm. Translation quality […]


Indonesian Languages in PanLex


December 13, 2018 ||

The PanLex Database currently contains lexical translation data from 549 languages spoken in Indonesia. Each dot on this map represents one of those languages, scaled to show the number of words in that language that PanLex has collected. With the help of our supporters, PanLex will be able to increase our coverage of languages for […]


Rice that Sticks to the Pan


November 15, 2018 ||

The relationship between food and language can be fascinating. The idiosyncrasies of a culture’s cuisine are often reflected in its vocabulary, and it is common for food words in one language to lack direct translations into other languages due to the uniqueness of cuisines around the world. Of course, a culture can adopt other foods, […]