Tag Archives: history

Kali in Dundee: Indian student’s unique response to assignment

11 Dec

Imagine traveling all the way to Dundee to study anatomy, and coming face to face with the Hindu Goddess Kali. Thanks to the creativity of Tejesvini Padma, a student on the Medical Art MSc offered by the University of Dundee, this is now a probability. Tejeswini sculpted a facial model of Kali as a part […]

Word Nerd: 5 Aztec words that you definitely know

6 Nov

Technically, the language spoken by the Aztecs is known as Nahuatl, and there are many variants of it. It’s the language Europeans heard in the 16th century, when they first arrived in the great city of Tenochtitlan (the site of today’s Mexico City). Nahuatl has been spoken for more than 1,000 years in Mexico, where […]

Word Nerd: 7 words of wisdom that India gifted to the English language

16 Oct

Language and history often go hand in hand. The words we use – or don’t use – often contain fascinating stories within them that carry a good deal of meaning beyond the dictionary definition. Here are a few – feel free to add some of your own in the comments! 1. Ahimsa This Sanskrit word […]

Word Nerd: 8 weird definitions that you never thought belonged in a dictionary

3 Jul

Open any dictionary today – whether online or print, and look up a word. Even if you look at a word that’s funny, for instance a name you can call a person, the definition will be simple and precise. It’s easy to forget that these definitions have been written by real people with opinions and […]

Word Nerd: 8 most commonly mispronounced British place names

10 Apr

The UK has bizarre place names. We’re not just talking about the tiny Welsh town with a name 58 characters long – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, or Pity Me – a village in Durham County. Between these two places – the first of which we doubt you’ll ever wrap your tongue around, and the second you will never […]

Word Nerd: Everyone speaks Romani, the language of the Gypsies

20 Feb

Languages are often more interconnected than we realize. They reflect centuries, or even millennia, of migration, trade, and cultural borrowing. Although many of us may feel no connection to the Roma people (a.k.a. Gypsies), we do, in fact, share quite a bit of vocabulary with them. If you’re a Hindi or Urdu speaker, for instance, […]

Word Nerd: Curving, Carrying & Dropping Balls – 8 Fun Idioms You Should Know

16 Jan

In this Word Nerd, we are talking about balls, because, apparently, we talk about balls a lot! And not just in the context of sports. It is a common metaphor in politics, business, or any kind of conversation. Not surprising, given that humans have been preoccupied with balls for millennia. There are handball drawings on […]

Word Nerd: 5 expressions from the US presidential election

31 Oct

Cartoon of elephant and donkey standing against background that says 2016

One of the most historically significant elections of our lifetime is coming up on November 8 in the US. Unfortunately, each presidential election seems longer and more absurd than the last, resulting in trivialized campaigns riddled with half-truths and lies, and a bitterly divided electorate. Developing new shorthand for all kinds of absurdities seems to […]

Word Nerd: Is Your Autumn Mellow or Macabre?

26 Sep

Hit the average litterateur with the word autumn, and instead of stars, John Keats’ lines will swim before his or her eyes. And certainly, autumn is a “season of mists”, of “mellow fruitfulness”, of the “maturing sun” and other warm and romantic fantasies. But it is also a season of cooler air, longer nights and […]

Word Nerd: How Moody is the Monsoon?

29 Aug

As I write this Word Nerd piece, August is nearly at an end, and so is the rainy season. In the Indian subcontinent, the rainy season is also known as monsoon, a word which originates from the Arabic ‘mausim’. Mausim means that which comes around once a year. This could be a festival or a […]