Check out my ongoing linguistics project featuring people’s favorite words in different languages!
Collecting the data is relatively simple: I ask what your favorite word is in any language, you scribble it on the whiteboard and tell me what it means, and then explain why it means something to you. That’s all I ask for.
But these interactions hardly ever stop there. Through this project, I learn more than just new words; I learn a little bit about each person. There are always stories behind the words—from their enthusiasm for their upcoming trip to Ireland to their experiences growing up with Dysgraphia to the spontaneous friendships they made backpacking in Vietnam—and for a brief moment, it feels as though they are walking me through a quick tour of their lives. And it all just starts with a single word.
Whether it’s a silly nickname that we grew up with or a word that just sounds pleasant to our ears, some words just stick with us throughout our lives. Yet just as language is ever-changing, so, too, are we. Perhaps as you scroll along, you will learn a new word that resonates with you, too.