Archive for the ‘Language’ Category

Pelmatophiles Unite!

In the comments to Food Truck Foolishness”, I used the word “pelmatophobe”, and Ward asks what it means.

It’s a recent coinage that’s not in any dictionary (or even Google).



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The Great “Barefoot Shoes” War

Food Fight!

Over at Barefoot Running University, Jason Robillard has given up the fight regarding the abomination of calling minimalist shoes “barefoot shoes”. Meanwhile, Ken Bob Saxton, at Running Barefoot, insists that the distinction should be made.

You’ll never guess which side of the debate I fall onto.


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How the Licking Got Its Name

I have previously written about how the Hocking River got its name and how that was applied to the Hocking Hills it passes through. This time I’d like to write about how the Licking River got its name.

Not only is there a Licking River, but there is also a Licking County here in Ohio, a bit to the east of Columbus. This always gives the news people a bit of a chortle, particularly if the story involves any sort of a sex angle.

The standard explanation for the name “Licking River” says that it was named for salt licks in the area. I’m not sure I believe that.


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I do a lot of hiking in Hocking Hills, which got its name from the Hocking River that passes through it. The Hocking River was named from a geological feature around Rock Mill, which is along Lithopolis Road to the west of Lancaster (Ohio). It got that name from the Delaware Indians living in the area . . .


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One of my language interests has been Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs). Somehow that “tl” morpheme caught my eye. It also didn’t hurt that the language I took in high school was Spanish, and most of the original information about Nahuatl was recorded in Spanish by Spanish priests.

But there is another connection. Here in Ohio, one of the absolutely coolest Amerindian artifacts is the Newark Earthworks, which includes the Octagon, a lunar observatory. Another of the cool artifacts is the Serpent Mound.

The Octagon itself is currently a golf course (feh! though the fact that it was a golf course probably is what preserved the Octagon from the plowing over that destroyed so many of the other native earthworks). Nonetheless, a few times a year the Octagon is opened to the public (and the golfers have to hold off) and people are free to tour the whole site. (A better description of the events are here on the Ohio Archeology Blog.) One of those Open Houses is occurring April 17-18. These are worth going to.

Anyways, one of the events put on by the Newark Earthworks Center as part of the Octagon Open House is is a chance to throw some spears using atlatls. (more…)

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