There are no words.

It is that wonderful time at the end of the calendar year when businesses and schools are closed and family members are home, together.  Here at our house,  in between the Scrabble  board game smack downs and the Sudoku marathons, interspersed  between the hours of sleeping, cooking and eating, I have been trying to catch up on my twitter feeds and the blogs I follow.

I discovered this gem, made by the CogDog  (Alan Levine).  Being the foreign language nerd that I am, I have no idea how this site escaped my attention until now, but here it is:  “Words with No English Translation”

Jim Groom blogged about the site here and also linked to a ds106 exercise that used the words from “No English Translation” as a create-an-image-that-portrays this word exercise prompt.  I am wondering aloud about the possibility of asking my future students to do something similar with these words, but in a much more low tech fashion.

Maybe they could choose a word and draw it as we did in for exercise last semester  (images here). The prompt was “draw something that happened last week and then give the drawing to your partner and ask him/her to interpret it.”

Or maybe choose a word and build its representation out of Legos® (along the lines of an exercise I had my class do here).

Hmmm.  Time for more pie.

And when/if  you are done with reviewing the non English words, there is always the fun game of asking your students how to explain /find an equivalent in a second language for English words like “awkward” 🙂

Happy New Year to all.


Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!

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