I’ve said before that I learned to speak English when I was twenty-one. Learning the language is not only about grammar, vocabulary, or spelling, but also about pronunciation. Dessert and desert: why are they pronounced the same, yet spelled differently? Walk and salmon. Both have a useless “l” in the middle and you’d think that they’d be pronounced in the same way. Noooo. Dough and cough have only one letter difference. Excuse me?
Every morning, when I boot up my computer and check my email, I’m greeted with the Word of the Day from A Word A Day. Sometimes the words are obscure and simply add to my understanding of the language although there is little chance that I will use them. Sometimes, like this week, the words are shiny new and reflect the culture we live in. For instance today is:
carbon-neutral (KAHR-buhn NOO-truhl, NYOO-) adjective
Adding no net carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.[A greenhouse gas such as carbon dioxide is a contributor to global
warming. Carbon-neutral means contributing zero total emission of the gas
into the atmosphere. The earliest citation of the term is found in a 1992
article in The Independent (London, UK).]
Being carbon-neutral doesn’t necessarily mean producing zero carbon dioxide.
What it means is that the net addition is zero, offset by other actions,
such as planting trees, buying clean energy, etc. And it doesn’t have to be
all or nothing. If you cannot be completely carbon-neutral, you can definitely
reduce your carbon footprint.
Calculate your carbon footprint: http://carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx
-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
“As an award-winning leader in green design, it’s no surprise that
Vancouver architect Peter Busby is planning North America’s first
carbon-neutral office tower.”
Kerry Gold; Carbon-neutral Building Sets a Standard; The Globe and Mail
(Toronto, Canada); Nov 20, 2007.
What I like about A Word a Day, apart from its being completely free, is that in addition to the definition, it gives you the pronunciation an explanation where necessary, and its usage in a “real” quote from the world to put it in context.
There’s another thing I like about my daily word email: the quote section. A daily quote is included with the word definition, although it’s not always directly related to the word itself. Anu Garg, the owner of A Word A Way, always selects a thought-provoking one from a well-known person. Today’s especially resonated with me since I made a lifestyle choice ten years ago of leaving a well-paying job to write.
For money you can have everything it is said. No that is not true. You can
buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; soft beds, but not
sleep; knowledge but not intelligence; glitter, but not comfort; fun, but
not pleasure; acquaintances, but not friendship; servants, but not
faithfulness; grey hair, but not honor; quiet days, but not peace. The
shell of all things you can get for money. But not the kernel. That cannot
be had for money. -Arne Garborg, writer (1851-1924)
I’ve never regretted my choice, not for one minute, but it’s often been interesting to juggle the necessities of life. This quote reminded me why I do what I do. Thanks, Anu.