Category Archives: Linguistics

Throwback Thursday: “Did kittens get their name in Britain?”

This week’s Throwback Thursday post was originally published on April 12, 2012, when The Nine-Year-Old was only five. Sometime last year, The Five-Year-Old discovered the highly informative children’s book series “The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That.” The … Continue reading

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Caterpickles thinks too much about Christmas carols: “How do you troll an ancient Yuletide carol?”

Thanks for tuning in for another special holiday edition of Caterpickles thinking too hard about words. This week, we’re wondering just what it means to “troll an ancient Yuletide carol.” But first, we need to clear up a few thing about last week’s post first. … Continue reading

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Classic Caterpickles: “Why do some people call Santa Kris Kringle?”

While we were driving through Orland Park one fine December day in 2014, we passed the Kris Kringle Haus, a holiday pop-up store specializing in European and American-made Christmas goods.* It was obvious to The (then) Seven-Year-Old that this merry … Continue reading

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Caterpickles thinks too much about Christmas carols: “What’s a bobtail?”

Last week, my daughter’s choir performed at her Lower School Assembly. Naturally, Daddyo and I went. The price of enjoying our daughter’s warbling came at the very end of the assembly when we were all invited to join the holiday … Continue reading

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“What’s the difference between thee, thou, and thy?”

Wouldn’t you love to know why The Nine-Year-Old asked this question? Yeah, me too. Sadly, this question came up during my annual August vacation, and while I dutifully wrote it down to answer later, I failed to include any information … Continue reading

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“Is a group of kittens really called a kindle?”

The other day, while cleaning out The Nine-Year-Old’s room, I came across her Top Secret Cat File. In it was a supply list with two items: “1 kindle of kittens, 1 clowder of cats.” Seeing this, Mommyo’s mind had a question: “Is a … Continue reading

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“What’s a yurt?”

A week or two ago, I finally got around to telling The (now) Nine-Year-Old the answer to the question her Four-Year-Old self had asked about the rules for when Y was used as a consonant, not a vowel. She listened politely until I … Continue reading

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“When is Y not a vowel?”

I still remember the stormy March day almost five years ago when my daughter learned that not all vowels were constants. A, E, I, O, and U are always vowels, but that Y is a trickster. Sometimes he’s a vowel, sometimes he’s not. This … Continue reading

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Applied Vocabulary, Episode 3: “What is bliss?”

On the way home from her swimming lesson this weekend, The Eight-Year-Old asked: “What is bliss?” Daddyo responded by showing her this picture: The Eight-Year-Old: “Oh, it’s like total happiness! Canelo’s body is a smile and he’s wearing a smile!” Here endeth … Continue reading

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“Is Chicago really the windiest city?”

Shortly after being carried off by a wind gust on Michigan Avenue, The Eight-Year-Old naturally wanted to know, “Is Chicago really the windiest city?” According to the Weather Channel, no. The title of America’s Windiest City actually belongs to Amarillo, … Continue reading

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