Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Of all the animals in our care, two stand out as having the most unpronounceable names.
The name “anemones” is familiar but a tongue twister for most kids:
Say it slowly to keep all those m’s and n’s in order!
The name of our strange looking salamander, the axolotl, is a mystery to most. The name comes to us through Spanish from Nahuatl, the language spoken by the indigenous Aztec people who first observed these animals.
Say it to rhyme with “max a bottle.”
It can be fun to talk about and learn the words scientists use to describe the world around them. At times, it is also crucial in order to communicate. Learning vocabulary and using it correctly makes it possible to communicate despite the barriers of language, distance and time.
But don't let scientific terms scare you or create a barrier to learning. If you see something new, exciting or fascinating, don’t worry that you can’t describe it technically – say what you saw. Ultimately science is about observation. If you love to observe, you can become motivated to learn the vocabulary.