Build your vocabulary with anfractuosity

By default, my Anki flashcard decks of foreign language vocabulary show me words I've added myself (usually because I had to look them up and figured if I memorized them I could spare Future Tracy a riffle through the dictionary). When those run out, though, Anki switches to cards I've downloaded from the Internet. And as we all know, the Internet has a strange set of priorities.

I knew what a carillon was — I used to live within earshot of one of the jangly nuisances — but since someone who plays the French horn is a French horn player, I wouldn't have guessed English had a specific word for "carillon player"1. How wrong I was. Or would have been.

The Esperanto word for the bell-banging pest in the tower is charmingly logical.

sonor- to ring
sonorilo a bell "tool for ringing"
sonorilaro a collection of bells "collection of tools for ringing"
sonorilaristo carillonneur "professional related to a collection of tools for ringing"

A sonorilisto isn't just a bell-player — they're a professional, or at least good at what they do. Someone who just sneaks into the tower to make noise is a sonorilaranto.

But do not get the idea that Esperanto is always so methodical in its methods.

What's that? An Australian flowering bush? A classical Greek approach to rhetoric? A Pokémon?

Well, if I ever come down with erysipelas at an Esperanto congress, I guess I'll be able to tell everyone about it.

And then there was

What? Look, if you want to troll me, just climb up the bell tower and make a racket, at least I can call 911 —

— never mind, I might actually find a use for that one.

1. Or, more precisely, that some Anki-using Esperantist believed English has such a word. Or wrote a word list that an Anki user spidered off the web. (back to article)

Written on March 16, 2016