A Tongue Twister Mystery

All over the world, people eat a dazzling array of foods - some that we might not even consider putting to our tongues.  Now that we've stuck out the subject, another way we use our tongues (besides tasting) also differs between cultures - if you get my flavor.

      Did you know that the English word "language," like many English words, did not start as an English word?  A long time ago, English speaking people borrowed it from French speaking people.  In French, the word is langue (pronounced like "long").  But, it didn't start as a French word either.  That's because French inherited it from its mother, Latin (languages have families too!).  In  Latin, the word is lingua (leen-gwah), which once meant "tongue." In Spanish, lengua (layn-gwah) still can mean tongue - or language.

      I speak several tongues.  I even speak one mouth.  In the Luo (looh-oh) language of East Africa, the word that means "language" also means "mouth."  That word is dho (pronounced like "though").  So, the Luo people call their language dholuo.  Swahili, another "mouth" from Africa that I know, is more like Latin.  Its word for language, lugha (looh-gah), also means "tongue."



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