Tuesday, August 23, 2016

VocabLady: Pique, peek, and peak

Bonjour! I think I've found a niche for my VocabLady posts: English words borrowed from French (like niche, hee hee). So let's get started with a little troublemaker that I see frequently abused on the Interwebs, pique.

Piquer in French means to sting. You can hear the word clearly here in this French music video from 1988 for a song called "Mosquito," sung by child star and model, Vanessa Paradis. No comments on the quality of the video, please. It was the 80s. We didn't have smartphones or the Internet. We shushed our little brothers when our favorite song came on the radio and recorded it on a tape recorder. It was like living in caveman days. 

But back to English, we use the past participle, piqué, to describe a textured fabric that has little holes and bumps -- that looks like it's been stung or poked. 

We also use to verb, to pique, to mean to stimulate, to arouse an emotion, like interest or anger. 

Example: The stranger's casually arrogant statement that he could beat anyone in the room at Scrabble piqued the VocabLady's interest, as well as her pride.

That would be magnifique, but English already has two other words that sound exactly the same (homophones), peek and peak.

So here are three mnemonics to help you remember this troublesome trio:

1. Peek: The word peek means to peep, to look furtively

You can remember it because the two matching e's are like two matching eyes, as in this precious graphic from http://peek.usertesting.com/ (even cuter animation on their site).


2. Peak means top or height, like a mountain summit, when it's a noun, and to reach the fullest height, as a verb. 

Example: VocabLady's Scrabble game peaked when she spelled "pique" with the Q on the triple-letter square.

You can remember this because the letter A in peak has a peak at the top

The Oatmeal has done a fantastic post on sneak peek vs. sneak peak. 

3. Pique means sting, poke at, or otherwise arouse emotion. 

You can remember it because the Q's tail looks like a stinger

Can you remember the difference? If you can, with no peeking, you are at the peak of your homophone game, and you will pique others' envy by going forth and using these three words correctly!


A little more history, in case you are interested:

peek, late 14th century, origin unknown (Online Etymology Dictionary)

peak, mid 16th century, perhaps from picked, meaning pointed (Google); or, a variant of pike, a sharp point (Online Etymology Dictionary), both of which ultimately go back to French pique

pique, also mid 16th century, borrowed French word

Friday, August 19, 2016

SubLog and VocabLady!

Hi! As you may know, I've created a separate blog for my jaquitos, named, appropriately enough, Jaquito.com. So I'm going to use this blog for all my other methodical madness.

My husband and I are planning to move to Denver as soon as one of us gets a job, so I didn't sign a teaching contract this year. Instead, I'm going to be a Substitute Teacher! I'm going to use this opportunity to work on my skills at connecting with students, since I won't be able to focus on the academics so much when I'm on my one-day missions to Save the Day. I'll blog about my experiences here in a sub-blog called SubLog.

I'll also be using this space to start posting about my new dream job: VocabLady. When I was an English teacher, I (and many of my colleagues) had the following problems: first, when students use rote memorization to cram vocabulary words for quizzes, without really learning why the words mean what they do, they usually don't retain much.

Second, English teachers are overworked. In addition to teaching their content areas (literature and vocabulary), they are also constantly working on the fundamental skills of writing and grammar -- because when kids write poorly, other teachers blame us. In addition, English teachers tend to have more and longer essays to grade than other teachers, and we have to grade them both for content and for mechanics (grammar, spelling, etc.).

So, how to get students to retain more vocabulary, and give English teachers a little relief? By hiring me, VocabLady! I will come into English classrooms on a regular schedule (once a week, every other week, once a quarter...) and teach kids the analytical foundations of grammar: classical roots. I was told in an AP English professional development seminar that that the second-best way for kids to learn vocabulary is through Greek and Latin roots (the best way, of course, being to read a lot). The teacher can give me a list of words, or she can have me choose them. I teach the kids how to break down the words and figure them out. I can provide assessments, and I can grade those too, if the teacher desires.

I basically take over one aspect of the English teacher's work load, and give the kids tools they can use in any subject area to learn more words.

So please follow me here to learn how a sub can save the day, and to expand your vocabulary with VocabLady! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

X-Men t-shirt ready to be claimed!

Is there an X-Men fan in your life? This t-shirt would be the perfect addition to his or her favorite denim jacket! Or, give me his/her measurements, and I'll find the perfect jacket! (It's a big image, so would look best on a larger jacket.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Two new LARGE jaquitos!

Two new jaquitos, size large!

Black corduroy with multilingual CHOCOLATE design on back! Patch pockets on front, butterfly applique on breast pocket..


Fawn cordoroy jacket from Chico's, Parisian CAFE LATTE design on back. Breast pockets.


$35 each. Leave a comment if you're interested!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Whiskey Saloon jacket -- just in time for Father's Day!

Father's Day is just around the corner! Tired of giving Dad the same old tie? How about a custom Jaquito? This is a coffee brown high-quality denim jacket (originally from Banana Republic) with a vintage Whiskey Saloon t-shirt graphic on the back. Size large. Pockets inside and out. Can be further customized with a patch on pocket or sleeve.

$35 as is, $5 for an additional patch. Leave a comment to let me know you want it!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jackets Available at The Colorful Cupboard

I've found a new consignment shop: The Colorful Cupboard, 1141 Beechmont Ave. (aka Rt. 125, aka Ohio Pike) in Withamsville, OH. They are a combination craft and coffee shop with creative studios. Grand Opening April 26. Check them out!

Here are the jaquitos that are there:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Delicious new Chocolat Jaquito + more tattoo art available!

Here's the latest jaquito. Chocolate brown corduroy, hand-warmer pockets. On the back: pink and chocolate multilingual CHOCOLATE design! Yum! Size small. $30.

I have another copy of the same pink design minus the sparkles, plus the same design on a black background, with or without sparkles:

I also found another cool Ed Hardy tattoo art t-shirt. Two designs with skull and dagger; the one on the back includes a snake and a tiger. I'd love to see these on a black jacket: the big design on the back, and the smaller skull & dagger on a sleeve or breast pocket. Leave a comment if you're interested!