Having tossed down a gauntlet on assignment creation, I could sit idly without bring some more “A Game”. Here ny example for a new assignment based on illustrating words that have no English translation.

Glas Web “A smile that is insincere or mocking. Literally, a blue smile.”
cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by babasteve: http://flickr.com/photos/babasteve/3114063323/

Clowns always mock us with their overly expressive smiles. They just want handouts.

Background. During our drive to Montreal, I aimed to enterain my driver, Giulia, with reading descriptions of words that have no english equivalent… this all started with my trying to recall that French expression for the phenomenon where you come up with the perfect come back line much later than the situation where it would have counted (which turns out to be “Esprit d’escalier”.

I found about 4 different web sites with examples of these words, and it made for some good laughter in the car as well as ideas for how we might make them into ds106 assignments. To fuel this, I got it in my head last night, after a long cold walk from the bar where we drank til 1am.. to come up with a web tool that would randomly generate such words based on ones I pulled from a few web sites. I munged together some JavaScript functionality I did for the StoryBox with the template I use for my Web Laboratory to come up with the Random Words With No English Translation site http://lab.cogdogblog.com/nowords/.

I will blog elsewhere the code for the site if anyone is interested or cannot figure out how to steal it.

My example above from the first one I got:

For mine, I did some searches in the flickr creative commons search for By Attribution on “smile clown”… I did not use compfight as usual so I could avoid the ones that are licensed as No Derivatives. I tried a few other seacrhes like “fake smile” “evil smile”, but decided that clowns would be handy since their smiles are usually fake painted. And I think clowns are scary.

So here is the Make The Untranslatable Understood assignment the tag is “VisualAssignments307”

Use the Random Words with No English Translation tool (http://lab.cogdogblog.com/nowords/) to generate a word that could be better understood with a photo or image. Find a creative commons image or make your own, and include the word somehow in the image. Then share it with someone and ask if it makes sense.

I have another assignment idea that will be a writing one that will use the same engine. The assignment machine is ON.

If this kind of stuff has value, please support me by tossing a one time PayPal kibble or monthly on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
Profile Picture for CogDog The Blog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so)


  1. This does look like ‘A’ game material Alan. I’m trying to find the assignment number and category for this assignment.

    Could you give a hint as to which category you filed your submission of the assignment?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *