"Word Safari"

What it is


As you've probably divined by now, Word Safari's purpose is to demonstrate the use of the World Wide Web as one's textbook. It provides a method to focus attention on specific inquiries while also enlisting the inherent sense of playfulness and discovery that Internet users bring to their pastime. Word Safari invites the user into a friendly guessing game and then reinforces the correct answer by indulging every Net surfer's inclination to see what's out there.

I have chosen links based on how well they illustrate the vocabulary words. While many of them point to academic sites, especially those that maintain online collections of literary works, I have not ruled out commercial, religious, or otherwise partisan entities as long as they provide helpful examples of word usage. Words used as proper names are also included, if the context is consistent with the word's meaning ("Halcyon Resort," "Sylvan Trail"). Faithfulness to the literal definition is only one criterion; I also look for metaphorical, poetic, or figurative expressions consistent with or derivative from the original meaning. (Editors, proofreaders, and other perfectionists are welcome to gently point out to me any errant judgment calls I might have made, but see the next paragraph first.)

Occasionally I link to sites where word usage isn't quite standard (as when the text has been translated by a non-native English speaker), but in which the result hints at the struggle the translator must have had with the dictionary. These occasions will be evident from the context. I could justify their inclusion with some highfalutin observations on "the evolution of English syntax through the contributions of non-native users," but mostly they're here because they made me smile. Hopefully they'll do the same for you.

Whenever possible, I've attempted to present a diversity of origins or subjects and to highlight sites that are surprising, delightful, useful, or unique. I have also indulged some of my own inclinations toward the creative, experimental, and downright quirky.

It is not the purpose of this site to feature arcane or obscure terms merely for the sake of their novelty. Vocabulary items are selected based on their likely usefulness in academic reading and writing--SAT and GRE study lists are among the sources I consult for ideas. (Others are the Scrabble Maven and Merriam-Webster's online word puzzles, as well as selections from my own reading.) The age/education level of anticipated beneficiaries is college-preparatory to adult. While Word Safari links only to sites that most reasonable people would find appropriate or non-offensive, please bear in mind that the author's leanings are toward the liberal side of the 1990's Values Scrimmages. Users who tilt in a different direction might want to come up with their own set of links.

The code knowledge needed to produce a similar site is quite basic, and can be learned with a modest investment of time from any of the helpful HTML tutorials available online. Use and enjoy — and, by the way, if you're a company or institution involved with preparing online content and you're hiring, please see my resume. Thank you.

Ruth Pettis
(Game Warden)

    HTML Tutorials:

    Webmonkey HTML teachingtool
    The Web Design Resource
    HTML Tutorial for the Educator
    The Web Developer's Virtual Library

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