MotherTongues: Wear Words, Celebrate Cultures

about words, languages, cultures, travel

World Words: the first MotherTongues app now available! May 3, 2012

 World Words

Download World Words

I am so excited: the first MotherTongues app is here! It is available in the Apple app store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and it is free!

10 Reasons you will LOVE the free World Words word-a-day app:

* Learn a new difficult-to-translage, life-affirming word every day.
* Deepen your sense of well-being, community, peace and justice.
* Hear a native speaker audio pronunciation for most words.
* Share your favorite words via Facebook, Twitter, email or text – easily!
* No internet connection needed after the download – the words are contained in the app.
* No ads!
* Set push notifications and the time of day to be notified of the new word-of-the-day.
* Scroll through previous words.
* Bookmark to save your favorite words.
* Learn the meaning of the word in English, the language it is from, and the country where it is spoken.

I would appreciate it greatly if you can please rate the app after using it for a while.

In celebration of the release, use Coupon Code “WORLDWORDS” at, for 10% off plus free shipping (anywhere!), on all MotherTongues apparel and accessories! Valid till Friday, May 11, 2012. I hope to work on an Android version of the app soon – you can help me to make this possible by buying a MotherTongues t-shirt or postcard today!

With appreciation for supporting me on this journey,



Calling all language lovers! March 15, 2012

World Words Kickstarter app

I have an idea. And I need YOUR help to make it happen!

Through the years, I’ve collected a lot of words. These words celebrate cultures. These words can deepen our sense of community, peace and justice. These words are not easily translated into English, but require a phrase to best explain their meaning. These words will open your eyes to other languages, cultures, and ideas. These words will be fun to learn!

I need your help in creating a FREE iPhone & iPad app to share these words. This app will teach you a new foreign word every day, even helping you to pronounce the word correctly.

In the app you may discover a word such as Minga: a Quechua word from South America. It means to carry one another. Minga encourages you to gather your community to accomplish a task that benefits the whole community.

Or you may find out about Mudita: a Sanskrit word, meaning to find joy in someone else’s happiness. Mudita teaches us that there is enough happiness in the world for all.

I’ve set up a Kickstarter project to get the seed money for the app. Would you please check it out, watch the 2 minute video, and share, share, share with your network on Facebook, email or Twitter? I need a Minga to make this happen 🙂

I also have great MotherTongues incentives (read: t-shirts, aprons, postcards, and some exclusive one-of-a-kind rewards) for you should you be interested in supporting this project. Please go check it out!

Dankie/Gracias/Thank you!  I’m forever grateful.


Help me make a MotherTongues app! Request for “untranslatable” words March 1, 2012

Do you know a word or phrase, in a language other than English, which you don’t quite know how to translate into English? Or definitely can’t translate into only one English word? Does this word have a positive meaning? Or does it talk about peace, justice, the environment, community? Or is it just a fun word? Then I’d love to hear about it!

I’m developing a (free) MotherTongues app for the iPhone and iPad that will teach you one interesting word each day of the year. I would like to have words from a wide variety of languages.

Some examples of words that I already have on my list (other than the MotherTongues words already on t-shirts):

Gökotta (Swedish): To wake up early in the morning, with the purpose of going outside to hear the first birds sings.

Yoko meshi (Japanese): A metaphor for the stress of trying to understand another language. The literal translation is a meal that is eaten sideways. Given that Japanese is read vertically and most languages are read horizontally, the expression captures the mind-bending challenge of processing words in new ways.

In La ‘Kesh (Mayan): We are different faces of each other.

If you know any fun, positive, cultural words in ANY language (but English), please send them to me at If I end up using the word, I’ll send you a MotherTongues gift (and a link to the free app!)

Dankie! Merci! Gracias! Mahalo!
~ Michelle


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