Informal learning activities/Small things
The following explanations relate directly to the nature and use of the two groups of starting point lists that can be used to start a Wikipedia wander at a generic, or common, name. These names are themselves the small things, almost all being shorter than ten letters.
One group, called Things and Bits, is about inanimate objects and their components. The other, called Beings and Behaviour, is about animate objects and their actions.
Because it is not always clear to which group a name should belong, for example a symphony written down is a thing but played is a behaviour, a provision described below is provided in each list heading for switching between the two groups.
To start wandering straight away, skip the explanation section.
The items in the starting point lists in either group of lists have only two components: the name of the Wikipedia (sometimes the Wiktionary) starting point, followed by, in parentheses, the hint.
Here are two examples of list items— ashlar (stone) alerce (cypress) —and you can click on their name (ashlar or alerce) to see how they work. Don't click on the name unless you know how to get back (for example, on many browsers you click on a big black left arrow at the top left hand corner of the window, or key Alt and left arrow). And at this stage it would be best if you just clicked on the name to see the effect, then came straight back here.
The items are in alphabetic sequence and a bullet (•) is used to signal the start of a new second letter in the sequence of names.
While the names are relatively small, the things or beings being named are not necessarily small. The hints are brief, but not formally limited in length.
The group of lists are arranged in alphabetic sequence of the names. The lists are separated into groups so that the user isn't put off by having a huge list to deal with at any time.
When a list is displayed there is a heading that gives a row of links that can be used to bring up one of the other lists in the group. Otherwise, if a list isn't entirely visible in the display window, the PgUp and PgDn can be used to move up or down the list. You might like to look here to see what one of the lists looks like.
It will be noticed that one of the list links in the heading of this example list is shown as («»Mo⇓⇓), parentheses to emphasise its oddity. The oddity is that this actually connects to two related lists. In the example, the («» links to the corresponding Beings and Behaviour list, and the ⇓⇓) links to the corresponding Extra Beings and Behaviour list, which is explained elsewhere.
The name is a link to a page that will give a description of at least one meaning of the name. If, as is probable, the link is to a Wikipedia page, then that page will often be headed by links to other meanings of the main word. Such a link, and the text containing it, is called a hatnote.
If the entire main name is in italics then the main name is primarily an adjective or verb rather than a noun. If any individual letters appear in italics then they are optional to the spelling, or, if a slash separates italic letters then the italics on either side of the slash are alternatives. These uses of italics rarely occur.
A hint alludes to a meaning of its name and may sometimes itself be a link to further information. A hint may be a single word or a decorated word. For instance, the name atom could have the hint ∈molecule, or python could have snake, or violin could have 4music.
The hint might be a link to another explanatory page for the main name, or a link to another meaning. A + symbol may itself be a link to further information, and/or may confirm that there are other meanings.
Lists by Initial Letter
The following links will bring up the item list for Things and Bits names with that initial letter.
The following links will bring up the item list for Beings and Behaviour names with that initial letter.
In addition, links are provided in the item list headings to move between corresponding initial letter lists.