Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Visual and visible. Mixing up these two similar-looking words would lead to a great faux pas in connection with the students at the special schools in Levoča. "Visual" is the adjective directly
from "vision", so it is "zrakové" in Slovak, and while "visible" is also derived from "vision", it means "perceptible by vision", so it is "viditeľné" in Slovak. I don't think I need to spell out
the possible offense that could be caused when referring to people's disabilities. Other uses of "visual" are for example in "audio-visual", involving sound and pictures together, or in the "visual
arts", which consist of works for looking at rather than reading or listening to. "Visible" is used for example in "visible imperfections" on the surface of metal, or the "visible spectrum", that
is the colors of the rainbow. The opposite of "visible" is "invisible".
The name "Christmas" has survived from the time (before Henry VIII) when England was all Catholic. It means the day on which mass (omša) was said for Jesus Christ, to remember his birth and his
whole message. English speakers do not tell their children that the Infant Jesus puts gifts under the Christmas tree. That's one of the jobs of Father Christmas (UK) or Santa Claus (USA and
international); the other is to put Mikuláš-type small gifts in children's stockings during the night of Christmas Eve (predvečer). These combined tasks take so long that English-style Christmas is
all shifted to December 25th - good training for developing patience in people. A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all OVI readers!