Thur., Mar. 3/22
“Utilizes Chisanbop” read the clue, and four blank squares stared back at me awaiting my answer. Having never, at least to my knowledge, Chisanbopped, I was somewhat at a loss to define it, so I went on… In time, the intersecting words mArble, ceDar, and hanDler revealed themselves. I added an “S” and it became clear that a Chisanbop-er must be one who ADDS. Adds what to what though remained a mystery. I completed the crossword then began to investigate.
Turns out “Chisanbop,” or “Chesenbop” as some prefer, is a method of finger counting; it works much like an Abacus. The fingers of the right hand represent 1,2,3,4, with the right thumb representing 5. The fingers of the left hand represent 10,20,30,40, with the left thumb as 50. Lay your hands palms down, add the appropriate number of ‘tens’ and ‘ones’ and you can sum correctly to 100.
In 2013 The Economist published data resulting from tests of some 2 million adults whose native tongue was English. The data showed an average vocabulary range of 20,000-35,000 words. It further showed participants learned almost 1 new word a day until middle age and that vocabulary growth stops at middle age. The average four year old had a vocabulary of 5,000 words and the average eight year old knew approximately 10,000 words. A different study published in May 2016 showed word recognition of 50 words by age one, 1,000 words by age three, and 10,000 words by age five.
Words are everywhere and new words are constantly being coined. Just this past October (2021) Merriam Webster added 455 new words to its dictionary lexicon – e.g. super-spreader, vaccine passport, digital nomad, doorbell camera, bit rot and teraflop!
Whether you know all the latest words, 50 or 50,000 words, One Word is essential for you to know. That Word is Christ! John opens his gospel narrative “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1). He goes on to say all things were made by the Word, life and light were in the Word… The Word is God expressing Himself, Creating, Enlightening. Then, in verse 14 John writes,
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14, NIV).
Here is a Word that lives… a Word that not only may we know personally, but a Word that knows us intimately! He is a Word that transcends all languages, a Word that pierces deep into us, and says new things to us at every utterance. He is a sure Word, a reliable Word… One you can count on – even if you have no fingers at all!