My sweetheart, my dear, my beloved, my love.

In many languages, you will find versions of these terms of endearment: honey, dear, sweetheart. Beyond that, animal names and food-related words are very common. Tiny bits of food–like morsels and crumbs–and baby animals, especially, are favorites because something smaller than small can be cuter than cute.

Why do we use terms of endearment?

I checked with my gut and think that, sometimes, calling one’s beloved by name simply doesn’t measure up to the love and affection one feels for them in that moment. It is kind of like spoken version of a kiss on the cheek or a squeezy hug.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

There are as many terms for telling someone that they are cherished as there are people in the world to be cherished. Here are some that didn’t make it into the book: French bout de chou (piece of sweet) mon chouchou (my dear) German mauschen (little mouse) Italian passerotto/passerotta (little Sparrow) Hungarian bogarkam (my little … Read more

Itsy bitsy teeny weeny little pip

We are wired to respond with protectiveness to anything or anyone young, new, and vulnerable. Because new young things are typically small or extra small, we are compelled to address them as buttons, microbes, pips, or other diminutive items. Maybe serving really big feelings into smaller, bite-sized pieces are easier to manage for both the … Read more

A Virtual Conversation with the MCLA Alumni Association

Listen as Mary Lee Donovan ’83, author of children’s book “A Hundred Thousand Welcomes” and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts assistant professor of education, Dr. Maggie Clark, discuss the genesis of the recently published children’s book, the publishing process, and Mary Lee’s storied career in the industry. From Mary Lee Donovan’s MCLA Bio page: Mary … Read more

Expressing Welcome

Greetings of welcome can be spoken, or they can be gestures. A smile, a hug, a kiss on one cheek, a kiss on both cheeks, shaking hands, bowing are all ways of showing someone else that you are friendly, that you honor their dignity, and that you respect their individuality.

Welcoming the Neighbors

There are almost as many ways of making someone feel welcome as there are cultures in the world. Some ways are traditional, some are formal, many are informal. In the United States, you might knock on someone’s door and give them a tray of homemade cookies or a bouquet of flowers along with some tips … Read more

The World from an Armchair

The illustrator Lian Cho did impressive research for the illustrations in the book, digging deep for scenes of everyday life in the countries whose languages or customs are referenced in A Hundred Thousand Welcomes. Source for population statistics: , accessed on 20 March 2022 Source for language statistics:  Eberhard, David M., Gary F. Simons, and Charles … Read more

So Many Languages

There are approximately 7100 living languages and dialects spoken around the world. The number of languages changes over time as new information and research comes to light and as some languages become extinct. Roughly forty percent of the world’s living languages are currently endangered. Only twenty-three languages account for more than half the world’s population.  … Read more