Author Archives: Simon

I have worked in various parts of the UK, and in a few other countries, doing a variety of jobs in hotels, farms and offices. I currently make my living from my website, Omniglot, an online encyclopedia of writing systems and languages that makes money from adverts. I also play a variety of musical instruments, sing and write songs.

Babbling

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I spent last weekend at my mum’s house, along with my brother, sister-in-law and their one-year old daughter. The last time I saw my niece was at Christmas, when she was making some sounds, but not really babbling much. Now she is babbling away all the time and sometimes says recognisable words, or at least […]

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English, Language, Language acquisition, Russian Leave a comment

Gender differences in language learning?

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An article I read in The Times today suggests that women tend to be less confident than men, particularly in work-related situations. Apparently men tend to over estimate their abilities, while women often under estimate their abilities, and women tend to over-prepare and don’t feel ready for a task unless they are 100% sure of […]

English, Language, Language learning 6 Comments

Language quiz

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Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 13 Comments

Pfeife

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The other day I came across the wonderful German word Pfeife, which means whistle or pipe, and comes from the Middle High German pfife, from Old High German pfiffa, from the Vulgar Latin pipa (pipe; tube-shaped musical instrument), from the Classical Latin pipare (to chirp; to peep), which is of imitative origin, and is also […]

English, German, Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Polyglot contest

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A challenge has been issued on the Omniglot fan club on Facebook to make a polyglot video of you speak all the languages you know well to see who can speak the most languages. Some have already taken up the challenge, others are seeing it as a bit of fun. What do you think of […]

Language 2 Comments

Language quiz

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Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 3 Comments

Sound instincts

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According to an article I came across today, humans possibly have innate preferences for the sound patterns found in languages which might help babes to distinguish language from non-language and to acquire language. An experiment undertaken by the National Academy of Sciences found that even new born babies show a preference for combinations of phonemes […]

Language, Language acquisition, Linguistics 11 Comments

Attercop

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In The Hobbit, Bilbo uses the words attercop, lazy lob, crazy cob, and old tomnodd as insults he’s attacked by giant spiders in Mirkwood. I guessed that they are alternative names for spiders, but I thought I’d check. Attercop is a word for spider from the Old English √°torcoppe, from √°tor/attor (poison) and coppe, from […]

Danish, English, Etymology, Language, Norwegian, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Towns, gardens and fences

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Last week I went to Denbigh, a small town in the north east of Wales, to sing in a concert. On the way there there was some discussion about the origins and meaning of the name Denbigh. So I thought I’d find out more. The English name of the town doesn’t mean anything, but the […]

Dutch, English, Etymology, German, Irish, Language, Manx, Proto-Indo-European, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases 7 Comments

Language quiz

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Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 5 Comments