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.

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 Leave a comment

Will you be pernoctating?

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If someone asked you if you were planning to pernoctate, would you know what they meant? This is a word I came across today in the blog A Linguist Abroad in a post about ‘Interesting’ Cambridge rules. It appears in the sentence: A Tutor (the pernoctating Tutor) is on duty every night and may stop […]

English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Caledonian Antisyzygy

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In the Alexander McCall-Smith novel I just finished reading, The Revolving Door of Life, the concept of antisyzygy, and particularly Caledonian antisyzygy, comes up. I had to look it up as I didn’t know what it meant or how to pronounce it. The term Caledonian Antisyzygy refers to the “idea of dueling polarities within one […]

English, Etymology, Greek, Language, Words and phrases Leave a comment

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 4 Comments

Ti a Chi

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There was an interesting discussion this morning on Radio Cymru about the use of pronouns in Welsh. Like in many languages, there are different forms of the second person pronoun in Welsh: – ti [tiː] = you singular and informal – chi [χiː] = you plural, and formal you singular and plural – chdi [χdiː] […]

English, Etymology, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 1 Comment

The World in Words

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I recently came across a fascinating podcast – The World in Words – where they talk about all sorts of language-related topics, from the origins of the Etruscan language to language policy in Canada. It is well worth a listen for anybody interested in language. Do you know of any similar podcasts or radio programmes?

English, Language Leave a comment

Kernewek

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I started learning Cornish yesterday. Mainly because it’s the only Celtic language I haven’t studied yet, and I’m curious about it. I’m using the course SaySomethingin Cornish, and am finding it very good. I like the way the course is put together – you learn a small number of words and structures in each lesson […]

Breton, Cornish, English, Language, Language learning, Welsh Leave a comment

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 7 Comments

Escroquerie

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An interesting French word I learnt yesterday is escroquerie [ɛskʁɔkʁi], which means a swindle or fraud. It comes from escroquer (to swindle). A related word is escroc (villain, baddy). It probably comes from the Italian word scroccare (to eat or live at others’ expense) [source]. Other English equivalents of escroquer include scrounge, sponge, cadge and […]

English, French, Italian, Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Cheese flies

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Apparently it’s National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day today. It’s also National Licorice Day, and Be Kind to Lawyers Day, at least in the USA. Is it a special day elsewhere? The equivalent of the grilled cheese sandwich in the UK is known as cheese on toast, and in French it’s known as a Croque Monsieur, […]

English, French, Language Leave a comment
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