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.

Frantastique

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I’m happy to announce that Omniglot has partnered with Frantastique to help you enhance your language skills and effectively learn French. Frantastique is a 15 minute daily online training, which is tailored for each user’s level of French. So how does Frantastique work? Your daily lesson is sent by e-mail every morning Every morning, your […]

English, French, Language, Language learning 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 1 Comment

Pass the funny dingdong

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If someone asked you to “pass the funny dingdong”, would you know what they wanted? With the context that you are watching TV, you might have a better idea what they wanted. According to Fry’s English Delight, a programme about language on BBC Radio Four, funny dingdong is one of the many ways of referring […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 2 Comments

No holds barred

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I came across the phrase no holds barred today and wondered where it came from. I probably have seen it written down before, but didn’t pay any particular attention to it and thought it was written no holes barred. According The Phrase Finder, this phrase comes from wrestling and refers to wrestling matches in which […]

English, French, 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 8 Comments

Hooley fuddle

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This weekend I am in Dún Laoghaire for the Ukulele Hooley, Ireland’s international ukulele festival. On the way here yesterday I met some ukulele players from Yorkshire and we had a bit of a jam on the boat, and another one last night with other people who are here for the Hooley. While talking with […]

English, Language, Music, Travel, Words and phrases Leave a comment

Poor mean houses

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On the bus to Conwy today I noticed that the Welsh name of one of the stops included the word teios, which I hadn’t come across before. In English the stop had the word cottages in it. I wrote down what I thought I heard and saw: teilios, but couldn’t find that in any Welsh […]

English, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 9 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 7 Comments

Put the kettle on!

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I discovered last night that although there is a French word for kettle – bouilloire – kettles are not common in French kitchens. More or less every kitchen in the UK, and Ireland, has a kettle, and a toaster (grille-pain) – they are considered essential equipment. However, according to a friend who used to live […]

English, French, Language, Words and phrases 6 Comments

Here’s a nice whatabout

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In the comments on an article I read today in the Guardian – Why North Koreans are developing an appetite for foreign languages – I noticed an interesting turn of phrase: Here’s a nice Whatabout. I suggest Brits suddenly get keen on learning foreign languages. Start with Arabic and Russian. Oh yes, and brush up […]

Chinese, English, Language, Language learning Leave a comment
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