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.

Why is it I and not i?

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Have you ever wondered why the first person pronoun in English (I) is always written as a capital letter? I was asked about this the other day and though I would investigate. According to a blog post on Dictionary.com, it came about as a bit of an accident. In Old and Middle English the equivalent […]

English, Language 1 Comment

Scratching cartoons

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The first cartoons, in the sense of humorous or satirical drawings, appeared in the magazine Punch in 1843, however the word was used from the 1670s to mean “a drawing on strong paper (used as a model for another work)”. Cartoon can also mean: – An artist’s preliminary sketch. – An animated film – A […]

English, Etymology, Greek, Italian, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 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 5 Comments

Unfolding developments

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The word for to develop in Welsh is datblygu, which is a combination of dad (un-) and plygu (to fold), so Welsh developments “unfold”. Datblygu also means “to evolve; reveal, disclose, display. to unfold, unwrap, unfurl, unroll, spread out.” Plygu means “to (cause to) bend, deflect, bow, stoop, refract (light); fold, wrap. to subdue, subjugate, […]

English, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Welsh, Words and phrases Leave a comment

Parched torrents

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Quite a lot of rain has fallen over the past day or so in the UK, thanks to Storm Angus, so I thought I’d look at the origins of some rain-related words. The word rain comes from the Old English rēn/reġn ‎(rain), from the Proto-Germanic *regnaz ‎(rain), possibly from the Proto-Indo-European *Hreǵ- ‎(to flow) or […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, 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

A Piece of Theatre

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In French the word for play, as in a theatrical production, is pièce or pièce de théâtre. Pièce also means: – a room – a part (of a mechanism or machine) – a coin – a patch (on clothes) – a document – a piece, as in a one-piece swimsuit or a twelve-piece dinner service. […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Words and phrases Leave a comment

Bants

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Today I came across word that’s new to me – bants – which, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, means: Playfully teasing or mocking remarks exchanged with another person or group; banter. It’s also written bantz, and is an abbreviation of banter, a word of unknown origin which first appeared in writing in 1676 in a […]

English, Etymology, Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Top 100 Language Learning Blogs

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This blog has been chosen as one of the Top 100 Language Learning Blogs – a list which includes links to other language-related blogs that might interest you. Many thanks to those who chose this blog.

General, Language 1 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 5 Comments
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