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.

もしもし (moshi moshi)

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When answering the phone in Japanese the phrase you usually used is もしもし (moshi moshi). I received an email from a Japanese guy today saying that this doesn’t mean hello, so I thought I’d find out what it actually means. According to Tofugu, this phrase comes from the verb 申す (mōsu), which a humble equivalent […]

English, Japanese, Language, Words and phrases Leave a comment

Mony a mickle maks a muckle

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There’s a Scots saying Mony a mickle maks a muckle, or Many a mickle makes a muckle, which means “A lot of small amounts, put together, become a large amount”. The word muckle certainly means large, and also big, great; much, a great deal of, a lot of; grown-up, mature, adult; of great social consequence, […]

English, Japanese, Language, Scots, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Please alight

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I received an email yesterday asking about the Swiss German equivalent of Bitte verlassen Sie den Zug (Please alight from the train). Does anybody know? Are announcements on Swiss trains in Swiss German or Standard German (Hochdeutsch)? What other languages are they in? Or does it depend on where you are in Switzerland? This got […]

English, German, Language, Words and phrases 8 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 9 Comments

Freshness

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This week is Welcome Week at Bangor University when new students arrive for the first time, register, join clubs and societies, some of which they’ll actually go to, and so on. It’s also known as Freshers’ Week and the new students are known as freshers, though after this week, they’re generally known as first years. […]

English, Etymology, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Do you come here often?

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I’ve started to put together a new page on Omniglot with translations of the phrase ‘Do you come here often?‘. I got the idea after finding a Cornish version of this phrase (A wre’ta dos omma yn fenowgh?) on Learn Cornish Now. Could you check the translations that are already on the page, and provide […]

Cornish, English, Language, Words and phrases 3 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 1 Comment

A bit of a breeze

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One of the words that came up at the French conversation group this week was brise (breeze), which appears in the following expressions: – pare-brise = windscreen / windshield – brise matinale = early breeze – brise insulaire = island breeze – brise de mer = sea breeze – brise de terre = land breeze […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Omniglot app

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There is now an Omniglot app for Andriod developed by علي الساعدي (Ali al-saaedi Ali shirpaz) from Iraq. It only works online at the moment, and is available here. Any comments or suggestions on how it might be improved are welcome. Many thanks to علي الساعدي for doing this.

English, Language, Technology Leave a comment

Joskins, bumpkins and yokels

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Last week a friend asked me about the origins of the word joskin [ˈdʒɒskɪn], which I hadn’t come across before. According to the Urban Dictionary it is defined as follows: North-Walian term used in both English and Welsh to describe anyone from a rural or farming background. It is used both affectionately and in a […]

Dutch, English, German, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 2 Comments
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