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?

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Language, Quiz questions 3 Comments

Omniglot now mobile friendly

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I think I’ve managed to make Omniglot work better on mobiles and other devices with small screens now. I know that the homepage goes a bit strange in IE when you make your browser narrow (not sure how to fix that), and there may be some other elements that are not behaving themselves, but it […]

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General 2 Comments

Nebuď směšný!

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I came across a lovely Czech word today – směšný [‘smɲeʃni:] – which means funny or ridiculous, and sounds quite funny to me. I think it comes from smích (laughter), from the Proto-Slavic *směxъ [source] Related words include: – směšnost = ridiculousness; absurdity – směšně = ridiculously – smich = laughter – smát = to […]

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Czech, English, Language, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Sun dribbles

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While walking along by estuary of the River Dwyryd at Portmeirion yesterday, the Czech friend I was with asked me the name of the patterns in the sand and mud made by water. I wasn’t sure and suggested ripples or sand ripples. She misheard the latter and thought I said sun dribbles, which I really […]

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English, Language, Welsh, 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?

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Language, Quiz questions 3 Comments

Compulsory languages

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In an article I came across today in the Irish Times the writer, an Irish speaker, wonders whether the compulsory teaching of Irish language in schools in Ireland is the best way to keep the language alive. He argues that those who are interested in the language will continue to learn it and speak it […]

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Education, English, Irish, Language, Language learning 11 Comments

Nemocnice

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One of the Czech lessons I studied yesterday included the word nemocnice (hospital), and though I hadn’t seen or heard it before, I was familiar with the word nemocný (ill; sick) and guessed from the context that nemocnice was a hospital. It feels good to be able to work out the meanings of words from […]

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Czech, English, Language, Words and phrases 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?

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Language, Quiz questions 5 Comments

The historical present

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The year is 1066 and William, Duke of Normandy, invades England to claim the throne he believes to be rightly his. Meanwhile King Harold Godwinson rushes to Hastings to do battle with William after defeating the Norwegian army of Harald Hardrada at Stamford Bridge. This is an example of the historical or historic present, which […]

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English, Language 11 Comments

Vellichor

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I came across a number of interesting words today on BuzzFeed, including vellichor, the strange wistfulness of used bookshops, and limerence, the state of being infatuated with another person. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows defines vellichor as: n. the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands […]

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English, Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments