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.

A not entirely uninteresting post

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The title of this post is perhaps an example of litotes [laɪˈtəʊ.tiːz], a figure of speech that uses understatement, particularly double negatives, to make a positive statement [source]. Other examples include: – I didn’t do too badly in the test – It’s a bit chilly – He’s not a bad guitarist Litotes comes from the […]

English, Language, Words and phrases Leave a comment

Mother Tongues

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Today we have a guest post by Tim Brookes. As many of you know, February 21st is International Mother Language Day. The day is especially important to the nation of Bangladesh, where the right to speak their own language was a vital part of their move to gain independence from Pakistan. IMLD was born as […]

Language 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 10 Comments

When is an MBA a person?

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An article I added to Omniglot today, The Most Valuable Languages for an MBA to Learn, uses “an MBA” to refer to a person with an MBA. I’ve also seen students referred to in a similar way: for example a student of French might be ‘a French Major’, and someone with a PhD in linguistics […]

English, Language 5 Comments

The Power of Procrastination

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Are you a procrastinator? Do you find yourself doing all sorts of things to avoid doing something you have to do? For example, when you should be revising for an exam you keep finding other things to do which you convince yourself are essential and have to be done right now, such as cleaning, putting […]

English, 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 8 Comments

Awakening forgotten languages

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Last night at ukulele club there was a new member from Spain, and I talked a bit with her in Spanish. It’s a long time since I’ve studied any Spanish, and I rarely use it these days, so I thought I’d forgotten most of it, but I found that I can still have a basic […]

English, German, Language, Language learning, Spanish 3 Comments

Totes amazesh!

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According to an article I found the other day, some people on Twitter are playing with language in interesting ways and creating new abbreviations and words like tradge (tragic), bluebs (blueberries), emosh (emotional) and hilars (hilarious) and atrosh (atrocious). This phenomenon has been dubbed totesing by the linguists Lauren Spradlin and Taylor Jones, who have […]

English, Language 4 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

Stalls, stinkards and parterres

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In theatres in the UK the seats at ground level in front of the stage are usually known as stalls or orchestra stalls. If there are balconies above that level, the first balcony might be known as the dress circle, grand circle or balcony, the second as the upper circle, grand circle, first circle or […]

English, French, Language, Russian, Words and phrases 2 Comments
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