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.

Multilingual Montreal

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Yesterday was the second and final day of the symposium. Although it was only two days, it felt like more as we packed a lot into those days. There were some very interesting talks, including one about raising children multilingually, one about being a polyglot in Latin America, and another about the linguistic diversity of […]

Language Leave a comment

Polyglotting in Montreal

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Yesterday was the first day of the North American Polyglot Symposium in Montreal. It’s taking place at Concordia University, which has two campuses – one downtown, and one quite a way out of town. I went to the out of town one by mistake, and walked a few miles to get there from the nearest […]

Chinese, English, Esperanto, French, Japanese, Language, Portuguese, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Travel Leave a comment

Montreal

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Tomorrow I’m off to Montreal for the North American Polyglot Symposium, which takes places on Saturday and Sunday (23/24) at Concordia University. I’m giving a talk on the origins of language. This is a subject that we can only really speculate about, unless someone invents a time machine, so I’ll discuss the various theories that […]

Language, Travel 5 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 3 Comments

Are you sturggled?

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You may think I have misspelled the title of this post, and in a way I have, but I did so deliberately. The other day when typing struggle I accidentally typed sturggle. I thought that it looked like an interesting word, and wondered what it might mean. Apparently I’m not the first person to come […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Pauchle

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I came across an interesting Scots word yesterday – pauchle [ˈp(j)ɑxl] – which I needed to look up, although from the context you can get an idea of its meaning: They’re hoping that they can pauchle the party rule book in order to insist that Corbyn must gain the support of at least 51 of […]

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

Heavy Plant Crossing

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If you saw this sign, what kind of plant(s) would you expect to be crossing? In this context, plant refers to “a large, heavy machine or vehicle used in industry, for building roads, etc.” It can also mean “machines used in industry” or “a factory in which a particular product is made or power is […]

English, Language, 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 4 Comments

Budge up!

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In the café where I had lunch today I saw a sign saying something like “Our tables are for sharing. Just ask people to budge up.” – I’ll take a picture of it the next time I’m there. I thought budge up sounding like a very British kind of thing to say. Is it used […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 7 Comments

It’s a gas!

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In Hiberno-English people might describe something fun and enjoyable as a gas. For example, “That’s gas”, “A gas laugh”, “Come on, it’ll be gas”, “He’s a gas character”, “Your man is gas” [source]. Last week an Irish friend told me that this expression comes from laughing gas (nitrous oxide), which was used at parties to […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 2 Comments
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