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.

Tell Me a Story!

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When I was in Ireland last week I heard plenty of stories, including some traditional ones in Irish. There was a night of sean-nós singing, dancing and story telling on Thursday, and afterwards we had a long talk with our sean-nós singing teacher, Gearóidín Breathnach, about various things, including the decline in traditional story telling, […]

English, Irish, Language 1 Comment

Learn Korean for free!

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90 Day Korean have an exclusive offer for Omniglot visitors: three free Korean courses. The 90 Day Korean web course teaches to you how to have a three minute conversation with a native Korean within 90 days. It’s a beginner Korean course that delivers you PDF and mp3 lessons in your inbox every week with […]

English, Korean, Language, Language learning, Quiz questions 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 9 Comments

Now, is it you that’s in it?

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An interesting Hiberno-English expression I heard today is “Is it you that’s in it?”, which is a direct translation of the Irish “tusa atá ann?“, and is used as a greeting meaning something like, “Hello, how are you?”. Another Hiberno-English expression that came up in conversation this morning was “Don’t talk to me (about that)”, […]

English, Irish, Language 4 Comments

Spleoid

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This week I came across the wonderful-sounding Irish word – spleoid [sˠpˠlʲodʲ], which appears in expressions like Spleoid ort! (Shame on you!) and Spleoid air! (Hang it! Confound it!). It is also used without the s as pleoid. Other Irish words beginning with spleo- include: – spleodar = cheerfulness, vivacity; exuberance, boisterousness – spleodrach = […]

English, Irish, Language, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Súilíní

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I discovered an interesting word in Irish yesterday – súilíní [ˈsˠuːl̪ʲiːn̪ʲiː] – which is a diminutive form of súil [sˠuːl̪ʲ] (eye) and means literally “small eyes”, and actually means eyelets, an aperture-sight, or bubbles. For example, uisce gan súilíní is still water (“water without bubbles”) [source]. More common Irish words for bubbles are bolgán and […]

Breton, Catalan, Cornish, Danish, English, Etymology, German, Irish, Language, Norwegian, Portuguese, Proto-Indo-European, Spanish, Swedish, Welsh, Words and phrases 7 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

The Bold Step

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In Hiberno-English (the English spoken in Ireland), children who misbehave are told not to be bold and might be sent to the bold step. I heard this expression being used the other day and it stuck in my mind as I hadn’t heard it before. In the UK the equivalents are usually naughty and naughty […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Gleann Cholm Cille

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This week and next week I am in Gleann Cholm Cille (Glencolmcille) in Donegal in the north west of Ireland. I’m doing courses at Oideas Gael, an Irish language and cultural centre: a harp playing course this week, and an Irish language and culture course next week. This is my 11th visit to Gleann Cholm […]

Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Irish, Language, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Travel 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 2 Comments
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