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.

New Omniglot design

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My redesign of Omniglot is now complete, except for the homepage. All inner pages are now aligned to the left, and have drop-down menus at the top, which should make it easier to find your way around, and should work well on all sizes of screen. Initially I tried to keep the central alignment, but […]

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General 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 3 Comments

Un sabot de Denver

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I discovered yesterday that in French a wheel clamp is known as a sabot de Denver (“Denver hoof/clog/shoe/boot”), and wondered what Denver has to do with wheel clamps. On Wikipedia is explains that such devices were first used in Denver, Colorado, and are known as a wheel boot, parking boot or Denver boot in the […]

English, French, Language, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Just popping out

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A interesting English expression I’ve noticed in novels I’ve been reading recently is the verb to pop, which is often accompanied by prepositions such as out, in, round and down, and preceded by just. For example: – I’m just popping out to the shop, do you want anything? – I might pop in at some […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 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 12 Comments

Klunen

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I learnt an interesting word from a Dutch friend today – klunen – which refers to the action of walking on the ground in ice skates, something you might do while you’re skating along a frozen canal and come to a bridge you can’t go under, either because it’s too low, or the ice under […]

Dutch, English, Language, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Flashcards

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At the moment I’m focusing on improving my Russian and Czech, and am trying to keep my other languages ticking over. I’ve starting using Anki to store and learn words and phrases, and am finding it very useful. For words that can be visually represented, I use pictures rather than translations on the flash cards […]

Czech, English, Language, Language learning, Russian 2 Comments

Zženštilý

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I came across the Czech word zženštilý yesterday among translations of soft and the pile up of consonants got me wondering whether it was a real word or a typo. I discovered that it is a real word and means: soft, epicene, girly-girly, namby-pamby, nance, effeminate, effeminize, emasculate, pansy, soft, softish, unmanly, womanish, womanlike, sissified […]

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?

Language, Quiz questions 4 Comments

Vituperation

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When searching for a translation of a Czech song we’re learning in the Bangor Community Choir I came across the word vituperated. It’s not one I’d heard or seen before, see I had to look it up. It means “to abuse or censure severely or abusively, to berate; to use harsh condemnatory language”. It comes […]

Czech, English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Songs, Words and phrases 4 Comments