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.

Slight mishap


Today I had a nice walk and lunch in Regent’s Park (see above), then went ice skating in Queensway (pictured below). The skating went well for the first hour or so. Then I fell awkwardly and dislocated and fractured my ankle. The staff at the ice rink helped me off the ice and called an […]

General, Travel Leave a comment

Homeward bound


Yesterday I had a good time in London with a Russian-speaking friend. We talked mainly in English with a sprinkling of Russian from time to time. In the morning we went to the Design Museum and saw a special exhibition about Moscow, which was interesting. Then had a wander around Holland Park, which is beautiful, […]

English, Film, General, Language, Russian, Travel, Words and phrases Leave a comment

Languages of London


Last night I went to the first Languages of London meetup – it’s the same group I’ve been going to for a few months (the Polyglot Pub), but with a new name and venue, and more participants. The meetup was supposed to take place in the Institute of Education in UCL, which is a good […]

Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Language, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish Leave a comment

Tuning into languages


Yesterday I did an interview on Skype with a student of linguistics in Germany who is writing a thesis about acquiring native-like pronunciation in foreign languages. I talked about the methods I used to try to do this – listening, mimicing, learning about the phonology of a language, recording my voice and comparing to native […]

English, Language, Language learning, Music, Pronunciation 3 Comments

Language quiz


Here’s a recording of part of a song in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 6 Comments

Just simply


A useful Russian word I learnt this week is просто [ˈprɔstə], which means easily, simply or just. Here are some examples of how it is used: – Нам просто надо выезжать немного раньше обычного. = We just have to leave, you know, a little earlier than usual. – я зашёл просто повидаться = I just […]

English, Language, Russian, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Abounding in fish


I spent the weekend in Devon with my brother and his family. It was my nephew’s first birthday yesterday and I was there mainly to celebrate that. My journey, a long and meadering one, took me through some places with interesting names, such as Exeter, Teignmouth, Dawlish and Paignton. As well as admiring the scenery, […]

English, Etymology, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Language quiz


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

Rollipokes, ronners and roudges


If I offered you a rollipoke, would you have any idea what it was or what to do with it? This is a word I came across while looking for something else in the Dictionary of The Scots Language / Dictionar o the Scots Leid today. It is defined as, “A sacking of loosely woven […]

English, Language, Scots, Words and phrases 1 Comment

National Motto(e)s


Created with The Keep Calm-O-Matic Do you know your country’s national motto? Not all countries have them. Many are in Latin and other ancient languages, and most are a bit bland and include things like freedom, liberty, unity, strength, work, progress, God, etc. Here are some more interesting ones: – Isle of Man (Latin): Quocunque […]

English, Language, Latin, Luxembourgish, Romanian 3 Comments
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