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.

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

Dystopias and Utopias

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Why is it that so many films and novels set in the future are dystopian? I thought about this after watching The Hunger Games last night, and tried to think of any stories of utopian futures. The only films I could think featuring non-dystopian futures of were Back to the Future II and Bicentennial Man. […]

English, Greek, 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 5 Comments

Matignon and other metonyms

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Last night I discovered that the French equivalent of “Number 10”, which in the UK refers to the British Prime Minister, is Matignon or L’Hôtel de Matignon, the official residence of the French Prime Minister. Number 10 is shorthand for Number 10 Downing Street, is the official residence and office of the British Prime Minister, […]

English, French, Language, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Flan cupboards

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A Welsh plygain song I’ve been learning recently with some friends (Carol y Swper) features the word fflangell in the line “Ein Meichiau a’n Meddyg dan fflangell Iddweig”. We weren’t sure what it meant at first, and guessed that it was some kind of container for a flan or a flan cupboard. A fflan is […]

English, Language, Songs, Welsh, Words and phrases 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 8 Comments

Big fun!

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A friend of mine who is learning Welsh likes to translate Welsh expressions literally and then use them in English. One Welsh equivalent of goodbye is hwyl fawr [hʊɨl vaur], which he translates as “big fun”, which sounds quite funny in English. Do any other languages have a phrase used when parting that has a […]

English, Language, Translation, Welsh, Words and phrases 5 Comments

New Year’s resolutions for language learners

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This is a guest post by Izabela Wisniewska Learning a new language is one of the more typical New Year’s resolutions we see and often, one of the most flippant. Though the desire to learn a new language is genuine actually getting motivated to do something about it is another thing entirely. If you are […]

English, Language, Language learning 2 Comments

Language quiz

s

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

Language, Quiz questions 7 Comments
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