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.

Cigire or Cigydd? Cross-language confusion

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Last week in Ireland on the last night of the course each class played some tunes, did a sketch, sang songs, and/or did some other party piece. One of the Irish language classes did a sketch about a bunch of unruly school kids whose class was being visited by an inspector, played by Paul Kavanagh, […]

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English, Irish, Language, Welsh 5 Comments

Cruite, cláirseacha a chrythau

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I discovered last week in Ireland that one word for the harp in Irish is cruit [krutʲ], which sounds similar to the Welsh word crwth [kruːθ], a type of bowed lyre that was once popular in Wales and in other parts of Europe, but which was largely displayed by the fiddle during the 18th century. […]

Breton, Cornish, English, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Music, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh Leave a 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 3 Comments

Oideas Gael

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I’m having a wonderful time in Gleann Cholm Cille learning to play the harp and speaking plenty of Irish. The course is going really well – we started with basic techniques, and have learnt a number of tunes, including some from the Bóroimhe / Brian Boru suite by Michael Rooney. I’ve videoed our teacher, Oisín […]

Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Irish, Language, Language learning, Music, Poetry, Serbian, Swedish Leave a 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 4 Comments

Gleann Cholm Cille

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Tomorrow I’m off to Oideas Gael in Gleann Cholm Cille in Donegal in the north west of Ireland to do a course in harp playing. This will be the tenth time I’ve been there, though the first time I’ve done the harp course. Normally I go for a summer school in Irish language and culture […]

English, Irish, Language, Music, Travel 1 Comment

International Conference ICT for Language Learning

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Here is a conference that might be of interest to you: International Conference ICT for Language Learning. It takes place in Florence in Italy from 13-14 November 2014, and will bring together teachers, researchers, practitioners and project managers from all over the world to share findings, expertise and experience about integrating innovative technologies and solutions […]

Language, Technology, Travel 1 Comment

Ultracrepidarianism

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Are you an ultracrepidiarianist? Or maybe that should be ultracrepidiarian. Many of us are. An ultracrepidarianism is someone who makes a habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside their knowledge or competence. It’s a word I came across in Think Like a Freak, and interesting book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. […]

English, Language, 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 5 Comments

Les coups de glotte and other coups

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Yesterday I discovered that the French for glottal stop is coup de glotte (“blow of the glottis”). The word coup (blow, shot, stroke, wave, kick, punch, move) appears in many other expressions, including: – (donner un) coup de balai = (to) sweep; shake up – coup de vent = blow of wind – coup de […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Words and phrases 2 Comments