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.

World Museum

s

Last Sunday I went to Liverpool for a polyglot meet-up. Before the meet-up I went to the World Museum, which is fascinating and well worth a visit. Among the artifacts and exhibits, there are examples of languages and scripts from around the world, including Cuneiform tablets from Sumeria, a Mayan codex and other artifacts with […]

English, Language, Travel, Writing Leave a comment

What is fluency?

s

There’s an interesting post on the lingualift blog today entitled “What is fluency in a language?”, which includes ideas and discussion of what it means to be fluent from various polyglots and language enthusiasts, including me. How do you define fluency? Which languages do you consider yourself fluent in, and which ones would you like […]

English, Language, Language learning Leave a comment

Unions and alliances

s

While listening to Russian language radio yesterday I finally worked out the meaning of a word that kept on coming up: союз (soyuz) [sɐjˈʉs] , which is often used in the expressions Европейский союз and Евросоюз (European Union, EU). It was obvious once I realised they were talking about Europe, and the word Soyuz is […]

English, Language, Russian, Words and phrases Leave a comment

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 3 Comments

Bow, shake hands or kiss?

s

When visiting a foreign country, or even of different region of your own country, you may notice that people greet each other in different ways. For example, in the UK we generally shake hands when meeting people for the first time, especially in formal situations, but in informal situations, and with friends and acquaintances, there’s […]

English, Language, Language learning 3 Comments

Could you care less?

s

Which sounds right to you? – I couldn’t care less about sport. – I could care less about sport. To me the first makes sense and sounds right. It also applies to me – I have no real interest in sport. So I couldn’t care any less about it, because I don’t care about it […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 3 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 6 Comments

A few tips about tips

s

I heard some discussion on Radio Cymru this about the origin of the word tip(s). They said that in 18th century England there were boxes in pubs with the letters T.I.P.S. on them, which stood for “To Insure Prompt Service”. Gratuities were put into the boxes and became known as tips. According the Snopes.com, a […]

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

Reasons to learn minority languages

s

I came across an interesting article today which discusses some of the benefits of learning a minority language like Manx. The writer, a fluent Manx speaker, is currently studying French and Linguistics at Oxford University, and has found that her knowledge of Manx has enabled her to make all sorts of connections, and has opened […]

Endangered languages, English, Irish, Language, Language learning, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh Leave a comment

Irish Tongue-Twisters

s

Last week I learnt some new tongue-twisters (rabhlóga) in Irish. To those not familiar with Irish, almost an sentence in Irish might appear to be a bit of a tongue-twister, but these ones are particularly tricky. Seacht sicín ina seasamh sa sneachta lá seaca. Seven chickens standing in the snow on a frosty day. Fear […]

English, Irish, Language, Words and phrases Leave a comment
%d bloggers like this: