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.

Going through the motions

s

In German there are two main verbs that mean ‘to go’: gehen, which is used in expressions about going in general, and particularly going on foot / walking; and fahren, which refers particularly to going/travelling in a form of transport (car, train, bus, boat, etc). So I could said, “Am Samstag gehe ich nach Berlin” […]

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
Dutch, English, German, Language, Words and phrases 6 Comments

Stockungen

s

While listening to Deutschlandradio this morning one word that kept on coming up and that I didn’t understand was Stockung. It appears mainly in traffic reports, so I assume it meant something like delays or traffic jams. According to Reverso, Stockung means: – interruption, hold-up; congestion, traffic jam, hold-up – breakdown (in negotiations) – slackening […]

English, Etymology, German, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 8 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

How many languages is enough?

s

I came across an interesting article in The Guardian today about Alexander Arguelles, who says, “I can read about three dozen languages and speak most of them fluently, and I’ve studied many more.” The headline, “Experience: I can speak 50 languages”, is perhaps a slight exaggeration of the kind that’s common in these kinds of […]

English, Language, Language learning 6 Comments

HyperGlobal Publishing

s

Today we have a guest post by Mars Jacobson of HyperGlobal Publishing In this day and age of globalization and instant communications, you can send an email around the world in seconds while talking on the phone to someone thousands of miles away. It is language differences, not physical differences, that separate us. A new […]

English, Language 1 Comment

In the World of Invented Languages

s

Last week I read Arika Okrent’s book In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness, and Genius, which I found very interesting. The book covers the history of language invention from Hildegard of Bingen’s Lingua Ignota; through philosophical languages like the one John Wilkins devised; International Auxiliary languages like Esperanto and Volapük; […]

Conlangs, Language 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 9 Comments

Cuckoo bells

s

I discovered this week that in Welsh bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are known as Clychau’r Gog (“cuckoo bells”), which I really like the sound of. They are also known as Bwtias y Gog (“cuckoo’s boots”), Croeso Haf (“welcome summer”), Cennin y Brain (“crows’ leeks”), Clychau’r Eos (“nightingale’s bells”), Glas y Llwyn (“green blue of the grove”), […]

Breton, English, French, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 7 Comments

LOL @ 25

s

According to an article I found in The Guardian today the accronym LOL (laughing out loud) first appeared 25 years ago in the International FidoNet Association Newsletter dated 8 May 1989. The article mentions a few equivalents in other languages: “ㅋㅋㅋ” (KKK) in Korean; MDR or mort de rire (died of laughter) in French; and […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Code talkers

s

The role of the Navajo and other Native American tribes played in secret communications or code talking in World War II is fairly well known, and today I found out on the BBC News magazine that members of Choctaw Nation played a similar role in World War I. They communicated military information via phone, and […]

Endangered languages, Language 1 Comment