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.

Spaghetti car bananas

s

On a recent episode of Word of Mouth on BBC Radio 4, they discussed the interesting words children come up with. They might attempt say particular words but can’t quite manage all the sounds, or get them mixed up, sometimes with unintentionally funny results. They also get words mixed and muddled, or perhaps muddlixed. Can […]

English, Language, 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 5 Comments

Beds that lie

s

The other day I noticed the word gwlau on a sign outside a furniture shop. It’s a Welsh word I hadn’t seen or heard before, but from the context I worked out that it meant ‘beds’. The sign also included the words gwlau soffa (sofa beds). As I hadn’t come across this plural form of […]

English, Etymology, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Welsh, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Ingenious genius

s

The word ingenious sounds like the antonym (opposite) of genius as in- is often used as a negative suffix (invisible, indivisible, etc). However they are not. Ingenious means: – displaying genius or brilliance – tending to invent – characterized by genius – cleverly done or contrived; witty; original; shrewd; adroit; keen; sagacious. It comes from: […]

Breton, Cornish, English, Etymology, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Proto-Indo-European, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, 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 4 Comments

The Salmon’s Daughter

s

On Tuesday I saw a play in Bangor called Merch yr Eog / Merc’h an Eog (Daughter of the Salmon) in four different languages: Welsh, Breton, French and Guadeloupean Creole. It was a co-production between Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru (Welsh National Theatre) and Teatr Piba from Brittany, and featured actors from Wales and Brittany. The lead […]

Breton, English, French, Language, Welsh Leave a comment

Have you got your snap?

s

On an episode of Uncle Mort’s North Country, a comedy drama on Radio 4 Extra that I listened to today, I heard the word snap used for a packed lunch. I’e heard it before, but wasn’t sure where it came from. The drama features two characters from Yorkshire: Uncle Mort and his nephew, Carter Brandon, […]

Dutch, English, German, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 6 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 1 Comment

Barking up the wrong end of the stick

s

The phrase barking up the wrong tree means “making a mistake or a false assumption in something you are trying to achieve”. It comes from hunting dogs barking up trees where they thought their quarry was hiding, but wasn’t [source]. Apparently one French equivalent of this phrase is Frapper à la mauvaise porte (to knock […]

English, French, Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Cashlines, ATMs and Holes in the Wall

s

I discovered the other day that in Scotland the bank machines that dispense cash are known as cashlines. This was apparently the name used first for Royal Bank of Scotland cash machines, and came to be used as the general term for ATMs in Scotland [source]. In other parts of the UK such machines are […]

English, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 9 Comments
%d bloggers like this: