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?

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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

Changing accents

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I heard an interesting discussion on Radio Cymru recently about accents. They talked about Welsh, and English, regional accents that have negative associations for people from other regions, or that people find difficult to follow, and whether they would change their accent to make it easier for others to understand them, and/or to avoid the […]

English, Language, Pronunciation, Welsh 7 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 7 Comments

Motivation

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There’s an interesting article in the Guardian I came across today about motivation in language learning. The article discusses different types of motivation, and concludes that three things that are particularly important in language learning are working memory; associative memory – how well you content new and known information; and your ability to learn implicitly […]

Language, Language learning 1 Comment

Gabions and the importance of names

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The other day I discovered that the name for those wire cages filled with rocks used in construction and to stabilise river banks, hillsides and shorelines are called gabions. The word comes from the Italian gabbione (big cage), which comes from the Latin cavea (cage). There are plenty of gabions around here, but I didn’t […]

English, Etymology, Irish, Italian, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Language quiz

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Here’s a song in multiple languages. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 5 Comments

Novi Sad

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As I’m going to the Polyglot Conference in Novi Sad (Нови Сад) [nôʋiː sâːd] in October, I thought I should find out what Novi Sad actually means – it’s the kind of thing I like to know. I guessed that Novi probably means new, but had no idea what Sad might mean. According to this […]

Czech, English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Extreme Polyglottery

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The Polyglot Gathering in Berlin last week was fantastic and I enjoyed everything about it. The organizers did an excellent job and everything went well, with only minor hitches. Many other people helped things to run smoothly, and gave talks and/or arranged discussions and language practise sessions. Venue The venue was a huge hostel/hotel near […]

Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Endangered languages, English, Esperanto, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Language, Manx, Polish, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Turkish, Welsh 3 Comments

Language quiz

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Here’s a song in multiple languages- it’s a multilingual version of ‘Let it Go’ from the film Frozen sung by Richard Simcott at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin. He sang it a capella and from memory – very impressive. The sound quality isn’t great, but it’s okay. Can you identify the different languages?

Language, Quiz questions 5 Comments