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.

Stuckies, pleeps and doos

s

I came across some interesting Scots words in a TED talk today which I hadn’t heard before – stuckies, pleeps and doos. What do you think they mean? Clue: they’re types of bird. In the talk the presenter, a native speaker of Scots, explains how he was told from his first day at school that […]

English, Language, Scots, Words and phrases 1 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

Teaching school

s

In novels and articles written by Americans I’ve come across the construction to teach school, as in “I teach school” or “He teaches school”, which sounds strange and wrong to my British ears. In the UK we would say something like “I teach in a school” or just “I’m a teacher” or “I work as […]

English, Language 10 Comments

A Guide to Paisa Spanish

s

This is guest post written by Connor Grooms, who learned Spanish to a B1 conversational level in a month and made the film, “Spanish in a Month: A Documentary About Language Learning” about it. A few months ago, I learned Spanish to a B1 conversational level in a month while living in Medellín, Colombia. If […]

English, Language, Language learning, Spanish 1 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 6 Comments

Polyglot Pathways

s

If you’re a polyglot who learns languages for fun, you might choose languages from a particular family or region, or languages that have contributed to your mother tongue. Or you might choose ones that are completely unrelated to one another in order to challenge yourself. These are possible pathways a polyglot might pursue. Another possible […]

English, Language, Language learning 3 Comments

French and potatoes

s

I came across an interesting phrase in Scottish Gaelic today: Ith do bhuntàta beag mus dig na Frangaich!, which means “eat your small potatoes before the French come!” and it is apparently said to children picking at their food to encourage them to eat up [source]. Are there similar phrases in other languages, perhaps used […]

English, Idioms, Language, Scottish Gaelic, 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 5 Comments

Word of the Year

s

According to the Oxford Dictionaries the word of the year for 2015 is not a word at all but an emoji, specifically the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’: Do you use emoji(s)? Is the plural emoji or emojis? Do you think of them as words? What’s your word of the year?

English, Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

La vie de baguette

s

The best-known type of French bread is the baguette, which was possibly introduced to France in the early 19th century by August Zang from Austria, though that’s another story. Baguettes only stay fresh for a day, so what do you do with them once they start to go hard? Here are a few possibilities: Here’s […]

English, French, Language 9 Comments
%d bloggers like this: