Archive for the Category: Chinese

Colds, streams and rivers

It’s rather cold here at the moment with daytime temperatures not much above freezing, and nighttime dropping to -10°C (14°F) or even -20°C (-4°F) in places. As a result, some of the snow that fell last week has frozen solid and been trampled down on pavements and ungritted back streets making them decidedly icey and […]

Also posted in Czech, English, Etymology, French, German, Greek, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Double dutch and lost dragons

I’ve been playing with Xtranormal today and have made a couple of new films: Double Dutch (in Dutch and English) Where’s my dragon? (In Mandarin and English) When you use Mandarin the system refuses to accept some of the characters you type in, including some common ones like 谢 (thanks). I tried substituting pinyin for […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, Language, Language learning 8 Comments

Chinese puzzle

Can any of you decipher the Chinese in this image? The larger characters appear to be “仙露明珠方 朗潤松風水月北” (xiān lù míng zhū fāng lǎng rùn sōng fēng shuǐ yuè běi). The smaller characters on the left appear to be “??扵甾香饭石生?” (??zāi xiāng fàn dàn shēng ?) – I’m not sure about the first two or […]

Also posted in Language, Puzzles, Writing 6 Comments


Today I came across an interesting-looking site called Xtranormal that use text-to-speech and other clever stuff – they call it ‘text-to-movie’ – to make animated films. You just choose your characters and setting, and then type in the dialogue. You can also play with the cameras, animate the characters, and add other effects. What interests […]

Also posted in English, French, Language, Language learning 6 Comments

Chinese gooseberries

I discovered today that the kiwifruit is known as 獼猴桃 (míhóu táo) or macaque peach in China. It is the edible berry of the woody vine Actinidia deliciosa native to southern China, and the name kiwifruit was dreamt up by marketing people in New Zealand in the 1950s, before which it was called the Chinese […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 20 Comments


This sign appears in the window of a Thai restaurant in Washington DC, and was sent in by a visitor to Omniglot who would like to know what it means. Can you help?

Also posted in Language, Puzzles, Writing 2 Comments


Yesterday I finally started work on my garden, and one of the first things I did was a bit of weeding. The large crop of dandelions and other weeds in my lawn will take quite a while to remove, but in the meantime I thought I’d look at the origins of a few garden-related words. […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Irish, Japanese, Language, Latin 15 Comments


épouvantail (nf) objet, mannequin disposé dans les champs, dans les arbres, pour effrayer les oiseaux et les faire fuir (scarecrow) familièrement personne présentant un aspect extérieur repoussant (bogey, bugbear) quelqu’un ou quelque chose qui effraie sans raison (fright) [source] For some reason we were talking about scarecrows or épouvantails at the French conversation group last […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Language, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 15 Comments

Word of the day – 聽筒

聽筒 [听筒] (tīngtǒng) is Chinese for telephone receiver; headphone; earphone; earpiece and stethoscope. Its literal meaning is “hearing tube” – 聽 = to hear; to obey, and 筒 = tube; cylinder. I found this word in an online Chinese dictionary I came across yesterday which looks very useful. You can search for Chinese words or characters […]

Also posted in Language 7 Comments

De bouche à oreille

Last night we were discussing how to encourage more people to come to the French conversation group and we concluded that word of mouth is probably the most effective way – all the posters we put up around Bangor last Saturday have yet to bring hordes of new recruits. We also thought that the French […]

Also posted in Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Language, Spanish 17 Comments