Archive for the Category: German

Linguistic adventures

This week I have been speaking quite a bit of Irish. Even though I rarely speak it at home, it is usually there when I need it. When trying to understand songs or poems in Irish, I realise that there are plenty of gaps in my vocabulary, but I can at least get the gist […]

Also posted in English, Finnish, Irish, Language, Music, Poetry, Russian, Songs, Travel 4 Comments

Turrys foddey / Turas fada / A Long Journey

Last night I arrived safely in Glencolmcille in Donegal in the northwest of Ireland. I left Peel at 8am, went by bus to Ronaldsway airport, flew to Dublin, then took buses all the way to Glencolmcille, arriving just before 8pm, so it took nearly 12 hours. I met people I know from previous visits to […]

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Special offer from Rocket Languages

This week Rocket Languges are celebrating their 13th Anniversary with a 4-day sale starting today and continuing until Friday 17th March, or until they’ve sold 1,000 courses. During this time you can get 60% off any of their online language courses, which include: French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese (Mandarin), German, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, ASL, Korean, […]

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The white light of the world

An interesting and useful Russian word I came across today is свет [svʲet], which means light, and also lights, lighting, day, radiance, power, electricity, world and (high) society. It comes from the Old East Slavic свѣтъ ‎(světŭ – light; world), from Proto-Slavic *světъ ‎(light; world), from the Proto-Balto-Slavic *śwaitas, from the Proto-Indo-European *ḱwoytos / *ḱweytos […]

Also posted in Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Etymology, Language, Norwegian, Polish, Proto-Indo-European, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Going through the motions

In English you can use the verb to go to indicate any kind of travel – it doesn’t matter if you’re going on foot, by bicycle, car, bus, train, boat or plane. There are other verbs you can use: walk, stroll, hike, cycle, drive, travel, sail, fly, etc, but you can also just use go. […]

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Plains, pianos and floors

The Welsh word llawr [ɬau̯r] means floor, deck, gallery, stage, platform, cellar, basement, ground, face, and a few other things. I discovered today that it has cognates in all the other Celtic languages: – leur (Cornish) = floor, ground – leur (Breton) = area, ground, floor, soil – lár (Irish) = ground, floor, middle, centre […]

Also posted in Breton, Cornish, Dutch, English, Etymology, Irish, Italian, Language, Manx, Proto-Indo-European, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Wheels with teeth

I discovered last night that in French a cog is a une dent, which also means a tooth, or une dent d’engrenage (“tooth gear”), and a cog wheel is une roue dentée (a toothed wheel), which is kind of a cog looks like. The English word cog, meaning a tooth on a gear, or a […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Language, Old Norse, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Giggling wrigglers

I learnt a nice new German word today – kichern [ˈkɪçɐn], which means to giggle or snicker. Related expressions include: – ein Kicheranfall = a fit of the giggles – Wir haben uns darüber gekringelt = We had a good giggle about it – anfangen herumzukichern = to get the giggles This also got me […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Boxing tips

Today is Boxing Day in the UK, and there are a number of ideas about the origins of the name. The Oxford English Dictionary, for example, defines Boxing Day as: “the first week-day after Christmas-day, observed as a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box” The earliest […]

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Neither fur nor feather

Today I came across an interesting Russian idiom in the book I’m reading (Moon Seed, by Stephen Baxter): Ни пуха, ни пера (Ni púkha, ni perá). It means literally “neither fur nor feather” and is used to wish someone good luck. The phrase was originally used by Russian hunters in a sarcastic/ironic way. The feathers […]

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