Archive for the Category: German

Docent

I came across an unfamiliar word today in a book I’m reading – docent. From the context I guessed it referred to someone who leads guided tours, but according to my English dictionary it means ‘(in the U.S.) a lecturer in some colleges and universities’, and it comes from the German word Dozent (associate professor, […]

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
Also posted in English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 11 Comments

Back in Bangor

I’m now back in Bangor after a very enjoyable and interesting week at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. We learnt 15 songs during the week, so the course wasn’t as intensive as the one I did last year when we learnt twice as many songs, and we learnt about the background of the songs, and even saw […]

Also posted in English, French, Irish, Japanese, Language, Language learning, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Travel Comments Off

Schnick, Schnack, Schnuck

Last weekend a couple of couchsurfers from the USA stayed with me. When they’re not surfing from sofa to sofa they live in Leipzig in Germany and one of them speaks German fluently. When she discovered that I also speak German, we started chatting in German. Even after many years of neglect my German is […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 15 Comments

Gleann Cholm Cille

This week I’m in Gleann Cholm Cille in Donegal in the north west of Ireland taking part in the summer school in Irish language and culture at Oideas Gael. There are about 100 people here for the summer school and we have Irish language classes in the mornings and can choose from a variety of […]

Also posted in Czech, English, French, Irish, Language, Portuguese, Scottish Gaelic Comments Off

Dialing a telephone

An email arrived today from Phil S, who has been wondering about the quirkiness of the phrase “to dial a telephone”, which is ubiquitous and exclusive in its meaning and yet has, of course, become totally divorced from the original physicality of the phrase. He would like to know: – What idioms do other languages […]

Also posted in English, French, Italian, Language, Words and phrases 15 Comments

Archerien

An interesting word that came up in my Breton lesson today is archerien, which means police. It caught my attention because it has no obvious connection to the word police, and because it is completely different to the equivalent words in other Celtic languages: – Welsh: heddlu (“peace force”) – Cornish: kreslu (“peace host”) – […]

Also posted in Breton, Chinese, Cornish, Danish, English, Estonian, French, Greek, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Language, Latin, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 12 Comments

Tag questions, innit!

Tag questions or question tags are interrogative fragments (tags) added to statements making them into sort of questions. They tend to be used more in colloquial speech and informal writing than in formal writing, and can indicate politeness, emphasis, irony, confidence or lack of it, and uncertainty. Some are rhetorical and an answer is not […]

Also posted in English, French, Grammar, Irish, Italian, Language, Manx, Polish, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Welsh 15 Comments

Things and stuff

Yesterday I learnt the German word (das) zeug, which means stuff; gear; clothes; things; nonsense; rubbish; old material – a useful word when you don’t know or can’t recall a more specific term. Having a few such words up your sleeve in whatever language(s) you’re learning is a good idea. What are equivalent words in […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 15 Comments

La gueule de bois

This week I discovered that in French a hangover is une gueule de bois (“a wooden mouth”), which seems quite a good description of the condition. In my thesaurus word for hangover in English include after-effects, katzenjammer, morning after, and the morning after the night before. Do you have any others? I’ve heard of katzenjammer […]

Also posted in English, French, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Reviving neglected languages

I often meet people who say that they studied a language or two in school, but have since forgotten most of what they knew as they’ve had little need and few opportunities to speak the language(s). To some extent I’m in a similar position – since finishing school I have rarely spoken French or German, […]

Also posted in French, Language, Language learning 9 Comments