Archive for the Category: English

Chut-chut

Yesterday I discovered an interesting resource for learning Russian – Russian Podcast, which includes a series of conversations in Russian with transcripts. There are also videos featuring conversations with various people, with subtitles in Russian and English. These are called vodcasts, which is a new word to me. Most of the material is free, but […]

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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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How to become a language expert in no time

Today we have a guest post from Sebastien Marion As most expats would agree, the best way to learn a language is to go abroad. When abroad, you are immersed in the culture and are forced to speak the language. But whether you are abroad already or trying to improve your language skills from home, […]

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Protagonists and sidekicks

When listening to The Allusionist podcast today I learnt an interesting word – tritagonist, who was the actor who played the third role in ancient Greek drama. Tritagonist comes from the Ancient Greek word τρίτἀγωνιστής (triagōnistḗs), from τρίτ ‎(third) and ἀγωνιστής ‎(combatant, participant). The actors who played the first and second roles in ancient Greek […]

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Pull up a pew

One thing that came up in the French Conversation Group last night was church pews, and particularly how uncomfortable they are. We discovered that in French a pew is un banc (d’église). Banc also means seat or bench, and can mean other things in combination with other words: – banc de sable = sandbank – […]

Also posted in Etymology, French, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 2 Comments

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, Etymology, German, Language, Norwegian, Polish, Proto-Indo-European, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Разговорник

I came across a useful Russian word today when searching for Chechen phrasebooks – разговорник (razgavornik) [rəzɡɐˈvornʲɪk] – I guessed it meant phrasebook from the context, and also because разговаривать (razgavarivat’) means to talk (to). It is a combination of разговор (razgavór – conversation, talk) and the suffix ник (nik), which usually denotes a profession, […]

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Getting Past the Intermediate Plateau

Today we have a guest post by Olly Richards of IWillTeachYouALanguage.com Behind The Scenes at the Fluent Spanish Academy If you’re starting to learn a new language, the internet is awash with advice and resources geared towards beginners. But as you make progress with your new language, and hit the dreaded intermediate plateau, it becomes […]

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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. […]

Also posted in Etymology, German, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Russian, Words and phrases 1 Comment

A Tragic Goat Song

How is the word tragedy connected to goats and songs? The answer is that tragedy comes ultimately from the Ancient Greek word τραγῳδία ‎(tragōidía – epic play, tragedy) which comes from τράγος ‎(trágos – male goat) and ᾠδή ‎(ōidḗ, – song). Apparently the goat reference comes from satyrc drama, which featured actors dressed in goatskins […]

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