Archive for the Category: English

Beech Tree Lane

This morning in Abergele I saw a road called Lôn Ffawydd. I know that lôn is the Welsh for lane, but wondered what ffawydd might mean as I hadn’t seen it before. Ffawydd can mean beech tree, fir tree, chestnut tree, pine tree or fir tree. It appears in such expressions as: – ffawydd Albanaidd […]

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Also posted in Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Twistles and forks

There is a place in Lancashire in the north west of England called Oswaldtwistle [ˈɒzəl.twɪzəl], which a friend went to after visiting me yesterday. Naturally, as we’re linguists, we wondered where the name Oswaldtwistle came from and what it might mean. My friend thought it might have something to do with Saint Oswald, who was […]

Also posted in Etymology, German, Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Happy languages

I heard some people talking today in what I think was Nigerian English, which always sounds happy to me. These particularly people seemed to be very cheerful, but there seems to be something about Nigerian English that makes it sound very jolly, to my ears at least. I think it’s something about the sounds they […]

Also posted in Language 5 Comments

Schlittschuh laufen

While listening to the German version of Radio Praha this morning I heard them taking about Schlittschuh laufen and wondered what this might involve. I guessed that it had something to do with sliding – Schlitt has a deliciously slidey sound and feel to it – and might be skating or skiing. It is in […]

Also posted in German, Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Multilingual romance

If you come over all romantic today, for some reason or other, and wish to declare your love for another, this infographic will help you do so in a variety of languages. Source: http://www.justtheflight.co.uk/blog/18-how-to-say-i-love-you-around-the-world.html Note: the sign language referred to here is American Sign Language (ASL). For this phrase in other sign languages see: Spread […]

Also posted in Language, Words and phrases 7 Comments

A banana regime

I discovered yesterday that the French equivalent of a bunch of bananas is un régime des bananes. Régime also means (political) regime, (administrative) system, (engine) speed/revs, and un régime alimentaire is a diet. Other French words for bunch include: – un bouquet de fleurs = a bunch of flowers – un trousseau de clés = […]

Also posted in French, Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Un sabot de Denver

I discovered yesterday that in French a wheel clamp is known as a sabot de Denver (“Denver hoof/clog/shoe/boot”), and wondered what Denver has to do with wheel clamps. On Wikipedia is explains that such devices were first used in Denver, Colorado, and are known as a wheel boot, parking boot or Denver boot in the […]

Also posted in French, Language, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Just popping out

A interesting English expression I’ve noticed in novels I’ve been reading recently is the verb to pop, which is often accompanied by prepositions such as out, in, round and down, and preceded by just. For example: – I’m just popping out to the shop, do you want anything? – I might pop in at some […]

Also posted in Language, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Klunen

I learnt an interesting word from a Dutch friend today – klunen – which refers to the action of walking on the ground in ice skates, something you might do while you’re skating along a frozen canal and come to a bridge you can’t go under, either because it’s too low, or the ice under […]

Also posted in Dutch, Language, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Flashcards

At the moment I’m focusing on improving my Russian and Czech, and am trying to keep my other languages ticking over. I’ve starting using Anki to store and learn words and phrases, and am finding it very useful. For words that can be visually represented, I use pictures rather than translations on the flash cards […]

Also posted in Czech, Language, Language learning, Russian 2 Comments