Archive for the Category: English

No holds barred

I came across the phrase no holds barred today and wondered where it came from. I probably have seen it written down before, but didn’t pay any particular attention to it and thought it was written no holes barred. According The Phrase Finder, this phrase comes from wrestling and refers to wrestling matches in which […]

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Hooley fuddle

This weekend I am in Dún Laoghaire for the Ukulele Hooley, Ireland’s international ukulele festival. On the way here yesterday I met some ukulele players from Yorkshire and we had a bit of a jam on the boat, and another one last night with other people who are here for the Hooley. While talking with […]

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Poor mean houses

On the bus to Conwy today I noticed that the Welsh name of one of the stops included the word teios, which I hadn’t come across before. In English the stop had the word cottages in it. I wrote down what I thought I heard and saw: teilios, but couldn’t find that in any Welsh […]

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

Put the kettle on!

I discovered last night that although there is a French word for kettle – bouilloire – kettles are not common in French kitchens. More or less every kitchen in the UK, and Ireland, has a kettle, and a toaster (grille-pain) – they are considered essential equipment. However, according to a friend who used to live […]

Also posted in French, Language, Words and phrases 6 Comments

Here’s a nice whatabout

In the comments on an article I read today in the Guardian – Why North Koreans are developing an appetite for foreign languages – I noticed an interesting turn of phrase: Here’s a nice Whatabout. I suggest Brits suddenly get keen on learning foreign languages. Start with Arabic and Russian. Oh yes, and brush up […]

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Tell Me a Story!

When I was in Ireland last week I heard plenty of stories, including some traditional ones in Irish. There was a night of sean-nós singing, dancing and story telling on Thursday, and afterwards we had a long talk with our sean-nós singing teacher, Gearóidín Breathnach, about various things, including the decline in traditional story telling, […]

Also posted in Irish, Language 1 Comment

Learn Korean for free!

90 Day Korean have an exclusive offer for Omniglot visitors: three free Korean courses. The 90 Day Korean web course teaches to you how to have a three minute conversation with a native Korean within 90 days. It’s a beginner Korean course that delivers you PDF and mp3 lessons in your inbox every week with […]

Also posted in Korean, Language, Language learning, Quiz questions 1 Comment

Now, is it you that’s in it?

An interesting Hiberno-English expression I heard today is “Is it you that’s in it?”, which is a direct translation of the Irish “tusa atá ann?“, and is used as a greeting meaning something like, “Hello, how are you?”. Another Hiberno-English expression that came up in conversation this morning was “Don’t talk to me (about that)”, […]

Also posted in Irish, Language 4 Comments

Spleoid

This week I came across the wonderful-sounding Irish word – spleoid [sˠpˠlʲodʲ], which appears in expressions like Spleoid ort! (Shame on you!) and Spleoid air! (Hang it! Confound it!). It is also used without the s as pleoid. Other Irish words beginning with spleo- include: – spleodar = cheerfulness, vivacity; exuberance, boisterousness – spleodrach = […]

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

Súilíní

I discovered an interesting word in Irish yesterday – súilíní [ˈsˠuːl̪ʲiːn̪ʲiː] – which is a diminutive form of súil [sˠuːl̪ʲ] (eye) and means literally “small eyes”, and actually means eyelets, an aperture-sight, or bubbles. For example, uisce gan súilíní is still water (“water without bubbles”) [source]. More common Irish words for bubbles are bolgán and […]

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