Archive for the Category: English

The Importance of Patterns

Last week I went to a concert that featuring a jazz pianist and an artist. While the pianist played, the artist painted on her iPad, which was connected to a projector and projected on a big screen. The artist created pictures based on the music, and I think the pianist also created some tunes based […]

Also posted in General, Language, Language learning, Music 1 Comment


Sgimilearachd [sgʲimɪlɛrəxg], noun = habit of visiting other people at mealtime; intrusion (from: Am Faclair Beag) Alternative definition: Obtrusiveness, impudence, intrusion; Mean habit of popping in upon people at meals, living and doing nothing about, gentlemen’s kitchens. (from: Am Faclair Dwelly) This is one of the interesting Scottish Gaelic words I learnt from this blog […]

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I came across a new word yesterday – adumbrations – which I had to look up in a dictionary as I couldn’t work out its meaning from the context: Framed in the archway formed by the far end of the vaulted roof were the fantastical forms of five great gasometers, the supporting superstructures of which […]

Also posted in Etymology, Language, Latin, Words and phrases Leave a comment

Language learning lethargy

Are there times when you don’t feel like learning languages and can’t summon up much enthusiasm about them? When language learning lethargy strikes, in fact. For me most of August this year was like that – I did use my languages when I had the chance, and spoke quite a bit of French and Welsh, […]

Also posted in Czech, French, Italian, Language, Language learning 4 Comments


I’m happy to announce that Omniglot has partnered with Frantastique to help you enhance your language skills and effectively learn French. Frantastique is a 15 minute daily online training, which is tailored for each user’s level of French. So how does Frantastique work? Your daily lesson is sent by e-mail every morning Every morning, your […]

Also posted in French, Language, Language learning Leave a comment

Pass the funny dingdong

If someone asked you to “pass the funny dingdong”, would you know what they wanted? With the context that you are watching TV, you might have a better idea what they wanted. According to Fry’s English Delight, a programme about language on BBC Radio Four, funny dingdong is one of the many ways of referring […]

Also posted in Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

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 8 Comments
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