Archive for the Category: English

Closing out

In the Czech lessons I’ve been working my way through I’ve noticed that the Czech host says (in English) at the end of each lesson “To close out this lesson, we would like to practise what you have just learnt.”. I would say finish rather than close out, and thought close out was a non-native […]

Also posted in Czech, Language, Words and phrases 8 Comments

Carrying coals to Newcastle

An idiomatic way to say a task is pointless is to say it’s like carrying coals to Newcastle – Newcastle, in the north east of England, used to be a major coal mining area. In French the equivalent is porter de l’eau à la rivière (to carry water to the river). In German they say […]

Also posted in French, German, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Llap y dwndwr – the drink of prattle

I discovered last night that an old Welsh expression for tea is llap y dwndwr [ɬap ə ˈdʊndʊr], which could be translated as meaning “the drink that makes one talkative” or “the drink of chatter”. It is also the name of a tune. The word llap means soft and wet, and appears in the expression […]

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

Two wheels left here will be removed

If you’ve ever wonder how you would tell people not to park their bicycles in Latin and Ancient Greek, as I’m sure you have, the sign in the photo shows you. The Latin, Duae rotae hic relictae perimentur, apparently means “two wheels [cycles] left/abandoned here will be removed”. The Greek, Εηθαδε αηφθεητες δυοκυκλοι διαφθαρνσονται, apparently […]

Also posted in Greek, Language, Latin 6 Comments

Multilingual conversations

At the French conversation group I go to most weeks we usually stick to French most of the time, however when the leader of the group isn’t there or leaves early, as she did last week and the week before, we often switch to English and/or Welsh. Most members of the group speak Welsh, as […]

Also posted in French, Language, Welsh 3 Comments

Mardy

The word mardy came up in conversation last night, and the friends who mentioned it, who are from Yorkshire and Lancashire, said that it could mean annoying or weak. As I hadn’t heard it before, I thought I’d find out more about it. According to Wiktionary means sulky or whinning, e.g. ‘She’s being a mardy […]

Also posted in Etymology, Language, Words and phrases 7 Comments

One Person One Language (OPOL)

This post is based largely on an article by Francois Grosjean: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-bilingual/201504/one-person-one-language-and-bilingual-children One popular way to raise bilingual children is for each parent to speak only their native language with their children. For example the father will speak English and the mother will speak Spanish, and the children will acquire both languages. At first the […]

Also posted in French, German, Irish, Language, Language acquisition, Linguistics, Spanish, Welsh 5 Comments

Language, accents and tourism

I came across an interesting article today about ways to attract tourists with regional accents and languages. It discuses moves to encourage the use of French in parts of Canada and Louisiana, and Irish in Ireland, as well as regional accents in Newfoundland and in Skane in southern Sweden. People from the regions are promoting […]

Also posted in French, Irish, Language, Swedish, Travel Leave a comment

Nebuď směšný!

I came across a lovely Czech word today – směšný [‘smɲeʃni:] – which means funny or ridiculous, and sounds quite funny to me. I think it comes from smích (laughter), from the Proto-Slavic *směxъ [source] Related words include: – směšnost = ridiculousness; absurdity – směšně = ridiculously – smich = laughter – smát = to […]

Also posted in Czech, Language, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Sun dribbles

While walking along by estuary of the River Dwyryd at Portmeirion yesterday, the Czech friend I was with asked me the name of the patterns in the sand and mud made by water. I wasn’t sure and suggested ripples or sand ripples. She misheard the latter and thought I said sun dribbles, which I really […]

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