Archive for the Category: English

Ti a Chi

There was an interesting discussion this morning on Radio Cymru about the use of pronouns in Welsh. Like in many languages, there are different forms of the second person pronoun in Welsh: – ti [tiː] = you singular and informal – chi [χiː] = you plural, and formal you singular and plural – chdi [χdiː] […]

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

The World in Words

I recently came across a fascinating podcast – The World in Words – where they talk about all sorts of language-related topics, from the origins of the Etruscan language to language policy in Canada. It is well worth a listen for anybody interested in language. Do you know of any similar podcasts or radio programmes?

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Kernewek

I started learning Cornish yesterday. Mainly because it’s the only Celtic language I haven’t studied yet, and I’m curious about it. I’m using the course SaySomethingin Cornish, and am finding it very good. I like the way the course is put together – you learn a small number of words and structures in each lesson […]

Also posted in Breton, Cornish, Language, Language learning, Welsh Leave a comment

Escroquerie

An interesting French word I learnt yesterday is escroquerie [ɛskʁɔkʁi], which means a swindle or fraud. It comes from escroquer (to swindle). A related word is escroc (villain, baddy). It probably comes from the Italian word scroccare (to eat or live at others’ expense) [source]. Other English equivalents of escroquer include scrounge, sponge, cadge and […]

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

Cheese flies

Apparently it’s National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day today. It’s also National Licorice Day, and Be Kind to Lawyers Day, at least in the USA. Is it a special day elsewhere? The equivalent of the grilled cheese sandwich in the UK is known as cheese on toast, and in French it’s known as a Croque Monsieur, […]

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Multilingual Britain

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Kerstin Cable about the languages of the British Isles for the The Creative Language Learning Podcast, which she makes with Lindsey Dow of Lindsey Does Languages. The podcast is now online as The Secret Languages of Great Britain. In the podcast we talk about the indigenous languages […]

Also posted in Irish, Language, Language learning, Manx, Polish, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Sign language, Travel, Welsh 1 Comment

Finnish Language Day

Apparently today is Finnish Language Day or Suomen kielen päivä. It is the anniversary of the death of Mikael Agricola (c. 1510-1557), a clergyman who is known as the “father of literary Finnish” – he translated religious works into Finnish, including the New Testament, and modern Finnish spelling is based on his work. Before then […]

Also posted in Finnish, General, Language, Manx 2 Comments

Snollygoster

I came across the wonderful word snollygoster [ˈsnɒlɪˌɡɒstə] today. It is defined as follows: – One, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles. – A politician who cares more for personal gain than serving the people (Slang, USA) From: The Free Dictionary. – A shrewd person not […]

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

Throats and trees

One Scottish Gaelic expression I learnt last week was “Tha craobh air mo sgòrnan” or literally “There’s a tree on my throat”. This is the Gaelic equivalent of “There’s a frog in my throat”, which is used when you are rendered temporarily speechless due to a small amphibian taking up residence in your oesophagus, or […]

Also posted in Irish, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases Leave a comment

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

This week I am doing a course in Scottish Gaelic songs at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye. While all the songs I’m learning are in Gaelic, the class it taught mainly in English, so I don’t get to speak much Gaelic in class. Outside class there are plenty of […]

Also posted in French, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Language, Language learning, Music, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Songs, Spanish, Travel, Welsh 1 Comment
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