Archive for the Category: English

Do we have a moving forward position?

I often receive emails from advertisers and people who run advertising networks wanting to place their ads on Omniglot. Or as they put it, they want to “buy redundant inventory” or “buy website traffic”. They talk about fill rates, CPMs, passback options, DSPs, geos, volume impressions and monetization strategies. Recently one asked me to let […]

Also posted in Language 4 Comments

Soggy days

This morning the weather app on my phone told me that it would be a soggy day today. It wasn’t wrong – it rained all morning and much of the afternoon. When I saw the word soggy I started wondering whether days could be described as soggy in other languages. It seems you can talk […]

Also posted in French, Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Earth apple in the garden dress

An interesting French expression I learnt last week was “pomme de terre dans la robe de jardin” or literally “apple of the earth in the dress of the garden”, which is apparently one way French speakers refer to a baked / jacket potato. Other names include: – pomme de terre au four = lit. “apple […]

Also posted in French, Language 4 Comments

Learning multiple languages simultaneously

One of the talks at the Polyglot Gathering was about a way to learn several languages at the same time. The speaker, Elisa Polese, explained how she teaches up to 10 languages simultaneously by comparing and contrasting them. It sounds like this technique can work quite well for similar languages, at least at the beginning. […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning 3 Comments

Reflections on the Polyglot Gathering

I got back from the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin late on Monday night. I travelled by train the whole way, which is a bit more expensive than the plane, and takes a few hours longer, but I prefer to travel this way, and you see more. The journey went smoothly, apart from the train from […]

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Polyglot Gathering 2016

I’m currently at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin. I arrived here on Wednesday evening and have been speaking and hearing lots of different languages. So far I’ve had conversations in English, French, Welsh, German, Irish and Mandarin, and spoken bits and pieces of Spanish, Italian, Russian, Czech, Portuguese, Toki Pona and Esperanto. I’ve also heard […]

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A Monkey’s Wedding

On an episode of The World in Words podcast that I listened to today I learnt the expression “a monkey’s wedding“, which is apparently what you call a day when rain falls while the sun is shining, at least if you live in South Africa or Zimbabwe. As this is quite a common phenomenon in […]

Also posted in Language, Words and phrases 10 Comments

Will you be pernoctating?

If someone asked you if you were planning to pernoctate, would you know what they meant? This is a word I came across today in the blog A Linguist Abroad in a post about ‘Interesting’ Cambridge rules. It appears in the sentence: A Tutor (the pernoctating Tutor) is on duty every night and may stop […]

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

Caledonian Antisyzygy

In the Alexander McCall-Smith novel I just finished reading, The Revolving Door of Life, the concept of antisyzygy, and particularly Caledonian antisyzygy, comes up. I had to look it up as I didn’t know what it meant or how to pronounce it. The term Caledonian Antisyzygy refers to the “idea of dueling polarities within one […]

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

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
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