Archive for the Category: English

Publishing Children’s Books in Endangered Writing Systems

Today we have a guest post by Tim Brookes —————————————————- I knew next to nothing about writing systems until five years ago, when more or less by accident I began carving endangered alphabets. I’d spent my life as a nonfiction writer, with no pretensions to be a visual artist, when one Christmas I decided to […]

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A Snell Wind

The Scots phrase, a snell wind, appears in one of the books I’m reading at the moment, and as I hadn’t come across it before it mystified me a bit. It’s some kind of wind, but what kind? According to the OED, snell is a Scots and Northern English word meaning: 1. (of a person) […]

Also posted in Danish, Etymology, German, Italian, Language, Scots, Swedish, Words and phrases 4 Comments

When I haver

In the Proclaimers song I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), which we often sing in the Bangor ukulele club, the Scots word haver makes several appearances (see the lyrics here), and none of us know what it means. I thought it meant something like to shout, like holler, or to cry. According to The Online Scots […]

Also posted in Etymology, Language, Scots, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Bidie in

This week I discovered the Scots expression bidie in, which refers to someone you live with and are not married to. It is also written bidey-in and bide in, and the plural is bidie ins or bidies in, or similar. The DSL defines bide in as “A person who lives with another without marriage”. The […]

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

Uitsmijter

The other day I came across the wonderful Dutch word uitsmijter, which means bouncer or doorman, and also a type of food consisting of toast, egg(s), ham, bacon or other meat, cheese and pickles is various combinations. Apparently this is the kind of thing that some Dutch people like to eat after the bars close […]

Also posted in Danish, Dutch, Etymology, German, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Ilka dae

While flicking through my Scots language course, Luath Scots Language Learner, this week I discovered that the Scots for every day is ilka dae, which is quite similar to the Dutch elke dag, which I also learnt recently – I like finding connections like this. Neither resembles the English version, or the German jeden Tag. […]

Also posted in Danish, Dutch, Etymology, German, Language, Norwegian, Swedish, Words and phrases 3 Comments

An owlfully badgered cup of tea

Yesterday I discovered that the Italian word for cup, tazza, is rather similar and possibly confusable with the word for badger, tasso, which can also mean a rate (of exchange) or a yew (tree). It’s unlikely that if you mistakenly ask for un tasso di tè rather than una tazza di tè, you will be […]

Also posted in Arabic, Etymology, French, German, Italian, Language, Persian (FarsI), Words and phrases 10 Comments

Sumpf

I discovered the wonderful German word Sumpf /zʊmpf/ today while putting together les mots de la semaine for this week from the French conversation group. One of the things that came in conversation was the word marsh, which is le marais or le marécage in French, and Sumpf in German, which I noticed because there’s […]

Also posted in Etymology, French, German, Language, Words and phrases 8 Comments

Playing and sounding

The other day I discovered that to play in Italian is giocare or divertirsi, but if you’re playing a musical instruments the word you need is suonare, which also means to ring, sound, strike or toot. So I can say, Suono la chitarra, il piano(forte), il mandolino, il flauto dolce e il fischietto. (I play […]

Also posted in Etymology, Italian, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 13 Comments

Russian melancholy?

The other day I was trying to learn some adjectives in Russian, and noticed that there seemed to be more Russian words for sad (9) than for happy (4), at least in one dictionary I checked (bab.la). This might be a coincidence as in other dictionaries are more words for happy than for sad. In […]

Also posted in Language, Russian, Words and phrases 11 Comments