Archive for the Category: English

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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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] […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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