Archive for the Category: English

Buiten

Tthe Dutch word buiten /ˈbœy̯.tə(n)/ is one I’ve heard quite a bit while listening to Dutch radio, and though I know what it means – outside; out of – I wasn’t sure where it came from. Today I discover that it is related to uit (out, from). Buiten also means: villa, abroad, forth, apart from, […]

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Also posted in Dutch, Etymology, Language, Words and phrases 8 Comments

Wirlie

In a book I read recently (one of Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series) I came across a number of Scots words that were unfamiliar to me. One that I particularly like is wirlie, which, according the Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL), means: “a place where a field-wall crosses a stream; an opening […]

Also posted in Etymology, Language, Scots, Words and phrases 3 Comments

SpeakTalkChat: Linking Language Enthusiasts and Learners

Today we have a guest post by Aodhán Ó Duagáin (Aidan Duggan) of www.SpeaktalkChat.com ————————————————————————- SpeakTalkChat is a language platform that allows users to link based on shared languages and shared interests. Our goal is to link us together based on shared interests to chat through our shared languages. Our philosophy is that much progress […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning 4 Comments

Dirks, Saxons and Messers

I discovered today that dolch is the German equivalent of dirk, the dagger that is worn in the sock in Scottish Highland dress (see photo). The dirk is known as a sgian dubh (black knife or secret knife) in Scottish Gaelic, and the word dirk, which first appeared in English as dork in the 17th […]

Also posted in Danish, Dutch, Etymology, French, German, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Scottish Gaelic, Swedish, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Lucky and inspiring veins

I discovered yesterday that one way to say that someone is lucky in French is to say that they avoir de la veine (‘have of the vein’). I’m not sure why veins are associated with luck. Does anybody know. Veine also means seam and inspiration. Other expressions featuring veine and related words include: – veiné […]

Also posted in Etymology, French, Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Fantoosh puppets

I came across the interesting Scots word fantoosh [fan'tuʃ], which is defined by the Online Scots Dictionary as “flashy, ultra-fashionable”, whicle the Dictionary of the Scots Language gives a more detailed definition: “1. Over-dressed, over-ornamented; flashy, showy; ultra-fashionable; and 2. An over-dressed person”. Related words include fantoosherie (fuss, pretentiousness, swank) and fantooshed (flashily dressed). This […]

Also posted in Language, Scots, Words and phrases 4 Comments

The apple of one’s eye(ball)

The other day I came across the Dutch word oog [oːx], which means ‘spot; hole; period (of time); eye’ – I was looking for the equivalent of eye when I found it. Words like this with double o just appeal to me for some reason and I have to keep reminding myself that they the […]

Also posted in Dutch, German, Language, Words and phrases 6 Comments

Suns, moons and sputniks

Earlier today I was thinking about how I might learn more Russian, and realised that I need to get to grips with the grammar – the verb conjugations, noun declensions and so on. Trying to memorise verb tables and noun declensions and other grammatical gubbins doesn’t appeal to me, so I thought about other ways […]

Also posted in Etymology, Language, Language learning, Russian, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Language learning plans

At the beginning of 2013 I mentioned on this blog that I planned to continue studying Breton and Russian, and maybe have a go at Swedish or Norwegian. I hoped, though didn’t mention, that I would be able to converse reasonably well in Breton and Russian by now, but haven’t achieved that. I continued my […]

Also posted in Dutch, Language, Language learning, Russian 5 Comments

La Saint-Sylvestre

As today is New Year’s Eve I thought I’d look at what this day is called in various languages: French:la (fête de) Saint-Sylvestre, which is celebrated with le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre, a feast which well involve champagne and foie gras, and a party, with kisses under the mistletoe at midnight. Saint Sylvestre was Pope between […]

Also posted in French, German, Language, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 2 Comments