Archive for the Category: English

Reasons to learn minority languages

I came across an interesting article today which discusses some of the benefits of learning a minority language like Manx. The writer, a fluent Manx speaker, is currently studying French and Linguistics at Oxford University, and has found that her knowledge of Manx has enabled her to make all sorts of connections, and has opened […]

Also posted in Endangered languages, Irish, Language, Language learning, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh Leave a comment

Irish Tongue-Twisters

Last week I learnt some new tongue-twisters (rabhlóga) in Irish. To those not familiar with Irish, almost an sentence in Irish might appear to be a bit of a tongue-twister, but these ones are particularly tricky. Seacht sicín ina seasamh sa sneachta lá seaca. Seven chickens standing in the snow on a frosty day. Fear […]

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A Hooley of Ukeists

I’m having a great time at the Ukulele Hooley this weekend, so I thought I’d look into some ukulele-related words. There are various possible words for people who play the ukulele: – Ukulele player – Uker – Ukist – Ukeist – Ukulist – Ukulelist – Ukuleleist – Ukulelian – Uke-phreak – Ukester – Ukestrator – […]

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Eating sideways

An interesting Japanese word I came across today in an article on ‘untranslatable’ words is 横飯 (yokomeshi) which is used to describe the stress of speaking a foreign language. It comes from 横 (yoko – horizontal) and 飯 (meshi – boiled rice, a meal, food), and could be translated as ‘a meal eaten sideways’. This […]

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

Y Llyfyrgell

Last night I saw the film Y Llyfrgell / The Library Suicides, a Welsh-language thriller based on the book Y Llyfrgell (The Library) by Fflur Dafydd, who also wrote the script and produced the film. This was the first film I’ve seen in Welsh, and I enjoyed it. It’s set in Aberystwyth, and most of […]

Also posted in Film, Language, Welsh Leave a comment


I learnt an interesting new French word today – célibataire. When I first saw it I guessed that it meant celibate, but when I checked in a dictionary I found that while it does mean celibate, it is more commonly used to mean single. So un célibataire is a single man or bachelor, and une […]

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

When is a blog not a blog?

When I meet people who are familiar with my website, some of them say how much they like my blog. When I ask them what they like about it, they mention things that are on my website, rather than on this blog, so I soon realise that they’re using the word blog to refer to […]

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

Suspending disbelief

One of the things we talked about in the French conversation group this week was suspending disbelief, which is accepter les invraisemblances in French. That is “accepting the improbabilities”. Another way to say this in French is suspension d’incrédulité. The word invraisemblance also means unlikeliness or inverisimilitude. Related words include invraisemblable (unlikely, incredible, implausible, improbable) […]

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Are you a phenom?

I came across an interesting word in an article about hyperpolyglots I read today (it’s an old article, but I only just found it) – phenoms, which appears in the following sentence: TIME spoke to Erard about phenoms who can speak more languages than they have fingers, whether anyone can do it and where the […]

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

Les chuchoteuses

On Rue Staint-Paul in Vieux Montréal there’s a statue of three women having a gossip. It’s known as ‘Les chuchoteuses‘ or ‘The whisperers’. It’s also known as the “fat ladies talking statue”. It’s by Rose-Aimée Bélanger, a sculptor from Ontario, and was installed as part of a 2006 initiative to highlight some of Old Montreal’s […]

Also posted in Dutch, Etymology, French, German, Italian, Language, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, Travel, Welsh, Words and phrases 2 Comments
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