Archive for the Category: English

Sun dribbles

While walking along by estuary of the River Dwyryd at Portmeirion yesterday, the Czech friend I was with asked me the name of the patterns in the sand and mud made by water. I wasn’t sure and suggested ripples or sand ripples. She misheard the latter and thought I said sun dribbles, which I really […]

Also posted in Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Compulsory languages

In an article I came across today in the Irish Times the writer, an Irish speaker, wonders whether the compulsory teaching of Irish language in schools in Ireland is the best way to keep the language alive. He argues that those who are interested in the language will continue to learn it and speak it […]

Also posted in Education, Irish, Language, Language learning 13 Comments

Nemocnice

One of the Czech lessons I studied yesterday included the word nemocnice (hospital), and though I hadn’t seen or heard it before, I was familiar with the word nemocný (ill; sick) and guessed from the context that nemocnice was a hospital. It feels good to be able to work out the meanings of words from […]

Also posted in Czech, Language, Words and phrases 6 Comments

The historical present

The year is 1066 and William, Duke of Normandy, invades England to claim the throne he believes to be rightly his. Meanwhile King Harold Godwinson rushes to Hastings to do battle with William after defeating the Norwegian army of Harald Hardrada at Stamford Bridge. This is an example of the historical or historic present, which […]

Also posted in Language 11 Comments

Vellichor

I came across a number of interesting words today on BuzzFeed, including vellichor, the strange wistfulness of used bookshops, and limerence, the state of being infatuated with another person. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows defines vellichor as: n. the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands […]

Also posted in Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Online language communities

On an episode of the BBC Radio 4 programme, Word of Mouth, that I listened to recently, they talk about how English might change in the future. One interesting thing that came up was that new linguistics communities are emerging online on forums and other places where people spend a lot of time chatting to […]

Also posted in Language, Linguistics Leave a comment

Building up gradually

I often see that when starting a new project, such as learning a language, we often commit ourselves to studying of a certain amount of time every day or every week – it might be an hour a day or at least 10 hours a week, for example. There’s nothing wrong with this, and if […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning 1 Comment

Beech Tree Lane

This morning in Abergele I saw a road called Lôn Ffawydd. I know that lôn is the Welsh for lane, but wondered what ffawydd might mean as I hadn’t seen it before. Ffawydd can mean beech tree, fir tree, chestnut tree, pine tree or fir tree. It appears in such expressions as: – ffawydd Albanaidd […]

Also posted in Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Twistles and forks

There is a place in Lancashire in the north west of England called Oswaldtwistle [ˈɒzəl.twɪzəl], which a friend went to after visiting me yesterday. Naturally, as we’re linguists, we wondered where the name Oswaldtwistle came from and what it might mean. My friend thought it might have something to do with Saint Oswald, who was […]

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

Happy languages

I heard some people talking today in what I think was Nigerian English, which always sounds happy to me. These particularly people seemed to be very cheerful, but there seems to be something about Nigerian English that makes it sound very jolly, to my ears at least. I think it’s something about the sounds they […]

Also posted in Language 5 Comments
%d bloggers like this: