Archive for the Category: English


I learnt an interesting word today – retronym – a new name for something that already existings that distinguishes the original from a more recent version. For example, ebooks are becoming increasingly popular, so there’s a need for a new word for non-ebooks. On the program I heard the word retronym, Word of Mouth, they […]

Also posted in Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment


When you’re in a restaurant or café, how do you get the attention of a waiter/waitress? This cartoon shows how it can be difficult in France. The customer in the cartoon first says “Please”, then “Sir/Mr”, then “Waiter”, then ‘Can I order?’, then a hour later the waiter finally speaks to him and says, “Sir, […]

Also posted in French, Language 3 Comments


One Hawaiian word that is used in English is a’a, which is defined as “a kind of rough-surface volcanic rock” [source]. However in Hawaiian it is written ʻaʻā, pronounced [ʔəˈʔaː] and means: 1. to burn, blaze, glow; fire; staring (eyes) 2. lava; stony, abounding with ʻaʻā lava 3. Sirius (the star) 4. young stage of […]

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In the Bangor Community Choir last night we started learning a new song entitled Jenga by Juliet Russell. We were told that the song uses made-up words that don’t mean anything in particular, and it has no connection to the game of Jenga. One of my friends thought the word jenga might mean something like […]

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I learned an interesting new word from the radio yesterday – sniglet – which is defined as “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should”. It was apparently popularized by the comedian/actor Rich Hall while he was working on Not Necessarily the News, an HBO comedy series from the 1980s, who has also […]

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Awaken the Appetite

A ragout is a highly seasoned meat and vegetable stew, and comes from the French ragoût, which appears to be a general word for stew. Ragoût comes from the Middle French ragoûter (to awaken the appetite), which comes from the Old French re- (back), à (to) and goût (taste), from the Latin gustum (taste), from […]

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

The Importance of Patterns

Last week I went to a concert that featuring a jazz pianist and an artist. While the pianist played, the artist painted on her iPad, which was connected to a projector and projected on a big screen. The artist created pictures based on the music, and I think the pianist also created some tunes based […]

Also posted in General, Language, Language learning, Music 1 Comment


Sgimilearachd [sgʲimɪlɛrəxg], noun = habit of visiting other people at mealtime; intrusion (from: Am Faclair Beag) Alternative definition: Obtrusiveness, impudence, intrusion; Mean habit of popping in upon people at meals, living and doing nothing about, gentlemen’s kitchens. (from: Am Faclair Dwelly) This is one of the interesting Scottish Gaelic words I learnt from this blog […]

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I came across a new word yesterday – adumbrations – which I had to look up in a dictionary as I couldn’t work out its meaning from the context: Framed in the archway formed by the far end of the vaulted roof were the fantastical forms of five great gasometers, the supporting superstructures of which […]

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Language learning lethargy

Are there times when you don’t feel like learning languages and can’t summon up much enthusiasm about them? When language learning lethargy strikes, in fact. For me most of August this year was like that – I did use my languages when I had the chance, and spoke quite a bit of French and Welsh, […]

Also posted in Czech, French, Italian, Language, Language learning 5 Comments
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