Archive for the Category: English

Totes amazesh!

According to an article I found the other day, some people on Twitter are playing with language in interesting ways and creating new abbreviations and words like tradge (tragic), bluebs (blueberries), emosh (emotional) and hilars (hilarious) and atrosh (atrocious). This phenomenon has been dubbed totesing by the linguists Lauren Spradlin and Taylor Jones, who have […]

Also posted in Language 4 Comments

Stalls, stinkards and parterres

In theatres in the UK the seats at ground level in front of the stage are usually known as stalls or orchestra stalls. If there are balconies above that level, the first balcony might be known as the dress circle, grand circle or balcony, the second as the upper circle, grand circle, first circle or […]

Also posted in French, Language, Russian, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Dystopias and Utopias

Why is it that so many films and novels set in the future are dystopian? I thought about this after watching The Hunger Games last night, and tried to think of any stories of utopian futures. The only films I could think featuring non-dystopian futures of were Back to the Future II and Bicentennial Man. […]

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

Matignon and other metonyms

Last night I discovered that the French equivalent of “Number 10”, which in the UK refers to the British Prime Minister, is Matignon or L’Hôtel de Matignon, the official residence of the French Prime Minister. Number 10 is shorthand for Number 10 Downing Street, is the official residence and office of the British Prime Minister, […]

Also posted in French, Language, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Flan cupboards

A Welsh plygain song I’ve been learning recently with some friends (Carol y Swper) features the word fflangell in the line “Ein Meichiau a’n Meddyg dan fflangell Iddweig”. We weren’t sure what it meant at first, and guessed that it was some kind of container for a flan or a flan cupboard. A fflan is […]

Also posted in Language, Songs, Welsh, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Big fun!

A friend of mine who is learning Welsh likes to translate Welsh expressions literally and then use them in English. One Welsh equivalent of goodbye is hwyl fawr [hʊɨl vaur], which he translates as “big fun”, which sounds quite funny in English. Do any other languages have a phrase used when parting that has a […]

Also posted in Language, Translation, Welsh, Words and phrases 6 Comments

New Year’s resolutions for language learners

This is a guest post by Izabela Wisniewska Learning a new language is one of the more typical New Year’s resolutions we see and often, one of the most flippant. Though the desire to learn a new language is genuine actually getting motivated to do something about it is another thing entirely. If you are […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning 2 Comments

Why Weihnachten?

Have you every wondered where the German word for Christmas, Weihnachten, comes from? I have, as it is so different from words for Christmas in other European languages. So I decided to investigate. Weihnachten comes from the Middle High German wīhenahten ‎(Christmas), from a dative plural ze den wīhen nahten ‎(in the holy nights). The […]

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

Sorry, we’re out of smiles

Translation: – A baguette please. – With this? – ? – With a plant please – With this? – With a surfboard please – With this? – With a smile please – Sorry. I don’t have any more of them. The phrase avec ceci ? literally means “with this?”, but I suspect in this context […]

Also posted in French, Language 1 Comment

That’s enough!

The Russian word всё (vsjo) [fsʲo] is a useful one that can mean various things depending on the context: everything, still, always, all the time, nevertheless. Here are some examples: – Вот и всё; Это всё = that’s all – Мне всё равно = it’s all the same to me – Я всё равно пойду […]

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