Archive for the Category: English

Language, accents and tourism

I came across an interesting article today about ways to attract tourists with regional accents and languages. It discuses moves to encourage the use of French in parts of Canada and Louisiana, and Irish in Ireland, as well as regional accents in Newfoundland and in Skane in southern Sweden. People from the regions are promoting […]

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Nebuď směšný!

I came across a lovely Czech word today – směšný [‘smɲeʃni:] – which means funny or ridiculous, and sounds quite funny to me. I think it comes from smích (laughter), from the Proto-Slavic *směxъ [source] Related words include: – směšnost = ridiculousness; absurdity – směšně = ridiculously – smich = laughter – smát = to […]

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

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 […]

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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
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