Archive for the Category: English

Barking up the wrong end of the stick

The phrase barking up the wrong tree means “making a mistake or a false assumption in something you are trying to achieve”. It comes from hunting dogs barking up trees where they thought their quarry was hiding, but wasn’t [source]. Apparently one French equivalent of this phrase is Frapper à la mauvaise porte (to knock […]

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

Cashlines, ATMs and Holes in the Wall

I discovered the other day that in Scotland the bank machines that dispense cash are known as cashlines. This was apparently the name used first for Royal Bank of Scotland cash machines, and came to be used as the general term for ATMs in Scotland [source]. In other parts of the UK such machines are […]

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

もしもし (moshi moshi)

When answering the phone in Japanese the phrase you usually used is もしもし (moshi moshi). I received an email from a Japanese guy today saying that this doesn’t mean hello, so I thought I’d find out what it actually means. According to Tofugu, this phrase comes from the verb 申す (mōsu), which a humble equivalent […]

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

Mony a mickle maks a muckle

There’s a Scots saying Mony a mickle maks a muckle, or Many a mickle makes a muckle, which means “A lot of small amounts, put together, become a large amount”. The word muckle certainly means large, and also big, great; much, a great deal of, a lot of; grown-up, mature, adult; of great social consequence, […]

Also posted in Japanese, Language, Scots, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Please alight

I received an email yesterday asking about the Swiss German equivalent of Bitte verlassen Sie den Zug (Please alight from the train). Does anybody know? Are announcements on Swiss trains in Swiss German or Standard German (Hochdeutsch)? What other languages are they in? Or does it depend on where you are in Switzerland? This got […]

Also posted in German, Language, Words and phrases 10 Comments

Freshness

This week is Welcome Week at Bangor University when new students arrive for the first time, register, join clubs and societies, some of which they’ll actually go to, and so on. It’s also known as Freshers’ Week and the new students are known as freshers, though after this week, they’re generally known as first years. […]

Also posted in Etymology, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Do you come here often?

I’ve started to put together a new page on Omniglot with translations of the phrase ‘Do you come here often?‘. I got the idea after finding a Cornish version of this phrase (A wre’ta dos omma yn fenowgh?) on Learn Cornish Now. Could you check the translations that are already on the page, and provide […]

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

A bit of a breeze

One of the words that came up at the French conversation group this week was brise (breeze), which appears in the following expressions: – pare-brise = windscreen / windshield – brise matinale = early breeze – brise insulaire = island breeze – brise de mer = sea breeze – brise de terre = land breeze […]

Also posted in Etymology, French, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Omniglot app

There is now an Omniglot app for Andriod developed by علي الساعدي (Ali al-saaedi Ali shirpaz) from Iraq. It only works online at the moment, and is available here. Any comments or suggestions on how it might be improved are welcome. Many thanks to علي الساعدي for doing this.

Also posted in Language, Technology Comments Off on Omniglot app

Joskins, bumpkins and yokels

Last week a friend asked me about the origins of the word joskin [ˈdʒɒskɪn], which I hadn’t come across before. According to the Urban Dictionary it is defined as follows: North-Walian term used in both English and Welsh to describe anyone from a rural or farming background. It is used both affectionately and in a […]

Also posted in Dutch, German, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 2 Comments
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