Archive for the Category: English

Schurrbart

I came across the wonderful German word Schnurrbart [ˈʃnʊrba:ɐ̯t] recently and just liked the sound of it. The Bart part means beard – you can see the connection – and the Schnurr part comes from schnurren (to purr). According to Wikipedia: “Ein Schnurrbart ist ein über der Oberlippe wachsender Bart.” or “A moustache is an […]

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
Also posted in Etymology, German, Language 5 Comments

Market places

Last week the origins of the word agora came up in conversation and I thought I’d find out more. An agora was a place of gathering or marketplace in Ancient Greece. It comes from the Ancient Greek ἀγείρω [ageirō] (I gather, collect), from the Proto-Indo-European *ger- (to assemble, gather together), which is the root of […]

Also posted in Etymology, Greek, Language, Latin, Portuguese, Proto-Indo-European 5 Comments

Grammatical gender matters

In languages with grammatical gender, like French, you can often get away with getting the genders wrong, although it’s best to try to learn them when you learn nouns. However there are some words that have different meanings in different genders. An example in French is loup(e): le loup [lu:] (masculine) is a wolf, and […]

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

Voices and calls

After writing yesterday’s post I was thinking about the Czech word hlas [ɦɫas] (voice, vote) and realised that it is quite similar to the Welsh word for voice, llais [ɬais]. I wondered it they share the same root. Hlas comes from the Proto-Slavic *golsъ (voice), from the Proto-Balto-Slavic *galsas (voice), from the Proto-Indo-European *golHsos, from […]

Also posted in Czech, Dutch, Etymology, German, Irish, Language, Old Norse, Polish, Proto-Indo-European, Romanian, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Slovak, Welsh, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Souhlasím

I learnt a useful Czech expression today – souhlasím – which means ‘I agree; all right; ok(ay)’. The element hlas (voice; sound; vote) I recognise, and I guessed that the prefix sou- might mean together, or something similar. According to Wiktionary, sou- is akin to the English prefix co- (together, mutually, jointly), so souhlasím might […]

Also posted in Czech, Etymology, Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Language, Metaphor and Reality

Here’s an interesting discussion about language, metaphor and reality: Watch more videos on iai.tv

Also posted in Language 1 Comment

Babbling

I spent last weekend at my mum’s house, along with my brother, sister-in-law and their one-year old daughter. The last time I saw my niece was at Christmas, when she was making some sounds, but not really babbling much. Now she is babbling away all the time and sometimes says recognisable words, or at least […]

Also posted in Language, Language acquisition, Russian 1 Comment

Gender differences in language learning?

An article I read in The Times today suggests that women tend to be less confident than men, particularly in work-related situations. Apparently men tend to over estimate their abilities, while women often under estimate their abilities, and women tend to over-prepare and don’t feel ready for a task unless they are 100% sure of […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning 6 Comments

Pfeife

The other day I came across the wonderful German word Pfeife, which means whistle or pipe, and comes from the Middle High German pfife, from Old High German pfiffa, from the Vulgar Latin pipa (pipe; tube-shaped musical instrument), from the Classical Latin pipare (to chirp; to peep), which is of imitative origin, and is also […]

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

Attercop

In The Hobbit, Bilbo uses the words attercop, lazy lob, crazy cob, and old tomnodd as insults he’s attacked by giant spiders in Mirkwood. I guessed that they are alternative names for spiders, but I thought I’d check. Attercop is a word for spider from the Old English átorcoppe, from átor/attor (poison) and coppe, from […]

Also posted in Danish, Etymology, Language, Norwegian, Words and phrases 5 Comments