Archive for the Category: Italian

Pretending to speak a language

In E. F. Benson’s book, Queen Lucia, two of the characters, Lucia and Georgie, speak bits of Italian to each other, which leads their friends to believe that they speak the language fluently, and impresses them, which is the point. When an Italian gentleman visits their village it soon emerges that Lucia and Georgie are […]

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Also posted in English, Language, Language learning 3 Comments

Happy New Year!

Bloavezh mat / 新年快樂 / Blydhen Nowydh Da / Šťastný nový rok / Gelukkig Nieuwjaar / Happy New Year / Bonne année / Einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr / Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh / Felice anno nuovo / 新年おめでとうございます / Blein Vie Noa / Feliz Ano Novo / С Новым Годом / Bliadhna mhath […]

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Also posted in Breton, Chinese, Cornish, Czech, Dutch, English, French, General, German, Irish, Japanese, Language, Manx, Portuguese, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Welsh 1 Comment

Polyglottery

Yesterday morning I met up with other conference participants and after a bit of a wander around the city, we had lunch then went to the opening ceremony a reception. In the after we had a little guided tour of Novi Sad seeing some interesting buildings, including the Catholic or Orthodox Cathedrals, and the fortress. […]

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Also posted in Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, French, German, Greek, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Language, Language learning, Manx, Persian (FarsI), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Serbian, Sign language, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Travel, Welsh 4 Comments

When is a language not a language?

One perennial problem in linguistics is how to decide whether a language is a language or dialect. In the fascinating book, Speak: A Short History of Languages, which I read recently, Tore Janson argues that a language can be considered a language when those who speak it decide that it is one, and they give […]

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Also posted in English, Language, Latin, Linguistics 2 Comments

Gabions and the importance of names

The other day I discovered that the name for those wire cages filled with rocks used in construction and to stabilise river banks, hillsides and shorelines are called gabions. The word comes from the Italian gabbione (big cage), which comes from the Latin cavea (cage). There are plenty of gabions around here, but I didn’t […]

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Also posted in English, Etymology, Irish, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Extreme Polyglottery

The Polyglot Gathering in Berlin last week was fantastic and I enjoyed everything about it. The organizers did an excellent job and everything went well, with only minor hitches. Many other people helped things to run smoothly, and gave talks and/or arranged discussions and language practise sessions. Venue The venue was a huge hostel/hotel near […]

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Also posted in Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Endangered languages, English, Esperanto, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Japanese, Language, Manx, Polish, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Turkish, Welsh 3 Comments

Polyglot Gathering

I arrived in Berlin yesterday for the Polyglot Gathering, which starts today. I flew here on KLM via Amsterdam, and unfortunately my luggage stayed in Amsterdam. It should arrive today though, and I’ve coped without it so far. This is only the second time this has happened to me – the last time was when […]

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Also posted in Chinese, Dutch, English, Esperanto, French, German, Language, Spanish, Welsh 3 Comments

One language per day

Last week I decided to try a slightly different language learning strategy. Rather than trying to immerse myself and learning bits of various languages every day, I am focusing on one language each day. This mainly involves listening to online radio and doing online lessons, and also having conversations with people when I can. At […]

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Also posted in Dutch, English, Japanese, Language, Language learning, Portuguese, Spanish 3 Comments

A Snell Wind

The Scots phrase, a snell wind, appears in one of the books I’m reading at the moment, and as I hadn’t come across it before it mystified me a bit. It’s some kind of wind, but what kind? According to the OED, snell is a Scots and Northern English word meaning: 1. (of a person) […]

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Also posted in Danish, English, Etymology, German, Language, Scots, Swedish, Words and phrases 4 Comments

An owlfully badgered cup of tea

Yesterday I discovered that the Italian word for cup, tazza, is rather similar and possibly confusable with the word for badger, tasso, which can also mean a rate (of exchange) or a yew (tree). It’s unlikely that if you mistakenly ask for un tasso di tè rather than una tazza di tè, you will be […]

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Also posted in Arabic, English, Etymology, French, German, Language, Persian (FarsI), Words and phrases 10 Comments