Archive for the Category: Italian

Summer chicks and glowing coals

Last night we were talking about the Pili Palas on Anglesey, a butterfly centre, which also has birds, snakes and other exotic creatures. The name is a pun combining pili-pala (butterfly) and palas (palace) – it took me ages to realise this. We were trying to think of the words for butterfly in various other […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, German, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 6 Comments


Nadolig Llawen Joyeux Noël 聖誕快樂 Nollaig shona doibh ¡Feliz Navidad! Nollick Ghennal Bo Nadal Nollaig chridheil メリークリスマス Buon Natale Frohe Weihnachten Bon Nadal Veselé vánoce and Merry Christmas!

Also posted in Chinese, Czech, English, French, German, Irish, Japanese, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Welsh 18 Comments

nu-i asa?

A correspondent would like to know the Romanian equivalent of the tag questions like n’est-ce pas? (French), non e vero? (Italian), ¿verdad? (Spanish), ne pravda? (Czech). I found nu-i asa? via Google translate, and this brings up over 3 million results in Google, so might just be correct. Do other languages use similar tags?

Also posted in French, Language, Romanian, Spanish, Words and phrases 39 Comments


épouvantail (nf) objet, mannequin disposé dans les champs, dans les arbres, pour effrayer les oiseaux et les faire fuir (scarecrow) familièrement personne présentant un aspect extérieur repoussant (bogey, bugbear) quelqu’un ou quelque chose qui effraie sans raison (fright) [source] For some reason we were talking about scarecrows or épouvantails at the French conversation group last […]

Also posted in Chinese, English, Etymology, French, German, Irish, Japanese, Language, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 15 Comments


William Caxton introduced printing into England, and also translated a number of literary works from French, Latin and Dutch. Within his translations he used words he picked up while learning and practising his trade in Germany and Belgium, including spincop, from the Dutch spinnekop (spider), and okselle, from the Dutch oksel (armpit). The English word […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, Etymology, French, German, Language, Latin, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Word of the day – ig

The Welsh word ig (plural: igion) means hiccough. The verb, to hiccough / sob, is igian, igio or igion. When I’m singing or playing the tin whistle or other wind instruments I often get hiccoughs, and the other day I was trying to explain this to a Welsh friend in Welsh, but didn’t know the […]

Also posted in Czech, English, French, Irish, Language, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 20 Comments

Leaght y Ghaaue

Last night I went to a fascinating lecture in Manx about Venice which covered the city’s history, architecture, transport and much more. It was given by Bob Carswell, a Manx speaker, translator, poet and broadcaster who regularly talks with great enthusiasm about a wide range of topics on his radio programme, Claare ny Gael. The […]

Also posted in English, Language, Manx 18 Comments

Languages and jobs in Spain

According to an article I found the other day, a knowledge of languages is required for 27% of jobs in Spain, and the language most in demand is English. So if you speak English and Spanish and would like to work in Spain, there should be plenty of jobs you could apply for. The article, […]

Also posted in English, French, German, Language, Portuguese, Spanish, Welsh 1 Comment

Bilingual Radio

Today we have a guest post from James P. in Chile: I was listening to Catalan radio the other day (long story: short version, I’m thinking of whether to live in Spain and if I can be bothered with learning Catalan or whether it would just get mixed up in my Spanish). They had interviews […]

Also posted in Language, Spanish 27 Comments

Word of the day – macaronic

At the end-of-course ceilidh at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, one of the Irish guys read a story which was half in English and half in Irish. It was very funny, if you understood both languages; those who didn’t missed quite a lot. Even speakers of Scottish Gaelic found it quite difficult to understand all the Irish […]

Also posted in English, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 3 Comments