Archive for the Category: French

Potatoes from the same furrow

I discovered an interesting Welsh expression today – maen nhw’n datws o’r un rhych (‘they’re potatoes from the same furrow’), which is one equivalent of saying that they are as thick as thieves, i.e. they are close friends. Other Welsh equivalents of this expression include maen nhw’n gryn lawiau (‘they’re pretty (?) hands’); maen nhw’n […]

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

Reviving neglected languages

I often meet people who say that they studied a language or two in school, but have since forgotten most of what they knew as they’ve had little need and few opportunities to speak the language(s). To some extent I’m in a similar position – since finishing school I have rarely spoken French or German, […]

Also posted in German, Language, Language learning 9 Comments

Torch carrying

The expression to carry a torch for someone came up when I was putting together this week’s mots de la semaine for the French Conversation Group. We talked about my experiences in Shetland, where lots of people were carrying flaming torches, and this got me wondering why you might say that you’re carry a torch […]

Also posted in English, Language, Welsh Comments Off

The combed giraffe sings like a saucepan

I came across a number of interesting French idioms today in this article in The Guardian, including peigner la giraffe (combing the giraffe), which means to waste time on a pointless task, and chanter comme une casserole (to sing like a saucepan) or to sing terribly. It also mentions a Dutch idiom, broodje aap verhaal […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, Idioms, Language 7 Comments


This week I reached the half-way point in my Breton Assimil course (lesson 50) and have entered the ‘active phase’. So for every new lesson I also go back to an earlier lessons and translate the French versions of the dialogues and exercises into Breton. I also translate them into Welsh, just for fun. So […]

Also posted in Breton, Language, Language learning, Welsh 2 Comments

The person on the till

Last night at the French conversation group one of the things we talked about was shopping, particularly in supermarkets, and one of the words we weren’t sure of was till / cash register. I now know this is la caisse (enregistreuse) or le tiroir caisse and that someone who works on a till is possibly […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 12 Comments

Selective attention

The other day an English guy who has lived in Wales for many years and who doesn’t speak Welsh told me that when he listens to people speaking Welsh, he hears lots of English words, words derived from English, and words from French or Latin, so he believes that Welsh is made up mainly of […]

Also posted in Irish, Language, Latin, Welsh 8 Comments

Seasons Greetings!

A multilingual Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Also posted in Chinese, English, Japanese, Language, Welsh 2 Comments

Blue stones

An interesting Breton word I came across today is mein-glas, or slates (literally, ‘blue stones’). The French equivalent is ardoises, which I had to look up as it’s not a word that crops up every day, unless you’re a roofer or builder. The Breton word is made up of mein (stones – singular maen) and […]

Also posted in Breton, English, Language 12 Comments

Kig yar gant piz-bihan

The more Breton I learn, the more connections I am finding with Welsh, and to some extent with French, in terms of vocabulary. Today’s lesson, for example, includes these words: – korn = cornel (corner) – straed= stryd (street) – e korn ar straed = ar gornel y stryd (on the street corner) – iliz […]

Also posted in Breton, English, Language 4 Comments