Archive for the Category: Music

Are musicians better language learners?

According to an article I read in The Guardian yesterday, research has found that children who learn music, especially before the age of seven, find it easier to learn languages in later life. They also tend to develop larger vocabularies, and are better at grammar and high verbal IQs. The writer of the piece, Liisa […]

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Also posted in Language, Language learning 3 Comments

The Nadgery Road to Cemaes

On the way to a singing workshop in Cemaes today the word nadgery was used to describe the road. From the context I guessed that it meant winding, but as I hadn’t heard the word before I checked, and was told that it’s a dialect word from the north east of England. It doesn’t appear […]

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

Spollagyn son tey

Here’s a new song that I finally finished this week after fiddling with it for months. It’s a macaronic song in Manx (Gaelic) and English that I was inspired to write after seeing young herring gulls squawking away at their mothers. I wondered what they might be saying if they could speak, and this is […]

Also posted in English, Language, Manx 3 Comments

Summer schools

I had a wonderful time in Ireland last week, which is why I keep going back every summer. This year was my ninth visit to Oideas Gael and my seventh time at the summer school. Gleann Cholm Cille is beautiful, the people are great, and there’s a lovely, friendly, helpful, supportive atmosphere there. Everyone is […]

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Unexpected languages

My course in Gleann Cholm Cille finished yesterday and I’m on my why home. I’m staying in Dublin tonight and continuing my journey to Bangor tomorrow. The hostel I’m staying in tonight is full of people from all over the world – so far I’ve heard French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and a Scandinavian language being […]

Also posted in English, Irish, Japanese, Language, Manx 3 Comments

Are you a hare or a tortoise?

When learning a language do you try to learn it as quickly as possible? Like a hare you hurry through the language ignoring anything that might slow you down, like good grammar and pronunciation, perhaps thinking that you can go back later and tidy them up. Or maybe you take your time like a tortoise, […]

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Studying or dabbling, or both?

Do you think it better to learn many languages to a basic level, to concentrate on a few and learn them in much more depth, or to learn a few languages well, and to learn the basics of others – perhaps many others? It will probably depend on what you want to do with each […]

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Sing for Water North

Tomorrow the Bangor Community Choir is going to Manchester where we’ll be singing with lots of other choirs from northern England and north Wales to raise money for WaterAid. The songs we’re singing have a watery theme and are all in English, apart from one in Croatian and one in Zulu. Hopefully it will be […]

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Lazy language learning

I’ve realised that I’m a lazy language learner. I don’t spend every spare moment studying and practising languages, and don’t usually try to learn as much of a language as possible in a short time. When I go for a walk I like to be in the moment sensing what there is to sense, rather […]

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Noodling

Recently I came across the word noodling which in the context referred to singing an improvised sort melody made up of nonsense syllables over the top of a song. I hadn’t encountered this usage before so remembered it. I thought this sort of thing would be called improvisation or scat singing. Have you heard of […]

Also posted in English, Language 7 Comments