Archive for the Category: Music

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 […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning 5 Comments


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

Spoken language is a special type of music

According to an article I came across yesterday music might be what enables us to acquire language, and spoken language could be thought of as a special type of music. When acquiring language babies first hear speech as “an intentional and often repetitive vocal performance” and they learn to hear and mimic its emotional and […]

Also posted in Language, Language acquisition, Language learning 4 Comments

Sing for Water London

This weekend I’ll be in London for Sing for Water London, a concert featuring a massed choir made up of members of 50 or so choirs from all over the UK with the aim of raising money from WaterAid. So if you happen to be in London on Sunday afternoon, please come along to the […]


My huckleberry friend

The phrase, my huckleberry friend, appears in one of the songs I’m learning at moment – Moon River. At a choir rehearsal last night one of the sopranos said that the word huckleberry means ‘a person who is right for a job’. I’d come across the word before but had never thought what it might […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Zulu songs

In the Bangor Comunity Choir we often sing songs from southern Africa in languages like Xhosa and Zulu. I don’t speak these languages, yet, and neither does anybody in the choir, so we’re never entirely sure how to pronounce the words. We usually have a rough translation of the words, so we at least know […]

Also posted in Language, Zulu 4 Comments


Last night I learnt a song, En el pozo María Luisa (In the Maria Lusia mine), from a Spanish friend. This song, which is also known as Nel Pozu Maria Luisa or Santa Bárbara Bendita, comes from Asturias in north west Spain and is usually sung in Asturian, Spanish or a mixture of the two. […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Spanish 3 Comments

Audio illusions

Last Sunday I took part in a carol concert, both singing in the Bangor Community Choir, and singing with everybody else as part of the audience / congregation. The chapel where this took place is a bilingual one where people are encouraged to sing in Welsh or English – words for both are projected on […]

Also posted in English, Language, Welsh 1 Comment

Nursery rhymes and computers

Comptine /kɔ̃tin/ is the French for nursery rhyme or for a counting rhyme or song. I learnt it last night and thought I’d look into where it comes from. According Wiktionnaire, comptine is made up of compte (count, number, account) and the suffix -ine. Compte /kɔ̃t/ comes from computus (count, number, account, calculation), from computo […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Welsh Comments Off on Nursery rhymes and computers

Lyrics Translate

The other day I came across a useful site called Lyrics Translate, where you can find, submit and request translations of songs. It currently contains translations between a wide range of languages, including English, German, Russian, Turkish, Spanish, Polish and so on, and the site itself can be viewed in a variety of languages. There […]

Also posted in Breton, English, French, Irish, Language, Manx, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Translation, Turkish, Welsh 2 Comments
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