Archive for the Category: Language

Stitching Mail

I learned an interesting French word last night: maille [maj], which means stitch or mesh and appears in such expressions as: – maille à l’endroit = plain stitch – maille à l’envers / tombée / coulée = purl stitch – maille Jersey = stocking stitch – doublure maille = mesh lining – maille du tricot […]

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Tonogenesis

There’s an interesting article about tonal languages in The Atlantic that I came across today. It explains that most tonal languages are found in East and Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa;, and in Mexico, and speculates that this might have something to do with climate – I think that unlikely. It also explains how words can […]

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Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

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Why is it I and not i?

Have you ever wondered why the first person pronoun in English (I) is always written as a capital letter? I was asked about this the other day and though I would investigate. According to a blog post on Dictionary.com, it came about as a bit of an accident. In Old and Middle English the equivalent […]

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Scratching cartoons

The first cartoons, in the sense of humorous or satirical drawings, appeared in the magazine Punch in 1843, however the word was used from the 1670s to mean “a drawing on strong paper (used as a model for another work)”. Cartoon can also mean: – An artist’s preliminary sketch. – An animated film – A […]

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Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Also posted in Quiz questions 5 Comments

Unfolding developments

The word for to develop in Welsh is datblygu, which is a combination of dad (un-) and plygu (to fold), so Welsh developments “unfold”. Datblygu also means “to evolve; reveal, disclose, display. to unfold, unwrap, unfurl, unroll, spread out.” Plygu means “to (cause to) bend, deflect, bow, stoop, refract (light); fold, wrap. to subdue, subjugate, […]

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Parched torrents

Quite a lot of rain has fallen over the past day or so in the UK, thanks to Storm Angus, so I thought I’d look at the origins of some rain-related words. The word rain comes from the Old English rēn/reġn ‎(rain), from the Proto-Germanic *regnaz ‎(rain), possibly from the Proto-Indo-European *Hreǵ- ‎(to flow) or […]

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Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Also posted in Quiz questions 4 Comments

A Piece of Theatre

In French the word for play, as in a theatrical production, is pièce or pièce de théâtre. Pièce also means: – a room – a part (of a mechanism or machine) – a coin – a patch (on clothes) – a document – a piece, as in a one-piece swimsuit or a twelve-piece dinner service. […]

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