Archive for the Category: Language

Language quiz

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

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Coasts and competitors

Sometimes when I see new words in English or other languages I can immediately break them down into their component parts and work out their roots, but other times I just accept words as whole entities without trying to work out their derivation. One such word in Welsh is arfordir, which I hadn’t tried to […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases Leave a comment

Meads and Meadows

I was in Cardiff last weekend and one of the places I walked along was the Taffs Mead Embankment, which runs along the River Taff. I’ve seen the word mead in the name Thamesmead, a district of south east London, but hadn’t thought about what it might mean. Mead in this context means meadow and […]

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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? Like this:Like Loading…

Also posted in Quiz questions 4 Comments

Marmosets, cheese and gargoyles

When French-speaking photographers want people to smile, they might say Le petit oiseau va sortir (The little bird is going to come out) or Souriez! (smile), or might ask them to say pepsi! or ouistiti! (marmoset), just as English-speaking photographer get people to smile by asking them to say “Cheese!” The word ouistiti [ˈwistiti] means […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Greek 2 Comments

Post-vernacular languages

In an article I read today – Sustaining languages: An interview with Peter Austin, I came across an interesting idea – post-vernacular languages. A vernacular language is one you use in your everyday life, while a post-vernacular language is one you may not want to use in your daily life and as means of communication, […]

Also posted in Endangered languages, English, Language learning Leave a comment

Hmyz and Hums

I came across an interesting Czech word today – hmyz, which means “insect, ant, bug, creepy-crawly”. It appears in my Czech phrasebook in the sentence, “V našem pokoji je hmyz” (There are insects in our room). It sounds like the sounds insects make, but there are other words for hum in Czech – bzučet, vrčet, […]

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

Language quiz

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

Also posted in Quiz questions 3 Comments

Fosses and Sextons

At the French Conversation Group last night one of the people had an old French language textbook from the 1950s which contains lots of stories in French. One of them contains the word “Le Fossoyeur” in the title, which is translated as “The Sexton”. As this wasn’t a word I’d come across before, I thought […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 2 Comments

How to you?

An interesting structure that came up in the Russian lesson I worked on today is Как тебе …? (Kak tebe …) or literally “How to you …”), which means “What do you think of …?”. The example in the lesson is Ну, как тебе пельмени? (Nu, kak tebe pel’meni?), which means “So, what do you […]

Also posted in English, Russian, Words and phrases 5 Comments
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