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?

Also posted in Quiz questions 5 Comments

Neither fur nor feather

Today I came across an interesting Russian idiom in the book I’m reading (Moon Seed, by Stephen Baxter): Ни пуха, ни пера (Ni púkha, ni perá). It means literally “neither fur nor feather” and is used to wish someone good luck. The phrase was originally used by Russian hunters in a sarcastic/ironic way. The feathers […]

Also posted in English, German, Hebrew, Russian, Words and phrases, Yiddish Leave a comment

Trumped

For some reason I thought I’d look into the word trump today. It has a number of meanings: 1. trump (noun): the suit, in a game of cards, that outranks all others; a playing card of that suit; something that gives one an advantage, especially one held in reserve. Etymology From triumph, from the French […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Greek, Latin, Words and phrases Leave a comment

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 8 Comments

Romance and Horses

What does romance have to do with horses? Well, the word romance has a number of meanings: – A story relating to chivalry; a story involving knights, heroes, adventures, quests, etc. – An intimate relationship between two people; a love affair. – A strong obsession or attachment for something or someone. – Idealized love which […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Latin, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Gorillas, monkeys and ponys

With a title like that, you might be expecting a post about animals, but in fact it’s about slang terms for money – a gorilla is £1,000, a monkey is £500 and a pony is £25. These names apparently come from old Indian banknotes and coins: the 25 Rupee coin had a pony on it, […]

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

Within walking distance

This weekend I went to a friend’s wedding near Milton Keynes, and stayed in an AirBnB in Bletchley on Saturday night. In my review of the AirBnB I said that it was “within walking distance” of the centre of Bletchley. After writing this, I started thinking that the phrase walking distance probably means quite different […]

Also posted in English, Words and phrases 4 Comments

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 3 Comments

It’s in your east hand

An episode of Word of Mouth I listened to recently discussed the language of directions, and how in some languages directions are absolute rather than relative. So you don’t have a right hand or left hand, for example, but a north or south hand, or an east or west hand, depending on which way you’re […]

Also posted in English 6 Comments

Spaghetti car bananas

On a recent episode of Word of Mouth on BBC Radio 4, they discussed the interesting words children come up with. They might attempt say particular words but can’t quite manage all the sounds, or get them mixed up, sometimes with unintentionally funny results. They also get words mixed and muddled, or perhaps muddlixed. Can […]

Also posted in English, Words and phrases Leave a comment
%d bloggers like this: