Archive for the Category: Language

Unions and alliances

While listening to Russian language radio yesterday I finally worked out the meaning of a word that kept on coming up: союз (soyuz) [sɐjˈʉs] , which is often used in the expressions Европейский союз and Евросоюз (European Union, EU). It was obvious once I realised they were talking about Europe, and the word Soyuz is […]

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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 3 Comments

Bow, shake hands or kiss?

When visiting a foreign country, or even of different region of your own country, you may notice that people greet each other in different ways. For example, in the UK we generally shake hands when meeting people for the first time, especially in formal situations, but in informal situations, and with friends and acquaintances, there’s […]

Also posted in English, Language learning 3 Comments

Could you care less?

Which sounds right to you? – I couldn’t care less about sport. – I could care less about sport. To me the first makes sense and sounds right. It also applies to me – I have no real interest in sport. So I couldn’t care any less about it, because I don’t care about it […]

Also posted in English, Words and phrases 3 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 6 Comments

A few tips about tips

I heard some discussion on Radio Cymru this about the origin of the word tip(s). They said that in 18th century England there were boxes in pubs with the letters T.I.P.S. on them, which stood for “To Insure Prompt Service”. Gratuities were put into the boxes and became known as tips. According the Snopes.com, a […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Welsh, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Reasons to learn minority languages

I came across an interesting article today which discusses some of the benefits of learning a minority language like Manx. The writer, a fluent Manx speaker, is currently studying French and Linguistics at Oxford University, and has found that her knowledge of Manx has enabled her to make all sorts of connections, and has opened […]

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Irish Tongue-Twisters

Last week I learnt some new tongue-twisters (rabhlóga) in Irish. To those not familiar with Irish, almost an sentence in Irish might appear to be a bit of a tongue-twister, but these ones are particularly tricky. Seacht sicín ina seasamh sa sneachta lá seaca. Seven chickens standing in the snow on a frosty day. Fear […]

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A Hooley of Ukeists

I’m having a great time at the Ukulele Hooley this weekend, so I thought I’d look into some ukulele-related words. There are various possible words for people who play the ukulele: – Ukulele player – Uker – Ukist – Ukeist – Ukulist – Ukulelist – Ukuleleist – Ukulelian – Uke-phreak – Ukester – Ukestrator – […]

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Eating sideways

An interesting Japanese word I came across today in an article on ‘untranslatable’ words is 横飯 (yokomeshi) which is used to describe the stress of speaking a foreign language. It comes from 横 (yoko – horizontal) and 飯 (meshi – boiled rice, a meal, food), and could be translated as ‘a meal eaten sideways’. This […]

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