Archive for the Category: Language

Ultracrepidarianism

Are you an ultracrepidiarianist? Or maybe that should be ultracrepidiarian. Many of us are. An ultracrepidarianism is someone who makes a habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside their knowledge or competence. It’s a word I came across in Think Like a Freak, and interesting book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. […]

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Also posted in 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?

Also posted in Quiz questions 5 Comments

Les coups de glotte and other coups

Yesterday I discovered that the French for glottal stop is coup de glotte (“blow of the glottis”). The word coup (blow, shot, stroke, wave, kick, punch, move) appears in many other expressions, including: – (donner un) coup de balai = (to) sweep; shake up – coup de vent = blow of wind – coup de […]

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

Changing accents

I heard an interesting discussion on Radio Cymru recently about accents. They talked about Welsh, and English, regional accents that have negative associations for people from other regions, or that people find difficult to follow, and whether they would change their accent to make it easier for others to understand them, and/or to avoid the […]

Also posted in English, Pronunciation, Welsh 7 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 7 Comments

Motivation

There’s an interesting article in the Guardian I came across today about motivation in language learning. The article discusses different types of motivation, and concludes that three things that are particularly important in language learning are working memory; associative memory – how well you content new and known information; and your ability to learn implicitly […]

Also posted in Language learning 1 Comment

Gabions and the importance of names

The other day I discovered that the name for those wire cages filled with rocks used in construction and to stabilise river banks, hillsides and shorelines are called gabions. The word comes from the Italian gabbione (big cage), which comes from the Latin cavea (cage). There are plenty of gabions around here, but I didn’t […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Irish, Italian, Latin, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a song in multiple languages. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Also posted in Quiz questions 5 Comments

Novi Sad

As I’m going to the Polyglot Conference in Novi Sad (Нови Сад) [nôʋiː sâːd] in October, I thought I should find out what Novi Sad actually means – it’s the kind of thing I like to know. I guessed that Novi probably means new, but had no idea what Sad might mean. According to this […]

Also posted in Czech, English, Etymology, Latin, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Extreme Polyglottery

The Polyglot Gathering in Berlin last week was fantastic and I enjoyed everything about it. The organizers did an excellent job and everything went well, with only minor hitches. Many other people helped things to run smoothly, and gave talks and/or arranged discussions and language practise sessions. Venue The venue was a huge hostel/hotel near […]

Also posted in Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Endangered languages, English, Esperanto, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Manx, Polish, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Turkish, Welsh 3 Comments