Archive for the Category: Language

A Snell Wind

The Scots phrase, a snell wind, appears in one of the books I’m reading at the moment, and as I hadn’t come across it before it mystified me a bit. It’s some kind of wind, but what kind? According to the OED, snell is a Scots and Northern English word meaning: 1. (of a person) […]

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Also posted in Danish, English, Etymology, German, Italian, Scots, Swedish, Words and phrases 4 Comments

When I haver

In the Proclaimers song I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), which we often sing in the Bangor ukulele club, the Scots word haver makes several appearances (see the lyrics here), and none of us know what it means. I thought it meant something like to shout, like holler, or to cry. According to The Online Scots […]

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

Bidie in

This week I discovered the Scots expression bidie in, which refers to someone you live with and are not married to. It is also written bidey-in and bide in, and the plural is bidie ins or bidies in, or similar. The DSL defines bide in as “A person who lives with another without marriage”. The […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Scots, Words and phrases 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 11 Comments

Are musicians better language learners?

According to an article I read in The Guardian yesterday, research has found that children who learn music, especially before the age of seven, find it easier to learn languages in later life. They also tend to develop larger vocabularies, and are better at grammar and high verbal IQs. The writer of the piece, Liisa […]

Also posted in Language learning, Music 3 Comments

How to Start Learning a New Language

Today we have a guest post by Kerstin Hammes of Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. It’s great to get started with a new hobby, and part of the excitement is always the shopping trip for new kit. This is no different with language learning. It doesn’t matter if you follow a polyglot’s online method or […]

Also posted in Language learning 5 Comments

Uitsmijter

The other day I came across the wonderful Dutch word uitsmijter, which means bouncer or doorman, and also a type of food consisting of toast, egg(s), ham, bacon or other meat, cheese and pickles is various combinations. Apparently this is the kind of thing that some Dutch people like to eat after the bars close […]

Also posted in Danish, Dutch, English, Etymology, German, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 2 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 10 Comments

Ilka dae

While flicking through my Scots language course, Luath Scots Language Learner, this week I discovered that the Scots for every day is ilka dae, which is quite similar to the Dutch elke dag, which I also learnt recently – I like finding connections like this. Neither resembles the English version, or the German jeden Tag. […]

Also posted in Danish, Dutch, English, Etymology, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Words and phrases 3 Comments

An owlfully badgered cup of tea

Yesterday I discovered that the Italian word for cup, tazza, is rather similar and possibly confusable with the word for badger, tasso, which can also mean a rate (of exchange) or a yew (tree). It’s unlikely that if you mistakenly ask for un tasso di tè rather than una tazza di tè, you will be […]

Also posted in Arabic, English, Etymology, French, German, Italian, Persian (FarsI), Words and phrases 10 Comments