Archive for the Category: Words and phrases

Beech Tree Lane

This morning in Abergele I saw a road called Lôn Ffawydd. I know that lôn is the Welsh for lane, but wondered what ffawydd might mean as I hadn’t seen it before. Ffawydd can mean beech tree, fir tree, chestnut tree, pine tree or fir tree. It appears in such expressions as: – ffawydd Albanaidd […]

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Also posted in English, Language, Welsh 5 Comments

Twistles and forks

There is a place in Lancashire in the north west of England called Oswaldtwistle [ˈɒzəl.twɪzəl], which a friend went to after visiting me yesterday. Naturally, as we’re linguists, we wondered where the name Oswaldtwistle came from and what it might mean. My friend thought it might have something to do with Saint Oswald, who was […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, German, Language 1 Comment

Schlittschuh laufen

While listening to the German version of Radio Praha this morning I heard them taking about Schlittschuh laufen and wondered what this might involve. I guessed that it had something to do with sliding – Schlitt has a deliciously slidey sound and feel to it – and might be skating or skiing. It is in […]

Also posted in English, German, Language 3 Comments

Multilingual romance

If you come over all romantic today, for some reason or other, and wish to declare your love for another, this infographic will help you do so in a variety of languages. Source: http://www.justtheflight.co.uk/blog/18-how-to-say-i-love-you-around-the-world.html Note: the sign language referred to here is American Sign Language (ASL). For this phrase in other sign languages see: Spread […]

Also posted in English, Language 8 Comments

A banana regime

I discovered yesterday that the French equivalent of a bunch of bananas is un régime des bananes. Régime also means (political) regime, (administrative) system, (engine) speed/revs, and un régime alimentaire is a diet. Other French words for bunch include: – un bouquet de fleurs = a bunch of flowers – un trousseau de clés = […]

Also posted in English, French, Language 3 Comments

Un sabot de Denver

I discovered yesterday that in French a wheel clamp is known as a sabot de Denver (“Denver hoof/clog/shoe/boot”), and wondered what Denver has to do with wheel clamps. On Wikipedia is explains that such devices were first used in Denver, Colorado, and are known as a wheel boot, parking boot or Denver boot in the […]

Also posted in English, French, Language 2 Comments

Just popping out

A interesting English expression I’ve noticed in novels I’ve been reading recently is the verb to pop, which is often accompanied by prepositions such as out, in, round and down, and preceded by just. For example: – I’m just popping out to the shop, do you want anything? – I might pop in at some […]

Also posted in English, Language 5 Comments

Klunen

I learnt an interesting word from a Dutch friend today – klunen – which refers to the action of walking on the ground in ice skates, something you might do while you’re skating along a frozen canal and come to a bridge you can’t go under, either because it’s too low, or the ice under […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, Language 9 Comments

Zženštilý

I came across the Czech word zženštilý yesterday among translations of soft and the pile up of consonants got me wondering whether it was a real word or a typo. I discovered that it is a real word and means: soft, epicene, girly-girly, namby-pamby, nance, effeminate, effeminize, emasculate, pansy, soft, softish, unmanly, womanish, womanlike, sissified […]

Also posted in Czech, English, Language 6 Comments

Vituperation

When searching for a translation of a Czech song we’re learning in the Bangor Community Choir I came across the word vituperated. It’s not one I’d heard or seen before, see I had to look it up. It means “to abuse or censure severely or abusively, to berate; to use harsh condemnatory language”. It comes […]

Also posted in Czech, English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Songs 4 Comments