Archive for the Category: Words and phrases

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, Language, Welsh 1 Comment

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, Language 1 Comment

Singluarity

I learnt an interesting new French word today – célibataire. When I first saw it I guessed that it meant celibate, but when I checked in a dictionary I found that while it does mean celibate, it is more commonly used to mean single. So un célibataire is a single man or bachelor, and une […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European 1 Comment

When is a blog not a blog?

When I meet people who are familiar with my website, some of them say how much they like my blog. When I ask them what they like about it, they mention things that are on my website, rather than on this blog, so I soon realise that they’re using the word blog to refer to […]

Also posted in English, General, Language 3 Comments

Phrase finder

There is a now a new way to view the phrases on Omniglot: a Phrase finder. This page enables you to see phrases in any combination of two languages. This is something I’ve been planning to set up for years, and now it’s finally ready. So if your native language isn’t English and you want […]

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Suspending disbelief

One of the things we talked about in the French conversation group this week was suspending disbelief, which is accepter les invraisemblances in French. That is “accepting the improbabilities”. Another way to say this in French is suspension d’incrédulité. The word invraisemblance also means unlikeliness or inverisimilitude. Related words include invraisemblable (unlikely, incredible, implausible, improbable) […]

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Are you a phenom?

I came across an interesting word in an article about hyperpolyglots I read today (it’s an old article, but I only just found it) – phenoms, which appears in the following sentence: TIME spoke to Erard about phenoms who can speak more languages than they have fingers, whether anyone can do it and where the […]

Also posted in English, Language, Language learning 2 Comments

Les chuchoteuses

On Rue Staint-Paul in Vieux Montréal there’s a statue of three women having a gossip. It’s known as ‘Les chuchoteuses‘ or ‘The whisperers’. It’s also known as the “fat ladies talking statue”. It’s by Rose-Aimée Bélanger, a sculptor from Ontario, and was installed as part of a 2006 initiative to highlight some of Old Montreal’s […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, Etymology, French, German, Italian, Language, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, Travel, Welsh 2 Comments
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