Archive for the Category: Words and phrases

How many roads?

Last week I learned that there are quite a few words for roads in Irish. These include: bóthar [ˈbˠoːhəɾˠ] = road; way, manner. From the Proto-Celtic *bow-itros (cow path). Related words in other Celtic languages: – bóthar [boː.ər] = alley, lane (Scottish Gaelic) – bayr [bajr] = avenue, drive, lane, pad, roadway (Manx) – beidr […]

Also posted in Breton, Cornish, English, Etymology, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Old Norse, Proto-Indo-European, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh 3 Comments

Difficult Irish

Following on from my last post, I decided to look at words for difficult, and related words, in Irish today. There are a number of different words for difficult in Irish: – deacair = hard, difficult; difficulty; hardship, distress; (used in Connacht) – doiligh = hard, difficult; hard to bear, distressing; hard to deal with; […]

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Colombian Slang

This is a guest post by Nate Alger Have you ever been to Colombia? If not, you are missing out on one of the best kept secrets in Latin America. It is a country filled with life, lots of culture, and great food to eat! It’s the place that I have called home for the […]

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I came across a new word on Instagram today – shelfie, a portmanteau of shelf and selfie meaning, according to Wiktionary, “a photograph of a bookshelf/bookcase taken by its owner and shared on social media.” The context I saw the word was even more specific – language shelfies, i.e. a photo of a bookshelf containing […]

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Gaelic hills

I’m currently reading an interesting book – Uncommon Ground – A word-lover’s guide to the British landscape by Dominick Tyler. One thing I’ve learnt from it, is that there are quite a few words in Scottish Gaelic related to hills and mountains: Beinn [beiɲ / beɲə] = mountain, mount; high hill, pinnacle; head, top, high […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Irish, Language, Scottish Gaelic 3 Comments

In a jiffy

A jiffy is very short, unspecified length of time. For example, “I’ll be back in a jiffy”. It can refer to more precise units of time, and was first defined by Gilbert Newton Lewis (1875–1946) as the time it takes light to travel one centimeter in a vacuum (about 33.3564 picoseconds). Other definitions are available. […]

Also posted in English, Language, Welsh 4 Comments

Standing still on the longest day

Today is the longest day of the year and the summer solstice. After several hot, sunny days in Bangor, today it’s cloudy, warm and muggy. The word solstice comes from the Old French solstice, from Latin sōlstitium (solstice; summer), from sol (sun) and sto (stand), from sistō (I stand still). Sol comes from the Proto-Italic […]

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Wandering prattlers

It has been brought to my attention that in Swedish the most common way to say ‘speak’, at least in Stockholm, is pratar, and that few people use talar anymore. Är detta sant? Is this true? The Duolingo course I’m studying Swedish with uses talar, – pratar has not come up yet. According to Witionary, […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Language, Old Norse, Proto-Indo-European, Swedish 4 Comments

Closing out

On some podcasts I listen to, I’ve noticed that the presenters use the phrase close out when talking about the end of the show. For example, they say things like “Finally we will close out with an item about …”, or “It’s now time to close out the show.” To my British ears this expression […]

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Nature service

Yesterday I went to see the ankle specialist at the local hospital,. He said that my ankle has healed well and just needs a bit of physiotherapy. I can start to wean myself off the orthopedic boot, using it less and less each day, and crutches as well. I didn’t wear the boot yesterday afternoon, […]

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