Archive for the Category: Words and phrases

When your gran is your granddad

In a book I’m reading at the moment – Border Country by Raymond Williams – one of the characters calls his grandfather ‘Gran‘, which strikes me as unusally. To me gran could only refer to a grandmother. Does it seem strange to you? I only remember one of my grandparents – my dad’s mum – […]

Also posted in English, Language, Welsh 5 Comments

Playing games

In English you play a game, but you don’t play a play. In Russian the words for to play and game come from the same root: играть (to play) and игра (game). To play a game is играть в игру. I already knew the verb играть, but didn’t know that the word for a game […]

Also posted in Czech, English, Etymology, Language, Russian, Slovak Leave a comment

Harmony-loving chorus

Last night I went to an excellent concert at the Pontio Arts Centre featuring the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the brilliant harpsichordist, Mahan Esfahani. As well as enjoying the concert, I started thinking about the word philharmonic – what it means, where it comes from, and why it features in the names of many […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Greek, Italian, Language, Latin, Music Leave a comment

For the past several years

Does anything strike you as odd about the title of this post? I came across this wording today in a book by an American author, and immediately thought, “don’t you mean ‘for the past few years’?”. For me that would be a more natural way to express this. Several in this context just sounds wrong. […]

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

Heartsease

Heartsease, or heart’s-ease, is one of the names for the pansy (see photo), both garden and wild varieties. This name apparently comes from St. Euphrasia, whose name means ‘cheerfulness of mind’ in Greek. Other names for the garden pansy, or Viola tricolor hortensis / Viola x wittrockiana, include: viola, violet, love in idleness, or kiss-me-quick. […]

Also posted in English, Language, Latin, Russian 1 Comment

Phrasemes

From a new article that I added to Omniglot today – How to Avoid Phraseme Goofs in Other Languages, I learnt a new word, phraseme. I hadn’t encountered before, so I thought I’d find out more about it. According to Wiktionary, a phraseme is: An utterance, consisting of multiple words or morphemes, at least one […]

Also posted in English, Idioms, Language 1 Comment

Toe cozy

How do you find something if you don’t know what it’s called or even if it exists? This is the problem that faced me yesterday when I started looking for something to cover the toes of my left foot that stick out of my plaster cast. I was using a sock, but it didn’t fit […]

Also posted in English, Language, Language learning 1 Comment

London’s Euston

Last week when I was waiting on Bangor station for the train to London, I heard announcements that referred to the London station that trains from Bangor go to as “London’s Euston“, rather than the usual London Euston or just Euston. I hadn’t heard it referred to in that way before so noticed it and […]

Also posted in English, Language 2 Comments

Homeward bound

Yesterday I had a good time in London with a Russian-speaking friend. We talked mainly in English with a sprinkling of Russian from time to time. In the morning we went to the Design Museum and saw a special exhibition about Moscow, which was interesting. Then had a wander around Holland Park, which is beautiful, […]

Also posted in English, Film, General, Language, Russian, Travel Comments Off on Homeward bound

Just simply

A useful Russian word I learnt this week is просто [ˈprɔstə], which means easily, simply or just. Here are some examples of how it is used: – Нам просто надо выезжать немного раньше обычного. = We just have to leave, you know, a little earlier than usual. – я зашёл просто повидаться = I just […]

Also posted in English, Language, Russian 2 Comments
%d bloggers like this: