Archive for the Category: Words and phrases

Do you come here often?

I’ve started to put together a new page on Omniglot with translations of the phrase ‘Do you come here often?‘. I got the idea after finding a Cornish version of this phrase (A wre’ta dos omma yn fenowgh?) on Learn Cornish Now. Could you check the translations that are already on the page, and provide […]

Also posted in Cornish, English, Language 3 Comments

A bit of a breeze

One of the words that came up at the French conversation group this week was brise (breeze), which appears in the following expressions: – pare-brise = windscreen / windshield – brise matinale = early breeze – brise insulaire = island breeze – brise de mer = sea breeze – brise de terre = land breeze […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Language, Welsh 1 Comment

Joskins, bumpkins and yokels

Last week a friend asked me about the origins of the word joskin [ˈdʒɒskɪn], which I hadn’t come across before. According to the Urban Dictionary it is defined as follows: North-Walian term used in both English and Welsh to describe anyone from a rural or farming background. It is used both affectionately and in a […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, German, Language, Welsh 2 Comments

Unions and alliances

While listening to Russian language radio yesterday I finally worked out the meaning of a word that kept on coming up: союз (soyuz) [sɐjˈʉs] , which is often used in the expressions Европейский союз and Евросоюз (European Union, EU). It was obvious once I realised they were talking about Europe, and the word Soyuz is […]

Also posted in English, Language, Russian Leave a comment

Could you care less?

Which sounds right to you? – I couldn’t care less about sport. – I could care less about sport. To me the first makes sense and sounds right. It also applies to me – I have no real interest in sport. So I couldn’t care any less about it, because I don’t care about it […]

Also posted in English, Language 3 Comments

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 2 Comments

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 […]

Also posted in English, Irish, Language Comments Off on Irish Tongue-Twisters

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 – […]

Also posted in English, Language, Music Comments Off on A Hooley of Ukeists

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
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