Archive for the Category: Spanish


I discovered an interesting word in Irish yesterday – súilíní [ˈsˠuːl̪ʲiːn̪ʲiː] – which is a diminutive form of súil [sˠuːl̪ʲ] (eye) and means literally “small eyes”, and actually means eyelets, an aperture-sight, or bubbles. For example, uisce gan súilíní is still water (“water without bubbles”) [source]. More common Irish words for bubbles are bolgán and […]

Also posted in Breton, Catalan, Cornish, Danish, English, Etymology, German, Irish, Language, Norwegian, Portuguese, Proto-Indo-European, Swedish, Welsh, Words and phrases 7 Comments

Coasts and competitors

Sometimes when I see new words in English or other languages I can immediately break them down into their component parts and work out their roots, but other times I just accept words as whole entities without trying to work out their derivation. One such word in Welsh is arfordir, which I hadn’t tried to […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Welsh, Words and phrases Comments Off on Coasts and competitors

As pretty as a truck

An interesting French expression I learnt last week is beau comme un camion, which literally means “pretty as a truck/lorry”, and actually means pretty, cute or beautiful. Apparently this idiom appeared around the middle of the 20th century and was at first ironic, as few people find trucks pretty. However it came to mean graceful […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, French, Language, Serbian, Swedish, Words and phrases 3 Comments

French adventures

My trip to France last week with members of Bangor Community Choir and Coastal Voices choir from Abergele was fantastic, and though it was only five days, it felt much longer as we fitted so much into our time there. We left Bangor at 6am on Wednesday morning and travelled to Birmingham airport by coach, […]

Also posted in Basque, English, Etymology, French, Language, Music, Occitan, Songs, Travel Comments Off on French adventures

Ceceando (lisping)

Last night there was some discussion between some of my Spanish and Colombian friends about why the letters z and c (when followed by e or i) are pronounced /θ/ – like the th in thin – in most of Spain, apart from in Andalusia and the Canary Islands, and as /s/ in the rest […]

Also posted in English, Language 5 Comments

Polyglot Gathering Berlin 2015

I got back from the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin about an hour ago. I took the train all the way from Berlin to Bangor, via Cologne, Brussels, London, Crewe and Chester, leaving Berlin just before 7am this morning, and arriving in Bangor just after 9pm this evening. On the way there I also travelled by […]

Also posted in Breton, Chinese, Cornish, Czech, Dutch, English, Esperanto, French, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Language, Language learning, Manx, Portuguese, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Serbian, Sign language, Slovak, Swedish, Taiwanese, Welsh 3 Comments

One Person One Language (OPOL)

This post is based largely on an article by Francois Grosjean: One popular way to raise bilingual children is for each parent to speak only their native language with their children. For example the father will speak English and the mother will speak Spanish, and the children will acquire both languages. At first the […]

Also posted in English, French, German, Irish, Language, Language acquisition, Linguistics, Welsh 5 Comments

Happy New Year!

Bloavezh mat / 新年快樂 / Blydhen Nowydh Da / Šťastný nový rok / Gelukkig Nieuwjaar / Happy New Year / Bonne année / Einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr / Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh / Felice anno nuovo / 新年おめでとうございます / Blein Vie Noa / Feliz Ano Novo / С Новым Годом / Bliadhna mhath […]

Also posted in Breton, Chinese, Cornish, Czech, Dutch, English, French, General, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Language, Manx, Portuguese, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Serbian, Swedish, Welsh 1 Comment

Hedgehogs and Urchins

I discovered today that sea urchins (echinoidea) are known as zee-egels (sea hedgehogs) in Dutch, and that they used to be known as sea hedgehogs in English as well. They have similar names in other languages, for example, in German they are Seeigel (sea hedgehogs), in French they are oursins or hérissons de mer (sea […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, French, German, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Reverse psychology and language learning

Yesterday I met Aran Jones, the guy behind the website, and we had a very interesting chat, in Welsh, about language learning. His site started as a Welsh language course, and now also offers courses in Cornish, Dutch, Latin and Spanish. You can learn all these languages through English or Welsh, and you can […]

Also posted in Cornish, Dutch, English, Language, Language learning, Latin, Welsh 4 Comments
%d bloggers like this: