Archive for the Category: Spanish

Tag questions, innit!

Tag questions or question tags are interrogative fragments (tags) added to statements making them into sort of questions. They tend to be used more in colloquial speech and informal writing than in formal writing, and can indicate politeness, emphasis, irony, confidence or lack of it, and uncertainty. Some are rhetorical and an answer is not […]

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Royal turkeys and other birds

Last night I discovered the Spanish word pavo real, which means peacock, or literally ‘royal turkey’, and which conjured up an image of a turkey in ermine robes wearing a crown. It also reminds me of the Mandarin Chinese word for swan, 天鵝 [天鹅] (tiān’é), which could be translated as ‘heavenly/celestial goose’. The Mandarin word […]

Also posted in English, Language 12 Comments

Tchatter

Recently I came across a couple of French words I hadn’t seen before – tchatter /tʃa.te/ (to chat) and tchat /tʃat/ (chat). As far as I can tell, they seem to refer particularly to online chat. The definition of tchatter on Reverso is “discuter avec d’autres personnes en temps réel depuis un ordinateur.” (to talk […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Free online language course to give away

I’ve been given free access to the online courses offered by Online Trainers to give them a try, and have one course to give away. The languages available are English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch. If you’re interested, just drop me an email at feedback[at]omniglot[dot]com and I’ll send you an access code that gives […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Language, Language learning 2 Comments

Best languages to study

According to an article I came across in the Daily Telegraph today, the best / most useful languages to study, for those in the UK, are: 1. German 2. French 3. Spanish 4. Mandarin 5. Polish 6. Arabic 7. Cantonese 8. Russian 9. Japanese 10. Portuguese The reasons why each language is useful vary quite […]

Also posted in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Language, Language learning, Polish, Portuguese, Russian 6 Comments

Cars, carts and chariots

Last week I was told that the English word car originally comes from the Irish word carr (donkey cart). Apparently when cars came to Ireland Irish speakers thought it was better to come up with a new word for them than to name them after the humble donkey cart, so the term gluaisteán (‘moving thing’) […]

Also posted in Breton, Cornish, English, Etymology, French, Irish, Italian, Language, Latin, Manx, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Parades

Last weekend I saw a couple of parades – a small and rather damp one in Bangor on Saturday that was part of the Bangor Carnival – and a rather bigger and more elaborate one on Sunday in Manchester that was part of the Manchester Day celebrations. This got me wondering about the origins of […]

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Pozo

Last night I learnt a song, En el pozo María Luisa (In the Maria Lusia mine), from a Spanish friend. This song, which is also known as Nel Pozu Maria Luisa or Santa Bárbara Bendita, comes from Asturias in north west Spain and is usually sung in Asturian, Spanish or a mixture of the two. […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Music, Proto-Indo-European 3 Comments

New video

I’m currently making a new video in Xtranormal – this time in Spanish. Here’s the script, with English translation: ¡Hola! Hi Buena día. ¿En qué puedo ayudarle? Hello, How can I help you? Busco trabajo. I’m looking for work. ¿Qué tipo de trabajo? What kind of work? Como payaso y cirujano de cerebro. As a […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning 10 Comments

Today and tomorrow

Yesterday a friend asked me about the origins of the words today and tomorrow, and whether the to- part of them was orginally the. You sometimes come across expressions like ‘on the morrow’, and words appear with hypens in older texts: to-day and to-morrow. According to the OED, today comes from the Old English tó […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, German, Italian, Language, Latin, Romanian, Words and phrases 15 Comments