Archive for the Category: Spanish

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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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

Word skipping to Venus

I was asked today about the origins of the word worship. The person who asked was told by a highly-educated minister that “worship” is derived from an old English word, “word-skip”. Supposedly, “word-skip” means “word shaper” or “shaper of words”. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary: worship comes from the Old English worðscip, wurðscip (Anglian), […]

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Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Italian, Language, Latin, Portuguese, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 17 Comments

Purses and sporrans

The word purse has an interesting history, I discovered today. It comes from the Old English word purs, from the Late Latin word bursa, which had a number of meanings of the centuries, including skin or leather; (money) bag; scrotum; exchange; and scholarship, allowance, and comes from the Greek word βύρσα (hide, leather). bursa is […]

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Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Scottish Gaelic 5 Comments

Ventriloquism

There was quite a bit of talk about ventriloquism on an episode of QI I watched recently, mainly because one of the guests was a ventriloquist. The word ventriloquism comes for the Latin words venter (stomach, belly, womb) and loquī (to speak) so it means “to speak from the stomach”. It was known as εγγαστριμυθία […]

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Also posted in Chinese, English, Etymology, French, German, Greek, Italian, Language, Latin, Polish, Welsh 3 Comments

Lyrics Translate

The other day I came across a useful site called Lyrics Translate, where you can find, submit and request translations of songs. It currently contains translations between a wide range of languages, including English, German, Russian, Turkish, Spanish, Polish and so on, and the site itself can be viewed in a variety of languages. There […]

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Also posted in Breton, English, French, Irish, Language, Manx, Music, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Translation, Turkish, Welsh 2 Comments

Summer chicks and glowing coals

Last night we were talking about the Pili Palas on Anglesey, a butterfly centre, which also has birds, snakes and other exotic creatures. The name is a pun combining pili-pala (butterfly) and palas (palace) – it took me ages to realise this. We were trying to think of the words for butterfly in various other […]

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Also posted in English, Etymology, French, German, Irish, Italian, Language, Latin, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases 6 Comments

Ingrown languages

In an interesting book I read recently, What Language Is by John McWhorter, the author discusses why some languages appear a lot more complicated or ‘ingrown’ than others. He gives the example of Persian and Pashto, two Iranian languages spoken in a number of countries in western and central Asia. Whereas Persian has more or […]

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Also posted in Arabic, English, Language, Language acquisition, Language learning 7 Comments

Lightbulb moments

Yesterday while we were singing La Bamba at the ukulele club the words started to make sense to me. I’d picked up some of them through repeated listening, but had never bothered to learn them before this week. Now I not only know the words, but also what they mean. Often with songs in languages […]

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Also posted in Irish, Language, Welsh 3 Comments