Archive for the Category: Old Norse

Ave a butchers at er barnet

The title of this post is an example of Cockney, a form of speech you might hear in London, specifically in the Cheapside district of the City of London. It includes to bits of rhyming slang – butchers and barnet. Do you know, or can you guess what they mean? To (h)ave a butchers (the […]

Also posted in Danish, English, Etymology, Language, Norwegian, Proto-Indo-European, Swedish, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Wheels with teeth

I discovered last night that in French a cog is a une dent, which also means a tooth, or une dent d’engrenage (“tooth gear”), and a cog wheel is une roue dentée (a toothed wheel), which is kind of a cog looks like. The English word cog, meaning a tooth on a gear, or a […]

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

Haps and Mishaps

A mishap is “an unlucky accident”, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, and is often accompanied by the word minor – e.g. we had a few minor mishaps in the kitchen, but at least we didn’t burn the chicken. I happened upon the word mishap today and it got me wondering whether the word hap also […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Russian, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Voices and calls

After writing yesterday’s post I was thinking about the Czech word hlas [ɦɫas] (voice, vote) and realised that it is quite similar to the Welsh word for voice, llais [ɬais]. I wondered it they share the same root. Hlas comes from the Proto-Slavic *golsъ (voice), from the Proto-Balto-Slavic *galsas (voice), from the Proto-Indo-European *golHsos, from […]

Also posted in Czech, Dutch, English, Etymology, German, Irish, Language, Polish, Proto-Indo-European, Romanian, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Slovak, Welsh, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Coal biter

I learnt an interesting word in Old Norse recently: kol-bitr (“coal-biter”), which refers to an idle person who always sits by the fire. kol = coals, charcoal, and bitr = biting, snapping; cutting, sharp [source]. In Elder Futhark runes this is ᚲᛟᛚ᛫ᛒᛁᛏᚱ and in Younger Futhork runes it’s ᚴᚫᛚ᛫ᛓᛁᛐᚱ. A visitor to Omnglot asked me […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment

English – a Scandinavian language?

According to an article I came across today, researchers at the University of Oslo believe that English is descended from Old Norse and not from Old English as it is closer in terms of grammar to the modern Scandinavian languages than to the West Germanic languages such as Dutch and German. They say that Old […]

Also posted in English, Language 13 Comments

Telling tales

Earlier this week I went to a Christmas show entitled Beasts and Beauties in Kendal. It wasn’t a traditional Christmas pantomime, though did include some pantomimesque elements, but rather a series of eight fairy/folk tales from around Europe, including: – The Emperor’s New Clothes or Kejserens nye Klæder by Hans Christian Andersen (Danish) – Bluebeard […]

Also posted in Danish, English, Etymology, French, German, Language, Norwegian, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Cnaipí & cripio

A story I heard when I was in Ireland featured two characters playing na cnaipí (tiddlywinks) /nə kripiː/ in a graveyard at night. A man who overheard them sharing out the tiddlywinks, saying over and over “one for me and one for you”, and thought they were the devil and god sharing out souls. When […]

Also posted in Etymology, Irish, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Welsh, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Levees and ganseys

Last night the words levee and gansey came up in conversation and while I’d heard both of them before, I wasn’t entirely sure of the meaning of the former, or the origins of the latter. I did know that a levee had something to with flood prevention and was something you drive your chevy to, […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Norwegian, Proto-Indo-European, Scottish Gaelic, Words and phrases 8 Comments

Bellies, bags and bellows

Yesterday a friend asked me whether bellyache was considered rude or vulgar, and whether tummy ache or stomach ache were preferable in formal conversation. I thought that the word belly might be seen as vulgar and/or informal by some; that stomach ache might be better in formal situations, and that tummy ache tends to be […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Irish, Language, Latin, Welsh, Words and phrases 11 Comments
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