Monthly Archives: May 2006

Word of the day – tittle

tittle, noun = a small mark in printing or writing, especially a diacritic Origin: from Latin titulus – label I came across this word while researching the origin of the dot on the letters i and j, which is known as a tittle. This diacritic was apparently first used to distinguish the letter i from […]

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English, Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Do You Know What You Are Saying?

There was an interesting programme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday – Do You Know What You Are Saying? – in which Melvyn Bragg used a new computer program to analyse the amount of words of Anglo-Saxon / Old English origin in modern English. He looked at the language used by a radio DJ (Terry Wogan), […]

Language 7 Comments

Word of the day – seandálaíocht

seandálaíocht, noun = archaeology (lit. “old data study”) Related words: seandálaí = archaeologist seanda = old, ancient, archaic seandacht = antiquity seandachtaí = antiquities The equivalent word in the other Celtic languages is: Manx: shenndaaleeaght Scottish Gaelic: àrsaidheachd Welsh: hynafiaeth, archaeoleg I’m currently learning some more Irish with RTE’s excellent course, Turas Teanga. This week’s […]

Irish, Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Balaclavas and wellies

Continuing the clothing theme, today we’re looking at articles of clothing named after people or places. Our first exhibit is the wellington boot, a type of knee or calf-length rubber boot named after the 1st Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley), the commander of the British forces at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. Wellingtons are […]

Words and phrases 5 Comments

Word of the day – туфля

туфля (tuflja), noun = shoe This week’s Russian lesson is about clothes and this word just appeals to me. It sounds a bit like “tooth fly” – my way of remembering it is to imagine my shoes being full of flies with big teeth. This is quite a strange image, but that helps it to […]

Language, Russian, Words and phrases 14 Comments

White rabbits

Saying “white rabbits” on the first day of each month apparently brings you luck, at least that’s what I was told as a child. I have no idea why – it’s just a superstition. Any suggestions why white rabbits might be lucky? Do you do or say any other things on the first of each […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 9 Comments