Monthly Archives: June 2006

This and that

Most languages I’ve encountered seem to have a way of indicating that something or somebody is close to the speaker, i.e. this man, or close to the listener, i.e. that man. Some languages make a third distinction: that something is distant from both the speaker and the listener. In standard English you can express this […]

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English, Irish, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh 9 Comments

Word of the day – haul

haul, noun = sun (the aul sounds like aisle) Related words: heulog = sunny heulo = to be sunny heulwen = sunshine torheulo = to sunbathe lliw haul = suntan llosg haul = sunburn sbectol haul = sunglasses codiad yr haul = sunrise machlud = sunset Examples of usage: Dw i’n hoffi codi’n gynnar er […]

Language, Welsh, Words and phrases Comments Off

Music, memory and language learning

Combining language and music seems to be a effective way of learning. The rhythmic nature of music can apparently stimulate parts of your brain that ordinary studying cannot reach, and this makes words and phrases stick in your memory. Moreover, listening to music is something that most people enjoy, so it can make learning enjoyable […]

Language, Memory, Music 11 Comments

Collective nouns

According to the Double-Tongued Word Wrester, the collective noun for unicyclists is a wobble. This makes sense as unicyclists do tend to wobble quite a lot, at least at first – I certainly wobble a bit when riding my unicycle. The collective noun for jugglers is a neverthriving – any ideas where this comes from? […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 6 Comments

Word of the day – gaffen

gaffen, verb = to gape, gawp, stare Example of usage: gaff nicht, sondern hilf mir lieber! = don’t just stand there gawping, come and help! Related words: Gaffer(in) = gaper, gawper, starer Gafferei = gaping, gawping, staring glotzen = to gawp at something Today’s word caught my eye while looking through my German dictionary. In […]

German, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Word of the day – billey

billey (BILL-ya) = tree, plural = biljyn (BILL-jin) Examples of usage: Vel biljyn sy gharey? (Are there trees in the garden?) Ta. Tree biljyn mooarey as un villey beg (Yes. Three big trees and a small tree) This word came up in today’s Manx lesson. While many Manx words are the same as or similiar […]

Language, Manx, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Complementary schismogenesis

Imagine you’re used to leaving only a short pause after someone else has finished speaking before you start; you’re speaking to someone who normally waits longer before speaking, and neither of you are aware of this difference is speaking styles. In such a situation, you will probably dominate the conversation, while the other person will […]

Language 4 Comments

Languages Out There

Today I came across an organisation called Languages Out There that runs an unusual style of language courses – you spend an hour or two studying, then go out on the street with your tutor to practice the language you’ve learnt. For example, you learn out food and drink, then go out for a meal […]

Language 12 Comments

So many languages, so little time

Often I wonder whether it would be better for me to concentrate on learning one or two languages really well, rather than trying to learn as many languages as possible. Although I’d really like to be fluent in all the languages I’ve studied, am studying and plan to study, I realise that this is perhaps […]

Language 13 Comments

Word of the day – плотник

плотник (plotnik), noun = carpenter After a break of a few weeks, I started studying Russian again today. This week’s lesson is about occupations. It provides the Russian words for various jobs, but unfortunately doesn’t tell you how to say “I am a …” or “I work as a …”. Such sentences will hopefully appear […]

Language, Russian, Words and phrases 7 Comments