Monthly Archives: November 2006

Spot the difference

Can you spot the difference between the following two Urdu words? If your house was on fire and you had to jump out of the window, which of the above would you prefer to land on? One of these words means cushion (gadda), the other donkey (gadha), and they got mixed up in the Urdu […]

Language, Translation 6 Comments

Polyglot language exchange

I came across another useful site for language learners today – Polyglot, which describes itself as a ‘free language exchange community’ where you can ‘learn languages and make friends’. The site apparently has over 100,000 members. As well as finding online language exchange partners and penpals, you can also use the site to set up […]

Language, Language learning 5 Comments

Head over heels

When you’re head over heels about something or someone it means that you’re very excited, and/or turning cartwheels to demonstrate your excitement. This idiom is often used in the phrase ‘head over heels in love with’. It was probably first used in the 14th century, when it was ‘heels over head’, which makes more sense. […]

English, Idioms, Language, Words and phrases 12 Comments

Name the language

As yesterday’s quiz question was too easy, I’ve decided to give you an extra one that’s a bit harder today. Here’s a recording of a different mystery language. Can you identify the language? No clues this time.

Language, Quiz questions 10 Comments

Name the language

Here’s a recording of a poem in a mystery language. Can you work out what language it is? Clues: this language is spoken in Europe by a small number of people in a mountainous area.

Language, Quiz questions 9 Comments


Tomorrow is Bonfire Night in the UK, a time when there are many firework displays, and large bonfires upon which we burn guys – effigies of Guy Fawkes, who was part of a failed plot to blow up the British parliament on 5th November 1605. Quite a lot of fireworks are being set off tonight […]

Language, Words and phrases 10 Comments

Word of the day – rio

Today’s word, rio, means frost, freezing or ice in Manx, and river in Portuguese. In Spanish, río means river, stream, torrent, lengthy, long-lasting, epic or interminable. Related Manx words and phrases riojey = ice up, freeze, frost, icing rioeeagh = frosty rioghar = icicle rioee = glacial crammag rio = ice hockey (lit. “ice snail”) […]

Language, Manx, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Fun languages

Many years ago while travelling in China, I heard Norwegian being spoken for the first time when I met some Norwegians in Guangzhou. To me their language sounded sort of familiar and quite funny – a bit like German being spoken by very drunk people. Danish and Swedish sound similar to me and I think […]

Language, Language learning 21 Comments

Time capsules

A while ago I came across an interesting language learning-related idea but then promptly forgot where it was. I finally found it again today here. The idea is that you record yourself speaking the language(s) you’re learning every so often, then go back to the recordings later to see how much progress you’ve made. These […]

Language, Language learning 4 Comments
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