Monthly Archives: February 2007

Name the language

Here’s a recording of a short conversation in an mystery language. Can you figure out which language it is? Any idea what it’s about?

Language, Quiz questions 11 Comments

Language quiz

Here is a handwritten note in a mystery language. Can you work out what language it is?

Language, Quiz questions 12 Comments

Bilingual toys

According to an article in The Boston Globe, there has been a significant increase in the sale of bilingual toys in the USA. These are toys the speak words and phrases and sing songs, and which are designed to help young children to learn languages. The most popular language combination is English and Spanish, which […]

English, Language learning, Spanish, Technology 6 Comments

The language of flowers

A Chinese contact I talked to today mentioned that he gave his girlfriend 11 red roses yesterday. I asked whether the number of roses had any significance, and he told that it stand for “一心一意” (one heart, one desire). This got me think about the meanings attached to different flowers. I found a site about […]

Language 1 Comment

Tut tut

The click sounds I mentioned yesterday are only found in a small number of languages spoken in southern Africa. Somewhat similar sounds, known as interjections, are used in others languages, though not as in the role of consonants. Instead they convey various extra information about the speaker’s mood or opinion. For example, in English you […]

Language 17 Comments

Click click

On the radio this morning they told an interesting, language-related story about David Attenborough, the famous maker of natural history programmes. Apparently he filmed people speaking one of the ‘click’ languages for a programme called The Tribal Eye, which examined sculpture, weaving, metal casting, and other artistic activities in tribal societies around the world. After […]

Language 10 Comments

My language studies

I’ve decided to try a slightly different approach to my language studies. Up till now I’ve been listening to Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh language radio for several hours each almost every day. In the evenings I read novels in either Welsh or Irish, and also learn a bit more Czech. I’ve also been learning […]

Czech, Irish, Language, Language learning, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh 10 Comments

Name the language

Here is a recording of a song (2MB) in a mystery language, and a recording of speech in the same language. Any ideas what language it is? This is a language with a relatively small number of speakers with no official status.

Language, Quiz questions 7 Comments

Name the language

Here is text in a mystery language. Can you work out which language and alphabet it’s written in? This text was sent in by Andrew A. Clark. If you have any texts in obscure scripts or languages that could be used for my language quiz, please send them to the usual address.

Language, Quiz questions 13 Comments

Snakes and pyramids

Some time between about 3000 and 2500 BC, Canaanite people working in Egypt adapted Egyptian Hieroglyphs to write their Semitic language, which was the ancestor of Phoenician, Moabite, Ammonite and Hebrew. They used a small number of hieroglyphs to represent the consonant sounds of their language and created what was probably the first alphabetic script. […]

Language, Writing 5 Comments
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