Monthly Archives: October 2007

Word of the day – 和

In Mandarin Chinese, the word 和 (hé) has a number of meanings. On it’s own it is usually means ‘and’, but also means harmony, peace, to be affable, the sum, and ‘of Japan’. Here are a few words featuring this character: 和平 (hépíng) – peace; peaceful; mild 和鳴 [和鸣] (hémíng) – to sound in harmony […]

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Chinese, Japanese, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Use of Irish in Northern Island Assembly

A motion to ban the use of the Irish language in the Northern Ireland Assembly was narrowly defeated by just two votes this week, according to Eurolang. A member of the Ulster Unionist Party had complained that members of Sinn Fein were using Irish in speeches, and wanted to put a stop to it. Many […]

Irish, Language 9 Comments

Origins of the British

A while ago I discussed a theory that Germanic languages were spoken in Britain long before the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons. Today I came across an article by Stephen Oppenheimer, author of The Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story, in which he argues that many people in what is now England spoke Germanic […]

Identity, Language 10 Comments

Old Devonian (Deunansek Koth)

Someone mentioned to me today that they had studied a bit of Old Devonian. This was the first this I’d heard of that language, and after some searching, I found a bit of information about it. Old Devonian or Westcountry Brythonic was apparently a Celtic language that was spoken in parts of Devon, Somerset and […]

Language 5 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording of a mystery conlang sent in by Ronald Kyrmse. Can you work out which languages it’s based on.

Language, Quiz questions 9 Comments

Name the language

Here’s a recording of a mystery language sent in by AR. Do you know or can you guess which language it is and where it’s spoken? Clue: this is an Indo-Ayran language.

Language, Quiz questions 9 Comments

Tuning into language

Language and music appear to be processed in the same parts of our brains, according to the results of research undertaken at Georgetown University Medical Center. The research suggests that one part of the brain in the temporal lobes helps us to memorise information such as words and meanings in language and melodies in music. […]

Language, Language acquisition, Music 2 Comments

Peeling the library

Today’s word, library, comes from the Old French librairie, a ‘collection of books’, which is a nominal use of adjective librarius, ‘concerning books’, from Latin librarium, ‘chest for books’, from liber (genetive of libri), ‘book, paper, parchment’, originally the ‘inner bark of trees’, probably a derivative of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) base *leub(h) – ‘to strip, to […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 12 Comments

Preserving and reviving languages – a high-tech solution

A hand-held device called a Phraselator, that can translate between English and a variety of other languages, has been adapted by a Cherokee business man, Don Thornton, to help with the preservation and revival of Native American languages, according to an article I found today. You can talk into the Phraselator in English, it recognises […]

Language, Language revival, Technology Comments Off

Too much time?

Before finding my current job, I spent almost a year searching for work while staying with my parents. During that time, I had great plans to learn languages, the guitar, and various other things. I did manage to acquire a basic knowledge of Welsh and Esperanto, but rushed through the courses with the aim of […]

Language, Language learning 9 Comments