Monthly Archives: November 2007

Language quiz

Here are recordings of the first verse of a famous Christmas carol in four different languages. I’m sure you’ll be able to recognise the carol, but can you work out which languages they are, and which of them is the odd one out? Language 1 Language 2 Language 3 Language 4

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Language, Music, Quiz questions 12 Comments

30,000 words a day

According to a study undertaken by Infoture, children who at least 30,000 words a day from their parents and other people around are likely to excel academically as they grow up. The study found that children who heard at least 33 million words (30,000 a day) from birth the age of 3 tend to have […]

Language, Language acquisition 7 Comments

Word of the day – twmpath

Today’s word, twmpath (/tʊmpaθ/), is the Welsh word for a tump, hump, hummock, tussock or mound. It is also refers to a type of barn dance, which is sort of the Welsh equivalent of an Irish ceili. The English word tump (a mound or hillock) might come from twmpath, though the dictionaries I’ve checked give […]

Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Deconstructing languages

In a recent post on his blog, Tim Ferriss explains how he deconstructs languages in order to get an idea of their structure, grammar, sound system and writing system. This gives him an idea how long it will take and how difficult it will be to learn each language and helps him to decide whether […]

Language, Language learning 4 Comments

Where in the world?

Here’s a photo of a mystery city somewhere in Europe. Do you know or can you guess where it is and which language is spoken there?

Language, Quiz questions, Travel 13 Comments

Mystery con-script

The other day someone asked me if I knew where the con-script below came from. He found it on the web somewhere, but can’t remember where. Do you recognise it?

Writing 4 Comments

Word of the day – typography

Typography is: 1. the art or process of printing from type; 2. the art or process of setting and arranging type for printing; 3. the arrangement, style, or general appearance of printed matter (from yourdictionary). It comes via French and Latin from the Greek τύπος (typos), to strike + γραφία (graphia), to write. I chose […]

English, Language, Typography, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Language change

According to a New Scientist article I came across the other day, frequently-used words tend to be more resistant to change then words that are used less often. A team at the University of Reading lead by Mark Pagel, an Evolutionary Biologist, compared the words used to express 200 different meanings in 87 different Indo-European […]

Evolution, Language, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Tâi-ôan-ōe / Taiwanese

I found an interesting website today called Tailingua, which provides a good, clear introduction to the Taiwanese language (Tâi-ôan-ōe). It includes information about the language, the numerous methods used to write it, and explains how to set up your computer to write Taiwanese using Peh8-oe7-ji7 (POJ), the most popular system for writing Taiwanese with the […]

Chinese, Language 3 Comments

Word of the day – Lloegr

The Welsh name for England is Lloegr (/ɬɔigr/). The etymology of this name is a mystery. According to this site, it first appeared as Lloegyr in an early 10th century prophetic poem called Armes Prydain. A variant of the name, Lloegrwys, or “men of Lloegr”, was in use before then and more common. In early […]

Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 4 Comments