Monthly Archives: November 2008

Language quiz

Here’s part of a news report in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it is?

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Mysterious medallion inscription

This medallion belonged to Kevin Silver’s father and was believed to be his grandfather’s originally. Kevin has been told is “probably” a protection device that his grandfather wore to protect himself from harm and evil spirits. His grandfather was an Orthodox Jew from Russia who was very religious. Kevin has tried to match the letter […]

Language, Writing Comments Off on Mysterious medallion inscription

Word of the day – morglawdd

In Welsh morglawdd is the word for a tidal barrage (lit. “sea bank, dyke, earthwork or hedgerow”). I heard this word during a discussion on Radio Cymru of plans to build such a barrage across the Severn Estuary and I just liked the sound of it. The plans are opposed by many environmental groups who […]

Language, Welsh, Words and phrases Comments Off on Word of the day – morglawdd

Word of the day – iff

I came across today’s word, iff, in the syntax textbook I’m reading at the moment (Introduction to Government and Binding Theory). When I spotted it I thought at first that it was a typo, but have since discovered that it is used in logic to mean “if and only if”. Iff can also be represented […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 10 Comments

Name the language

Here’s part of a news report in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it is? [audio:]

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Up to your ears?

When you’re very busy, you can say that you’re up to your ears with work, as I was last week with reports, presentations, an essay and lots of reading to do. In English you can also say that you’re up to your eyes, eyeballs, elbows or neck, snowed under, drowning, swamped, rushed/run off your feet […]

Idioms, Language 26 Comments

Mimetic bootstrapping

Yesterday I went to an interesting talk on Japanese mimetic words, which are onomatopoeia (擬声語 giseigo / 擬音語 giongo) or words connected to actions, emotions or states (擬態語 gitaigo). For example, くすくす (kusu kusu) – to giggle,ぐずぐず[する] (guzu guzu [suru]) – to procrastinate or dawdle. Researchers in Japan have found that Japanese mothers use a […]

English, Japanese, Language, Language acquisition, Linguistics 5 Comments

Hebrew question

This is a question I received recently to which I don’t know the answer. Can you help? Can you please tell me something about Hebrew. I want to know if the Hebrew we get in Biblica Hebraica, which I think is based on the masoretic text, used gender specific pronouns. Are references made to he […]

Hebrew, Language Comments Off on Hebrew question

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a dialect of English. Do you know or can you guess which dialect this is? [audio:]

English, Language, Quiz questions 16 Comments

Chinese etymology

Yesterday I found a useful looking website about Chinese Etymology which shows variant forms of characters including Oracle Bone characters (甲骨文 jiăgŭwén), Bronze characters (金文 jīnwén) and Grass script characters (草書 căoshū). Some characters have many forms in the older versions of the Chinese script – up to 50 or so in some cases. It […]

Chinese, Etymology, Language, Writing 5 Comments
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