Monthly Archives: January 2009

Word of the day – cuddle

Cuddle is an example of a false friend or cognate – it has one meaning in English (to hold (sb or sth) close; a close embrace) and one in Welsh (a hiding place). The pronunciation is different in each language: in English it’s /ˈkʌd.ḷ/ and in Welsh it’s /ˈkɨðlɛ/ or /ˈkɪðlɛ/. The English word is […]

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English, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases Comments Off

Animated Chinese character dictionary

Arch Chinese is a very useful site I came across the other day. It includes a Chinese character dictionary which provides animations showing how to write six thousand traditional and six thousand simplified Chinese characters, and gives you pinyin pronunciation (with audio recordings), stroke counts, English translations and examples of words and phrases that use […]

Chinese, Language, Language learning, Writing Comments Off

Word of the day – ieithgi

Yesterday I discovered a Welsh term that describes me, and many of you, perfectly – ieithgi ['ɪəiθgi] (lit. “language dog/hound”), which refers to someone who is very keen on languages, i.e. a linguaphile. There are also some cool Welsh language games on the BBC website under that name, which where I found it. Are there […]

Language, Welsh, Words and phrases Comments Off

Alphabet and language games

I found some alphabet and language games today on PurposeGames, including one which involves matching writing systems to their names (which come from Omniglot), a multilingual one, an Arabic alphabet one, a Phoenician alphabet one, and many more. You can also create your own games on this site. Do you know of any other sites […]

Language, Language learning Comments Off

Pronouncing foreign words

In his essay, England your England, George Orwell wrote of the English working class: Even when they are obliged to live abroad for years they refuse either to accustom themselves to foreign food or to learn foreign languages. Nearly every Englishman of working-class origin considers it effeminate to pronounce a foreign word correctly. I’ve encountered […]

English, French, Language, Pronunciation Comments Off

Name the language

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

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Faclair Dwelly

I heard recently that there is now an online version of Dwelly’s Gaelic Dictionary, the most comprehensive Gaelic dictionary currently available. You can search for words via Scottish Gaelic or English, a significant improvement on printed version. You can also search for whole words, parts of words, exact spellings or similar sounding words. Another advantage […]

Dictionaries, Language, Scottish Gaelic Comments Off

Language quiz

Here’s a recording of part of story in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it’s in?

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Email etiquette

A correspondent has asked about email etiquette and would be interested to know about formal and informal email openings and sign offs. Do you, for example, always start with a greeting of some kind and finish with a farewell? Or do you sometimes omit one or other of these? What kind of greetings and sign […]

Language, Writing Comments Off

Cross-lingual puns

Today we have a guest post from Sol Klein: While not paying in Latin class recently, I started thinking about a phrase I used to hear a lot of back in elementary school, when half of my educational day was conducted in Hebrew and half in English. The phrase is: “כי פתח דלת. לא פתח […]

Hebrew, Language 1 Comment