Monthly Archives: July 2009

Minority languages in Slovakia

According to a report on the BBC News website, under a new law which will apply from 1st September this year people who use minority languages in public services could be fined up to €5,000. That is, if the minority constitutes less than 20% of the Slovak population. Understandably this has not been well received […]

Language 4 Comments

Word of the day – yaourter

The word yaourter (to yoghurt) is a French word for the way people attempt to speak or sing in a foreign language that they don’t know very well. Often they mishear and misinterpret the word or lyrics and substitute them with familiar words. For example the Queen song “I want to break free” becomes “I […]

English, French, Language 23 Comments


Can any of you identify the writing system or language in the following image?

Language, Puzzles, Writing 21 Comments

Language quiz

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 and where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 25 Comments


Do any of you know what the symbol below is? The person who sent it in thinks it’s Sanskrit, but I can’t find any Sanskrit letters that look like this.

Puzzles, Writing 12 Comments

Language and dementia

According to an article I came across today, people with good language skills early in life and develop dementia later in life are likely retain their memories better than those without such skills. They believe that testing the mental abilities of people in their early 20s can predict whether they will retain their mental abilities […]

Language 5 Comments

Russian transliteration

Yesterday I came across a useful site that shows you how to transliterate Russian into various Latin transliteration systems, and into other alphabets such as Greek, Arabic, Thai and Georgian. The site also has an transliterator that transliterates Russian text into various transliteration systems; a transliterator that converts Chinese Pinyin texts into Cyrillic, and another […]

Language, Writing 15 Comments

Name the language

Here’s a recording of part of song in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it’s in and where it’s spoken? I made this recording at the Llangollen Eisteddfod the other day.

Language, Quiz questions 22 Comments

eolotthowghrhoighuay and ghoti

The word ‘eolotthowghrhoighuay’ was devised by Alexander Ellis in 1845 to demonstrate the eccentric nature of English spelling. It’s supposed to spell ‘orthography’, and uses the eo from George, the ol from Colonel, the tth from Matthew, the ow from knowledge, the gh from ghost, the rh from rheumatic, the oi from Beauvoir, the gh […]

English, Language 4 Comments

Hungarian runes

Yesterday at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod I was quite surprised to see Hungarian Runes / Rovás (Székely Rovásírás) being used. They appear on the logo and publicity material of a Hungarian drumming group who perform Hungarian folk dances and songs that date back to the 11th century, a time when the Székler Magyars were […]

Language, Writing 7 Comments
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