Monthly Archives: October 2009


Good news – the Omniglot forum is back. I’m not sure how I managed it, but somehow I got it back.

General 18 Comments

A totally stoatin bevvy

A UK supermarket has started putting descriptions of wines in Georgie, Scouse and other regional varieties of English, according to this article. They believe that the normal descriptions are too confusing and complicated and don’t use everyday language. In Scouse (spoken in Liverpool) it’s, “A totally boss bottle of Merlot which smells o’ blackberry, choccie, […]

English, Language 3 Comments

The Lion and the Mouse

Emilio Gonzalez, who works as an intercultural mediator with immigrant children in Tenerife, emailed me to see if I could help to translate a short story into as many languages as possible. Here’s the original Spanish version, and the English version: El león y el ratón Érase una vez un ratón que salió de su […]

Language, Translation 25 Comments


As you might have noticed, the Omniglot forum is not working at the moment. I’m not sure what’s wrong with it – nothing has changed, as far as I can tell, and all the files are still there, but it’s just not appearing. I’m trying to find a way to get it back, and if […]

General 6 Comments

Name the language

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it’s in and where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 22 Comments

Word of the day – gliniadur

Gliniadur is a Welsh word for laptop computer. It combines (pen-)glin, knee, with iadur from cyfrifiadur, computer, and could be translated as “kneeputer”. It is similar to the Irish for laptop, ríomhaire glúine (knee computer). Other Welsh words for laptop include cyfrifiadur côl (lap computer), sgrin-ar-lin (screen on the knees) and cyfrifiadur cludadwy (portable computer). […]

Etymology, Irish, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 12 Comments

Word of the day – purfle

Purfle is a very handy word that means “to decorate the surface of a violin”. I came across it today in an article about the completion and publication after 45 years of the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary – the first historical thesaurus in the world in any language. The Thesaurus sorts words […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 13 Comments

Sounds familiar

When I listen to languages I don’t know sometimes I like their sounds, other times I’m not so keen. I suspect that languages which sound at least vaguely familiar are more likely to appeal to my ears than those that sound completely alien, and that if I learnt any of those languages, my appreciation of […]

Language 17 Comments

Chinese cube

Can any of you decipher the Chinese characters on this cube, which was bought in an antiques shop in Bucharest. The characters look like Small Seal Script to me.

Chinese, Puzzles, Writing 3 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it’s in and where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 18 Comments
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