Monthly Archives: January 2010

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?

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Language, Quiz questions 22 Comments

Cainnt Mo Mhàthar

I came across an interesting site today about Scottish Gaelic in Nova Scotia – Cainnt Mo Mhàthar (My Mother’s Language), which contains videos and audio recordings of Gaelic speakers from Nova Scotia, as well as information about the Gaelic language and culture of that region. The site is in both English and Gaelic.

Language, Scottish Gaelic 4 Comments

Word of the day – naff

Naff is a British slang word meaning unstylish, lacking taste, rubbish or inferior and is an antonym of nang, cool, groovy, nifty, etc. Its etymology is uncertain, according to this source. Is naff used elsewhere in the English-speaking world? If not, what do you use instead?

English, Etymology, Language, Words and phrases 16 Comments

Are you nang?

The word nang was mentioned the other day on a programme about the Noughties on the BBC. It has apparently entered London slang, means ‘cool’ or ‘good’ and comes from the name of a Vietnamese kid at a school in Hackney, London (source). Have you heard this word before? What word(s) do you use for […]

English, Language, Vietnamese, Words and phrases 28 Comments

Word of the day – ig

The Welsh word ig (plural: igion) means hiccough. The verb, to hiccough / sob, is igian, igio or igion. When I’m singing or playing the tin whistle or other wind instruments I often get hiccoughs, and the other day I was trying to explain this to a Welsh friend in Welsh, but didn’t know the […]

Czech, English, French, Irish, Italian, Language, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 20 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

Word of the day – éolienne

One of the things we discussed at the French conversation group last night was wind turbines, or les éoliennes in French. I hadn’t heard the word before and it took me a while to work out its meaning, but I knew it had something to do with the wind as Aeolus (Αἴολος) was the ruler […]

English, Etymology, French, Greek, Language 5 Comments

Mandarin for all

According to this report, the UK Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, would like all secondary pupils in UK schools to have the opportunity to learn Mandarin. One reason for this is that a poll of employers found that Chinese is the most useful language for employees to know after French and German. The poll, conducted by […]

Chinese, Education, English, Language 15 Comments

Puzzle

Here’s some mysterious writing from a napkin ring. Can any of you identify the script or decipher it? This writing comes from a puzzle that appeared in the Puzzle Museum in 2005 and since then no-one has been able to identify the script or decipher it. Some of the letters look like Thai or Lao, […]

Puzzles, Writing 11 Comments

Language quiz

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

Language, Quiz questions 19 Comments