Monthly Archives: February 2010

Word of the day – wintle

I came across the word wintle [‘winəl / ‘wintəl] in Louis de Bernières’ novel Notwithstanding, which I just finished reading. From the context – she walks carefully so as not to wintle on the rimy Bargate stones of the path – I guessed that it meant to slip or something similar. According the Merriam-Webster Online […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 9 Comments

The Audio Archive

I came across the Audio Archive yesterday while searching for information about the pronunciation of English dialects. The archive is part of an newsgroup about English and contains recordings by English speakers from around the world of a number of different texts. Other collections of English dialect recordings including the British Library’s Sounds Familiar? and […]

English, Language 2 Comments

A History of the World in 100 Objects

There’s an very interesting series of programmes on BBC Radio 4 at the moment called “A History of the World in 100 Objects“. The objects come from the British Museum and one of recent programmes discussed an ancient Mesopotamian writing tablet, like the one on the right, from about 3,000 BC. They talk about the […]

Language 4 Comments

Name the language

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

Language, Quiz questions, Writing 14 Comments

Surprisingly spacious

I’ve been thinking about buying a house for a while and this week I finally got round to looking at a few places. The estate agent’s descriptions and photos of the properties are designed make them sound and look attractive to potential buyers and need some interpreting as they don’t always quite match the reality. […]

English, Language 6 Comments

‘Extreme’ language exchanges

Language exchange trips have been popular for many years, but usually involve spending only a few weeks in a foreign country. For example, I took part in a language exchange with a French lad while at school which involved me spending three weeks with his family in France, and him spending three weeks in the […]

Education, Language, Language learning 9 Comments


Here’s another puzzle for you: This looks like a Runic script, but doesn’t match any of the ones I know. Do you recognise it at all?

Puzzles, Writing 17 Comments

Chinese puzzle

Can any of you decipher the following bit of writing? It looks a Chinese signature or two signatures, and I think the character on the right in both cases is 华 (huà).

Puzzles, Writing 6 Comments
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