Monthly Archives: April 2010

More on videos

I watched some more of the polyglot videos I mentioned yesterday, and a few others, and one thing I noticed is that in most cases they people in them are talking about things like their languages, and how and why they learned them. One exception is this one by Richard Simcott in which he mentions […]

Language, Language learning 7 Comments

Videos by polyglots

A number of people have posted videos on YouTube featuring them speaking various languages. In some cases they speak many different languages in the same video, in others they speak different languages in different videos. Some videos appear to be spontaneous, while others have a more scripted feel to them. There is also perhaps an […]

Language, Language learning 4 Comments

Old Irish joke

Here’s an Old Irish joke I found today that’s been translated into many languages, including Classical Nahuatl, Sanskrit and Cherokee. This is the Modern Irish version: Triúr manach a thug diúltú don saol. Téann siad ins an fhásach chun aithrí a dhéanamh ina gcuid peacaí roimh Dhia. Bhí siad gan labhairt lena chéile go ceann […]

English, Irish, Language 8 Comments

Name the language

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

Language 11 Comments


Listening to Raidió na Gaeltachta today I heard the word babysiteáil, in a sentence something like “Tá sé ag Babysiteáil dúinne.” (He babysits for us). This caught my attention because I don’t seem to hear as many English words made into verbs like this in Irish as I do in Welsh. The Welsh equivalent is […]

English, French, Irish, Language, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 6 Comments

Perils of machine translation

Today we have a guest post by David Ackermann of Romo Translations When it comes to translating web copy, most people agree that sophisticated translation tools will never be able to accurately translate an entire website or web page into a foreign language. There is however an ongoing debate about whether or not shorter snippets […]

Language 4 Comments

Brain training

According to an article I came across today in the Financial Times, computer games designed to improve your brain have only negligible effect on your mental ability and cognitive function. Researchers at Cambridge University, Manchester University and King’s College London have carried out large-scale clinical trials of brain training games and found very little or […]

Language, Language learning 4 Comments


William Caxton introduced printing into England, and also translated a number of literary works from French, Latin and Dutch. Within his translations he used words he picked up while learning and practising his trade in Germany and Belgium, including spincop, from the Dutch spinnekop (spider), and okselle, from the Dutch oksel (armpit). The English word […]

Dutch, English, Etymology, French, German, Italian, Language, Latin, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Language quiz

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

Language 22 Comments


Yesterday while listening to Blas, a cookery programme on Radio Cymru, I heard one of the contributors use the verb “chef-io” [ˈʃefɪɔ] in a sentence something like “Dw i wedi chef-io ers X flywyddyn” (I’ve been chefing for X years). This struck me as quite a useful verbing of a noun and is also possible […]

English, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 15 Comments
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