Monthly Archives: August 2010

Snigs and Snegs

The word snig came up in conversation with a friend who came to fix some of my doors last week. They weren’t closing properly and he sawed and planed bits of them. We found that the catch doesn’t work in one of them, but the lock, a small metal slidding one, does. My friend told […]

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English, Language, Words and phrases 10 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s part of a song in a mystery language. Can you guess the language and where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 9 Comments

Word of the day – paldies

Yesterday I learnt how to say thank you in Latvian – paldies /pal’dies/ – from the Latvian lads who delivered and installed my new garden shed. Although they didn’t speak much English, we managed to communicate. When I asked where they were from, they didn’t understand the question, then one of them said, “oh, what […]

Language, Language learning, Words and phrases 6 Comments

Paint colours

Last week I looked at quite a few paint colours, trying to decide which ones to use in my house, and found the names given to the different colours interesting. As there are so many different colours, paint manufacturers use various whys to describe them. Whites, for example, come in many shades, including: Pure Brilliant […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you guess the language and where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 28 Comments

Copper plate mystery

This inscription was sent in by a visitor to Omniglot and appears on a copper plate he bought in Turkey. Can any of you decipher the text?

Language, Puzzles, Writing 7 Comments

Gogs a Hwntws

The other day I was talking to a native Welsh speaker from South Wales who has lived in North Wales for many years. I mentioned that people in shops here sometimes switch to English when I talk to them in Welsh, and she told me that the same thing happens to her sometimes. Apparently the […]

English, Language, Welsh 4 Comments

Carpets and harvests

I moved into my new house yesterday and am currently having new carpets fitted, which got me wondering about the origins of the word carpet. Carpet has been traced back to the Proto-Indo-European root *kerp- (to pluck, gather, harvest) via the Old French carpite (heavy decorated cloth), the Middle Latin carpita (thick woolen cloth) the […]

English, Etymology, French, Greek, Irish, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 12 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you guess the language and where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 17 Comments

Paraskavedekatriaphobia

Today’s word, paraskavedekatriaphobia, means “fear of Friday the 13th”. It comes from the Greek Παρασκευή (Paraskeví – Friday), δεκατρείς (dekatreís – thirteen) and φοβία (phobía, from φόβος (phóbos) – fear). An alternative name for this phobia is friggatriskaidekaphobia, which combines frigga (Friday) and triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number thirteen).

Language 13 Comments