Monthly Archives: September 2010

Babylonian and Assyrian Poetry and Literature

An Assyriologist at Cambridge University have made recordings of poetry and literature in Babylonian and Assyrian and posted them online. Some of the works date back to about 1,900 BC and include The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Babylonian Epic of Creation and even an Incantation for Dog Bite. This is the first time such recordings […]

Language 3 Comments

Word of the day – Petrichor

Petrichor, noun, /ˈpɛtrɨkər/ – the scent of rain on dry earth. It comes from the Greek πέτρος (petros – stone) and ἰχώρ (ichor – the fluid that flows in the veins of the Greek gods), and was coined in 1964 by two Australian researchers, I.J. Bear and R.G. Thomas. The smell isn’t of the rain […]

English, Greek, Language, Words and phrases 22 Comments


You can’t tell what language speaks by their appearance, but it’s common to make assumptions about such things. I do this myself and usually expect that people who look Japanese will speak Japanese, and that who look Chinese will speak one or more varieties of Chinese, though I don’t tend to talk to them in […]

Language 3 Comments

Language quiz

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

Language, Quiz questions 11 Comments

Preserving immigrant languages

I found an interesting article on the BBC News website about Asian languages in the UK which discusses how some UK families of South Asian origin are trying to encourage their children to continue speaking their native languages, such as Bengali, Urdu, Punjabi and Gujarati. The children are taught in English at school, but some […]

Language, Language learning 7 Comments


I heard about an interesting site today that converts texts into a number of different shorthand systems, including Pitman, Gregg and Deutsche Einheitskurzschrift (German Unified Shorthand). Here are sample texts in each of these systems made by the converter: Pitman Shorthand Gregg Shorthand Deutsche Einheitskurzschrift

Language, Writing 3 Comments

Language quiz

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

Language, Quiz questions 20 Comments

Language Conference

Other the past few days there was a conference at Trinity College Carmarthen entitled Reversing Language Shift: How to Re-awaken a Language Tradition, which was run by the Foundation for Endangered Languages. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to intend myself, but have found an interesting report and multilingual video from it on the BBC News. Here’s […]

Endangered languages, Language 17 Comments


This morning I heard an interesting Welsh word on Radio Cymru that I hadn’t come across before – dadsothachu [dadsɔ’θaxɨ̬]. It means “to declutter” and combines a verbed form of the word sothach (bilge, garbage, junk, trash, trumpery) with the prefix dad-, which is the equivalent of the English prefixes de- and un-, and also […]

English, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 6 Comments


Can anyone decipher the writing on this piece, which was sent in by a visitor to Omniglot? It looks like Ranjana or another Brahmi-derived script to me.

Language, Puzzles, Writing 7 Comments
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