Monthly Archives: September 2010

Language quiz

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

Language, Quiz questions 18 Comments


Yesterday I finally started work on my garden, and one of the first things I did was a bit of weeding. The large crop of dandelions and other weeds in my lawn will take quite a while to remove, but in the meantime I thought I’d look at the origins of a few garden-related words. […]

Chinese, English, Etymology, French, Irish, Japanese, Language, Latin 15 Comments

Language learning methods

Yesterday I came across an interesting article entitled “On the mortality of language learning methods” which discusses how methods for learning foreign languages appear, prosper, disappear, and then reappear. Over the past century many different methods or approaches have been applied to the teaching and learning of foreign languages. Since the 1960s, for example there […]

Language, Language learning 11 Comments

Multilingual child

I’ve received the following request from the BBC that maybe you can help with: The BBC are looking for a multilingual child and their family to participate in a major new BBC 1 science documentary series. Using cutting-edge CGI and amazing stories of human achievement and endeavour, “Human” will explore the physiological and developmental factors […]

Bilingualism, Language 2 Comments

Name the language

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

Language 29 Comments

Haddock and Églefin

Last night I discovered that the French word for haddock is églefin or aiglefin, but when smoked it’s called haddock, which is also spelled hadock and hadot. Other French names for the unsmoked fish include aigrefin, Âne, Ânon, Bourricot and Saint-Pierre. The French églefin/aiglefin comes from the Latin aeglefinus, which in made up of aegle […]

English, French, Language, Words and phrases 11 Comments

Snickets and robots

Today’s word, snicket [‘snɪkɪt], is a narrow passage between buildings, walls or fences in some parts of northern England. It’s origins are shrouded in mystery. There are quite a few other words for such passages, including: gennel/ginnel/jennel [‘dʒɛnəl, ‘dʒɪnəl, ‘gɪnəl], vennel, bunnyrun, close, wynd, jitty, alley, alleyway, passage, passageway, entry, lane, laneway, twitten and twitchel. […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 6 Comments
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