Monthly Archives: November 2010

Double dutch and lost dragons

I’ve been playing with Xtranormal today and have made a couple of new films: Double Dutch (in Dutch and English) Where’s my dragon? (In Mandarin and English) When you use Mandarin the system refuses to accept some of the characters you type in, including some common ones like 谢 (thanks). I tried substituting pinyin for […]

Chinese, Dutch, English, Language, Language learning 8 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording of a folk tale in a mystery language. Can you identify the language and where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 15 Comments

Endangered Alphabets Project

Today’s post is an appeal for your help from Tim Brookes. Dear fellow linguists, anthropologists and scholars in general all across the planet: Having finished my original Endangered Alphabets Project, I’m now starting a similar carving project whose aim once again is to draw attention to the world’s vanishing scripts — and I need your […]

Language, Writing Comments Off on Endangered Alphabets Project


Tweak verb – 1. To pinch, pluck or twist sharply. 2. To adjust; fine-tune. 3. To make fun of; tease. noun – 1. A sharp, twisting pinch. 2. A teasing remark or action; a joke. [source] Etymolgoy: From the Old English twiccian (to pluck), from the Proto-Germanic. *twikjonan. We were discussing tweaking last night in […]

English, French, Language, Translation, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Languages in schools

According to an article I found today in The Telegraph, the British government have decided to tinker with the education system yet again and plan to reintroduce compulsory foreign languages in secondary schools up to the add of 16. Their plan is to make languages one of five core subjects along with English, mathematics, a […]

Education, Language 8 Comments


I came across the word nurdle in a book I read last week. Which of the following definitions do you think is the correct one? Nurdle, noun: A small furry creature that lives in burrows in the hills of Yorkshire Nurdle, verb: To score runs (in cricket) by gently nudging the ball into vacant areas […]

English, Etymology, Language, Words and phrases 12 Comments

Language quiz

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

Language, Quiz questions 17 Comments

Chinese puzzle

Can any of you decipher the Chinese in this image? The larger characters appear to be “仙露明珠方 朗潤松風水月北” (xiān lù míng zhū fāng lǎng rùn sōng fēng shuǐ yuè běi). The smaller characters on the left appear to be “??扵甾香饭石生?” (??zāi xiāng fàn dàn shēng ?) – I’m not sure about the first two or […]

Chinese, Language, Puzzles, Writing 6 Comments

Budget Cuts Threaten Foreign Language Education

Today we have a guest post by Alvina Lopez Both in the United States and Europe, and most recently in the UK, higher education budget cuts have threatened many aspects of university education that were once taken for granted. Particularly hard hit have been humanities and arts departments. Cutting funds for foreign language study seems […]

Education, Language 2 Comments

Typing Unicode characters

Today I discovered a handy shortcut you can use to type accented letters and other Unicode characters without messing about with language-specific keyboards. All you need to do is type the decimal value of the character you want, then press Alt and x, and it should change into the character. For example, if you’re writing […]

Language 18 Comments
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