Monthly Archives: November 2010

Rîli cwtshy

I heard the expression rîli cwtchy [ri:lɪ kʊtʃɪ] on Radio Cymru this morning when they were talking about pyjamas. It’s on interesting example of Wenglish (Welsh and English mixed together) with cwtch = a cubby-hole; a hug or cuddle; to hug or cuddle, made into an adjective meaning ‘comfy’ by adding the English adjectival ending […]

English, Language, Welsh 6 Comments

Name the language

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

Language, Quiz questions 15 Comments

Seal script puzzle

The characters in the images on the right appear on the front of a Wing Chun Kung Fu school and a visitor to this site is curious to know what they mean. They look like Chinese Seal Script characters, but I can only recognise parts of them. Can you help to decipher them

Language, Puzzles, Writing 2 Comments


Crémaillère [kʀemajɛʀ] nf – trammel (chem.), rack (rail). Etymology: from the Old French cramail, from Latin cramaculus (rack), from the Greek kremasti (suspend). The French word crémaillère came up last night when I mentioned that I’m planning to have a housewarming party, the French equivalent of which is pendaison de crémaillère and pendre la crémaillère […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Words and phrases 7 Comments

What Can You Do With A Linguistics Degree?

Today we have a guest post by Brian Jenkins. Linguistics is an intriguing subject to some college students, and many end up choosing it as a major. However, Kent Clizbe, a headhunter who specializes in recruiting linguists, offers this dispiriting advice: “I tell these students, ‘you did your dissertation specializing in Cherokee semantics. Great. Now […]

Language, Linguistics Comments Off on What Can You Do With A Linguistics Degree?


wfftio [‘ʊftɪɔ] verb – to flout, dismiss, criticise I’ve encountered the Welsh word wfftio quite a few times in things I’ve read and heard, but wasn’t quite sure what it meant. I heard it again this morning on Radio Cymru and decided to look it up. Here are a few examples of wfftio in action: […]

English, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Word of the day – plumitif

Plumitif [plymitif] nm – penpusher, bureaucrat; scribbler. I came across today’s word last week at the French conversation group and particularly liked the sound of it. It comes from plume (feather, quill, nib) and is marked as pejorative in the dictionary. Plume comes from the Latin pluma (feather, down), from the Proto-Indo-European *pleus- (to pluck, […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 13 Comments

Language quiz

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

Language, Quiz questions 9 Comments


Today I came across an interesting-looking site called Xtranormal that use text-to-speech and other clever stuff – they call it ‘text-to-movie’ – to make animated films. You just choose your characters and setting, and then type in the dialogue. You can also play with the cameras, animate the characters, and add other effects. What interests […]

Chinese, English, French, Language, Language learning 6 Comments

Gothic inscription puzzle

These images were sent in by a visitor to Omniglot from Romania and appear on a Romanian cup dating from about 1500. The inscription is in Gothic-style letters, but has so far resisted decipherment and may be encrypted or in another language such as Arabic or Romani. See a larger version of this Close up […]

Language, Puzzles, Writing 10 Comments
%d bloggers like this: