Monthly Archives: February 2011


I came across the Czech word spolubydlící [ˈspɔlʊbidliːtsiː] on a blog I read today and was pleased to realise that I could work out what it meant from its constituent parts. Spolu means together, byd is related to bydlet (to live), I didn’t know what lící signified, but correctly guessed that the word meant “house […]

Czech, English, Language, Words and phrases 14 Comments

Remembering words

When learning a language one challenge is to memorise the vocabulary, and to be able to use it when you need it. I’ve tried a number methods to do this: repetition, flash cards, SRS, associations and so on. A method for learning individual words that works quite well for me involves making associations between the […]

Czech, Language, Language learning, Memory, Welsh 12 Comments


When you spend your time not doing what you should be doing, you could be said to be skiving [‘skaɪvɪŋ]. This applies especially to taking unofficial time off school, or at least it was the expression used when I was at (secondary) school in the 1980s, not that I ever indulged in it. It is […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 19 Comments

Language quiz

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

Language, Quiz questions 16 Comments

Benefits of being bilingual

According to a study at the University of Haifa in Israel, children who grow up bilingually are able to learn a third language more easily than monolingual children. The study compared children who speak Russian and Hebrew with those who speak only Hebrew, and who are all learning English at school. It found that the […]

Bilingualism, Language, Language learning 10 Comments

Thinking sdrawkcab

Here are the words of a song we’ve been learning recently at the Bangor Community Choir: When there is light in the soul, there is beauty in the person. When there is beauty in the person, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is honour in the nation. […]

Chinese, English, Language, Language learning 10 Comments

肚皮舞 (dù​pí​wǔ​)

The other day I discovered that the Mandarin word for belly dancing is 肚皮舞 (dù​pí​wǔ​). As I knew the meanings of the individual characters, I could guess the meaning of the word, even though I hadn’t heard it before. 肚 (dù​​) is stomach or belly, 皮 (​pí​​) is skin, and 舞 (wǔ​) is dance. I […]

Chinese, English, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments
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