Monthly Archives: March 2011

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language and where it’s spoken? [Update] It seems as if this isn’t the language I thought it was, but rather a talk about the language in Hindi. Here’s a recording of the actual language, and I pretty sure it is the right one this […]

Language, Quiz questions 9 Comments


Last night I heard the word moider for the first time and was slightly puzzled by what it meant. From the context – a friend was talking about moidering around with his mates – I guessed it meant to mess/muck about, and I wondered whether it’s related to the word mither, which is used in […]

English, Etymology, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 11 Comments

Čmeláci a včely

Recently I discovered that there are two different words for bee in Czech: čmelák [ˈʧmɛlaːk] (pl. čmeláci) for bumblebee and včela [ˈfʧɛla] (pl. včely) for honey bee. While investigating these words I also discovered the wonderful Czech word hmyz [ɦmɪz] (insect), which sounds like it might be onomatopoeic. This got me wondering about the differences […]

Czech, English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 14 Comments

Metagrobolised, gruntulous noses

Yesterday I learnt the wonderful word metagrobolised on a radio show about words and language called A Way with Words, in which they discuss and answer listeners’ questions about words, idioms and language. It’s broadcast of public radio in the USA and podcasts of the show are available online. I was aware of the show […]

English, Etymology, Language, Proto-Indo-European 1 Comment


The other day while listening to a news report on Radio Cymru about the situation in Libya, the word gwrthryfelwyr caught my attention. It means rebels and is made up of the elements gwrth (against, counter), ryfel, from rhyfel (war), and wyr, from gwŷr (men). I’d heard the word before and knew what it meant, […]

English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Welsh, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Language quiz

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

Language, Quiz questions 8 Comments


This picture was sent in by a visitor to Omniglot who would like to know what the inscription means. The writing is looks like Arabic, but I can’t make any sense of it. Can you help? [Update: The image is now the right way round, thanks to Christopher]

Arabic, Language, Puzzles, Writing 10 Comments


Avoiuli is a writing system used on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu which was brought to my attention today – the image on the right shows an example of the script inscribed on a stone. Apparently Chief Viraleo Boborenvanua based the script on traditional sand drawings and spent 14 years developing it, and it is used […]

Language, Writing 1 Comment

Peithiau a maip

Recently I heard about a series of programmes on S4C (the Welsh language TV channel) presented by the naturalist Iolo Williams, in which he visits Native American communities and learns about their cultures, languages and the natural world around them. The programmes are in Welsh, apart from odd bits of English and Native American languages, […]

Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 7 Comments


On Sunday I visited Bakewell, a small town in the Peak District, with a friend. It rained on and off all day and we were trying to decide whether the rain could be described as drizzle or mizzle, a word I hadn’t heard before. Apart from a few brief heavy showers, it rained lightly most […]

English, Etymology, Language 9 Comments
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