Monthly Archives: April 2011


Calembour /kalɑ̃buʀ/, nm – Jeu de mots fondé sur la différence de sens entre des mots qui se prononcent de la même façon (ex. : personnalité et personne alitée) (de Larousse). This is a French word I learnt last night that means pun or, “a play on words based on the difference in meaning between […]

English, Etymology, French, Language 4 Comments

क्या आप हिन्दी बोलते हैं?

Last week I started learning Hindi – I was offered a free subscription to a Rocket Languages course in return for writing a review, which will appear here and on Omniglot once I’ve completed the course. I thought that I should choose a language I hadn’t studied before, and of the languages they teach (Spanish, […]

Hindi, Language, Language learning 8 Comments

Golems and trolls

I’ve always thought that the word golem was pronounced /ˈgɔləm/ with a short o as in doll, probably influenced by Tolkein’s gollum, and my preference for northern vowels. Yesterday however, while watching Going Postal, a film based on the Terry Pratchett’s book by the same name, I noticed that some other people pronounce it /ˈɡoʊləm/. […]

English, Etymology, Hebrew, 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 10 Comments

GC Life

A friend of mine in Hong Kong has set up a virtual world called GC Life which is designed as a place for people to learn and practise using their languages, and to explore and chat. There are regular meet ups within GC Life for various language, including French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hungarian, Italian and German, […]

Language, Language learning 1 Comment


Yesterday I climbed Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) for the first time. It was a warm sunny day, though a bit hazy, and the views were spectacular – there are some photos on Flickr. When I say that I climbed Snowdon, what kind of activity does that conjure up for you? I went up the Miners Track […]

English, Etymology, Language, Welsh 8 Comments


A visitor to Omniglot is doing some research on the painting below and would like to decipher the signature. Can you help? Close-up of signature The writing looks like cursive Hebrew to me.

Puzzles, Writing 10 Comments


I heard the word rheithgor (/ˈr̩əiθgɔr/) on Radio Cymru this morning in the context of a report on a trial, and guessed that it meant ‘jury’. The second element, gor, comes from côr (/koːr/) (choir, circle), and the first element, rheith, appears in such words as rheithfawr (greatly just), rheithiad (regulation), rheithio (to fix a […]

English, Etymology, French, Greek, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Welsh 1 Comment

Language quiz

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

Language 19 Comments


Last night I discovered the French word tuyau when looking for drain pipe (tuyau d’écoulement). I hadn’t come across the word before and wasn’t at all sure how to pronounce it. According to my French dictionary it’s pronounced /tɥijo/ – the second symbol represents a voiced labial-palatal approximant, a semi-vowel made with the tongue close […]

English, Etymology, French, Language 9 Comments
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