Monthly Archives: June 2011

A review of Rocket Hindi

In April this year I was offered a free subscription to a Rocket Languages course in return for writing a review. My plan was to write the review after completing the course, however I realise that it’ll take me quite a while to work my way through the entire course so decided to write the […]

Hindi, Language, Language learning 4 Comments

Multilingual poetry

On Sunday I attended an evening of multilingual poetry in Bangor that feature poets from Wales and India who read poems in Welsh, English, Bengali, Malayalam and Manipuri. It was part of a project to build links between Wales and India which involved the Welsh poets translating poems by the Indian poets into Welsh, and […]

English, Language, Poetry, Welsh 3 Comments

Language quiz

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

Language, Quiz questions 9 Comments


Mawdelit is one of the Scots words discussed in a programme I watched last night called Blethering Scots. It was described as an illness you pretend to have to get time off work, and comes from the French mal de lit, which is related to the medieval Latin malum lecti – an illness that confines […]

Etymology, Language, Scots, Words and phrases Comments Off on Mawdelit


I came across the word epizeuxis recently (in One of Our Thursdays is Missing, by Jasper Fforde) and wasn’t sure what it meant or even how to pronounce it, so I decided to find out. According to the OED, epizeuxis (/ɛpɪˈzjuːksɪs/) is “a figure by which a word is repeated with vehemence or emphasis.” It […]

English, Etymology, Greek, Language, Latin, Words and phrases Comments Off on Epizeuxis


I found an online Irish test on today – it contains 100 questions of ever increasing difficulty and gives you a idea of your level of Irish. It’s available with instructions in Irish and English and has a seven-level marking scheme ranging from beginner to advanced. I just took the test and got 69/100 […]

Irish, Language, Language learning 5 Comments


A visitor to Omniglot sent in this image of some mysterious writing from an inscription on a Biedermeier glass from 1830-1860, a type of Bohemian / Czechoslovakian glass. Can you make any sense of it? It looks like a cursive form of Cyrillic and reads something like “Сйо мень одь Госйос Дир Кторке Тр?імуко Сиус” […]

Language, Puzzles, Writing 14 Comments

Language quiz

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

Language, Quiz questions 21 Comments

Canapés, sofas and curtains

The other day I discovered that one French word for sofa is canapé (/kanape/), and that canapé-lit or canapé transformable/convertible is a sofa bed. The word sofa is also used in French, and canapé can also mean an open sandwich. According to the OED, in English canapé (/ˈkænəpɪ/) can mean both “A piece of bread […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Words and phrases 16 Comments


I encountered the word tiffin the other day as the name of type of cake and wondered where it comes from. According to the OED, tiffin is a light midday meal or luncheon in India and neighbouring eastern countries. It is also used as a verb meaning ‘to take tiffin/lunch’ or ‘to provide with tiffin’. […]

English, Etymology, Language 3 Comments
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