Monthly Archives: September 2011

Nursery rhymes and computers

Comptine /kɔ̃tin/ is the French for nursery rhyme or for a counting rhyme or song. I learnt it last night and thought I’d look into where it comes from. According Wiktionnaire, comptine is made up of compte (count, number, account) and the suffix -ine. Compte /kɔ̃t/ comes from computus (count, number, account, calculation), from computo […]

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English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Music, Proto-Indo-European, Welsh Comments Off

Chinese app

A new application for Android devices that teaches you how to read and write the 100 most widely-used Chinese characters was launched today. It shows you how to write each character with animations, and also has recordings in Mandarin Chinese and English, as well as pinyin transcription and English translations for each character, It was […]

Chinese, Language, Language learning 1 Comment

Lyrics Translate

The other day I came across a useful site called Lyrics Translate, where you can find, submit and request translations of songs. It currently contains translations between a wide range of languages, including English, German, Russian, Turkish, Spanish, Polish and so on, and the site itself can be viewed in a variety of languages. There […]

Breton, English, French, Irish, Language, Manx, Music, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Translation, Turkish, Welsh 2 Comments

Fry’s Planet Word

There’s a new series on the BBC at the moment called Fry’s Planet Word. I just watched the first episode in which Stephen Fry explores the origins of language, and asks how it’s acquired, why only humans have language, why there are so many languages, and so on. He also touches on sign language and […]

Language 7 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, Puzzles 7 Comments

Fence sitting

Last night I learnt the French equivalent of the English idiom, to sit on the fence (to be undecided in opinion, or neutral in action) – ménager la chèvre et le choux [source], or “to keep the goat and the cabbage”. This phrase is also translated as “to face both ways”, “to keep everyone happy”, […]

English, Etymology, French, Idioms, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European 3 Comments

Sing me a song

Recently I’ve noticed that my motivation to study languages is low. I listen to online radio stations in various language every day; I’m reading literature in Welsh, Irish, French and Manx at the moment; and I speak my languages with myself and with others when the opportunity arises. Occasionally I’ll listen to and/or read a […]

Language, Language learning, Music 2 Comments

Eyelid batting

The other day a friend asked me about the origins of the phrase “to bat an eyelid”, which is normally used in the negative – he didn’t bat an eyelid at the pink elephant in the fridge – and means that you don’t react or show emotion when surprised or shocked. Or in other words, […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language, which features someone reading part of a story. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 5 Comments

Do it because it’s fun

The title of this post is a song writing tips from Kate Rowe’s website – she’s an Australian singer/song writer who support the Spooky Men’s Chorale on their recent UK tour. I saw them in Caernarfon and found the website after that, saw the tips and thought that could apply, with some adaptations to language […]

Language, Language learning 2 Comments