Monthly Archives: October 2011

Language quiz

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

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Language, Quiz questions 7 Comments

Gilets et camisoles

Last night at the French Conversation Group we were discussing various words for clothing in French. One word the seems to cover quite a few different types of clothing is gilet /ʒi.lɛ/, which on its own means a sleeveless jacket similar to a waistcoat (vest in American English), and apparently comes from the Maghrebi Arabic […]

Arabic, English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Turkish, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Cvičení dělá mistra / Practice makes perfect

When learning a language I usually spend a lot of time listening to and reading it, and as a result become at least reasonably proficient at understanding it in speech and writing. In most cases though, I don’t spend as much time speaking and writing it, so my speaking and writing abilities tend to lag […]

Breton, Czech, Language, Language learning 2 Comments

Maltese (Malti)

Today I received some new translations for the Maltese phrases page, and what struck me when adding the phrases was the mixed nature of Maltese vocabulary – about half the words come from Italian and Sicilian, a quarter from English and the rest from Arabic. The Italian/Sicilian borrowings I spotted include: – Bonġornu = Good […]

English, Italian, Language, Words and phrases 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, Quiz questions 5 Comments

Le mal de pays

One of the things that came up at the French conversation group last night was homesickness. In French there are a number of ways to express this concept: – nostalgique = homesick (adj) – avoir le mal de pays = to be homesick (for a place/country) – s’ennuyer de (sa famille) = to be homesick […]

English, French, Galician, Language, Portuguese, Welsh, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Ventriloquism

There was quite a bit of talk about ventriloquism on an episode of QI I watched recently, mainly because one of the guests was a ventriloquist. The word ventriloquism comes for the Latin words venter (stomach, belly, womb) and loquī (to speak) so it means “to speak from the stomach”. It was known as εγγαστριμυθία […]

Chinese, English, Etymology, French, German, Greek, Italian, Language, Latin, Polish, Spanish, 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?

Uncategorized 14 Comments

Kidnap

One of the words we discussed at the French conversation group last night was kidnap, which is enlever or kidnapper (verb) and enlèvement (noun) in French. We wondered where the English word comes from, so I thought I’d investigate. According to the OED, kidnap originally meant “to steal or carry off (children or others) in […]

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

Arabic puzzles

These images was sent in by a visitor to Omniglot who would like to know what they mean. Can you help?

Arabic, Language, Puzzles, Writing 3 Comments