Monthly Archives: November 2011


Yesterday I discovered that the French word for bone, os, is pronounced /ɔs/ in the singular, as I suspected, but /o/ in the plural [source]. Os is also used in English as a zoological and medical term for bone and is pronounced /ɒs/ (UK) or /ɑs/ (US). Final consonants of French words aren’t usually pronounced, […]

English, Etymology, French, Greek, Language, Latin, Welsh, Words and phrases 4 Comments


I came across the word doxastic (/dɒkˈsæstɪk/) today in Being Wrong – Adventures in the Margin of Error by Katryn Schulz. It means “pertaining to beliefs” and appears in the expression used in philosophy, ‘First Person Constraint on Doxastic Explanation’, or as Schulz terms it ”Cuz It’s True Constraint’. It means that we have only […]

Esperanto, Etymology, Greek, Language, Language learning, Words and phrases Comments Off on Doxastic


I’ve been concentrating on Russian for a week now and am making some progress. I listen to Russian language radio in the mornings while working on Omniglot, so my attention isn’t entirely focused on what they’re saying, but even so I am becoming more familiar with the sounds and rhythyms of the language. The names […]

Language, Language learning, Russian 1 Comment

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 11 Comments


One of the things that came up in conversation last night was how to say ‘to save’ in French. As is often the case, there are a number of different translations of this word, depending on the context: sauver = to save (person, animal, jewels, building etc), rescue, salvage – sauver la vie â/de qcn […]

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


Today I discovered the wonderful word mountweazel today while listening to The Museum of Curiosity on BBC Radio 4. A mountweazel is a fake or fictitious entry added to a dictionary, encyclopaedia, map or other reference work as a kind of copyright trap – if such entries are found in copies, then its clear that […]

English, Language, Words and phrases Comments Off on Mountweazels

Верблюд стоит на трёх ногах

A few years ago I tried to learn Russian just using Rosetta Stone Russian to test how well it worked. I chose Russian because I hadn’t studied before and because I thought it would be an interesting and useful language learn. At that time I also needed to put together web pages in Russian from […]

English, Language, Language learning, Russian 8 Comments
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