Monthly Archives: December 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 12 Comments

Word Association Study

Researchers in Belgium would like your help with a Word Association Study. It shouldn’t take too long and is suitable for any fluent English speakers.

Language Comments Off

Dros ben llestri

The Welsh idiom, dros ben llestri (literally, “over (the) dishes/crockery”), means ‘over the top’, as in excessive, exaggerated or beyond reasonable limits. The phrase dros ben on its own means “residual, spare; extra, extremely, indeed, over”. I’m not sure how this phrase came to be associated with exaggeration. In French there are a number of […]

English, Etymology, French, Idioms, Language, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Tables, chairs, stools and cathedrals

The Russian word for table (the piece of furniture) is стол (/stol/) which sounds a bit like stool in English. In most other Slavic languages the words for table are simliar: стол (Belarusian), stol (Croatian), stůl (Czech), stolŭ (Old Church Slavonic = throne, seat), stół (Polish), сто (Serbian), stôl (Slovak) and стіл (Ukrainian). Although in […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Russian 2 Comments

Free language learning ebook

Andrew Weiler, who runs the website Strategies in Language Learning is currently giving away a free ebook entitled “7 Mistakes to Avoid to successfully Learn A Foreign Language” at Language Learning Unlocked. To get a copy of the ebook, all you have to do is to fill in a questionnaire about language learning, which should […]

Language, Language learning Comments Off

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

Promenades, walks and rides

In French the word promenade (f) /pʀɔm.nad/ can mean a walk: une promenade à pied; a drive: une promenade en voiture, or a (bicycle / horse / sleigh) ride: une promenade à velo / à cheval / en traîneau. You can also talk about going on une promenade en mer / en bateau (a boat […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin 5 Comments

Striggles, sniggles and squiggles

I came across the word striggle /ˈstrɪg(ə)l/ – a wavy line, while looking for something else in the OED. It’s a portmanteau of straggle and wiggle, and it caught my attention because I hadn’t encountered it before, and because it appeals to me. Other words that look and sound like they’re related include squiggle (to […]

English, Etymology, Language 4 Comments