Monthly Archives: January 2012

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 4 Comments

Word skipping to Venus

I was asked today about the origins of the word worship. The person who asked was told by a highly-educated minister that “worship” is derived from an old English word, “word-skip”. Supposedly, “word-skip” means “word shaper” or “shaper of words”. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary: worship comes from the Old English worðscip, wurðscip (Anglian), […]

English, Etymology, French, Italian, Language, Latin, Portuguese, Proto-Indo-European, Spanish, Words and phrases 17 Comments

Ryukyuan languages

Following on from Sunday’s language quiz, I found an interesting article about Language Loss and Revitalization in the Ryukyu Islands. There are apparently quite a few different languages spoken in the Ryukyu Islands – at least 10, and while they are related to Japanese, the percentage of shared cognates is 66% or less – 59% […]

Language, Language revival 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, Words and phrases 13 Comments


Sneck /snɛk/ is a word I discovered the other day that means a door or gate latch, the lever that raises the bar of a latch, or a catch. It also means nose or cut. It’s used mainly in northern England and Scotland and is featured in the name of the beer, Sneck Lifter, from […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 10 Comments

Purses and sporrans

The word purse has an interesting history, I discovered today. It comes from the Old English word purs, from the Late Latin word bursa, which had a number of meanings of the centuries, including skin or leather; (money) bag; scrotum; exchange; and scholarship, allowance, and comes from the Greek word βύρσα (hide, leather). bursa is […]

English, Etymology, French, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish 5 Comments

Languages in the news

Here are a few language-related articles I found recently: Tolkien and Made Up Languages – an article about Tolkien, whose 120 birthday it would be today if he was still around, his languages, and other fictional languages such as Newspeak and Nadsat. The secret to learning languages – Tips from the polyglots: Find out how […]

Conlangs, Dictionaries, Language, Language revival 2 Comments

The Written World

There’s an interesting series on BBC Radio 4 this week which focuses on the written word and how it has shaped our intellectual history. It’s part of Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time series, and the first programme, broadcast this morning, looks at the early history of writing.

Language, Writing 1 Comment

New Year quiz

Here’s a recording featuring New Year greetings in different languages. Can you identify the languages? (There are five all together) Happy New Year, by the way

Language, Quiz questions 7 Comments
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