Monthly Archives: July 2012

Cars, carts and chariots

Last week I was told that the English word car originally comes from the Irish word carr (donkey cart). Apparently when cars came to Ireland Irish speakers thought it was better to come up with a new word for them than to name them after the humble donkey cart, so the term gluaisteán (‘moving thing’) […]

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Breton, Cornish, English, Etymology, French, Irish, Italian, Language, Latin, Manx, Proto-Indo-European, Spanish, Words and phrases 2 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 13 Comments

Counting rhymes

We learnt this Irish counting rhyme in class today: Lúrabóg lárabóg Ladhra buithe Buíeán Eoghain Eoghean an Phreabáin Preabán suilí Súilí saic The first two words are made up nonsense words, the others mean something like, “yellow toes, Eoghain’s egg yolk, Jack-in-the-Box, ??, eyelets of a sack”. There are quite a few other rhymes like […]

English, Irish, Language 10 Comments

Deiseal agus tuathal

Yesterday we discussed the Irish words deiseal (/ˈdʲɛʃəl/) and tuathal (/’tuəhəl/) in class. Deiseal means clockwise, dextral, right-hand, rightward, starboard, and tuathal means the opposite: anticlockwise, sinistral left-hand, leftward, port. Some examples of usage: – bogadh ar deiseal = to go in a clockwise direction – dul deiseal = to go in a rightward direction […]

English, Irish, Language, Words and phrases 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?

Language, Quiz questions 5 Comments

Gleann Cholm Cille

I returned to Bangor from the Isle of Man yesterday after a very enjoyable week at Yn Chruinnaght. I spoke and sang lots of Manx, and heard all the other Celtic languages, except Breton, being spoken and/or sung. I also spoke a bit of French and German, and even some English. I was even inspired […]

Cornish, English, French, German, Irish, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh 5 Comments

It’s blowing a hoolie

Yesterday I spotted the interesting expression ‘it’s blowing a hoolie‘ on a friend’s facebook page. From the context I guessed it meant that it was very windy. According to A Way with Words, to blow a hoolie means ‘(of weather) to storm; to forcefully gust, blow, and rain.’ It is perhaps connected to hooley, which […]

English, Etymology, Language 5 Comments

What should I call you?

Does it bother you if someone you’ve never met before addresses you in a familiar way? For example, if they use your first name, rather than Mr/Mrs/Ms or other title plus your surname. Some of my friends object strongly to being addressed by their first name by their bank manager, for example, or to receiving […]

English, Language 6 Comments

Sonic the happy Manx hedgehog

Arkan sonney is a Manx expression I came across today that means hedgehog, or literally “happy sucking pig”. Arkan is a diminutive form of ark (piglet), and sonney means ‘affluent, lucky, fortunate, happy’, and sounds a bit like sonic, hence the little of this post. Another Manx word for hedgehog is graynoge, which is related […]

English, Irish, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases 4 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 7 Comments