Monthly Archives: October 2012

Languages in Canada

According to the 2011 census in Canada, more than 200 languages are currently spoken in Canada. As well as English and French, increasing numbers of people speak Chinese, Punjabi, Arabic, Persian, Spanish and Tagalog, with the numbers of Tagalog speakers growing most in recent years. Some 20% of the population, 6.6 million people, speak a […]

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Language 5 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 12 Comments

To be in the perfume

Yesterday I discovered that one way to say that you’re familiar with something in French is être au parfum, or literally “to be in the perfume of”. Anyone know why perfume is involved in this expression? English equivalents include ‘to be in the know’, ‘to be clued up’, ‘to be on the ball’, ‘to be […]

English, French, Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Sentence bank

I’ve decided to learn some more Breton and have found a very useful website – the Breizh-Llydaw Sentence Bank (y Cronfa Frawddegau Breizh-Llydaw / Ar gevredigezh Kembre-Breizh) – a bilingual corpus of sentences in Breton and Welsh from the magazine Breizh-Llydaw. I can understand the Welsh sentences and can more or less work out the […]

Breton, English, Language, Language learning, Welsh 3 Comments

Linguistic landscape

Last Saturday I went to a study day about the Isle of Man put on by the Centre for North-West Regional Studies at Lancaster University. One of the talks was about the Manx language and used quotes from my dissertation – it was great to be recognised like that, and the speaker was quite surprised […]

Language, Linguistics 13 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 4 Comments

Language is shaped by brain’s desire for clarity and ease

According to an experiment by researchers at the University of Rochester and Georgetown University, changes emerge in languages to ensure that they can communicate meaning as precisely and concisely as possible. If languages contain too much redundancy or complexity, they tend to change to achieve a balance between effort and clarity. This may be a […]

Language 3 Comments

Lazy language learning

I’ve realised that I’m a lazy language learner. I don’t spend every spare moment studying and practising languages, and don’t usually try to learn as much of a language as possible in a short time. When I go for a walk I like to be in the moment sensing what there is to sense, rather […]

Language, Language learning, Music 5 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 9 Comments

Yezhoù, kanaouennoù ha sonerezh

The Breton couchsurfers arrived yesterday, with an Austrian friend, and we’re having a great time. They’ve taught me a bit of Breton, we’ve also talked in French, English, Welsh, Irish and German – I love having opportunities to use my languages like this. I’ve learnt more about Brittany and Breton and have shown them round […]

Breton, English, French, German, Irish, Language, Welsh Comments Off