Monthly Archives: November 2012

Les bonnets à pompon

An nice French expression I discovered yesterday is bonnet à pompon, which is apparently the French equivalent of bobble hat, which some might call a beanie. What do you call hats like this? Does the kind with a bobble have a different name? For me the kind of hat with a bobble is a bobble […]

English, French, Language, Words and phrases 11 Comments

English – a Scandinavian language?

According to an article I came across today, researchers at the University of Oslo believe that English is descended from Old Norse and not from Old English as it is closer in terms of grammar to the modern Scandinavian languages than to the West Germanic languages such as Dutch and German. They say that Old […]

English, Language, Old Norse 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 14 Comments

Downies, duvets and slumberdowns

While listening to a programme on Radio Scotland today I heard mention of downies, which seems to be a Scottish word for duvet. These days I usually call these things duvets, but when I was a child I had a slumberdown, which I think might be a trade name. I’ve also heard them called quilts […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Words and phrases 11 Comments

Tête en l’air

Penn-skañv ac’hanout? Es-tu tête en l’air? Is your head in the clouds? Recently I came across the French expression (être) tête en l’air (‘(to be) head in the air’) which is given as the French equivalent of the Breton expression penn-skañv (‘light head’). I hadn’t seen it before and wasn’t quite sure from it meant. […]

Breton, English, French, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 7 Comments


Spontus is a Breton word I learnt recently that means scary or terrible, as in spontus eo an amzer hiziv (the weather is terrible today). It doesn’t sound like it comes from a Welsh or Cornish root, and I wondered where it came from. According to the Wikeriadur spontus comes from the word spont (to […]

Breton, English, Etymology, Language, Words and phrases 11 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 8 Comments

Tlingit revitalisation

I came across an interesting article today about efforts to revitalise Tlingit in Alaska. It mentions how some Tlingit speakers are unwilling to speak their language to their children and grandchildren because they were punished for speaking it when were at school. This resulted in feelings of shame for the Tlingit language and culture which […]

Language, Language revival Comments Off on Tlingit revitalisation


Can anybody identify the script in these pictures and decipher it? There images were sent in by a visitor to Omniglot. I think I might be Syriac.

Language, Writing 11 Comments


My Breton studies are progressing and so far I’ve learnt a bit more everyday. Last week I worked through the first five lessons of my textbook (Le Breton, par Assimil) and today I got to the seventh lesson, which summerises what you’re learnt in the previous six lessons. The lessons are all short and don’t […]

Breton, English, French, Language, Language learning 3 Comments
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