Monthly Archives: January 2013

Shetlandic and Up Helly Aa

Up Helly Aa Senior Jarl Squad in their galley There were plenty of people speaking Shetlandic, or at least using some Shetlandic words at the various events I went to yesterday. At a concert in the afternoon the host and the performers were all locals and spoke with Shetlandic accents and used local words for […]

Language 4 Comments

Up Helly Aa

This week I will mainly be in Shetland for the Lerwick Up Helly Aa fire festival, which starts tomorrow. I haven’t seen any Vikings yet, but there’ll be plenty around tomorrow night. I have heard quite a few people speaking with Shetland accents, which sounds to me a bit like Scots with some Scandinavian prosody. […]

Language, Travel 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 15 Comments

The combed giraffe sings like a saucepan

I came across a number of interesting French idioms today in this article in The Guardian, including peigner la giraffe (combing the giraffe), which means to waste time on a pointless task, and chanter comme une casserole (to sing like a saucepan) or to sing terribly. It also mentions a Dutch idiom, broodje aap verhaal […]

Dutch, English, French, Idioms, Language 7 Comments


This week I reached the half-way point in my Breton Assimil course (lesson 50) and have entered the ‘active phase’. So for every new lesson I also go back to an earlier lessons and translate the French versions of the dialogues and exercises into Breton. I also translate them into Welsh, just for fun. So […]

Breton, French, Language, Language learning, Welsh 2 Comments

Fantastic octopus wiring!

The title of this post is an example of the English sentence that appear on tweets by a certain Mr Nakayama, who aims to introduce Japanese people to “Non-essential English Vocabulary: Words that will never come up in tests”. He makes up these useless but memorable phrases as an alternative to all the books and […]

English, Japanese, Language, Language learning Comments Off on Fantastic octopus wiring!

Language quiz

Here is part of a song in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it was spoken? Clue: this is an extinct language and the lyrics of the song are based on an ancient inscription.

Language, Quiz questions 16 Comments

The person on the till

Last night at the French conversation group one of the things we talked about was shopping, particularly in supermarkets, and one of the words we weren’t sure of was till / cash register. I now know this is la caisse (enregistreuse) or le tiroir caisse and that someone who works on a till is possibly […]

English, French, Language, Words and phrases 12 Comments

Learning a language, are we really too old?

Today we have a guest post by Jade Henriques, a young language learner who is planning to pursue a degree in linguistics. Here is her website You can also keep up with Facebook. From the first time I started learning languages, I see this question pop up from time to time. I too considered […]

Language, Language learning 4 Comments

Benefits of language learning

According to an article I came across today, it is the process of learning a new language that encourages people to learn more languages, and becoming bilingual makes learning further languages easier. The article talks about at study of native English speakers who were either monolingual, or bilingual in English and Spanish or English and […]

Language, Language learning 4 Comments
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