Monthly Archives: January 2013

Language quiz

Here’s some text from a book I’m currently reading in which some of the dialogue is written in this way. Do you have any idea where people speak like this? “Vares nuffing nú unnersun, mì sun. Doan ask wy ve öl daze wuz bé-er van vese, coz U aynt gó ve nous fer í. Lemme […]

Language, Quiz questions 21 Comments


Last night there was some discussion of the phrase ‘when the sun is over the yardarm’ and none of us were sure what a yardarm or even a yard is. I suspected that there were part of the rigging of a sailing ship, but wasn’t sure which part. I now know that a yard is […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments


I came across an interesting-looking site today called Linguisticator, via the Economist. It says that it provides “an advanced online language training program designed to teach adults how to learn languages quickly and effectively. It is unique in providing a single course that can be used to learn any language on the planet. The program […]

Language, Language learning 5 Comments

Newspapers and magpies

What’s the connection between newspapers and magpies? Well, apparently the first newspapers published in Venice and were known as gazeta de la novità and cost one gazeta (Venetian) or gazzetta (Italian), a small coin which had a picture of a magpie on it. A magpie is gazza in Italian and the name of the coin […]

English, Etymology, Italian, Language, Words and phrases 6 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 10 Comments

New video

Here’s the script for a new video I’m making in Russian. I got the Russian from my textbooks and phrase books and from Google Translate, so there may be some errors. If you speak Russian could you check it and let me know anything that needs correcting? Большое спасибо! Здравствуйте. Hello Здравствуйте. Как дела? Hello. […]

English, Language, Russian 6 Comments

Pixelated v Pixilated

When something is pixelated it is divided into pixels; enlarged so that individual pixels are visible; made up of a small number of large pixels to disguise someone’s identity (used on TV) [source]. When someone is pixilated they are behaving in an eccentric manner, as though led by pixies; whimsical or drunk [source]. The two […]

English, Language, Words and phrases 2 Comments


Штурмовщина (Šturmovščina / Shturmovshchina) is a useful Russian word I came across in Mark Forsyth’s The Horologicon – A Day’s Jaunt Through the Lost Word of the English Language, which I got for Christmas. It means last-minute rush and refers to the practice of working frantically to fulfill production targets in factories at the end […]

English, Language, Russian, Words and phrases 2 Comments


Happy New Year to you all! If you make New Year’s resolutions, have you resolved to learn a new language or to learn more of language? I don’t really make resolutions, but plan to continue my studies of Breton and Russian this year. I don’t know how long it will take me to get to […]

Breton, Language, Russian 9 Comments
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