Monthly Archives: June 2014

Gabions and the importance of names

The other day I discovered that the name for those wire cages filled with rocks used in construction and to stabilise river banks, hillsides and shorelines are called gabions. The word comes from the Italian gabbione (big cage), which comes from the Latin cavea (cage). There are plenty of gabions around here, but I didn’t […]

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English, Etymology, Irish, Italian, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 5 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a song in multiple languages. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 5 Comments

Novi Sad

As I’m going to the Polyglot Conference in Novi Sad (Нови Сад) [nôʋiː sâːd] in October, I thought I should find out what Novi Sad actually means – it’s the kind of thing I like to know. I guessed that Novi probably means new, but had no idea what Sad might mean. According to this […]

Czech, English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Extreme Polyglottery

The Polyglot Gathering in Berlin last week was fantastic and I enjoyed everything about it. The organizers did an excellent job and everything went well, with only minor hitches. Many other people helped things to run smoothly, and gave talks and/or arranged discussions and language practise sessions. Venue The venue was a huge hostel/hotel near […]

Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Endangered languages, English, Esperanto, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Language, Manx, Polish, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Turkish, Welsh 3 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a song in multiple languages- it’s a multilingual version of ‘Let it Go’ from the film Frozen sung by Richard Simcott at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin. He sang it a capella and from memory – very impressive. The sound quality isn’t great, but it’s okay. Can you identify the different languages?

Language, Quiz questions 5 Comments

Berlin

I’m having a wonderful time at the Polyglot Gathering. My luggage arrived, finally, and I’ve been speaking even more languages, including Cantonese, Taiwanese, Irish, Japanese, Czech, Russian and Turkish (a few words only). I haven’t found any speakers of Breton, Manx or Scottish Gaelic yet though. I have been to some very interesting lectures and […]

Breton, English, Japanese, Language, Manx, Russian, Scottish Gaelic Leave a comment

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

Polyglot Gathering

I arrived in Berlin yesterday for the Polyglot Gathering, which starts today. I flew here on KLM via Amsterdam, and unfortunately my luggage stayed in Amsterdam. It should arrive today though, and I’ve coped without it so far. This is only the second time this has happened to me – the last time was when […]

Chinese, Dutch, English, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Language, Spanish, Welsh 3 Comments

Interview

There’s an little interview with me on Chinese-Tools.com today about language learning and specifically about learning Chinese.

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Going through the motions

In German there are two main verbs that mean ‘to go’: gehen, which is used in expressions about going in general, and particularly going on foot / walking; and fahren, which refers particularly to going/travelling in a form of transport (car, train, bus, boat, etc). So I could said, “Am Samstag gehe ich nach Berlin” […]

Dutch, English, German, Language, Words and phrases 6 Comments