Monthly Archives: December 2015

How short is your pastry?

While eating one of my mum’s delicious mince pies yesterday, I asked what makes them different to the ones you buy in shops. Apparently it’s the pastry – my mum uses shortcrust pastry, and shop-brought ones use sweet pastry. This got us wondering what the short in shortcrust actually means. Shortcrust pastry is made with […]

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Why Weihnachten?

Have you every wondered where the German word for Christmas, Weihnachten, comes from? I have, as it is so different from words for Christmas in other European languages. So I decided to investigate. Weihnachten comes from the Middle High German wīhenahten ‎(Christmas), from a dative plural ze den wīhen nahten ‎(in the holy nights). The […]

English, Etymology, German, Language, Words and phrases 1 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 4 Comments

Christmas

A multlingual Merry Christmas and happy language learning in the New Year!

General, Language 3 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 5 Comments

Sorry, we’re out of smiles

Translation: – A baguette please. – With this? – ? – With a plant please – With this? – With a surfboard please – With this? – With a smile please – Sorry. I don’t have any more of them. The phrase avec ceci ? literally means “with this?”, but I suspect in this context […]

English, French, Language 1 Comment

That’s enough!

The Russian word всё (vsjo) [fsʲo] is a useful one that can mean various things depending on the context: everything, still, always, all the time, nevertheless. Here are some examples: – Вот и всё; Это всё = that’s all – Мне всё равно = it’s all the same to me – Я всё равно пойду […]

English, Language, Russian, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Ditties, dictation and digits

A ditty is a short, simple song, like the ones I write. It comes from the Old French dite (composition), from the Latin dictatum (something dictated), from dictare (to dictate), a frequentative of dicere (to say, speak), which is related to dicare (to proclaim, dedicate), from the Proto-Indo-European root *deik- (to point out). Some English […]

English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 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 3 Comments

Large vocabulary? Do you know how to use it?

A lot of language learning approaches I’ve read and heard about focus on learning as much vocabulary as possible, and not worrying too much about grammar, at least at first. For example you might focus on learning the most commonly-used phrases and words, and on using them at every opportunity. Later on you might learn […]

English, Language, Language learning, Russian, Words and phrases 3 Comments
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