Monthly Archives: January 2017

Plains, pianos and floors

The Welsh word llawr [ɬau̯r] means floor, deck, gallery, stage, platform, cellar, basement, ground, face, and a few other things. I discovered today that it has cognates in all the other Celtic languages: – leur (Cornish) = floor, ground – leur (Breton) = area, ground, floor, soil – lár (Irish) = ground, floor, middle, centre […]

Breton, Cornish, Dutch, English, Etymology, German, Irish, Italian, Language, Manx, Proto-Indo-European, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Welsh, Words and phrases 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 6 Comments

Cold Wintry Wind

I learnt an interesting Japanese word and kanji today – 凩 (こがらし / kogarashi), which means ‘cold wintry wind’ or ‘the cold wind that reminds us winter is coming’. It is also written 木枯し or 木枯, and is considered ‘untranslatable‘ by some. The character 凩 is a 国字 (こくじ / kokuji), that is one that […]

English, Japanese, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 2 Comments

Wheels with teeth

I discovered last night that in French a cog is a une dent, which also means a tooth, or une dent d’engrenage (“tooth gear”), and a cog wheel is une roue dentée (a toothed wheel), which is kind of a cog looks like. The English word cog, meaning a tooth on a gear, or a […]

English, Etymology, French, German, Language, Old Norse, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Polyglot Pub

Last week I went to the Polyglot Pub in London. I’ve been to similar events in Manchester and Liverpool, but this is the first one I’ve been to in London. It takes place once a month, usually at Penderel’s Oak, a pub in Holborn, and this month there were about 16 people there. The conversation […]

Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, French, Language, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Slovak, Swedish 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

Tell me all about it

According to an article on Science Daily, a good way to remember something you’re learnt is to tell someone else about it, or to test yourself on it. A study got students to watch films, then asked them to describe what they’d seen afterwards. Those who told someone about the films just after watching them […]

General, Language, Language learning, Memory 1 Comment

A Wayzgoose Chase

What do you call a printer that doesn’t work? A wayzgoose [ˈweɪzɡuːs]. A wayzgoose‽ What’s that? According to the Oxford Living Dictionaries, a wayzgoose is “An annual summer dinner or outing held by a printing house for its employees.” The Oxford Dictionaries blog says that: the wayzgoose was originally an entertainment given by a master-printer […]

English, Etymology, Language, Words and phrases 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 8 Comments

Going spooning

There’s a tradition in Wales of men carving spoons out of wood and presenting them to the ladies they love. If a lady accepts a spoon, then she and the man are considered a couple – engagements and weddings were apparently not common in rural Wales until the 18th century [source]. The websites that discuss […]

English, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases Comments Off on Going spooning
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