Monthly Archives: June 2017

Shelfies

I came across a new word on Instagram today – shelfie, a portmanteau of shelf and selfie meaning, according to Wiktionary, “a photograph of a bookshelf/bookcase taken by its owner and shared on social media.” The context I saw the word was even more specific – language shelfies, i.e. a photo of a bookshelf containing […]

English, Language, Words and phrases Leave a comment

Gaelic hills

I’m currently reading an interesting book – Uncommon Ground – A word-lover’s guide to the British landscape by Dominick Tyler. One thing I’ve learnt from it, is that there are quite a few words in Scottish Gaelic related to hills and mountains: Beinn [beiɲ / beɲə] = mountain, mount; high hill, pinnacle; head, top, high […]

English, Etymology, Irish, Language, Scottish Gaelic, 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 3 Comments

In a jiffy

A jiffy is very short, unspecified length of time. For example, “I’ll be back in a jiffy”. It can refer to more precise units of time, and was first defined by Gilbert Newton Lewis (1875–1946) as the time it takes light to travel one centimeter in a vacuum (about 33.3564 picoseconds). Other definitions are available. […]

English, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Standing still on the longest day

Today is the longest day of the year and the summer solstice. After several hot, sunny days in Bangor, today it’s cloudy, warm and muggy. The word solstice comes from the Old French solstice, from Latin sōlstitium (solstice; summer), from sol (sun) and sto (stand), from sistō (I stand still). Sol comes from the Proto-Italic […]

English, Etymology, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Proto-Indo-European, Scottish Gaelic, Words and phrases 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 5 Comments

Wandering prattlers

It has been brought to my attention that in Swedish the most common way to say ‘speak’, at least in Stockholm, is pratar, and that few people use talar anymore. Är detta sant? Is this true? The Duolingo course I’m studying Swedish with uses talar, – pratar has not come up yet. According to Witionary, […]

English, Etymology, Language, Old Norse, Proto-Indo-European, Swedish, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Magic Café

Tonight I will mainly be listening to the band Circe’s Diner at Blue Sky Café. I haven’t heard them before, but their reviews are good. Also playing tonight is the Ewan Macintyre band. When I saw the name, I naturally wondered how to pronounce circe, and where the word came from. According to Wikipedia, circe […]

Language, Music Leave a comment

Closing out

On some podcasts I listen to, I’ve noticed that the presenters use the phrase close out when talking about the end of the show. For example, they say things like “Finally we will close out with an item about …”, or “It’s now time to close out the show.” To my British ears this expression […]

English, 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 5 Comments
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