Languages in the news

Here are a few language-related articles I found recently:

Tolkien and Made Up Languages – an article about Tolkien, whose 120 birthday it would be today if he was still around, his languages, and other fictional languages such as Newspeak and Nadsat.

The secret to learning languages – Tips from the polyglots: Find out how your brain works.

I’ve also discovered that Collins Dictionaries in English, French, German and Spanish are available for free online. They also give translations of words in quite a few other languages.

Faclair Dwelly

I heard recently that there is now an online version of Dwelly’s Gaelic Dictionary, the most comprehensive Gaelic dictionary currently available. You can search for words via Scottish Gaelic or English, a significant improvement on printed version. You can also search for whole words, parts of words, exact spellings or similar sounding words. Another advantage of the online version of the dictionary is that you can read the text clearly and change the size if necessary – in the printed version the text is quite small and not always easy to read.

Edward Dwelly (1864-1939) was an English man with no Scottish connections who became fascinated by Scotland and learned to speak Gaelic like a native, and to play the bagpipes to a virtuoso level. He was also an active member of Comunn Gàidhealach an Lunainn (the Gaelic Society of London). He started work on his Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary in 1891, and it was published between 1902 and 1911. He not only compiled the dictionary, but also edited, illustrated, proof-read and printed it.

While the dictionary is somewhat out of date, the guys who digitised it are planning to add new words, recordings and images to it to bring it up-to-date.

Multilingual resources

I found some useful sites with information in multiple languages today:

The multilingual bird search engine contains the names of birds in eighteen languages, including Catalan, Danish, Esperanto, English, French, German and Swedish, as well as their scientific names.

The Multilingual dictionary of musical terms is a musical glossary in English, French, German and Serbian.

Multilingual Animal Glossary of Unveiled Synonyms (MAGUS) is a dictionary of the common names of wild and domestic mammals and birds in more than 50 languages of Europe.

Medical dictionaries

A useful site I heard about recently is Practicing Spanish, which focuses on medical Spanish for healthcare providers. It includes daily dialogues, with audio, useful phrases for different medical situations, anatomical terminology, basic vocabulary, notes on culture and information about Spanish-speaking countries, as well as a number of folk songs. The author of the site is a Spanish teacher in the USA with training in medical interpreting.

A similar site I found today contains a glossary of medical terms in nine European languages (Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish).

There’s another mutilingual medical dictionary at: