Polyglot Conference – Day 1

The Polyglot Conference officially started today. There were talks and workshops all day on all sorts of interesting topics. I went to talks on Slovenian, linguistic relavtivity, Romani, the Cathars, and audiolinguistics. They were all interesting, especially the linguistic ones.

There was plenty of time between the talks to talk to other participants, and I managed to make some recordings in quite a variety of languages for the next episode of my podcast. I hope to make more recordings tomorrow.

I had conversations in English, Welsh, French, Irish, German, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, and tried to speak a few other languages.

They are preparing Ljubljana for the Ljubljana Marathon tomorrow, and quite a few streets are being lined with barriers. I hope I’ll be able to get to the conference venue tomorrow.

Thumbs and inches

I discovered today that the French word for thumb, pouce, also means inch, which makes sense as the length of the inch is apparently based on the width of a man’s thumb.

Related expressions include:

– se tourner les pouces, se rouler les pouces = to twiddle one’s thumbs
– manger sur le pouce = to grab a quick bite to eat (“to eat on the thumb”)
– déjeuner/dîner sur le pouce = to have a quick lunch/dinner (“to lunch/dine on the thumb”)
– donner un coup de pouce à quelqu’un = to help someone out (“to give a blow of the thumb to sb”)
– mettre les pouces = to throw in the towel; to give in; to give up (“to put the thumbs”)

The word inch comes from the Latin word uncia (a twelfth; ouce; inch), as does the word ounce, which is a twelfth of a troy pound [source]

The word for inch is the same as the word for thumb in Italian (pollice), Dutch and Afrikaans (duim), and Czech and Slovak (palec). How about in other languages?