Omniglot News (26/09/21)

There are three new languages on Omniglot this week:

  • Kambera (hilu Humba), a Sumba-Flores language spoken mainly in the east of Sumba Island in the Lesser Sunda Islands in East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia.
  • Mentawai (Behase Mentawei), a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken in the Mentawai Islands in West Sumatra province of Indonesia.
  • Gayo (Basa Gayo), a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken in Aceh province in the highland region of north Sumatra in Indonesia.

There’s new adapated script on Omniglot week called Hermosa española (هعرمۆسا عسپاڽۆلا), which is a way to write Spanish with the Arabic alphabet devised by Zayan Anwar.

There are new numbers pages in Proto-Italic, Umbrian, Oscan and Ket.

On the Omniglot blog this week I wrote a post about the Japanese word 賑やか / にぎやか (nigiyaka), because I just liked the sound of it, and related words in Japanese and Chinese, as well as the usual language quiz.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Kanakanavu, a Southern Tsouic language spoken in the villages of Manga and Takanua in Namasia District (那瑪夏區) of Kaohsiung (高雄) in southern Taiwan.

In this week’s Celtiadur post you can find connections between words for victory in Celtic languages, the English word booty, and Queen Boudica.

This week’s Adventure in Etymology looks into the origins of the word neighbour, as I got to know some of my neighbours better this week. I found out that some of them speak other languages, including Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, French and Irish, and I got to speak a bit of all those languages, and some Welsh as well with one of my builders.

I made a new video this week featuring me play a tune I wrote a few years ago called the Dancing Donkeys on four different instruments, and it’s been getting a lot of views and likes on TikTok particularly.

In other news, work started on laying the foundations of my new garden studio this week:

Laying the foundations for my garden studio

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology 27 – Bucket

Today we’re looking into the the origins of the word bucket [ˈbʌkɪt/ˈbə-kət].

Fire buckets

Definition:

  • a container made of rigid material, often with a handle, used to carry liquids or small items.
  • a part of a piece of machinery that resembles a bucket

[source]

It comes from the Middle English buket/boket [ˈbukɛt] (bucket), partly from the Old English bucc (bucket, pitcher), partly from the Anglo-Norman buket/buquet (tub, pail), from the Old French buc (abdomen, object with a cavity), from the Frankish *būk (belly, trunk, torso), from the Proto-Germanic *būkaz [ˈbuː.kɑz] (belly, abdomen, body), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰōw- (to blow, swell) [source].

Words for the same Proto-Germanic root include bowk (to retch, vomit, emit smoke) in Scots, buik [bœy̯k] (belly, paunch) in Dutch, buque [ˈbuke] (ship, vessel) in Spanish, and buco [ˈbu.ko] (hole, gap, hovel) in Italian [source].

The English word trebuchet also comes from the same Proto-Germanic root, via the Old French trebuchet/trebuket (trebuchet, bird trap), from trebuchier (to fall/knock over), from tres (trans-, across, intensifying prefix) and buc (abdomen) [source].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Omniglot News (29/08/21)

This week we have a new writing system on Omniglot: the Qiang Script, which was created in 2017 and is used to write the Qiang languages of Sichuan Province in the southwest of China. One of those languages, Northern Qiang (Rrmea), now features on Omniglot, and was the mystery language in this week’s language quiz on the Omniglot blog.

There’s a new phrases page in Cumbric (Cumbraek), a reconstructed language based on Cumbric, a Celtic language that was spoken in parts of northern England and southern Scotland until about the 12th century.

There’s a new page about colour words and expressions in Igbo (Ásụ̀sụ̀ Ìgbò), a Volta-Niger language spoken mainly in southeast Nigeria.

There’s a new article about Colloquial Indonesian Spoken by Papuans, that is on the island of New Guinea in Papua New Guinea, and in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.

This week’s Celtiadur post is about words for oxen and related words in Celtic languages. I discovered that words for sheep in the Brythonic languages, such as dafad in Welsh, are related to words for oxen and stags in the Goidelic languages, such as damh, which can refer to an ox, stag, strong man, champion or a corpulent person.

There are Omniglot blog posts about words for skips, dumpsters and related things in English and French: Skip to the Bin and Skips and Dumpsters.

This week’s Adventure in Etymology looks at the origins of the word ado.

There is a new Radio Omniglot podcast about surnames, specifically about some of the most common surnames in England and Wales.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Episode 46 – Surnames

The word surname, as in a family name, comes from the Late Latin supernōmen/suprānōmen (surname), from super- (over, above, beyond) and nōmen (name) [source].

The most common surnames in England are: Smith, Jones, Taylor, Brown, Williams, Wilson, Johnson, Davies, Robinson and Wright [source].

Types of surname:

  • Occupational; Smith, Taylor, Wright
  • Patronimics; Jones, Williams, Wilson, Johnson, Davies, Robinson
  • Based on appearance: Brown

Smith is the most common surname in the English-speaking world, as are equivalents in many other languages, including Schmidt in German, Ferraro / Ferrari in Italian, Herrero in Spanish, Kovač in Serbian, Croatian, Slovak and Slovenian, and Mac Gabhann (McGowan) in Irish. It comes from the Old English word smitan (to smite, strike).

A smith is someone who works with metal, and has been used as an occupational surname since Anglo-Saxon times. There are various kinds of smith, and their names are or were used as surnames, including Blacksmith (works mainly with iron); Brownsmith and Redsmith (work with copper); Goldsmith (works mainly with gold); Shoesmith (makes horseshoes); Sixsmith (makes scythes and sickles – a version of Scythesmith or Sicklesmith), and Whitesmith (works with tin) [source].

The surname Taylor came to Britian with the Normans, and was first used in 1182. It comes from the Old French word tailleur (cutter). It is also common in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA [source].

The surname Wright comes from the Old English word wryhta/wyrhta (worker, shaper of wood). It is also common in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. There are quite a few surname that include wright, such as: Arkwright (a maker of wooden chests), Boatwright (a maker of boats), Cartwright (a maker of carts), Plowright (a maker of ploughs), Wainwright (a maker of wagons) [source].

Other occupational surnames include: Faulkner / Falconer (falcon trainer), Fletcher (arrow maker), Hayward (hedge warden), Parker (keeper of the park) and Walker (a fuller of cloth) [source].

Jones is the most common surname is Wales, and is also common in England and the USA. It’s based on Welsh patronimics meaning “son of John”, such as Mab Ioan or ap Siôn. These were commonly used until the mid 16th century, when Welsh people started using surnames, and many Welsh names were Anglicised, as all official documents had to be in English. Davies and Williams have similar origins [source]. More on Welsh surnames.

The surname Brown was originally a nickname for someone with brown hair or clothing. It’s common in England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and the USA. It was first used in England in 1066 in the form of Brun [source].

Other colour-based surnames include Black (dark-haired, or short for blacksmith), White (possibly referred to pale complexioned Vikings), Green (one who lives by the village green or is from a place called Green), Blue (someone with blue eyes / blue clothes), Red (red haired, ruddy complexion), Orange (associated with the Dutch House of Orange) and Pink (nickname for a bright, chirpy person) [source].

Other sourses
https://www.behindthename.com/name/geoffrey
https://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Ager
https://www.familyeducation.com/baby-names/name-meaning/ager


If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology 22 – Fence

Today we’re looking at the word fence [fɛns], as my slate fence is being replaced with a wooden one, mainly to stop my neighbour’s dog from getting in my garden.

Fences

Definition:

  • a barrier enclosing or bordering a field, yard, etc, usually made of vertical posts connected with horizontal sections of sturdy material such as wood, metal or wire, used to prevent entrance, to confine, or to mark a boundary

[source]

It comes from the Middle English word fence/fens, from the Old French defens(e) (defence), from the Latin dēfensa [d̪ɛˈfɛnsɑ] (defense, protection), from dēfendō [d̪eːˈfɛn̪d̪oː] (to defend, guard, protect), from dē- (of, from) and *fendō (hit, thrust) [source].

The English word defend comes from the same root, as do related words in other European languages, such as défendre (to defend, forbid) in French and amdiffyn (to protect, defend) in Welsh [source].

The Old English word for fence was edor [ˈe.dor], which also meant enclosure, hedge, shelter, dwelling, house, protector or prince. This became edder, an now obsolete word that refers to flexible wood worked into the top of hedge stakes, to bind them together. [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Adventures in Etymology 20 – Distract

Today we are looking at the word distract [dɪsˈtɹækt], that’s if I don’t get distracted, as often happens.

Distracted

Definition:

  • to draw away or divert, as the mind or attention
  • to disturb or trouble greatly in mind, beset
  • to provide a pleasant diversion for; amuse; entertain
  • to separate or divide by dissension or strife

[source]

It comes from the Latin word distractus (divided, scattered; sold), from the distrahō (I draw, pull, drag asunder), from dis- (asunder, apart, in two), and *trahō (I drag, pull), from the PIE *dʰregʰ- (to pull, draw, drag) [source].

From the same Latin root come such words as traire (to milk) in French, traer (to bring, fetch, attract, pull) in Spanish, trazer [tɾɐ.ˈzeɾ/tɾa.ˈze(ʁ)] (to bring) in Portuguese, and tractor, tract and traction in English [source].

From the same PIE root, via Proto-Germanic draganą [ˈdrɑ.ɣɑ.nɑ̃] (to draw, pull, carry) and the Old English dragan [ˈdrɑ.ɣɑn] (to draw, drag), we get the English words draw drag [source].

As I mentioned in this episode, I often get distracted. I even wrote a song about this, called Distraction – I was planning to write one about owls, but got distracted and wrote this one instead. Later I did write an owl-related song called The Little Green Owl.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

Episode 45 – Japanese (日本語)

In this episode I talk about Japanese, giving an overview of the history of the language, its vocabulary and grammar, and how and why I learnt it.

日本語 (nihongo/nippongo) = Japanese

  • 日 (nichi, jitsu, hi, bi, ka) = day, sun, Japan, counter for days. E.g. 日曜日 (nichiyōbi – Sunday), 日々 (hibi / nichinichi – daily), 日陰 (hikage – shade, shadow, sunlight), 日外 (jitsugai – once, some time ago)
  • 本 (moto, hon) = origin, source, base, foundation, root, cause, ingredient, material; book, volume, script; counter for long cylindrical things. e.g. 本木 (motoki – original stock
  • 語 (go) = word, language, speech
  • 語る (kataru) = to talk about, speak of, tell, narate, recite, chant, indicate, show
  • 日本 (nihon/nippon) = Japan (“sun’s origin”) – nippon is used in official uses, such as on banknotes and stamps, while nihon is used in everyday speech.

Japan used to be called 倭 (wa) or 倭國 (wakoku) in Chinese – a name first used in the 3rd century AD. 倭 means “dwarf” or “submissive”. Later the Japanese changed the character 倭 to 和 (peaceful, harmonious) and combined it with 大 (big, great) to form 大和 (yamato) or “Great Wa”, which possibly originally referred to a place in Japan – 山戸 (yamato) or “Mountain Gate”.

絵文字 (emoji) = pictorial symbol, pictograph or pictogram. Also written 絵もじ or エモジ.

  • 絵 (e, kai) = picture, drawing, painting
  • 文 (fumi, aya, bun, mon) = sentence, text, letter
  • 字 (aze, azana, na, ji) = character, letter, written text

More information about Japanese
https://www.omniglot.com/writing/japanese.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanji
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Japan
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Japanese_terms_derived_from_Portuguese
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Japanese_terms_derived_from_Dutch
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_sound_symbolism
https://www.fluentu.com/blog/japanese/interesting-facts-about-japanese-language/

Music featured in this episode

Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch

See the score for this tune.

幻想的の曲 (gensō-teki no kyoku) – a sort-of Japanese-sounding improvisation played by me on the tenor and descant recorders.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Adventures in Etymology 19 – Masks

Today we are looking at the word mask [mɑːsk/mæsk].

Me in a mask

Definition:

  • a covering for all or part of the face that protects, hides, or decorates the person wearing it
  • appearance or behaviour that hides the truth [source]

It comes from the Middle French word masque (a covering to hide or protect the face), from the Italian maschera [ˈmas.ke.ra] (mask, disguise), from the Medieval Latin masca (witch, hag, spectre, nightmare, mask), from the Proto-West Germanic *maskā (mesh), from the Proto-Germanic *maskwǭ (loop, knot, mesh, netting, mesh used as a filter, facemask). The English words mesh and mascara come from the same root [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

Adventures in Etymology 18 – Parnips

Today we are looking at the word parsnip [ˈpɑː.snɪp/ˈpɑɹ.snɪp].

Parsnips

Definition:

  • A plant (Pastinaca sativa) in the parsley family, native to Eurasia, cultivated for its long, white, edible, fleshy root.
  • The root of this plant.

It comes from the Middle English word passenep a version of the Old French word pasnaie, with influence from the Middle English word nepe [neːp] (turnip), from the Latin pastināca [pas.tiˈnaː.ka] (parsnip, carrot, stringray) from pastinum [ˈpas.ti.num] (two-pronged fork/dibble), which is of unknown orgin [source].

Words for parsnip are similiar in quite a few other languages, including pastinaca in Italian, pastinaak in Dutch and panais in French.

One exception is Spanish, in which parsnip is chirivía [t͡ʃi.ɾiˈβ̞i.a], from alcaravea [al.ka.ɾaˈβ̞e.a] (caraway), from the Arabic كَرَاوِيَا‎ (karāwiyā, caraway) [source].

This adventure was inspired by a friend who sent me a collection of ‘useful’ phrases from the Welsh course on Duolingo concerning Owen and his parsnips.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

Adventures in Etymology 17 – Balance

Today we are endeavouring to maintain a state of equilibrium by looking at the word balance [ˈbæləns].

The scales of justice

Definition:
– a state in which opposing forces harmonise; equilibrium.
– something of equal weight used to provide equilibrium; counterweight
– awareness of both viewpoints or matters; neutrality; rationality; objectivity.

It comes from the Middle English word balaunce [baˈlantsə] (a set of scales), from the Middle French balance (scales), from the Latin Latin *bilancia from the Latin *bilanx [ˈbɪɫ̪äŋks̠] ((of a balance) having two scales) from bi- (twice) and lanx [ɫ̪äŋks̠] (dish, plate, scalepan) [source].

In Latin the word for a pair of scales or balance was libra, which was also a unit of measure equal to twelve ounces or a pound (lb). This is the root of words for weight and currency in various languages, including livre (pound) in French, lira in Italian, and libra (pound) in Portuguese and Spanish [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.