Adventures in Etymology – Tat

Today we’re exploring the origins of the word tat.

Trinkets

tat [tæt] is:

  • cheap, tasteless, useless goods; trinkets.
  • tatty articles or a tatty condition
  • a tangled mass
  • an abbreviation of tattoo

It comes from the Hindi टाट (ṭāṭ – burlap, gunny, hessian, sackcloth, sacking), or from tatty (worn out, shabby, tawdry, unkempt), which comes from tatter (a shred of torn cloth), from tattered (torn, ragged), from the Middle English tater (torn or ragged strips of material hanging from a garment), from the Old Norse tǫturr (tatters, rags) [source].

The word tatty also means potato in parts of northern England and Scotland. It’s a diminutive of potato, which comes from the Spanish patata (potato, piece of rubbish), from the Taíno batata (sweet potato) [source].

Another word for potato is spud [spʌd], which also means a sharp spadelike tool used for rooting or digging out weeds, and comes from the Middle English spudde [spud] (a small or inferior knife), possibly from the Old Norse spjót (spear, lance), from the Proto-Germanic *speutą/speutaz (spear), from the PIE *spewd- (to press; urge; hurry) [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, 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 of Etymology – Pique

Today we’re exploring the origins of the word pique.

aiiiiiiiiie ça-pique

Pique [piːk / pik] means:

  • to affect with sharp irritation and resentment, especially by some wound to pride
  • to wound (the pride, vanity, etc.)
  • to excite (interest, curiosity, etc.)
  • a feeling of irritation or resentment

It comes from the French piquer (to prick, sting, annoy, get angry, provoke), from the Old French piquer (to pierce with the tip of a sword), from the Vulgar Latin *pīccāre (to sting, strike, puncture), which is either onomatopoeic, or from the Frankish *pikkōn (to peck, strike), from the Proto-Germanic *pikkōną (to knock, peck, pick, prick) [source].

English words from the same Proto-Germanic root include pick and pitch. The pie in magpie possibly comes from the same root, via the Old French pie (magpie), and the Latin pīca (magpie) [source].

The Latin word pīca is the root of such words as the Spanish pica (pike, lance, pick, spade ♠), and picar (to itch, sting, chop, bite), and the Italian pica (magpie) [source].

Incidentally, the name of the Pokemon character Pikachu has nothing to do with stings or magpies. Instead it comes from the Japanese onomatopoeic word ピカピカ (pikapika – glittery, sparkly), and チューチュー (chūchū – squeak, cheep, peep, slurp, mouse) [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, 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 – Anniversary

Today we’re looking into the origins of the word anniversary, as it happens to be my birthday, or the anniversary of my birth, and anniversary is etymologically more interesting than birthday.

Thames Festival fireworks

An anniversary [ˌænɪˈvɜːs(ə)ɹi / ˌænəˈvɝs(ə)ɹi] is:

  • the yearly recurrence of the date of a past event.
  • the celebration or commemoration of such a date.
  • returning or recurring each year; annual.

It comes from the Medieval Latin anniversāria (diēs) / anniversārium, from the Latin anniversārius (annual, yearly), from annus (year, time, season), and vertere (to turn), so an anniversary marks the turning of the year or more poetically, a trip round the sun [source].

The origins of the word annus are uncertain, but we know that vertere comes from vertō (I turn, revolve), from the Proto-Italic *wertō (turn), from the PIE *wértti (to be turning around), from *wert- (to turn, rotate). [source].

Words from the same root include worth, versus, vertigo and vortex in English, worden [ˈʋɔrdə(n)] (to become, get, grow, turn) in Dutch, werden [ˈveːrdən] (will, to be going) in German and verter [beɾˈteɾ] (to pour, spill, shed) in Spanish [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, 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 – Salt

Today we’re looking into the origins of the word salt.

Sea Salt

Salt [sɒlt / sɔlt / sɑlt] is:

  • a white powder or colourless crystalline solid, consisting mainly of sodium chloride and used for seasoning and preserving food

It comes from the Middle English salt(e) / se(a)lt [salt/sɛlt] (salt), from the Old English sealta [sæ͜ɑɫt] (salt, salty, salted), from the Proto-West-Germaic *salt (salty), from the Proto-Germanic *saltaz [ˈsɑl.tɑz] (salty), from *saltaną [ˈsɑl.tɑ.nɑ̃] (to salt, pickle) from the PIE *seh₂l- (salt) [source].

In most modern Indo-European languages, words for salt begin with an s and contain an l, including sel in French, sal in Catalan, Spanish, Galician, Portuguese and Spanish, sollan in Manx, and sól [sul] in Polish. [source].

Exceptions include sare [ˈsa.re] in Romanian, zout [zɑu̯t] in Dutch, αλάτι [aˈlati] in Greek, աղ [ɑʁ] in Armenian, halen in Welsh, and holen in Cornish and Breton [source].

The word salary, comes from the same PIE root, via Middle English salarie, Old French salaire and the Latin salārium (salary), from salārius (related to salt), from sal (salt). It is thought that salārium was an abbreviation of salārium argentum (salt money), as Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in salt. However, there is no evidence for this [source].

Other English words from the same PIE root include salad, salami, saline, salsa, sauce, sausage, silt and halogen [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, 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 – Veranda

Today we’re looking at the various origins of the word veranda.

Veranda

A veranda [vəˈɹæn.də] is:

  • A porch or balcony, usually roofed and often partly enclosed, extending along the outside of a building.

It comes from Hindi बरामदा [bə.ɾɑːm.d̪ɑː] (barāmdā – porch, veranda, gallery, balcony), from Portuguese varanda [vɐˈɾɐ̃.dɐ] (balcony, veranda, terrace, porch), possibly from Latin vāra (fork, tripod, easel), from vārus (bent outwards, bandy) from PIE *h₁weh₂- (separate) [source].

Alternatively veranda might be related to the Sanskrit word वरण्ड (varaṇḍa – barrier, partition) [source], and/or the Spanish word baranda (railing, banister, handrail, balustrade) [source].

English words that probably come from the same Latin root (vārus), include various, vary and variety [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 words, etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, 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 – New Year

As today is New Year’s Day, I decided to look at the origins of the words new and year. Happy New Year, by the way.

Happy New Year in various languages

New [njuː/nu] means:

  • recently made, or created
  • additional; recently discovered

It comes from the Middle English newe [ˈniu̯(ə)] (new), from the Old English nīewe [ˈni͜yː.we] (new), from Proto-Germanic *niwjaz [ˈniu̯.jɑz] (new), from Proto-Indo-European *néwyos (new), from *néwos (new). [source].

Other English words from the same root include innovate, novice and novel [source].

Year [jɪə/jɪɹ] means:

  • the time it takes any astronomical object to complete one revolution of its star

It comes from the Middle English yeer/yere (year), from the Old English ġēar [jæ͜ɑːr] (year), from the Proto-Germanic *jērą [ˈjɛː.rɑ̃] (year), from the Proto-Indo-European *yóh₁r̥ (year) [source].

Words from the same root, via the Latin hōra (hour, time, o’clock, season), include: hora (hour, time, period) in Spanish, ora (hour, time) in Italian, heure (hour, time, o’clock) in French, and hour in English [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 words, etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, 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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Episode 48 – Gamification

In this episode I talk about the gamification of language learning, and specifically how gamification is used in language learning apps like Duolingo.

What is Gamification?
According to Wikipedia, “Gamification is the strategic attempt to enhance systems, services, organizations, and activities in order to create similar experiences to those experienced when playing games in order to motivate and engage users.”

Theme tune

Friday Afternoon / Prynhawn Dydd Gwener

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

Find out more about StoryLearning [affiliate link]

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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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Omniglot News (12/09/21)

This week I added details of Xiǎo’érjīng (小兒錦 / ثِیَوْعَرڭٍ۟), which is a way to write Mandarin Chinese (普通话) and Dungan (Хуэйзў йүян) with the Arabic alphabet that’s sometimes used by Muslims in China.

There are two new constucted scripts: Elithnah and IKON.

  • Elithnah was created by Richard Orbeck, and is used in his novel Lost Blood to write Dadeirom b’Vae, a constructed language that features in the book.
  • IKON is a graphical communication system designed to be an easy, intuitive, international and transcultural visual language developed by the KomunIKON project.

There are two new languages on Omniglot this week, thanks to Wolfram Siegel: Singlish and Provençal.

  • Singlish is a creole spoken in Singapore that combines elements of English, Hokkien, Malay, Tamil and other languages.
  • Provençal (pro(u)vençau) is a variety of Occitan spoken mainly in Provence in the southeast of France.

There’s also a new numbers page in Provençal.

There are Omniglot blog posts about Iron Ferrets and about the IKON script, as well as the usual language quiz.

The Celtiadur post this week is about words for kisses and related things in Celtic languages.

This week’s Adventure in Etymology delves into the origins of the word iron, and versions of this adventure can be found on Instagram and TikTok and YouTube, which includes some extras bits.

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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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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