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.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Adventures in Etymology 26 – Iron

Today we’re getting elemental and delving into the origins of the word iron [ˈaɪ.ən/ˈaɪ.ɚn].

iron fence

Definition:

  • an element which usually takes the form of a hard, dark-grey metal that can be used to make steel.
  • an electrical device with a flat metal base that heats up and is used to remove creases from clothes.

[source]

It comes from the Middle English word iren [ˈiːrən] (iron), from the Old English īsern [ˈiː.sern] (iron), from the Proto-West-Germanic *īsarn (iron) from the Proto-Germanic **īsarną [ˈiː.sɑr.nɑ̃] (iron), from the Proto-Celtic *īsarnom (iron), probably from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁ēsh₂r̥no- (bloody, red), from *h₁ésh₂r̥ (flowing blood) [source].

Words for iron in Germanic and Celtic languages come from the same Proto-Celtic root, including ijzer [ˈɛi̯zər] in Dutch, Eisen [ˈʔaɪ̯zn̩] in German, haearn [ˈhai.arn] in Welsh and iarann [ˈiəɾˠən̪ˠ] in Irish [source].

Incidentally, the word irony is not related to iron at all. Instead it comes from the Middle French ironie (irony), from the Latin īrōnīa (irony), from the Ancient Greek εἰρωνεία [eː.rɔː.něː.a] (irony, pretext), from εἴρων (one who feigns ignorance) [source].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog and a recent post was about Iron Ferrets.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

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

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 (05/09/21)

This week on Omniglot there are details of several new languages from southern Mexico, thanks to Wolfram Siegel:

  • Acazulco Otomi (Ndöö́ngüǘ yühǘ) is an Eastern Otomian language spoken in the town of San Jerónimo Acazulco in the state of Mexico.
  • Sierra Otomi (Yųhų / Ñųhų) is another Eastern Otomian language spoken in the states of Hidalgo, Veracruz and Puebla.
  • Temoaya Otomi (Ñatho) is a Southwestern Otomian language spoken in Temoya and Toluca in the state of Mexico.
  • Misantla Totonac (Laakanaachiwíin) is a Totonacan language spoken in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

I made improvements to the Bassari, Balanta-Kentohe and Balanta-Ganja language pages as well, also thanks to Wolfram Siegel.

There’s a new phrases page in Gwentian Welsh (Gwenhwyseg), a dialect of Welsh spoken in Gwent and Glamorgan in the south east of Wales. I have recordings for most of them which I’ll be adding when I have a spare moment or two.

There’s a new numbers page in Turoyo (ܛܘܪܝܐ / ܣܘܪܝܬ), an Eastern Aramaic language spoken in southeastern Turkey and northeastern Syria.

There are Omniglot blog posts about Dutch words, Climbing Up, and about similarities and differences between Japanese and Chinese, High Costs, as well as the usual language quiz.

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

This week’s Adventure in Etymology tells a tale about the origins of the word yarn. Versions of this adventure can be found on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.

Meanwhile on Duolingo I recently reached 1,500 days in my current streak (1,506 today). I am currently studying Japanese and Spanish there, and I’ve also completed courses in Swedish, Russian, Danish, Czech, Esperanto and Romanian.

In other news, I was a guest judge for the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge this week. It was nice to catch up with Benny Lewis and Shannon Kennedy, who run it, and to ‘meet’ the finalists, who learnt an impressive amount during their 3-month challenges.

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

Adventures in Etymology 25 – Yarn

Today we’re spinning a yarn and telling a tale about the origins of the word yarn [jɑːn/jɑɹn].

Yarn

Definition:

  • a continuous strand of twisted threads of natural or synthetic fibers, such as wool or nylon, used in weaving or knitting.
  • A long, often elaborate narrative of real or fictitious adventures; an entertaining tale.

[source]

It comes from the Middle English word yarn(e) / ȝern [ˈjarn/ˈjɛrn] (yarn, fibre used to weave or knit), from the Old English word ġearn [jæ͜ɑr(ˠ)n] (yarn), from the Proto-Germanic *garną (yarn) from *garnō (gut, intestine), from the Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰorn-/ǵʰer- (gut, intestine) [source].

The English words hernia, cord and chord come from the same PIE root: hernia via the Latin hernia (protruded viscus, hernia) [source], and c(h)ord via the Old French corde (rope), from Latin chorda [ˈkʰor.da] (tripe, intestine, string of a musical instrument), from the Ancient Greek χορδά [kʰor.dɛ̌ː] (khordá – guts, intestines, gut string(s) of a musical instrument such as a lyre) [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

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

Adventures in Etymolgy 24 – Ado

Today we are looking at the word ado [əˈduː], so without further ado, let’s go.

Much Ado About Nothing

Definition:

  • bustle, fuss, flurry, confusion, turmoil, commotion, trouble, bother, bustling activity

[source]

It tends used in set expressions, such as “without further ado” and “with much ado” and is sometimes replaced with to-do, which means the same thing.

It comes from a Northern Middle English expression at do – the at comes from Old Norse, where it’s an infinitive marker, and such infinitive markers are still used in Danish (at), Swedish (att) and Norwegian (att). The do comes from the Middle English do(n) (to do) [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

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.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Omniglot News (22/08/21)

This week’s new languages are:

  • Ateso – an Eastern Nilotic language spoken in eastern Uganda and northwestern Kenya.
  • Ngaju – a West Barito language spoken in the province of Central Kalimantan in Indonesia.
  • Lango (Lëblaŋo) – a Southern Luo language spoken in northern Uganda.
  • Melanau – a North Bornean language spoken in the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo in Malaysia.

There’s a new adapted script called Arabulga (арабълга / ارابعلغا), which is a way to write Bulgarian with the Arabic alphabet.

There are new numbers pages in Ateso and Alutiiq (Sugpiaq), which is an Eskimo-Aleut language spoken in western Alsaka.

This week’s Celtiadur post is about words for stables and enclosures in Celtic languages, and there are Omniglot blog posts about Fences and Worthless Slabs, and the language quiz. The answer to last week’s language quiz was Jebero (Shiwilu), a Cahuapanan language spoken in northern Peru.

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

I also made improvements to the Cantonese language page and the Altay phrases page this week.

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

Adventures in Etymology 23 – Hedge

Today we are looking at the word hedge [hɛdʒ].

Hedges

Definition:

  • a row of bushes or small trees planted close together, especially when forming a fence or boundary

[source]

It comes from the Middle English word hegge [hɛd͡ʒ] (hedge, bush, shrub), from the Old English heċġ [hed͡ʒ] (fence), from the Proto-West-Germanic *haggju (hedge), from the Proto-Germanic *hagjō [ˈxɑɣ.jɔ] (hedge), from the PIE *kagʰyóm (enclosure, hedge) [source].

The English words quay (as in a stone wharf) and haw (as in hawthorn, and an old word hedge) come from the same root, as does the Welsh word cae [kaːɨ̯/kai̯] (field, pitch), the Cornish word ke (hedge, fence), and the Breton word kae (hedge) [source].

Other words from the same root include the French haie [ɛ] (hedge, obstacle, hurdle, fence), which was borrowed from Frankish, and words for hedge in Germanic languages, including Hecke [ˈhɛkʰə] in German and heg [ɦɛx] in Dutch [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

Omniglot News (15/08/21)

This week’s new languages are: Kelabit, Bonggi and Ida’an

  • Kelabit (karuh Kelabit) – a North Bornean language spoken mainly in the Bario Highlands of Sarawak in Malaysia, and in nearby parts of East Kalimantan province in Indonesia.
  • Bonggi – a North Bornean language spoken on the islands of Banggai and Balambangan, part of the Malaysian state of Sabah
  • Ida’an (Buri’ Lun Bawang) – a North Bornean language spoken in the state of Sabah on the island of Borneo in Malaysia.

There’s a new adapted script called Cantonese Phonetic Symbols (廣東話注音符號), which is a way to represent the sounds of Cantonese using the Zhuyin fuhao (bopomofo) phonetic script.

There are new numbers pages in Akuapem and Akan, which are Kwa languages spoken in Ghana and Ivory Coast.

This week’s Celtiadur post is about wool and related words.

That inspired an Omniglot blog post about wool-related expressions in English, Dutch and Welsh called Unreliable Wool. There’s also a blog post about the Dutch word stuurknuppel, which could be literally translated as “Steering Club”, and the language quiz.

The answer to last week’s language quiz was Maskelynes (Kuliviu), an Oceanic language spoken mainly in the Maskelyne Islets in Vanuatu.

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

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