Adventures in Etymology – Runes (ᚱᚢᚾᛟ)

Today we’re delving into the secret and mysterious origins of the word rune.

Runic stone - National Museum, Copenhagen

Rune [ɹuːn] means:

  • any of the characters of certain ancient alphabets of Germanic languages, esp. of Scandinavia and Britain, from about the 3rd to 13th centuries.
  • something written or inscribed in such characters.
  • something secret or mysterious.

It comes from Old Norse rún (secret, rune), from Proto-Norse ᚱᚢᚾᛟ [ˈruː.noː] (runo – secret, mystery, rune, inscription, message), from Proto-Germanic *rūnō [ˈruː.nɔː] (secret, mystery, rune), possibly from Proto-Celtic *rūnā (secret, mystery) [source].

Words for runes in Germanic languages come from the same Proto-Germanic root, including rune [ˈrynə] in Dutch, rune [rʉːnə] Norwegian, and runa in Swedish [source].

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root include rún (mystery, secret, intention, purpose, love, affection) in Irish, and rhin (secret, mystery, enchantment, virute, occult) in Welsh [source].

In Irish a rún is used as a term of affection meaning “my dear/darling”. It appears in the traditional song Siúil a Rún:

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 – Telling Tales

In today’s Adventure in Etymology we’re telling tales about the origins of the word tale.

Telling Tales

A tale [teɪl] is:

  • a narrative that relates the details of some real or imaginary event, incident, or case; story
  • a literary composition having the form of such a narrative
  • a falsehood; lie
  • a rumor or piece of gossip, often malicious or untrue

It used to mean:

  • number, tally, quota
  • account, estimation, regard, heed
  • speech, language
  • a speech, a statement, talk, conversation, discourse
  • a count, declaration

It comes from the Middle English tale [ˈtaːl(ə)] (personal narrative, account), from the Old English talu [ˈtɑ.lu] (account, reckoning, tale, narration) from the Proto-West Germanic *talu (narration, report, assessment, judgement, calculation, counting), from the Proto-Germanic *talō (narration, report), from the PIE *dol-éh₂ (reckoning, calculation, fraud), from *del- (to reckon, calculate) [source].

Some words from the same Proto-Germanic root include tell in English, taal [taːl] (language) in Dutch and Afrikaans, Zahl [tsaːl] (number, numeral, figure) in German, tala [ˈtʰaːla] (a speech, button, number) in Icelandic, tala [ˈtɑːˌla] (to speak, tell, talk) in Swedish, and tale [ˈtˢæːlə] (speech, talk, discourse; to speak, talk) in Danish [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

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

Here’s a silly little ditty I wrote in 2019 called Tall Tales:

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 – Gates & Streets

In today’s Adventure in Etymology we’re find out when a gate is not a gate.

A gate [ɡeɪt] is:

  • A doorlike structure outside a house.
  • A doorway, opening, or passage in a fence or wall.
  • A movable barrier.

It comes from the Middle English gat(e)/ȝat(e) [ɡa(ː)t/ja(ː)t] (gate), from the Old English ġe(a)t/gat [jæ͜ɑt] (gate) from the Proto-West Germanic *gat (hole, opening) from the Proto-Germaic *gatą [ˈɣɑ.tɑ̃] (hole, opening, passage), from *getaną [ˈɣe.tɑ.nɑ̃] (to attain, acquire, get, receive, hold) [source].

In parts of northern England the word gate means a way, path or street, and in Scots it means way, road, path or street. It appears mainly in street names such as Briggate (“bridge street”) and Kirkgate (“church street”). It comes from the Old Norse gata (street, road), from the Proto-Germanic *gatwǭ [ˈɣɑt.wɔ̃ː] (street, passage), which comes from the same Proto-Germanic root as the other kind of gate.

Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate

Words from the same Old Norse root include gata [ˈɡɑːˌta] (street, frontage, strip) in Swedish, gate (street) in Norwegian and gade [ˈɡ̊æːðə] (street, road) in Danish, Gasse [ˈɡasə] (alley) in German, and gas [χɑs/ɣɑs] (unpaved street) 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 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 (17/10/21)

There are three new language pages on Omniglot this week:

  • Tukang Besi, a Celebic language spoken mainly in the Tukangbesi Islands in Wakatobi district of Southeast Sulawesi Province in central Indonesia.
  • Chittagonian (চিটাইঙ্গা), an Eastern Bengali-Assamese language spoken in the Chittagong Division in southeast Bangladesh.
  • Wolio, a Celebic language spoken in the province of Southeast Sulawesi in Indonesia.

There’s a new adapated script: Malay-Indonesian Cyrillic (Алфабэт Кирил Мэлайу-Индонэсиа), a way to write Malay and Indonesian with the Cyrillic alphabet devised by Naufal Rizky Rahardian.

There are new phrases and numbers in Kven (kvääni), a Finnic language spoken in northern Norway.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Kven, and I’ve just posted a new Language Quiz.

There’s a new post on the Omniglot blog called Fighting Combs, about the Scots word fecht (to fight), and related words in Dutch, English, German, Swedish and Russian.

There are two new Celtiadur posts this week: one about Ale and Beer and one about Lakes and Ponds.

In this week’s Adventure in Etymology we find connections between Words and Verbs.

I made improvements to Maithili phrases page, which now has translations of all the phrases thanks to Binu V Nair of Languages Home.

In other news, I went to a folk music session on Tuesday night and spoke, and sang in, Welsh most of the time. We also spoke some Irish, German, Dutch, Finnish and English – just a typical night in Bangor.

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 29 – Rain

As quite a bit of wet stuff has been falling out of the sky this week, and it’s raining as I write this, I thought I’d look into the the origins of the word rain [ɹeɪn].

A photo of rain taken from my house

Definition:

  • condensed water falling from a cloud
  • any matter moving or falling, usually through air

[source]

It comes from the Middle English reyn/rein [rɛi̯n/reːn] (rain), from the Old English reġn [rejn] (rain), from the Proto-West Germanic *regn [rejn] (rain), from the Proto-Germanic *regną (rain), possibly from the PIE *Hreǵ- (to flow) [source], or from *reg- (to water, moisture, wetness) [source]

Words for rain in other Germanic languages come from the same Proto-Germanic root, including regen [ˈreɣə(n)] in Dutch, Regen [ˈʁeː.ɡŋ̍] in German, and regn in Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Faroese and Icelandic, with different pronunciations in each language [source].

The English word irrigate comes from the same PIE root, via the Latin irrigare (to irrigate), from irrigō (I water, irrigate, flood), from in- (after) and rigō (I wet, moisten, water) [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Here’s a song I wrote about rain:

A slightly different version can be heard at:

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.

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Episode 47 – Emoji (🖼️✍️)

Today we are looking at the origins and use of emoji, those little symbols that appear
in text messages, emails and other electronic communications.

An emoji is a pictogram, logogram, ideogram or smiley used in electronic messages and web pages. Emoji are used to fill in emotional cues otherwise missing from typed conversations. They include facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather and animals [source].

The word emoji comes from the Japanese word 絵文字 (emoji), which is also written えもじ or エモジ, and means emoji, pictorial symbol, pictograph or pictogram, or literally “picture writing” [source].

Emoji first appeared in 1997 on a Japanese mobile phone made by J-Phone called the SkyWalker DP-211SW, which included 90 black and white emoji. It didn’t sell well and the emoji were rarely used.

A set of 176 colour emoji were created in 1999 by Shigetaka Kurita (栗田穣崇), who was inspired by manga (漫画) comics, which use symbols known as manpu (漫符) to represent emotions, actions, etc. They appeared on the i-mode pager developed by NTT DoCoMo. The emoji became popular in Japan and other companies starting add similar symbols to their mobile systems.

Between 2007 and 2010, the Unicode Consortium and other standarization bodies in the USA, Europe and Japan discussed and eventually agreed on a set of 722 emoji. These were included in the version 6.0 of Unicode, which was released in 2010. More emoji have been added since then, and they have become popular worldwide.

In 2014 the founder of Emojipedia, Jeremy Bruge, declared 17th July as World Emoji Day [source].

In 2015 the face with tears of joy emoji 😂was named Word of the Year by the Oxford Dictionaries [source].

There have been several musicals based on emoji in Los Angeles and New York, and The Emoji Movie was released in 2017 [source]..

According to a 2017 study at the University of Michigan that analysed emoji use in over 1.2 billion messages, the most widely used emoji are the face with tears of joy (😂), the red heart (❤️) and the smiling face with heart eyes (😍). People in Australia, France and Czechia are more likely to use happy emoji, while these in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina prefer more negative emoji.

The emojitracker site shows realtime emoji use on Twitter. As I’m writing this, the face with tears of joy (😂) appears in the top spot, followed by the red heart (❤️), the loudly crying face (😭), the smiling face with heart eyes (😍), and the recycling symbol (♻️).

The appearance of emoji vary between different operating systems, and the way they’re interpreted can vary from person to person. Some have developed particular meanings in specific contexts or places. Some are culturally specific, such as the white flower emoji (💮), which is used by teachers in Japan when their students have done well. It is also used to indicate love, happiness and beauty on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day. If you include emoji in a message, the person or people receiving it might not get the same meaning from them as you intended.

The novel Moby Dick has been ‘translated’ into emoji to become Emoji Dick or 🐳 (spouting whale), and a few other stories have been written in emoji. Whether readers understand them or not is another matter. Judging by the comments on one of them, most don’t. [source].

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 28 – Neighbour

As I got to know some of my neighbours better this week I thought I’d look into the the origins of the word neighbour [ˈneɪbə] / neighbor [ˈneɪbɚ].

Hector, my neighbour's dog

Definition:

  • a person who lives near or next to another
  • a person or thing near or next to another
  • to be or live close (to a person or thing)

[source]

It comes from the Middle English neighebor [ˈnɛixəbur] (neighbour, citizen), from the Old English nēahġebūr [ˈnæ͜ɑːx.jeˌbuːr] (neighbour), from the Proto-Germanic *nēhwagabūrô [ˈnɛː.xʷɑ.ɣɑ.ˌbuː.rɔːː] (neighbour), from *nēhwaz [ˈnɛː.xʷɑz] (near, close) and *gabūrô (dweller) from *būraz (room, chamber, dwelling, residence) [source].

Other words derived for the Proto-Germanic *nēhwaz include near, next and nigh (near, close by), as in ‘the end is nigh’ in English, nah [naː] (near, close, nearby) in German, and na (close) in Dutch [source].

Other words derived for the Proto-Germanic *būraz include bower in English, buur(man/vrouw) [byr] (neighbour) in Dutch, boer [buːr] (farmer, peasant) in Dutch and Afrikaans, Bauer (birdcage) in some German dialects, and bur [bʉːr] (cage) in Swedish [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

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

German, Dutch and Swedish words pronounced by https://speakabo.com/text-to-speech/

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.

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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.

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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.

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