Episode 9 – Welsh (Cymraeg)

In this episode I talk about Welsh (Cymraeg), a Celtic language spoken mainly in Wales, a part of the UK. I delve into the history of the language, its current status, the language itself, and how I learnt it and use it. I also talk to a Welsh learner from Michigan in the USA who is doing a degree in Welsh at Bangor University.

This podcast is mainly in English, with a few bits in Welsh. The Welsh bits are translated into English, just in case you don’t understand them.

Some tips on learning Welsh

Gwenno Saunders, singer, song-writer and broadcaster, talking about singing in Welsh.

Elin Fflur and Eden singing Harbwr Diogel (Safe Harbour) – I was at this concert.

A lullaby in Old Welsh found in the margins of a 7th century poem.

Statistics about Welsh speakers come mainly from the National Survey for Wales, 2013-14: Welsh Language Use Survey (PDF)

Tunes featured in this episode

More details of Si Hei Lwli Mabi, the song featured at the end of this epsiode.

More information about Welsh


Myths and misconceptions about Welsh


Online Welsh lessons


Episode 8 – Polyglottery

This epsiode is about polyglottery and was partly recorded at the 2018 Polyglot Conference in Ljubljana in Slovenia.

I talk about what is a polyglot, how many languages you have to speak to call yourself a polyglot, and discuss what polyglots get up to, including the Polyglot Conference and other polyglot events, such as the Polyglot Gathering and LangFest. There are also some sound bites from participants in the conference in a variety of languages.

Definitions of polyglot:

Definitions of polyglottery:

Other takes on polyglottery

Websites of some of the people who took part in the episode

If you took part in this podcast and have a website, blog, YouTube channel, etc that you’d like to see included here, let me know in the comments.

Videos from Polylgot events

More videos from the Polyglot Conference

More videos from the Polyglot Gathering

My photos and videos from polyglot events


Tunes featured in this episode

Episode 7 – Manx (Gaelg)

In this episode I talk about Manx (Gaelg), or Manx Gaelic (Gaelg Vanninagh), a Celtic language spoken in the Isle of Man. I look at the history of the language, its decline and revival, and its current situation. I also talk about my own experiences with the language, and play a few Manx tunes, and a song I wrote in Manx and English.

Here are some of the bits of Manx featured:

Failt dys yn çhiaghtoo cur magh jeh’n podcreeley Radio Omniglot.
Welcome to episode 7 of the the Radio Omniglot podcast.

Mish Simon Ager, as bee’m laoyrt mychione y Ghaelg, ny’n Ghaelg Vanniagh, çhengey Cheltiagh ta goll er loayrt ayns Mannin.
I’m Simon Ager, and I will be speaking about Manx, or Manx Gaelic, the Celtic language spoken in the Isle of Man.=

Tra haink ny skibbyltee boghtey stiagh hie yn Ghaelg magh.
When the tourists came in, the Manx language went out.

Cha jean oo cosney ping lesh y Ghailck
You will not earn a penny from Manx

Gura mie mooar ayd son eaishtaght, as slane lhiat
Thank you very much for listening, and good bye

I mention that the Manx Tynwald (parliament), which is Tinvaal in Manx, comes from the Old Norse word Þingvǫllr (meeting place of the assembly), and that the modern Icelandic parliament has a similar name: Þingvellir (Thingvellir). The Icelandic parliament is in fact called the Alþingi (Althingi), and Þingvellir is the place south of Reykjavik where the parliament was held from 930-1798.

This is a photo I took of Þingvellir in Icelandic in October 2017.


Information about Manx
https://gv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelg (in Manx)

Information about the Isle of Man

A day in the life of the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh (Manx-medium primary school)

Brian Stowell and Adrian Cain talking about the revival of Manx

Cuchulainn – an animation telling Cuchulainn’s story in Manx

Brian Stowell and Adrian Cain talking about the native speakers of Manx

Manannan – an animation about Mannan beg mac y Leir, the Celtic sea god who is said to protect the Isle of Man with his mists

A conversation in Manx between Ned Maddrell and Tommy Lecce

Ruth Keggin – Irree ny greiney (Sunrise), a song in Manx written by Bob Carswell

Tunes featured in this episode

Episode 6 – Accents

This episode is about accents. What are they? Where do they come from? Does it matter if you have a foreign accent when speaking a foreign language? Can you acquire a native-like accent in another language as an adult? If so, how do you do so?

Some definitions of the word acccent:

  • “a distinctive way of pronouncing a language, especially one associated with a particular country, area, or social class” [source]
  • “a way of speaking typical of a particular group of people and especially of the natives or residents of a region” [source]
  • “the characteristic mode of pronunciation of a person or group, especially one that betrays social or geographical origin” [source]
  • “a manner of pronunciation peculiar to a particular individual, location, or nation” [source]

Information about accents

Information about Multicultural London English

Here are some examples of people who speak languages with native-like accents, and some advice on how to acquire such an accent.

The song I play and sing at the end of the podcast is called La Plume de ma Tante, and can also be heard here:

Episode 5 – Solresol – The Musical Language

In this episode I talk about Solresol, a musical language invented by François Sudre in the early 19th century. It is designed to be a simple language for international communication with just seven basic syllables based on the Western major musical scale (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si).

Solresol was the first constructed language to be taken seriously as an international auxiliary language (IAL), and the only musical language that gained much of a following.

I look at the history of the language, and its structure, and will play with it to see how it works.

Here are the Solresol words and phrases I use during this episode:

Simi re domi dosolfala misol fa lalaresi refafa lasi la lamisolsi solresol lasolfado.
Hello and welcome to episode five of the Omniglot podcast.

The appears to be no word for welcome in Solresol so I used domi dosolfala misol (you come well), and for Omniglot podcast I used lamisolsi solresol lasolfado (all language show).

There is no word for radio either, but maybe you could use resolrefa solfasimi fasidola resisido (“send sound far device”). I came up with lasirela sifamire lasi dofadofa (“international network of knowledge”) for internet. So another way of translating Radio Omniglot Podcast might be lamisolsi solresol lasolfado lare la lasirela sifamire lasi dofadofa (“All language show on the international network of knowledge”).

  • doredomi = body, physical
  • domilafa = rationality, reason, sense, reasonable
  • sofamisol = wisdom, wise, sage, wisely
  • dolasoldo = meat, steak, beef
  • redoredo = clothes, outfit, effects
  • remifala = home, house, hut, cottage, hotel
  • remisolla = room, lounge, dining room
  • residoso = family, kinship, relative
  • solremifa = to sing
  • sôlremifa = song
  • solrêmifa = singer
  • solremîfa = songlike
  • solremifâ = singingly
  • sôlremifa’ / sôlremifaa = songs
  • sôlremifa’a = female singer
  • dolmîfado = man; dolmîfadô = woman
  • sisol = Mr; sisôl = Mrs
  • dore = I, me, myself; dorê = we, us, ourselves
  • misol = well, good
  • solmi = wrong, evil
  • fala = good, tasty, delectable, exquisite, delicious
  • lafa= bad
  • solla = always, perpetuate, perpetuately, constantly
  • lasol = never
  • simi = good morning/afternon, hello
  • misi = good evening/night
  • dore = I, me, myself
  • redo = my, mine
  • dofa = you, yourself
  • fado = your, yours
  • dore domilado = I speak
  • dore lala domilado = I am speaking
  • dore sisi domilado = I was speaking
  • dore dodo domilado = I have spoken
  • dore rere domilado = I spoke
  • dore mimi domilado = I will speak, I will have spoken
  • dore fafa domilado = I will speak, I will have spoken
  • solsol domilado = Speak!

Sire misolredo doredore famido re misolla, re famisol dosila re refasi. Dofa midomido midodosi dofasifa re domilafa, re falado fasolfa miladomi midodosi simisila.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Dore lala domilado solresol re solremisol lasisol. Domi mifare?
I am speaking Solresol with vocal punctuation. Do you like it?

Solsi mido dosollado re simi.
Thanks for listening and good afternoon.

There appears to be no word for goodbye in Solresol so I used simi, which is a general greeting meaning hello, good morning, good afternoon.

Information about Solresol


About muscial constructed languages

Other musical languages

You can hear a longer version of The Clockwork Octopus / Yr Wythdroed Clocwaith at:

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

Episode 4 – The Language of Music

In this episode I talk about Italian, and specifically about the Italian words used in Western classical music. I investigate why Italian is used, look at some of the words, and find out what they mean and how they are used in Italian.

Here are the words featured:

Words for musical compositions and parts of them

Word Musical meaning Other meanings
opera a drama set to music with singing and orchestral accompaniment work, action, deed, piece of work
concerto a work for one or more solo instruments accompanied by an orchestra concert, performance, gig, show
cadenza a florid solo at the end of a performance cadence, rhythm, intonation, frequency
aria an accompanied, elaborate melody sung by a single voice air, look, manner

Words for tempo (time)

Word Musical meaning Other meanings
adagio slow slowly, with care, gently; adage, saying; easy does it
largo slow and dignified wide, broad, loose, big, large, open sea
andante moderately slow, flowing along current, cheap, second-rate
allegro moderately fast cheerful, bright, lively; merry, tipsy
presto very fast soon, quickly, fast, early

Words for dynamics (volume)

Word Musical meaning Other meanings
piano soft flat, level, smooth; straightforward, simple, clear, plain; slowly, carefully, softly, quietly; plane, top, surface
forte loud strong, bright, heavy, hard, large, big, considerable; amazing, great; fast
crescendo becoming louder growing up, raising
diminuendo becoming softer decreasing, falling


Word Musical meaning Other meanings
mezzo moderately means, way, half, middle
molto very a lot, much, many, a great deal, very
meno less less, least, minus, except
più more more, plus, several
ma non troppo but not too much but not too much

More details of Italian musical terms


The other meanings come from Reverso.

Information about Italian

A discussion on why opera singers tend to be quite stout:

Tunes featured in this episode

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

Episode 3 – Irish (Gaeilge)

This episode of the Radio Omniglot Podcast is about the Irish language, or Gaeilge, as it’s known in Irish. I talk about my own Irish learning journey and adventures. Then look at the history of the language and its current state, and talk a bit about the language itself, with examples to illustrate its structure. It features some Irish tunes, played by me, on the tin whistle, mandolin, low whistle and harp, and one of my own compositions, played on the melodica. It is mostly in English, with some bits of Irish.

You can find music for Sackow’s / Tripping Up The Stairs, the jig I play on the whistle at the beginning of this episode, here.

The slow air I play on the low whistle, Amhrán na Leabhar (The Song of the Books), was written by Tomás Rua Ó Súilleabháín (1785-1848), a school teacher and poet who lost all his possessions, including his books, in a storm when they were being ferried between Derrynane Bay to Valentia Harbour. He wasn’t in the boat at the time, and wrote this song afterwards. It is also known as Cuan Bhéil Inse [source]. You can hear it, with words, at:

The tune I play on the harp is John O’Conner / Seán ó Conchubhair, which was written by Turlough O’Carolan. It is also known as the Belfast Almanac or Plaxty O’Conner.

There is another, rather faster, version here:

You can music for it here.

The tune I play on the melodica is at end of the podcast, The Saturday Hornpipe / Cornbib Ddydd Sadwrn, is one I wrote a few years ago. You can hear a longer version at:

Information about Irish

Here are some videos in and about Irish:

This is a silly little video I made in Irish based on songs:

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

Episode 2 – Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig)

This episode of the Radio Omniglot Podcast is about Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig). I talk about the current state of the language, its history, how it is used, about my experiences of learning it, and share some observations I’ve collected from other Gaelic speakers and learners.

Last week I was at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, a college on the Isle of Skye where you can do courses in Scottish Gaelic languages, songs, traditional music, dance, drama, and other subjects. I have done quite a few courses in Scottish Gaelic songs since 2008.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

You can hear some examples of spoken Gaelic here:

Here is a silly little video I made to practise my Scottish Gaelic:

More information about Scottish Gaelic

The music in this podcast is a piece I wrote After The Rain / Ar Ôl Y Glaw:

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

Epsiode 1 – My Language Learning Adventures

In this first episode of the Radio Omniglot Podcast, I talk about my own language learning adventures. About the languages I’ve learned, and how and why I learned them.

You can also read about my language learning adventures on Omniglot.

If you would like to take part in this podcast, you can contact me via Omniglot.

The music in this episode is a tune I wrote in January 2018 called Apple Blossom / Blodau Afal, played on the cavaquinho:

See the score for this tune

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