A Dictionary of the Divine: The Gods and Goddesses Hiding in Our Words

Reading time: 10 – 15 minutes Whether or not you’re a believer, it’s undeniable that the idea of the divine has had a big influence on human history. Connecting our lives and our earthly home to higher realms and to those realms’ inhabitants, the gods, is an ancient preoccupation, which is often reflected in ourContinue reading “A Dictionary of the Divine: The Gods and Goddesses Hiding in Our Words”

Of Mouses and Mans? — The Origins of English’s Vowel-Swapping Nouns and Verbs

Reading time: 10 – 15 minutes In present-day English, the plural of mouse is usually mice, and one man plus another equals two men. While most English nouns are made plural simply by adding -s, turning one cat into multiple cats, there is a sizeable minority that become plural through the process we see withContinue reading “Of Mouses and Mans? — The Origins of English’s Vowel-Swapping Nouns and Verbs”

*ABA – The Goodest Language Universal

Reading time: 5 – 10 minutes For this month’s blog post, what I’d like to offer is a brief piece about a fascinating universal property of languages, which you may well have never noticed! This apparent language universal is all to do with adjectives, and the way they are built as words. In English, theContinue reading “*ABA – The Goodest Language Universal”

Rockin’ Around Etymology

Reading time: 10 minutes Ho ho ho! A joyful Yuletide to you, language lover! Now here’s something new for the blog: my offering for this December and for Christmas 2021 is an etymological round — a journey of linguistic connections that begins and starts with the same word. This is not my original idea, IContinue reading “Rockin’ Around Etymology”

You Know More Than You Think About: The Wanderer

Last month, I offered the Internet an article about the Old English poem Beowulf and how familiar, despite its antiquity, its language can become with a little linguistic guidance. I’d say the article and the idea behind it were received quite well – so, here we go again, with the same format and another OldContinue reading “You Know More Than You Think About: The Wanderer”

You Know More Than You Think About: Beowulf

As a living soul of the twenty-first century, if you take a glance at the opening lines of Beowulf, the Old English poem, the chances are that you won’t be able to understand it. If anything, you may perhaps recognise its famous first word, hƿæt. This is absolutely fine, I should add; Old English isContinue reading “You Know More Than You Think About: Beowulf”

From English to Greek in Two Rules

English and Ancient Greek are distantly related languages that descend from a common ancestor – this is the only theory capable of explaining their many similarities. Consequently, if you’re trying to learn one and already know the other, you can use these similarities to your advantage. In this piece, I’d like to tell you aboutContinue reading “From English to Greek in Two Rules”

La Joie de Joret

What is the Joret line? And why should I care about it? To begin, a definition: isogloss noun /ˈaɪsəɡlɒs/ /ˈaɪsəɡlɑːs/ (linguistics)​a line on a map that separates places where a particular feature of a language is different. (from The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary) Named after Charles Joret, the Joret line is an isogloss that runs through northernContinue reading “La Joie de Joret”