Treats from Dubrovnik

One for my restaurant English collection, from Dubrovnik: “Mussels at the Dalmation”. If “a la” is good enough for the French, “at the” is good enough for us. … and another one. “With fresh rocked leaves”. Rucola or just well tossed lettuce? Dubrovnik, 2014

How many sounds are there in English? (2): vowels

In an earlier post, I looked at how many consonant sounds there are in standard southern British English, generally known as Received Pronunciation RP). In this post, I will look at the vowels. As before, I will be looking at how many phonemes there are. The earlier post describes what a phoneme is. How many…… Continue reading How many sounds are there in English? (2): vowels

Bulgarian through Russian

Reading Bulgarian through Russian, by Charles E Gribble (1987) is a concise textbook that aims to teach people with a good knowledge of Russian to read normal contemporary literary Bulgarian. (I haven’t seen the 2nd edition, published in 2013.) An early section of Gribble’s book lists some systematic correspondences of sounds and spellings between the…… Continue reading Bulgarian through Russian

Dogs learn to spot word boundaries like babies do

If you hear a language you do not speak, it is hard to work out where one word ends and the next one begins. So finding the boundaries between words in continuous speech is a pre-requisite for acquiring your native language and for learning another language. A recent experiment found, for the first time, that…… Continue reading Dogs learn to spot word boundaries like babies do

Test your languages online

The University of Westminster runs language courses in about 20 languages. In fact I did 3 of their evening courses in the mid 90s. For some languages they have a brief online diagnostic quiz. This tests how much you know so you can enrol at the right level. The quiz contains 50 questions, in a…… Continue reading Test your languages online

Excited for

I’ve recently heard my daughter asking her children whether they are excited for things, for example about something that will be happening at school or about a friend’s forthcoming party. That usage sounds odd to my dinosaur ears. I would say I’m: excited about an event or thingexcited for a person I had a quick…… Continue reading Excited for

Learning some English Consonants (2)

I’ve posted before about my grandson’s journey in learning English consonants. My earlier post is at It comments on how he was pronouncing some consonants at the age of 3 years, 6 months. He is now 3 years, 11 months and is still doing what I recorded in that post. He regularly, especially at…… Continue reading Learning some English Consonants (2)

Bovine meat and swine ham

Several entries for best restaurant translation of the year. Bovine raw meat, anyone? Or Romagnola’s moorish swine breed ham? Turns out Mora Romagnola is a rare pig breed, but there are only 18 of them left according to Ristorante Bolognese via Boldrini Bologna, 2013

An old way of writing double s

Annoyingly, the Ancestry transcribers of the 1851 census consistently mis-transcribed the name of the parish Little Cressingham (in Norfolk) as Little Crepingham. They aren’t totally to blame, though. It seems double s was at that time in English often written more like a p, or even like the old German ‘scharfes S’ / ‘Eszett’ (ß),…… Continue reading An old way of writing double s