A reader wrote in to The Times complaining about one the newspaper’s word games. The game involves making as many English words as you can from a fixed set of letters. The reader complained that the permitted words did not include krill. In its weekly Feedback column on 19 November, The Times, reported the complaint.…… Continue reading Krill: only plural?
A difficulty for Danes learning English
Some Danes often make errors in inflecting English verbs, even though the same people speak English very fluently and, in almost every other respect, very accurately. Their error is that they don’t add the suffix -s in the 3rd person singular of the present tense. For example, they might say she give instead of she…… Continue reading A difficulty for Danes learning English
Luxembourg’s submerged language comes to the surface
Thanks to my former colleague Alan Fisk. He has kindly allowed me to post this article he wrote for a magazine in about 1993. In the streets of the city of Luxembourg, all the signs and public notices are in French. Buy a newspaper, and it will be mainly in German. Here and there, messages…… Continue reading Luxembourg’s submerged language comes to the surface
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
Scandinavian challenge: how did it go?
In June and July, I set myself a challenge of working through introductory language courses on Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. I planned to work each day on one of the languages. I finished the challenge in late July. I worked on these similar languages in parallel and more systematically than in earlier intermittent and brief…… Continue reading Scandinavian challenge: how did it go?
Scandinavian language challenge day 39
Today I worked through the last chapter (chapter 12) of Norwegian in three months, covering: more about prepositionspast participle used as an adjectivecolloquial speechgreetings and congratulationsother words More about prepositions Some verbs and adjectives with av (by): le av (laught at); lide av (suffer from); stolt av (be proud of) Some verbs and adjectives with over:…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 39
Scandinavian language challenge day 36
Today I worked through chapter 11 of Norwegian in three months, covering: more expressions of timein order to more about ‘det’ verbs of position other words More expressions of time Prepositions: for … siden (ago): for fjorten dager siden (a fortnight ago)om (in, for [yet]):om en ukes tid (in a week)først om tre dager (not for…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 36
Scandinavian language challenge day 33
Today I worked through chapter 10 of Norwegian in three months, covering: passivepresent participlecompound wordsmore about prepositions other words Passive The passive is formed using the auxiliary bli and the past participle. The agent of the action need not be mentioned, but if mentioned it is preceded by the preposition av (meaning by). Huset blir maltHuset…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 33
Scandinavian language challenge day 30
Today I worked through chapter 9 of Norwegian in three months, covering: more about conjunctionsmore about word orderconditional that clausesother words More about conjunctions Conjunctions—time: da (when)når (when)idet (As)mens (while) før (before)etterat (after)siden (since)inntil (until) Da expresses what happen once in the past (den gang: da). Når expresses what usually happens, what used to happen or…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 30
Scandinavian language challenge day 27
Today I worked through chapter 8 of Norwegian in three months, covering: future tensereflexive verbsrelative pronounmore about comparisonsco-ordinating conjunctionsother words Future tense Ways of talking about the future: with the present tense of the main verb:Kommer di i morgen? (Are you coming tomorrow?)Noen mennesker tviler på at flyplassen noen gang blir ferdig(some people doubt that the…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 27