There are 64 posts.
Money makes the world go round – every day we use it, think about it, talk about it. It is therefore no surprise that English uses it in a number of idiomatic expressions as well, but money also talks in other languages. The people over at gocompare.com looked at some money idioms from other languages recently and came up […]more
The main use of hello is, of course, to greet others, and it has many other variants which also are used to greet others, such as hi or hey. The first written recording of this spoken utterance was in 1853 in New York Clipper, ‘Hello ole feller, how are yer?’ ‘Hello’ is also used to […]more
On 14 July 1789, the storming of the Bastille prison in the centre of Paris marked the beginning of the French Revolution. It was a major watershed in the history of Europe and is today still celebrated as a public holiday in France. The event gave the country a national motto as well: liberté, égalité, […]more
As well as its (unfair) reputation for being bland and stodgy, British cuisine is well known for its confusingly and often humorously-named dishes. Tourists are most likely to have heard of pub classics like toad-in-the-hole, a dish of sausages baked in batter, and schoolchildren never tire of tittering at ‘spotted dick’, a suet pudding containing […]more
People in the UK are routinely amused and bemused by French-speakers’ hyper-sensitivity to language matters and by the steps taken by the French state to regulate linguistic behaviour. In the 60s and 70s, under the sway of Gaullism, successive governments targeted above all the use of Anglicisms. More recently, the Socialists have faced a tide […]more
If you’re learning a foreign language you’ve probably been in this situation before: getting all excited about coming across a seemingly familiar word only to find out that its actual meaning is very different from what you expected. There’s no doubt that false friends – i.e. words or expressions that have similar forms to the […]more
It is assumed that the word pie came into English via Old French, from Latin pica ‘magpie’, which in turn is related to picus ‘green woodpecker’. Here, the allusion is perhaps to the various combinations of ingredients of a pie being comparable to the objects randomly collected by a magpie. Its sweet equivalent, the cake, on the other […]more