I came across an interesting mistranslation recently (well, I come across quite a few around Sicily, but you get used to the more ordinary ones after a while). Continue reading
What it Takes
I’ve been thinking recently of lots of the finer details of learning a second language. Maybe that’s because I’ve because I’ve been doing some speaking examining, and that really requires you to pay close attention to what people are (and aren’t!) saying. Continue reading
The Short and Curlies
You may want to have a quick look at this old post, about the word hedgehog. before reading this one. The main thing to take from it is that urchin originally referred to hedgehogs. Continue reading
I don’t have enough time to finish this project!
What time is it?
I’ve been to France four times.
Three times two is six.
Those four sentences are all pretty simple, aren’t they? They’re the kind of sentences you might use in everyday situations without thinking about them. But look more closely at that word they all have in common: time. Continue reading
This morning I passed a touristy apron at a stall here in Palermo. It featured a map of Italy with different regional types of pasta. I spotted the word reginetta (beauty queen/young queen). I’d never seen the word before, but assumed it was a diminuitive form of regina (queen), as the suffix -etta is often used as a (usually) feminine diminuitive form in Italian.
Just like the -ette suffix in English, borrowed from French, and found in words like cigarette, etiquette, majorette, among many others. Just after seeing reginetta though, a particularly interesting example came to mind: coquette. Continue reading
I Was Sat There…
You might have noticed this structure used by native speakers, particularly from Ireland or the UK. And you might have thought: Well that’s not right. It should be I was sitting there, shouldn’t it?
Yes, it should. But also, well, not really, no. Let’s investigate… Continue reading
We Don’t Hear You!
This sentence is one any English teacher working online has possibly heard quite often recently. Or, more likely, We don’t listen you!
Of course, We don’t listen you is clearly not the correct sentence to use if your teacher’s been rendered momentarily inaudible. But what about We don’t hear you!? To a native speaker, that’s clearly not correct either. But why? Continue reading