Tag Archives: language

Pig Dead, Soldier On

There’s a cant used on one side of my family: “pig dead, soldier on”. When someone asks for a favour that cannot be granted, requiring the person seeking the favour to continue whatever he or she was doing, those four … Continue reading

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Posted in History, Ireland, Language | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mugwort

Before the use of hops as bittering, flavour and aroma agents of beer became widespread in the late Middle Ages, all sorts of weird and wonderful herbs were employed to achieve the same effects. These herbs are known as “gruit” … Continue reading

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Posted in Food and Drink, Language, Plants, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Not Fit for Purpose

The other evening I was in conversation with an Englishman when the topic of the Basque Country and the Basque language came up. The man was a retiree who had lived in San Sebastián for almost a decade over thirty … Continue reading

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Posted in Language, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

It’s Only Words?

Reading Joseph O’Connor’s excellent Star of the Sea, I came across one of the characters mentioning that the Irish language had over forty words for seaweed. This led me to recall that I had read somewhere else that Irish had … Continue reading

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Posted in Celtic Mythology, Ireland, Language | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What’s in a Name?

One of the many things I loved about studying history as a teenager was the exoticism, especially the linguistic exoticism. As well as that great cliché’s ringing truth that the past is a foreign country, we also got a double … Continue reading

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Posted in History, Language, Spain | Tagged , , | 2 Comments