Word of the Day

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Table football

It is amazing how many names exist within the same language for table football. Just click on the languages on the left to see the panoply of terms.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Even though the norm requires Vánoce (Christmas) to be capitalized in Czech, I see it often in small letters, vánoce, which I find disrespectful. Vánoce with lower case v is probably due to the spelling norms in effect until 1993, which some people still regard as up to date.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Butterfly wings

I have found out there is a horrible disease that goes by the name Epidermolysis bullosa (EB). Nothing pretty about it, except maybe for the name that Czech speakers have devised for it: motýlí křídla, butterfly wings, due to the fragile skin people with that condition have.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Japanese birodo, velvet

I wonder why the Japanese word is ビロード (birodo), from Portuguese veludo, velvet. They could have ru/lu there: ビルド (birudo) or ベルド (berudo). I don't doubt that some Portuguese speakers may pronounce (I don't) the ve there as vi, as that syllable is unstressed, and that's how Japanese got bi, but ro (ロ) instead of ru (ル)? Such things may happen as a speaker does not hear the sounds of a foreign word, but from lu to ro?