Unpronounceable Words or . . . I Didn’t Quite . . . Catch That . . .

Unpronounceable Words or . . . 
I Didn’t Quite . . . 
Catch That . . . . 

Unpronounceable Words!!!

And I am not talking about tongue twisters. More like tongue twisters ON STEROIDS! Even English words are sometimes hard to pronounce … even for English speakers!

I always have problems with … Worcestershire Sauce, and I still can’t pronounce it right, even today, even if Dictionary.com tells me how to pronounce it!!

And then throw in learning a new language where making new sounds that HAVE MEANING … IS THE BALL GAME!

I am simply in awe of EVERYONE that does speak more than one language! Sadly, my French is nowhere near where it once was, but …. I can still follow ‘La Soirée du hockey‘! Ah, hockey, the international language! “La Première Étoile .. GUY LAFLEUR!” 

Oh, and if you don’t think this is not going to happen to you …. how about this. You go out to a very nice Italian restaurant! And you decide to order some BRUSCHETTA as an appetizer, an early ESPRESSO to warm your palate taste buds, a main course of GNOCCI with free range raised GUANCIALE as the main ingredient.

Are you CERTAIN you pronounced ALL those words right?

If not, better check here:

Menu items you’re mispronouncing
(and how to say them)

And watch the YouTube Video below if you are curious about the three words/phrases below and how they are pronounced! GO FOR IT! And I dare you to say the phrase below, in English, FIVE TIMES REALLY FAST – the squirrel line!! LOL!

And a future post might just highlight even MORE English words that are hard to pronounce! So many Blog posts to do … not enough keyboards!

ENJOY!                TTFN!

Five hundred fifty five ice skating squirrels!


18 Words from around the World
You can’t pronounce





Untranslatable Words or … The Mystery and Beauty of Communication

Untranslatable Words or …
The Mystery and Beauty
of Communication

Untranslatable Words!!!

This doesn’t mean the word makes no sense, it just means the word has no equivalent in another language! It could be cultural, historical or even anecdotal ….  or just made up!

It does not lessen the meaning and I would argue, enhances the meaning OF a word, when another language or culture can actually embrace what might be described as …’There really is no word for (fill in the blank here) in English!” 

I found a wonderful site that not only lists 30 amazing words, but the artist has provided some amazing posters too! Check out “30 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages Illustrated By Anjana Iyer” and let me know which one is your favourite!

My FAVOURITE from these posters is the Norwegian word Utepils which means ‘to sit outside on a sunny day enjoying a beer‘!

Although the FUNNIEST word is the Japanese word Age-otori which means ‘to look worse after a haircut‘! 🤣 And with physical distancing necessary, just how ARE you going to get a good haircut in the foreseeable future! 🤷‍♂️

Maybe you have a different favourite from the “50 Untranslatable Words From Around the World” poster below!

Oh yeah, and shameless promotion – I did “Untranslatable Idioms” the other day! LOL!



JAVA Programming or … How to Order Coffee in Other Languages!

JAVA Programming or …
How to Order Coffee
in Other Languages


import java.util.Scanner; class PrimeNumberDemo { public static void main(String args[]) { int n; int status = 1; int num = 3; //For capturing the value of n Scanner scanner = new Scanner(System.in); System.out.println(“Enter the value of n:”); //The entered value is stored in the var n n = scanner.nextInt(); if (n >= 1)

Well, not THAT kind of JAVA! That is part of ACTUAL JAVA CODE to “…display first n or first 100 prime numbers” .. SERIOUSLY I did not write that! 🤣

MY kind of JAVA is more of the magical liquid elixir that most of us rely on to not only start the day, but to make it through the day! LOL! Ah, is there anything it can’t do! (Apologies to Homer and Donuts in German andanything they can’t do’!)

Victoria has SO MANY FINE COFFEE SHOPS, including at UVic too! Let’s not forget about my favourite coffee spot on campus – The Munchie Bar

Walking into a Starbucks is actually a language lesson with all those Venti, Grande and a size I just learned about … TRENTA! Be warned, it is actually a size that is larger than … the average STOMACH!!!!

And my old friend, Dictionary.com – Order Your Coffee Like A Boss has some background on all those wonderful names for the sizes and kinds of coffee that are out there! Learn something new today… about COFFEE! ENJOY!!!



How to Order Coffee in …







And if you made it THIS far, a bit of movie humour! How would a Marvel Super Hero, oh, say, Ant Man, order his coffee! LOL! You just need to see the first 1:15 of this for the coffee scene!


And if you have not seen Airplane 2, then .. this is about the only good scene!

YouTube Language Translations of Popular Shows

YouTube Translations of 
Popular Shows

YouTube? Translations? Well not quite translations, but clips from popular media (TV and movies) in other languages! Not quite Google Translate (a future post is in the works!) but good for a different perspective of popular shows, iconic moments and just plain .. FUN!

So below are a bunch of YouTube clips from some of my favourite TV shows and movies, all in other languages such as German and Japanese! Just a quick search at YouTube and I found all of these in a short period of time! Most people will instantly know the setting, movie or moments AND the iconic lines, so they offer quite a teaching moment, as well as some fun in learning a new language!

Besides, UVic HAS taught a course in Klingon! Really and for true! Qapla’! Today IS a good day to …  learn a new language!



Anakin Obi-Wan Star Wars Japanese

Star Wars in Japanese

Beam Me Up, Scotty! German!

Clip “Ich bin der König der Welt!”

Doctor Who in Five Languages

Doctor Who in Japanese





Diacritics or … ÀÇËÑÖÛŸŽ Soup!!

Diacritics or …..

What the heck IS a ….. Diacritic?

Oh sure, everyone is a critic, but only John McClane is a … Die Hard Critic!

Well, according to Dictionary.com (my personal favourite on-line dictionary, along with my personal favourite on-line thesaurus Thesaurus.com!) ….


[ dahy-uhkrit-ik ]


Also called diacritical marka mark, point, or sign added or attached to a letter or character to distinguish it from another of similar form, to give it a particular phonetic value, to indicate stress, etc., as a cedilla, tilde, circumflex, or macron.

And might as well weigh in with Wikipedia as well …..

diacritic (also diacritical markdiacritical pointdiacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter or basic glyph. The term derives from the Ancient Greek διακριτικός (diakritikós, “distinguishing”), from διακρίνω (diakrī́nō, “to distinguish”). Diacritic is primarily an adjective, though sometimes used as a noun, whereas diacritical is only ever an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute ( ´ ) and grave ( ` ), are often called accents. Diacritical marks may appear above or below a letter, or in some other position such as within the letter or between two letters.

In no way shape or form do I claim to know much about … diacritics! I just think they are cool! And with so many languages and countries on our Pale Blue Dot, (see my post the other day!), it makes for potentially the most amazing alphabet soup .. EVER!

And, for those who love puns … and that means all of you (!), for your amusement!

What do get when you cook häm, ëgg and chëëse ?
An Umlaut….

ḎíǟćŔīṬĨ誠 ḎíǟćŔīṬĨčŞ


Untranslatable Idioms

Untranslatable Idioms!

What the heck IS an … Idiom?

Well, according to Dictionary.com (my personal favourite on-line dictionary, along with my personal favourite on-line thesaurus Thesaurus.com!) ….


    1. an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, as kick the bucket or hang one’s head, or from the general grammatical rules of a language, as the table round for the round table, and that is not a constituent of a larger expression of like characteristics.
    2. a language, dialect, or style of speaking peculiar to a people.
    3. a construction or expression of one language whose parts correspond to elements in another language but whose total structure or meaning is not matched in the same way in the second language.
    4. the peculiar character or genius of a language.
    5. a distinct style or character, in music, art, etc.: the idiom of Bach.

My favourite of ALL the above is #4! Anytime you can use the wordspeculiar, genius and language’ in a single phrase or sentence, you grab my immediate attention! 👍

All of us use idioms each and every day, without even thinking about them! There are so many examples, and I bet you will have used at least ONE of the ‘15 Most Common English Idioms and Phrases” listed below, maybe even before your first cup of coffee this morning!

  1. ‘The best of both worlds’
  2. ‘Speak of the devil’
  3. ‘See eye to eye’
  4. ‘Once in a blue moon’
  5. ‘When pigs fly’
  6. ‘To cost an arm and a leg’
  7. ‘A piece of cake’
  8. ‘Let the cat out of the bag’
  9. ‘To feel under the weather’
  10. ‘To kill two birds with one stone’
  11. ‘To cut corners’
  12. ‘To add insult to injury’
  13. ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’
  14. ‘Break a leg’
  15. ‘To hit the nail on the head’
  16. ‘A blessing in disguise’
  17. ‘Call it a day’
  18. ‘Let someone of the hook’
  19. ‘No pain no gain’
  20. ‘Bite the bullet’
  21. ‘Getting a taste of your own medicine’
  22. ‘Giving someone the cold shoulder’
  23. ‘The last straw’
  24. ‘The elephant in the room’
  25. ‘Stealing someone’s thunder’

Oh, and yes, this is a site listed at ZOHO! LOL! And English is not alone in the use of Idioms:

And, of course, these and MANY MORE CALL Facility links are at, you guessed it (insert shameless promotion here!) … ZOHO! And my FAVOURITE language idiom is the cartoon below, in Japanese about ‘Wearing a cat on your head’ !! Click HERE to find out what it means!



Working From Home

Most, if not all of us at CHD are now working from home or will be soon.

And that likely means everyone who also works at or attends UVIC.

Hopefully, EVERYONE will be at home soon to stay safe with social distancing and/or self-isolation. Take all the necessary precautions and keep checking back at the UVIC site and with colleagues! We are all in this together.

Many thanks to EVERYONE at CHD for setting us up with UVic laptops and resources so we can do the best possible work, from home, given the circumstances.  Clicking on the banner above takes you to the UVic home page where everyone will get the most recent updates. I would hope everyone is doing that on a regular basis.

One always neglected interest for me is expanding my knowledge of blogging using OAC or The Online Academic Community at UVic. I will try to do one blog each weekday, language related, (or maybe not) either with links, information or interesting topics, just to keep the resources that might be out there, available. I believe that OAC is one of THE MOST UNDERUTILZED RESOURCES on campus, especially so for language learning, so … here goes!

One of the best CALL Facility resources over the years has been ZOHO, or also known as CALL Facility Bookmarks!

Many years ago, I added/collected the best language sites to each browser in The CALL Facility – both Mac and WIN. It rapidly grew and grew in size and time requirements, yet students wanted all the links that I was finding, or had been requested by Instructors. So I attached the bookmarks file in an email. That quickly proved too time consuming as well!

So … to make a long story short, I now use ZOHO to add new websites, either from me, Instructors or students that hopefully prove useful to students! Big shoutout to Mark vH for helping me back then! THANKS MARK!

Available anywhere, any platform, 24/7, I have literally added a new website sent to me from an Instructor, even IN PERSON as their class arrived in CALL ….. and had it posted at ZOHO before the students even logged in at their computers! Then they searched for the key word(s) given to me by the Instructor and they had the link instantly in seconds for their homework, assigment or group project.

Yes, Google could probably find it too, but … just where is it ranked? Way down low? Middle? How many different ads might pop up? Located somewhere else in the Multiverse? Good luck getting ahold of Doctor Strange or even .. The Doctor!

At ZOHO, it is right there, with the keywords and titles that the Instructor wants, not just now …. but … RIGHT NOW! Oh yeah, and it is free too! Easy to maintain as well, which is what I will task myself with in the next few days – cleaning up old websites and maybe bumping into a few new ones!

To see for yourself, you can click on either graphic above to instantly go there, or you could search at Google for the keywords “CALL Facility ZOHO Bookmarks” and … Google is your friend!

Do a search for Klingon at CALL Facility Bookmarks and see what you find – you might be surprised to even find Hobbits once roamed UVIC! And everyone knows about the Vampires at UVic, right?


Stay safe. Stay at home. Stay healthy. Everyone.