Breaking bread

Copain in French means mate. The word consists of co-, meaning together (as in coworker), and pain, the French word for bread, making a mate a person with whom one shares a meal, one’s daily bread. The word company has the same...

Amazons are A-mazons

The word amazon is of Greek origin and is not a really an exotic tribal name, but pure and simply a descriptive term. It consists of the privative prefix a- (as in a-theist) and the noun mazos meaning breast. It alludes to the popular belief that Amazons cut of their...

Old Norse and Modern English

Parts of England were occupied by Old Norse speaking vikings between 860 and 950 AD. In this time many Old Norse words were borrowed into English, sometimes these words are surprisingly common in today’s English. Sky, anger and window, for example, are all of...

Introduction to Hindi

One of the things that always surprises our students in the beginning of classes is the similarity between certain words in Hindi and English or other European languages. Before we start discussing Hindi perhaps we should look at the relationship between Hindi and...