If You Know Your Latin at Vatican ATM’s, Dominus Providebit

Vatican Automatic Teller Machines in Latin Institute for the Works of Religion

The Vatican Bank (officially known as the Institute for the Works of Religion) is the only bank in the world that allows the user to select “Latin” as the language of choice.

Dominus providebit — the Lord will provide.


Fartkontrol: Don’t Speed By This Warning

the Danish word fartkontrol means "speed check"

The next time you are in Denmark and see a traffic sign that says, “Fartkontrol”, don’t be so quick to hold your nose and snicker. It actually is warning you that the speed limit is highly enforced.

Late Language Learner

Queen Victoria learned Hindustani

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) took her responsibilities as Empress of India quite seriously. On her 70th birthday she undertook lessons in Hindustani and got to the point where she wrote in Hindustani in her diaries.

Queen Victoria diary Hindi Urdu Hinu
Queen Victoria’s diary from January 11, (actually, it was January 14), 1892, written in Urdu/Hindi and English: “Today I and my family were almost in greater sorrow and grief than they had ever been before as my young grandson Prince Albert Victor of Wales died this morning at nine o’clock.”

This Word for a Tasty Dish is a Real Mouthful

longest word in literature Aristophanes Assemblywomen

Aristophanes (427 BC – 386 BC) was groundbreaking with his plays. His skills as a satirist and as a keen observer of everyday life led him to give us one of the most revealing pictures of what life was like in ancient Athens. Continue reading

A Idiot In Scotland Might Find Himself Kilt


Scottish insults words for idiot

You can tell a lot about what concerns people by looking at their language. Eskimos have many words for snow. The ancient Greeks had six words for love. It doesn’t take a lot to conclude that these were important things for these cultures.

Based on this, one can reasonably conclude that Scots are quite concerned about being inconvenienced by people of low intelligence. Scotland has at least twenty words and phrases for the word idiot.

Peter Capaldi Doctor Who "I understand. You're an idiot."
Peter Capaldi shows his true Scottish colors as the Doctor in BBC’s Doctor Who episode “Under the Lake” when he says, “I understand. You’re an idiot.”

These words include: bampot, diddy,  div, dunderheed, dolton, eejit, goon, heid-the-baw, huddy, numpty, tube, choob, wallaper, warmer, galoot, dobber, gommy, roaster, daftie, and neap.

Witness the Death of Languages

rarest languages Ongota Taushiro Lemerig Liki, Tanema
Samples of rare languages. Lemerig (upper left), Ongota (lower left), and Taushiro (upper right).

When it comes to studying languages, many turn their attention to the most-commonly spoken languages of the world. Fully 25% of the world’s population claim Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, or English as a first language. If you have considered learning a second language, odds are it was one of these.

How much time have you spent contemplating Lemerig, Njerep, or Taushiro for language studies? Never heard of them? These are among the rarest languages that are currently spoken on the planet.


The Chamicuro language is spoken primarily in Peru, but even there, it is extremely rare. As of 2008 there were only eight people on the planet who spoke the language. Continue reading

What a Difference a Capital Letter Makes

polish vs Polish pronounciation

There is one word in the English language that changes its meaning and pronounciation, depending on whether it is capitalized: polish.

Uncapitalized, polish refers to a substance used to give something a smooth and shiny surface when rubbed in, or the act of making the surface of something smooth and shiny by rubbing it.

With a capital, Polish refers to things of or relating to the nation of Poland.