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Dead Air

Dead Air

By Bulldog Z
Learn about the English language, culture, history and traditions with the Bulldogz team of native teachers and special guests!
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Interesting Etymologies - Non-PIE
"Hello again word lovers!" In this episode we are looking for words in English that have come from a non PIE root. A packed epsiode with a plentiful supply of words. On this episode there is some additional information to be provided: Bamboo is credited as being a word from Telugu in this epsideo when it is more likely from Kannada or Malay. Taboo is listed as emerging from Hawaiian when it comes directly ito English via James Cook after his visit to Tonga. The etymology of Curry, Ginger, Cash and Ukulele are covered in more detail in the related article on our website: And if you want to know why wiki wiki can be seen on the front of a bus you will need to head to our website and discover the strange background to the word wiki entering international use in the same article.
January 18, 2022
Interesting Etymologies - Mythical beasts
"Hello again word lovers!" Today we are going into the realms of myth, particulalry that of mythical beasts. From the Phoenix to the undead. Monsters and ghosts to angels and manticores. Check out the full article of our website:
January 12, 2022
Interesting Etymologies - Acronyms
"Hello again word lovers!" and in this instalment we are going to look at words formed from initial letters, known as acronyms. These are not to be confused with initialisms, which do not form new words. - F.B.I, C.I.A for example. AIDS is an acronym, H.I.V is an initialism Check out the full article of our website:
January 05, 2022
Need to know - Three Kings
Need to know : The Three Kings Bearing gifts we travel afar....The Spanish tradition of "Reyes" that extends the magic of the Christmas season that little bit longer and brings city centres to a standstill. All you need to know right here! Full related article on our website:
January 04, 2022
Interesting Etymologies - Ebonics
"Hello again Word Lovers!" - In this week we are taking a slight diversion as we look at words developed within English but influenced by other languages and grammar. This created a type of English within English, spread mainly by black Americans, and named by a black American, Robert Williams in 1973, "Ebonics". Ebone to represent Black and "onics" as reference to Phonics. This has become understood as the way black populations use language in comparison to white speakers. It is also called African American Vernacular English (AAVE), formerly Black English Vernacular (BEV), dialect of American English spoken by a large proportion of African Americans. The name was intended to provide a label for the linguistic consequences of the slave trade without negative connotations that other labels could evoke. It remained a a little-known term that was not adopted by linguists or featured in the Oxford English Dictionary. This changed in 1996 when controversy emerged over the Oakland School Board decision to recognise it is a primary language for Afro American students and therefore acquire further funds to facilitate the teaching of standard English. Find the full article to accompany the programme on our website:
December 29, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Chinese
"Hello again Word Lovers!" - Long time no see, well hopefully only a week, but this expression is a calque from Chinese. To learn all about calques and Chinese words in English enjoy our latest programme. Find the full article to accompany the programme on our website: An article about the history of tea can be found here:
December 14, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Latin
"Hello again Word Lovers!" In this instalment we are going to look at Latin words that have survived from Latin times into modern English. Full accompanying article available on our website:
December 08, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Disease
"Hello again word lovers!" In this episode, we investigate the etymology of words connected to illness and disease although you will be pleased to hear there is not a single reference to a certain infection with a name connected to a crown in Spanish... Full accompanying article is available on our website:
December 02, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Turkic
"Hello again Word Lovers!" That is not a mistake, we do mean Turkic and not Turkish! Turkic is a language group, Turkish being the most obvious one in this group Turkic has given us many words, especially food words and names of places, with some global words coming into use in almost all languages. There are more words to uncover though in this introduction to the world of Turkic words in English. Find the full accompanying article on our website here:
November 23, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - World War Two
"Hello again Word Lovers!" In this episode we will explore some words that come into popular use during World War II. Some of the words and terms in this episode are actually first used in World War One but make it into the public consciousness during the second conflict. Find the full associated article here on our website:
November 19, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - World War One
Interesting Etymologies 29 : World War One "Hello again word lovers!" This episode is going to explore some words that come to us from World War One, The Great War. After an examination of War and Fight we work through some words of WWI that may surprise many. A series of clumsy French adaptations including Skive, Plonk and Toot Sweet. The origins of Blighty and Cushy from Urdu Several words from the trenches that people would never connect to the war. Tank and Sharpnel are also covered. Full details and notes on our webpage here:
November 10, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Fiction
Interesting Etymologies 28 : Fiction "Hello again word lovers!" In this episode we will explore words that have migrated from fiction to everyday use Find the full associated article at our website:
November 10, 2021
Tales from the Other Side - the Hallowe'en Pumpkin (the story of Stingy Jack)
Welcome to ‘Tales from the Other Side’ where we look at folklore, mythology and magic. One of the most recognised symbols of Hallowe’en is the iconic carved pumpkin. In recent years, pumpkin picking has become a popular autumn activity and designs have become more outlandish and elaborate. This ritual became popular in America in the 19th century following the arrival of Irish and Scottish immigrants who brought their traditions with them. Traditionally turnips were used but pumpkins became popular as they are larger and softer making them much easier to carve. But what did these lanterns represent and why were they used? Come and huddle by the fire as we tell you the story of Sting Jack and the origin of the Hallowe'en pumpkin..... Full article on our website:
October 29, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Cockney rhyming slang
"Hello again word lovers!" In this instalment, we dive into the world of cockney rhyming slang. This is a slang style that uses levels of abstraction and implied rhymes to provide coded meaning. Once you understand the principles it can be a great deal of fun to play with or use, but for the beginner, it can be intimidating or impenetrable. This is hardly a surprise, it is believed to have developed from a code language for criminals to communicate without police or bystanders understanding them. So use your loaf and see if you can decipher some of the most abstract slang known to man! The full associated article is available on our website here:
October 28, 2021
Tales from the Other Side - the origins of Halloween
Welcome to ‘Tales from the Other Side’ where we look at folklore, mythology and magic. All Hallows Eve, more commonly known as Hallowe’en, is a holiday full of mischief and merriment which has grown hugely in popularity across the globe. Many attribute this rise in popularity to the influence of American culture where it is celebrated with costume parties, trick-or-treating, chilling stories, carving pumpkins as well as a number of other activities. These traditions became popular in the USA in the 19th Century but their origins go back much further. Explore the Celtic origins of Samhain, the ancient festival that has become the sugary spookfest that is Hallowe'en Full associated article on our website:
October 26, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Reappropriation
"Hello again Word Lovers!" after diving into some insults (see IE23) we can explore some words and phrases that started as insults but have been claimed back by victims returning it back into language without a pejorative meaning, this is called "reappropriation" in etymological circles. Full notes in the accompanying article can be found on our website:
October 24, 2021
The Iconography of Britain - The Red London Bus
In the second of our "Iconography of Britain" series we take a look at the globally recognised London red bus. There are in fact two iconic designs, the RT Regent and RM Routemaster, both built by AEC. We explore the history and service of the big red bus and the secrets behind the enduring success. A full accompanying article is available on our website along with resources and recommended further information :
October 17, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Nadsat
"Hello again word lovers" In this episode, we dip our toes in the waters of Nadsat, the invented language in the Anthony Burgess novel "A Clockwork Orange". Find the full text of the article on our website at:
October 10, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Yiddish
"Hello again Word Lovers!" Today we look at words we use in English that come from Yiddish. Yiddish is a curious language, it is not actually based on Hebrew although it has many Hebrew words, it is in fact Germanic. A clue is in the name of the language itself which is derived from the German for Jewish. Full article to accompany this programme on our website :
September 25, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Insults
"Hello again Word Lovers!" and today lots of insults! Please be warned, obviously, this episode and article features some slurs and insults and are presented here for scholarly purposes only. We review some pejorative terms for people of certain nationalities: Germans, the different British nationalities, the Spanish, Americans, Italians and of course, the French. (We cover the term Spaniards which is often mistaken as a pejorative term but has no pejorative connotation. General Insults: We investigate the use of "swerve" as an insult and how it transforms to "dodger" in modern use. Pejoratives for professionals Pejoratives for forms of transport Pejoratives for bad people We take a look at the etymology of some recent language such as Quisling and Shill Further reading We recommend the Viz swearing dictionary "Roger's Profanisaurus" and the "Urban Dictionary". Links can be found on our website.
September 14, 2021
Tales from the Other Side - Secret diary of a Caul girl
Welcome to ‘Tales from the Other Side’ where we look at folklore, mythology and magic. Throughout history and to this day there are many old wives’ tales surrounding childbirth. From guessing due dates and the gender of the baby to foods eaten to induce labour. It’s often the case that the more unusual the pregnancy or birth, the more superstition there is associated with it and today we are going to look at some of the beliefs surrounding caulbearers. Full text available on our website :
September 13, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Band names
"Hello again word lovers!" Interesting Etymologies is back and a more modern investigation in this episode as we investigate the background to the names of some of the biggest rock and pop bands of all time! Check out the accompanying article for more information on the origins of the band names and the stories behind them on our website:
September 09, 2021
The Iconography of Britain: The Red Telephone Box
The British Red Telephone Box is perhaps the most iconic piece of design ever commissioned and is recognised globally as a symbol of Britishness. In this programme, we explore the history and the design of an icon and how they are being used today in a world of mobile phone use. More fascinating resources, further facts in the accompanying article available at our website here: Locate K6 boxes around the world and share your pictures: Fantastic information on the different telephone box designs: A visual history of the red telephone box: A museum collection of all red telephone boxes:
August 31, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Premier League
Interesting Etymologies Premier League Special "Hello again Word Lovers!" To start our return to the fascinating world of words we are going to take a look at the roots of the names of the top football teams in English football. Some names known the world over, now you can amaze your friends and colleagues with some fascinating knowledge on the origin of some of the most famous names in football history! Full etymological notes available on our website: All music from The Consequences of Courage Project
August 13, 2021
Tales from the Other Side: Ulster is CANCELLED
Red-headed, folklore junky, Claire Alcock regales us with the story of Macha, a tale of treachery, revenge and a woman scorned.
May 30, 2021
Tales from the Other Side: Hard cheese
Red headed, Irish folklore enthusiast Claire Alcock explores the various passage tombs and burial mounds of Mountain Knocknarea, who is buried there and why? A story of love, bravery and cheese.
May 17, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Hidden Spanish
"Hello again Word Lovers!" in this episode we are going to look at words in English that have come from Spanish! escaramuza - A smaller fight within a battle, skirmish emboscada - in the woods or bush, ambush escorbuto - scurvy Jerez - Sherry Armada - The Spanish fleet that attempted to invade England in 1588. A very specific term in English that in Spanish refers to the Armed Forces. Armado + diminutive suffix = armadillo (the armoured animal) Multiple place names in USA derive from Spanish: Colorado, Florida, Montana, Nevada, Las Vegas and the world famous El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula. Corral, cañón and sierra all find their way into English via American use. Cockroach is from the Spanish cucaracha. Mosquito meaning small fly comes from Spanish too. Alligator comes from the Spanish meaning The Lizard.
April 28, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Mathematics symbols
"Hello again Word Lovers!" on this outing we are going to step out of the history of words and take a look at the symbols of mathematics! ( The round brackets) Apparently invented by Erasmus, replacing the more square shaped example used until then = Equals Invented by Robert Recorde in 1557. The Welsh physician and mathematician is also credited with introducing the pre existing + sign to English speakers in the same year. His life is one of meteoric rise and stunning decline. Being appointed royal physician and then controller of the Royal Mint before then being sued for defamation and dying in debtors prison. @ - The at symbol is far older than anyone could imagine, being noted in texts as early as 1536. π - The Pie symbol, from the Greek letter π was first devised by another Welshman, mathematician William Jones in 1706, although he wrote that his equations came from the "ready pen of the truly ingenious Mr. John Machin" leading to speculation that he may have put it to use before Jones. The idea was not immediately adopted by others, who continued to use fractions to represent the figure beyond 1760. + & - were put to use in the late 15th century by German mathematicians. Prior to their implementation, P or M or PP and MM were used. X for multiplication was originally a simply dot or point. The x can be traced to English mathematician William Oughtred in 1618 although there are examples of earlier use but they are hotly debated in symbol etymology chasing circles. ∞ for infinity was first used by John Wallis, English mathematician, in the mid 1650s. Leonhard Euler, the Swiss mathematician was rather prolific in the line of symbol invention but there is some dispute about his complete list. We investigated the numbers 1 to 10 in episode 10 "Pie Again" but the number zero was not covered. It is, without surprise, a complicated story. It seems the earliest use of the symbol can be traced to 220AD. The word zero, first used around 1598, comes to English from French, which in turn is believed to have emerged from Venice (We recently covered a series of words that came from Venice in episode 18) via Arabic. Zero - Zafiro - Safir or Sifr (Cipher) meaning empty. The Arabic word was itself a translation of a Sanskrit word. Going from zero and emptiness to "nothing" is a little Charly bonus to listen out for at the end of this episode. As well as being the host of our Interesting Etymologies series, Charly Taylor is a stand up comedian and author. His latest offering is available now: SkipDeLirio's Worst Ever Gig : A novel by Charly Taylor Caesar’s army has returned from the long campaign in Gaul and the enemy has been all but defeated. Some of Pompey’s army, however, remains in Africa. Together with straggling Roman rebels and the local king Juba, they are gathering forces to prepare one last attack on what is now Caesar’s Rome. But there is one problem – a descendant of Scipio Africanus is fighting on the side of the Africans. And without a Scipio of their own, the superstitious Romans refuse to go to Africa to fight. So Caesar sends out soldiers to find himself a Scipio. Luckily, there is a man of such name right there in Rome – a local drunkard and tavern entertainer distantly descended from the legendary warrior. Kidnapped solely on account of his ‘heritage’, the lowly clown is forced to lead out the troops in the battle of Thapsus. There, ‘history’ tells us, Scipio ‘disappears from the historical record’. Until now. This is the story of how ‘Nobody’ Skip DeLirio, with the cards finally all dealt in his favour, still managed to fuck it up. History will only take you so far. The rest is make-believe. Order your copy here:
April 21, 2021
Tales from the Other Side: May Day
More folklore, mythology and magic in 'Tales from the Other Side.' Red headed, Irish enthusiast, Claire Alcock explores the rituals and customs surrounding May Day, when our world and the spirit world collide.
April 20, 2021
Tales from the Other Side: The Masquerade Hare
A fascinating story of art, mystery, deception, love, modern folklore and the spawning of a new age...the armchair treasure hunt...
April 18, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - The Jazz Age
"Hello again Word Lovers!" on this outing into the world of words we head into the world of music, with the words that come to us from the age of Jazz, the roaring 1920s! Jazz: Creole patois "jass" meaning "strenuous activity", widely considered a reference to sexual activity, as is "Rock and Roll". Noted to perhaps be related to "jasm" (1860) of African origin in relation to congo dances to mean "energy" or "drive". If you look up the word "jism" it will say "see Jazz". It is argued that "Jazz" snuck into polite society without people really understanding what it meant (Ed: wink wink, nudge, nudge) Ragtime: A clear relation to period/menstruation but could also be a ragged beat. Blues: A term for feeling down. First use appeared in a song "Dallas Blues" by Heart Wand in 1912 although a musical theatre show back in 1798 was named "Blue Devils". Rock'n'Roll: First use was on radio in 1951, the Moon Dog Rock and Roll house party. There is an interesting potential link to the formation of "reggae" touched upon too. Funk: A bad smell or to smoke in dialectic French? Boogie Woogie: Originally the name given to a rent party. A house party to celebrate paying the rent. Hot Dogs: This snack appeared in the 1920s. The meat was reputed, jokingly or not, to be from dogs due to the poor quality. Gig, Cool, hip and far out all emerge in this period too. Jam: For musicians to play together. Seems to emerge from the idea of being in a fix, or a sticky situation and having to improvise. Schmaltz: From being mad fatty in Yiddish Busk/Busking: Actually of older heritage, from 1857 "to offer goods for sale only in bars and tap rooms". Busking in nautical language meant to cruise as a Pirate. Scat Singing: In 1926 Louis Armstrong dropped the word sheet whilst recording "The Heebie Jeebies" and improvised. This era produces a host of modern words including cocktails, sweatshirts, T-shirts, carparks, fridges, zip, robot sc-fi, microclimate and many more.
April 14, 2021
Tales from the Other Side: Sin-Eater
In British folklore, there are wraiths, ghosts, demons and damnation. For a coin and some bread, the Sin-Eater will absolve all...
April 13, 2021
Tales from the Other Side: The Black Dog
In the British edition we visit the forgotten folklore of the British Isles, it's place names, spirits, tales, supernatural entities, superstitions and bizarre rituals....This episode wrestles with the ominous and foreboding Black Dog.
April 11, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Venice
"Hello again Word Lovers!" In this episode we are going to explore the etymological treasures of a rather special city, the city of Venice. Arsenal : The shipyards of the city of Venice, from the Arabic Darassina, which is a factory. It came to mean a site to store munitions in English and is now more widely known as the name of the second best football team in North London. The best team is of course Tottenham Hotspur, which causes all sorts of pronunciation problems for foreigners. That name has a far more domestic heritage and is believed to have come from the name of a farmer, Tota, who had a hamlet in the area as registered in the Doomsday book of William the Conqueror. Tota's Hamlet - Tottenham (pronounced tot·nuhm) The Hotspur part of the name comes from late Middle English: literally ‘a person whose spur is hot from rash or constant riding’. It was used to describe someone who was rash, bold and flamboyant and was the nickname for Sir Henry Percy given to him by the Scots as a tribute to his speed in advance and readiness to attack. His desire to attack was to cost him his life in a rebellion against his king, but, that, as they say, is another story. Ballot: A voting paper in English. The Balota (small ball) was what you put into the voting box to cast your vote in Venice, it could be a white ball or a black ball for yes or no. This seems to be the source of the phrase 'to blackball someone' which means to reject someone's application. (The etymology of bal was explored in this episode ) Ghetto: The first use of this word is registered in 1516 when the Jews in Venice were forced to live in the old iron foundry complex. Charly explores four alternative etymologies for this word, check out which you think is most likely. Sequin: A small shiny disc sewn on to clothing for decoration. Zequin is a gold coin in Venetian and zecca was the mint. From the Arabic sikkah. Lido: An outdoor swimming pool, often on the coast. From the Latin "litera" which means shore. Marionette, Embroil, Gazette and Pants are then covered and the etymological theories regarding Gazette and Pants are well worth a listen and Charly even demonstrates that the adjective Zany also heralds from the city state of Venice. As well as being the host of our Interesting Etymologies series, Charly Taylor is a stand up comedian and author. His latest offering is available now: SkipDeLirio's Worst Ever Gig : A novel by Charly Taylor. Caesar’s army has returned from the long campaign in Gaul and the enemy has been all but defeated. Some of Pompey’s army, however, remains in Africa. Together with straggling Roman rebels and the local king Juba, they are gathering forces to prepare one last attack on what is now Caesar’s Rome. But there is one problem – a descendant of Scipio Africanus is fighting on the side of the Africans. And without a Scipio of their own, the superstitious Romans refuse to go to Africa to fight. So Caesar sends out soldiers to find himself a Scipio. Luckily, there is a man of such name right there in Rome – a local drunkard and tavern entertainer distantly descended from the legendary warrior. Kidnapped solely on account of his ‘heritage’, the lowly clown is forced to lead out the troops in the battle of Thapsus. There, ‘history’ tells us, Scipio ‘disappears from the historical record’. Until now. This is the story of how ‘Nobody’ Skip DeLirio, with the cards finally all dealt in his favour, still managed to fuck it up. History will only take you so far. The rest is make-believe. Order your copy here
April 08, 2021
Tales from the Other Side - Little Fawn, Oisín
More folklore, mythology and magic in 'Tales from the Other Side.' Red headed, Irish enthusiast, Claire Alcock explores the origin story of the Little Fawn, also known as Oisín. A story of strange supernatural lands, spells, common Irish folklore characters and a guest appearance from the man himself, St Patrick. For the article see here And for a review of the White Hag Brewery's Session IPA inspired by the story and named 'Little Fawn' see here
April 07, 2021
Tales from the Other Side - Fairy Forts
More folklore, mythology and magic in 'Tales from the Other Side.' Red headed, Irish enthusiast, Claire Alcock explores the deep and often dark traditions and superstitions surrounding Fairies and their forts, in Irish culture. Read the article here:
April 01, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Easter Special
"Hello again Word Lovers!" We are in the Easter season and so it seems a sensible time to look at the etymology of the word "Easter" Easter: The official citation comes from the Venerable Bede, the chronicler who lived on the island of Lindisfarne. It references his work, The Ecclesiastical history of the English people where he complains about the Celtic church retaining the name Easter. This is believed to be the name of the pre Christian era month, from the name of a Pagan Goddess. At the Synod of Whitby in 664 AD the King of Northumbria declared the Romans to be correct and the only people who disagreed with the timetable were the obstinate Picts and Britons at the remote corners of these far flung islands. An alternative explanation is the "east" but the first explanation seems more likely. Easter Egg: The Pagan tradition of handing coloured eggs as a symbol of fertility. The word egg came to English via the Norse. An old pronunciation of egg was "eya" which is found in the term "cockenayers". In the 14th century this was a "milksop" or a spoilt child but later became a way for country people to refer to people from London. Living in the big city of London had transformed the people into Cockenays, or Cock's Eggs. So disconnected from reality that they did not know which animal laid the egg. This transformed into the word "Cockney" that we still use today. This is a disputed derivation but sounds so delightful that we are going to stick with it. This is a nice inversion of the more common habit of city folk deriding country folk. The expression "country bumpkin" which probably comes from the Dutch bommekjin to mean little barrel or the diminutive of boom for tree. It was a derogatory term for Dutch people being short and dumpy (Ed: curious as in the modern world Dutch are statistically taller than any other country.) The word came into English as a nautical term for a projected boom from a vessel. Shrove Tuesday: The start of lent in English (pancake day), comes from scrifan in Old English which means to decree, possibly emanating from the Latin to write. It came to mean "confession". Maundy Thursday: To decree, ordain, mandate...leads us to another word, Maundy Thursday, from old French commandment or mandate. "I give to you a new commandment" John 13:34 (Mandatum novum do vobis), opens the Easter church service and are understood to be Jesus' final instructions to his followers as he washes their feet at the last supper. "I give to you a new commandment, love one another, as I have loved you". Holy: Derives from PIE root - "kailo" meaning "whole" or "uninjured". The word Holidays obviously is a well known outcome of "Holy Days". Enjoy Interesting Etymologies? Check out our narrator, C. C. Taylor's hilarious novel on comedy in Roman times 'Skip Delirio's worst ever gig'
March 30, 2021
Tales from the Other Side - The borrowed days of March
More folklore, mythology and magic in 'Tales from the Other Side.' Red headed, Irish enthusiast, Claire Alcock regales us with the ancient story of 'The borrowed days of March'. Read the article here:
March 28, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Angels and devils
"Hello again Word Lovers!" This episode is going to explore the world of Angels & Devils! Beelzebub : We kick off with some different theories on the origin of the name Beelzebub. It seems t be accepted that this is a derivation of "Lord of the flies" which came about as a taunt or mockery, but Robert Fripp the guitar player with King Crimson has other ideas! Lucifer : The Carrier of Light or head of demons. Demons: The world was awash with Daimones in the Middle Ages, spirits that shared our world with us. As Christianity expanded, the unseen world became divided between the good Angels and the bad demons. Ghoul : From Arabic Ghul, a maligned spirit that robs graveyards. Macabre: From Arabic Maq´bir = graves from root qabar "to bury". Angel : Angelos, A messenger, originally in Sanskrit a Messenger on a horse. Old English enjoyed the fabulous Aerendgast which has fallen out of favour in the modern tongue. God : From the PIE root ghut meaning something you invoke. This may come as a surprise, as many believe there is a clear connection between God and Good (Ed: Which is a etymological observation not a philosophical one!). The journey of this word is an interesting one and Charly explores it further. Enthusiastic : Originally meant "Inspired by God"
March 23, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Welsh
"Hello again Word Lovers!" Surprisingly few words have come into English from Welsh, Scots or Irish, especially considering the proximity. English was imported to the British isles and has accepted words from many languages. Here are some of the few that made it from Welsh Coracle : It has come from the Latin Corium meaning "leather" (Still apparent in the Spanish word for leather Cuerro. Corgi : Actually means "dwarf" and the suffix gi is a mutation of ci which means "dog" Crag : A steep or rocky cliff face. Spelt Carreg, or Karrek in Cornish. Flannel : Uncertain etymology but may come from flain in French, to mean blanket and there is the Welsh word Gwlanen to mean woolen cloth. Adder : Believe to have come to Welsh from Latin. Bow : Could be from old English bugan "to bend" or "bow down" or Welsh bwa. Lawn : Has an interesting etymology. Originally referred to the grass that surrounded a Christian place of worship, Llan in Welsh. Anyone who has been to Wales or looked at Wales on a map will know that many place names begin with Llan. Penguin: This word has been gifted to the languages of the world by Welsh. In Welsh Pen means head and Gwyn means White. (Ed: For Spanish listeners Gwyn mutates in Irish to Vaughan, pronounced correctly on the show by Charly as Vorn. So it literally means Mister White!) Why did Penguin come from Welsh? The story goes that it emerges from the Patagonian Welsh community and in this region, there is a type of Penguin that has white markings on the head. Druid : Charly goes into detail about this fascinating word and the strong intertwined connection between Oak and Truth. In fact, the Anglo Saxons used the word treow for both truth and tree. Gull : Comes from possibly Welsh or Cornish. Welsh gwylan, Cornish guilan and Breton goelann all derive from the Old Celt voilenno. Hedgehog & Iron are also believed to have Welsh etymology. Pen : To mean head, mountain or hill. Very common in place names. Penzance, Penryn, Penrith Bont : Meaning bridge, clearly comes from Pont Gwesty meaning Hotel clearly lends itself to Guest House. Gwes in fact means Guest and Ty means House.
March 19, 2021
Feet O'Flames - Irish dance
This is an audio version of a video interview, for the full experience please check out our youtube version here : The Bulldogz team were very excited to sit down and talk with Megan Morrison, Zaragoza's first Irish dance teacher! Michael Flatley made Irish dancing world famous in 1994 when he performed his Riverdance routine at the Eurovision song contest during the intermission and some years later he toured the world with his hit show "The Lord of the Dance". A very young Megan Morrison sat spellbound in the crowd. There began the journey of her life time as she pursued her ambition to compete in the Irish dance world championships on several occasions. Megan shows us her feet of flames as she explains the different dances and shoes whilst also revealing how here Gran got banned from attending official competitions and her Mum....well you will find out. Dance moves to inspire, and if you have always had a hankering to try out this distinctive dancing style, you can find details to sign up in the youtube description or the podcast notes. Megan has even teamed up with Bulldogz to offer a discount if you sign up before April 30th 2021. You can book classes via whatsapp on 652013398 or messaging @meganmo91on instagram. If you quote “Bulldogz” when booking your classes before April 30th 2021 you can get four classes for the price of three Flam & Co dance school run Flamenco and Sevillanas classes for adults and children and more besides, full details available on More information at our website: Music in this video: Tam Lin or Glasgow Reel as performed y Peak Fiddler. The original can be found here: Lord of the Dance (With Taps) by Ronan Hardiman. Published by UMG In the shw directed by David Mallet. Original can be found here: "in Sight" by Benedict Morris. Featured on a choreographed dance by the Gardiner brothers. The original can be found here: This video us under Fair Use: Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act giving allowance for "Fair Use" for educational, non profit purposes. All rights and credits go directly to its owners. No copyright infringement intended.
March 17, 2021
Irish folklore: fairy craic
Guest and Irish enthusiast, Claire Alcock, takes us on a journey into Irish folklore. We are visited by a handful of folk characters and hear the tales that made them legend. Visit for the written article and associated links. Music available from Free Music Archive Sláinte - The Banshee. Gravel Walks. The Old Copperplate & - Lark in the Morning. The Atholl Highlanders. By creative commons license :
March 15, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Unknown origins
"Hello again Word Lovers!" we will be exploring words of unknown origin in this episode. Charly opens by saying if he was a Mathematical institute he would offer a million pounds to anyone who can provide evidence of the etymology of the words covered in this show. (Ed: Not much chance of that, he still owes me for that water and nut roast I paid for in the autumn of '03!) Dog: This word seems to have emerged as a pejorative and then become the umbrella word for the animal. Charly states that you might utter the communication "Bad Dog!" at some point in your life and you would have used two words with unknown origin. Bad: There are some competing theories including the word bæddel derived from Old High German, which actually means hermaphrodite. It is argued the loss of the -el leads to the word we know today. This can be compared to wench from wenche/wencel or much from mycel. Bæddan in Proto Germanic meant to defile. In Norwegian Bad has meant trouble, fear or effort. In Danish, fight. It is all a big mystery. Oh, wait, Big, another word of unknown origin. (It was a Big Bad Dog!) Big: One of the competing theories is from Bugge, a Norse word meaning a Great Man. Boy: There is no clear theory on this word, mid 13th century use indicates it possibly originates from a word to describe a slave, knave or commoner. There is a French connection (Ed: All my own work by the way) to a word for somebody in chains, again referencing back to slavery. Girl: Original use seems to indicate that girl meant any child of any sex. Some guess work leads us to the Old English word gyrele, a diminutive of gurwjoz or the Proto Germanic gurwilon. Charly then attempts a pronunciation of a PIE word made entirely of consonants - ghwrgh - which seems to mean virgin. There is then a brief detour into diminutive suffixes in Germanic languages before we reluctantly draw a blank. Donkey: Connected to Dun meaning Brown, Dun is still used today as a horse colour. A brown animal with Key possibly being a diminutive suffix. Which was in fact Dunkey before morphing into Donkey. This seems a very credible root. Bird: Originally Bridd in older English but there seems to be a challenge that Old English for bird was fugol, clearly emerging from German. Vogel is bird in modern German and leads to the English word Fowl.
March 11, 2021
Vampire - the evolution of the myth
The Vampire story has always fascinated film makers and now that journey is explored in a new exhibition in the Caixa Forum in Zaragoza from 23 Feb until 13 June 2021. Covering the development of the story of Dracula as set out in Bram Stokers work the exhibition charts a course through the depictions of Dracula in Western cinema including a fascinating comparison of the original 1922 Nosferatu by F.W Murnau and the 1979 Werner Herzog interpretation The Phantom of the Night. Perhaps it is the relative proximity of the Dracula mania and the birth of cinema that accounts for the unending fascination the medium has with the character, and it is primarily the cinematic evolution of vampires that forms the basis of our journey through irresistible gothic horror. The exhibits cover a range of cinematic extracts, beautiful film production stills, publicity posters, concept art and even original costumes, including those of Tom Cruise and Kirsten Dunst from Interview with a Vampire. There is also a range of graphic novels, TV productions, music videos and manga works that tackle the Count, including Scooby Doo and Sesame Street. Entry is 6 euros per head with reduced rates for children or free for caixa bank account holders and three guests. Entry includes access to the other exhibits and once complete you can enjoy a skyline view from the cafe on the top floor and the outdoor terraza. Alongside the exhibition is perhaps a unique opportunity to watch a screening of the original 1929 Nosferatu on Tuesday 2nd March at 19.00. On Thursday 4th March at 19,00 a round table will explore the transformation of the Vampire myth in the 21st century. Then on Tuesday 9th March the 1958 Hammer Horror Dracula starring Christopher Lee is showing in Original English version. Further events include a screening of The Francis Ford Coppola Bram Stoker's Dracula on Tuesday 16th March and Jim Jarmusch's vampire comedy Only lovers left alive on Tuesday 23rd March. The exhibition runs until 13th June 2021 so keep an eye out for further events and get your blood lust sated! Music : Dracula 2020 by CO.AG Music All film clips copyright retained by authors, no copyright intended or inferred. Montage adapted from Stranger Still Youtube Channel Vampire Montage : Further information from Caixa Forum Zaragoza web page :
March 01, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - more colour
"Hello again Word Lovers!" We continue our look at the words for colours as we return to our investigation of Black: Black: blac in Old English which curiously meant bright or shining, glittering or pale. This seems very confusing. Charly observes that the words for colour is a heated debate among etymology sleuths. There is an entire wikipedia page dedicated to the positions of the Universalist and the Relativist position in this field. Essentially universalists claim that colour terminology has absolute constraints as human biology is the same. Relativists propose that cultural specific phenomena have a huge impact on the development of words. When we read Middle English (The long nights must just fly - Ed) we can never be sure if the word blac means dark, or of no colour or pale. Which brings us nicely to: White: Blanco in Spanish. In Old English this is Hwit. This seems to be traced to PIE Kwid which persists in Slavic languages (T)Sv(y)et to mean Light. Purple: Represented richness and nobility due to the difficulty in obtaining purple dye. Purpura in Latin, Porphyra in Greek but then running into a wall of "uncertain origin". Some suggest it is if Semitic origin, perhaps the fish from which the dye was obtained. Mauve: This is an interesting side note as this word has a clear history rather than etymology. William Henry Perkin discovered the colour in his investigation of Quinines. He discovered this first synthetic dye at the age of 18 and named it aniline purple. It was named mauve in England after the French name for the mallow flower and chemists later referred to it as mauveine. He actually started a dye business and went on to create Perkin's Green (a turquoise like colour), Britannia Violet and alizarin crimson. Orange: The fruit was imported to Europe from Asia by the Portuguese and the transformation from Naranja to Orange is well established, even if the debate over which came first the fruit or the colour seems unending. Brown: A Proto Germanic word Brunaz from PIE Bher meaning bright or, well, brown. Although the Old English word has moved on to bright with the verb to Burnish. Grey: Latin Grex, meaning flock. The same root that gives us aggregate, congregate and gregarious. How this transforms into the colour Grey remains a mystery that no doubt universalist and relativist linguistic thinkers could seek to explain!
February 24, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Colours
"Hello again Word Lovers!" Crimson: Red was covered in the PIE again episode but we can take a look at Crimson to start here. Carmesí in modern Spanish, from Cremesinus in Latin,- inus is an indicator that it was adapted by the Romans, originally from an Arabic word Quirmiz. This translates into Slavonic as červená and would therefore explain why the football team Red Star Belgrade is now known as Fudbalski klub Crvena zvezda. Yellow: Can be traced back to PIE roots meaning to shine, glow or gleam -ghlei, ghlo or ghel. Blue: Often defined as the colour of the clear sky. In Homer's works the sea is often described as "wine dark" and the sky as the colour of bronze so even using "sky coloured" as a definition of blue is fraught with difficulty. Frankish blao or other Germanic source from Proto-Germanic blaewaz and the Old English blaw. French and Italian have the word as we can recognise it although Italian also has "azzuri" to mean dark blue and of course blue is "azul" in Spanish. Russian does not have a word for blue (a lot of grey skies in Mother Russia - Ed), they have a word for dark blue "sinii" and sky blue "goluboi". Japanese traffic lights are blue not green due to the distinctions they make regarding colours. Find out more about Japanese words in the previous episode There can be some cross over between blue and grey and green as well. Green: In Old English and Middle English from Germanic gronja, Old Norse graenn and unsurprisingly connected to he word for grass and grow, a PIE root in fact with ghre. Latin had Viridis which leads to verde, Primavera, Vivere (to grow) Vert, Verdant, Verdure etc. Black: blakaz in Proto Germanic to mean burned/burnt or dark in general. Old Norse blakkr
February 18, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Japanese
"Hello again Word Lovers!" Or should we say "Konichiwa" as today we are looking at Japanese. Charly doesn't know if you speak Japanese, but actually he does know, as there are many Japanese words that have found their way into other languages. Just some examples to begin with: Typhoon, tsunami, karaoke, manga, anime, origami, bonsai, samurai, ninja, yakuza and so on... Haiku, Futon and Koi Food words: Sake, Ramen, Tempura, Sushi (Which actually means "sour rice" or "rice in vinegar" not raw fish! Wasabi, Teriyaki. Suicide : Seppuku/Hara Kiri (ceremonial suicide by falling on your sword - Setsu - to cut Fuku - abdomen), Kamikaze (Divine Wind - From two great storms that saved Japan from the impending invasion of the Mongol fleet of Kublai Kahn) Geisha (Gei - performing arts Sha - person) originally any artist Types of theatre : Noh, Nong and Kabuki Words of Etymological interest: Japanese have incorporated words from English: Sony: combining Latin Sonus: sound with Sunny. Purraibashi transliteration of privacy Sarariman transliteration of Salary Man, man with a job. This demonstrates a feature of Japanese, when words are taken from other languages they obey Japanese spelling rules. One such rule is that two consonants cannot feature together. (Ed - What about PuRRa?) Privacy : Pri becomes Purrai and vacy becomes bashi Another rule is that words must end in a vowel with exception to "n" (Nippon) Chris becomes Kurisu Compound words: Fujiyama : Fuji - Fire, luck or happiness. Yama - Mountain Honda : Rice Paddy (Was the surname of the founder) Mitsubishi : Literally Three Diamonds, which is the logo of the company Some words to translate back to English: Now we know we can see many words come from English into Japanese and we can see some of the spelling rules that are obeyed, here are some words that you might be able to identify (Watch the video or listen to he podcast to find the answers) Miruku : Fokusuturotu: Maiku: Irasuto: Meeku: Daiya: Further examples can be found on the pod., including Aisukuriimu which is ice cream Verb formation: Adding "suru" after the word forms a verb in Japanese. Doraibu suru -- to drive Kisu suru --- to kiss Nokku suru -- to knock Taipu suru -- to type This curious cross pollination of Japanese and European languages mean that we probably know a lot more Japanese than we first thought!
February 10, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Changing meaning
"Hello again Word Lovers!" "Are you an idiot, by any chance? Are you naughty or are you nice? Or are you silly?" This episode starts in a rather aggressive tone as Charly sets out to explore the original meanings of some rather negative words. Idiot : In the time of ancient Greece, an idiot was someone who was concerned with private ideas. "idios" meant private or one's own. In Latin the word originally meant "ordinary person" or "layman" but by late Latin the word had become "uneducated or ignorant person" (Ed - Which maybe betrays some of the more superior attitudes of the elites of Roman society toward the common man does it not?) Naughty : Has its roots in Proto-Indo-European "ne" meaning "not" and "wiht" meaning "creature". Some one who has naught or nothing is often liable to be a "bad" person, they might steal or society might see poor people as lacking in moral fibre. Nice : the opposite of nice in modern use comes from "nescius" in Latin meaning "ignorant", itself from nescire (to not know) and also provides the root for the word "science". Somehow this mutated to "being able to discriminate", a nice distinction is something you must seek, a distinction that is not obvious. This mutated to someone who can distinguish things, likes the finer things, the "nicer" things. Silly : The word aelig in old English meaning "blessed" or "touched by God" from Germanic "salig" meaning "extremely overjoyed". This "touched by God" theme developed to mean a pious or devout person, a "sylyman" was a man of God. Perhaps the aspect of innocence in the personality of monks or isolated people of faith added to the definition leading to the stupid plus innocent combination we know today. Cloud: Was a mountain so cloud literally means "mountains in the sky" Awful: Was something which inspired awe Dinner : Apparently derives from breakfast Surly : Believed to be a development from adapting the idea of "sir" to be a greeting of respect to a show of disdain. Travel : Derives from Travail to mean hard work or labour. This actually comes from Trepalium in Latin which was a three staked instrument of torture. (Ed - Sounds like riding a bus in the morning to be honest)
February 03, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Place names
"Hello again Word Lovers!" In this episode we take a look at the etymology of the names of places. Like so many of the topics explored in this programme, the field of interest is virtually infinite (Ed - Well, Global Charly) so Charly is going to isolate some examples and dig down. Personal Names Charly starts by reminding us that our names have meanings, and many people do not know what their name means. Philip for example means "lover of horses", Christopher is someone who carries Christ, Charles just means a man or husband, Sara (Sarah) comes from a word for Princess, Elizabeth from Hebrew means "My God is in abundance" and Merrick means "biggest knuckle in the fist" or "longest finger in the hand!" Common English suffixes Charly first explores the meaning of Oxford, which unsurprisingly means the place where the oxen (cattle) crossed the river. Ox being cattle and Ford being a river crossing. Ford, Castle and Church are all very common suffixes in English place names that have obvious meaning, -ton is also very common, a contracted form of "town". Although, this is not always the case. Buxton is formed from Buck Stones. We discover how Charly's passion for etymology began in this episode as he recounts his teacher explaining that Hoar frost meant grey frost and the district he lived in was called Harwood derived from Hoar. Cester/Chester Another common suffix is Cester/Chester which indicates a Roman army camp site. Manchester derives from an army camp of an Anglo Saxon named Mamm. The original word meaning "breast" or "breast like hill" but the modern word derives from the Latinisation (Mamucium or Mancunio) of the original name. We see how the word camp becomes "field" in French and forms the root of our word "Champion". We go into even further depth on the word "Welsh" and "Wales" in the associated article on our website Slav Slav is from "slovo" and literally means "people of the word" but via the Romans who got their slaves from the region, we get the word "slave". Slav and Slave are similar in almost every European language (not to be confused with Polish "unwilling" or Russian "work"). Spain The Spanish like to claim the name comes from the Romans christening the land "Hispania" but the Carthaginians had named the region Ispania or I-Shaphan which meant Land or Coast of the Hyraxes. This is an animal that is common in the middle east and it is believed the Carthaginians, being unfamiliar with rabbits as a species, used the word Hyrax instead. Iberia is believed to come from the name of the river Ebro which flows through Zaragoza, which itself has an interesting etymology. The original settlement was called Salduie before Caesar Augusto, the Roman Emperor founded a Roman settlement on the site. The Romans referred to the city as Caesaraugusta and this transmuted to Saraqusṭa during the Arabic period of rule, showing the path to the current name. Bahamas - Bajas Mares (Spanish for Low Seas) Honduras - From Spanish Hondos - depths. There are a wealth of place and country names that are named after the person who founded or discovered them and some have a murky or disputed heritage. But that is for another episode!
January 30, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - PIE again
"Hello again Word Lovers!" This week Charly digs into the mysterious world of PIE (Proto Indo European) language. To understand a little better how murky the waters of the etymological past can be we look at some of his "favourite" words (Ed : I am saying nothing!) Medina : Of Arabic origin, thought to be of PIE root but when investigated further Charly discovers that it is a word of multiple origins. Cannabis : Related to canvas (made of Hemp). Greeks used the word Cannabis and traced to Sanskrit. Yet an alternative suggests it cam through Arabic and Hebrew from Sanskrit again. This then opens up the understanding of consonant clusters to form words. For example modern Arabic does not write the short vowels but does have long vowels written. Charly demonstrates some potential references to cannabis in the Bible only to then inform us it is disputed etymology. We then look at the common word groups, as follows: Kinship, (People, Pronouns) Numbers, Bodyparts, Animals, Agriculture, Bodily functions and states, Mental functions and states, Natural features, Directions, Basic adjectives, Construction, Object motion, Self motion, Rest and Time. Charly focuses on numbers this time, looking at 1 to 10 in Hindi, Spanish and Russian, also seeing the similarity with Scandinavian tongue and Welsh. Of the basic adjectives, Charly zeroes in on the etymology of red, considering it the oldest colour word in literature. The etymology of black and white will be attacked another day.
January 21, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Cricket and Football
"Hello again Word Lovers!" This week we focus on the etymology of two very English pasttimes, cricket and football Cricket Charly investigates to competing etymologies for the word cricket, either derived from old French "cricke" to mean a stick or from Dutch "krickstoel". Football The etymology of Football is apparent to everyone but Charly is determined to uncover the roots of both "foot" and "ball" before sigining off on the topic. Foot is traced through German and Gothic to the PIE root of Ped but it is ball that catches the imagination! It can be traced through Old Norse and Proto-Germanic to a PIE root of "bhel" meaning to blow or swell. There are an extraordinary number of words that reach us from this root, such as beluga, black, blank, bleak, blind.... Charly then takes us down an extraordinary rabbit hole of the separation of the PIE root. We dare not spoil the fun of what he uncovers in this mere five minutes of etymological discovery, but needless to say only Charly could take us from football to phallus before arriving at Cauliflower!
January 14, 2021
Interesting Etymologies - Games
This week we dive into words that we have come to us through games! Chess & Draughts An obvious starting point is a game previously mentioned in Interesting Etymologies - Chess. Charly is keen to point out that it is commonly believed Chess comes from Arabic but actually has roots in Persian and Sanskrit. The word "Check" has an unsurprising connection and "Checkmate" is traced through French to Arabic and Persian to mean....."the King is dead". Darts Requiring a little more physical exertion is Darts, from Darsus in Latin but the game and the word is believed to have been adopted by the Romans from the Gauls. Badminton & Rugby Two quintessentially English past times both named after the place where the game was invented. Charly quickly assures us the origin story of Rugby is a myth as well as looking at the origin of both Rugby and Badminton and their meanings. Tennis & Squash Tennis, as widely understood, comes from French but Squash is named because of the squishy quality of the ball. Charly refuses to take that as a final answer and digs into the etymology of the words "Squash" and "Crush" to satisfy his etymological interest. Billiards/Snooker/Pool We disentangle the confusion between the three distinct games and the different etymological heritage of the words and cultural heritage of the sports which leads to an exploration of Croquet, Polo and Hockey. The hitty sticky game turns out to be ridiculously ancient. Tune in for more fun and games next week when we delve into the etymology of the greatest sports, football and cricket. This programme is also available on our podcast channel Bulldogz Dead Air Our podcast is available on all major platforms, find more information at Anchor FM Explore the full Interesting Etymologies series archive here
January 06, 2021
SoundBook - The tell-tale heart by Edgar Allan Poe
The Tell Tale Heart is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe recounted by an unnamed narrator who is attempting to convince the reader of his sanity while simultaneously describing a murder the narrator committed. First published in 1843 it is considered a classic of the Gothic horror genre. Read more about Edgar Allan Poe in the article on our website:
December 24, 2020
Interesting Etymologies: Christmas Special
Hello again Word Lovers! Charly has returned, wearing a red tunic and a fake beard, smothered in mince pie crumbs as he tells us about the etymology of words connected to Christmas. It should come as no surprise that the first word he investigates is Christmas and then a look at the roots of the word Christ and Messiah. Yule is then explored as the early English word from Old Norse. The roots of the word "Eve" is uncovered as another of old English heritage, the night before a feast. We touch upon "Holy" but that is left for a more detailed investigation in a future episode. We uncover the archaic uses of "Xmas", not as modern as first considered and even the word "Happy" gets a consideration. "Bethlehem" is broken down and then we look at the words of the classic Nativity scene. A manger, Angels and tidings. At breakneck speed we continue to the history of "Carols" and "Father Christmas" and the proto German descent of "Elf". As Santa Claus does his work he comes down the "Chimney" and in some houses he may consume "Egg Nog" or "Pease Pudding" and post food people may go "Wassaling" which turns out to be far more interesting than you might expect. After Christmas, the twenty sixth of December in England is known as Boxing Day which we briefly explore too. Our history of Father Christmas/Saint Nicholas can be read here An article on the history of mince pies can be read here The history of traditional English Christmas dinner and how to make it, find out more here The Master wordsmith Charles Dickens has been given the Bulldogz audio drama treatment, listen to The Signalman Interesting Etymologies will return after Christmas with a regular slot every Wednesday. You can find a guide to all the episodes here Father Christmas Saint Nicholas: Mince Pies : Christmas Dinner : Charles Dickens : The Signal Man : Interesting Etymologies archive :
December 16, 2020
Inside Aragón: Christmas Freedoms
The local and national authorities have confirmed the Christmas restrictions so we run through what you need to know for the coming festive season Changes to curfew, access to bars, revised limits for gatherings. Full details on restrictions in Aragón and what is required for travelling to UK and returning to Spain can be found on our website:
December 13, 2020
SoundBook - The Signalman by Charles Dickens
The signalman is an eerie horror suspense story by Charles Dickens, first published as part of a collection of railway-themed stories called The Mugby Junction in the 1866 Christmas edition of All the Year Round. All the Year Round was a weekly literary magazine founded and owned by Dickens himself, it hosted the serialised versions of many prominent novels including Dickens’ own A Tale of Two Cities’ The Mugby Junction was a project very close to Dickens’ heart, on June 9th 1865 Dickens survived the Staplehurst rail crash. For more information on the background on the work please head over to our article on the story here: The short tale is a first person account of a mysterious encounter between a doctor and a signalman. The railway man seems troubled and as the doctor pursues his concerns a ghastly series of incidents and paranormal happenings emerge, building toward a chilling climax. The full text is available on our website. Read more about the life and times of Charles Dickens with our article "Charles Dickens, Father of Christmas" This audio drama was produced by Bulldogz featuring Merrick Wells as the narrator and Benjamin Ansell as all other parts. The original music is by Merrick Wells. Produced as part of the Bulldogz SoundBook series.
December 05, 2020
Inside Aragón - November 6th
An overview of the latest restrictions in Aragón, the trend of young people renting flats for weekend parties and the reclassification of the Spanish language in education. Latest restrictions The Aragón Government published the latest State Bulletin on Thursday 5th November setting out the new restrictions in place across the region which come into force Friday 6th November. More information here: Renting Houseparties With the COVID crisis driving politicians to implement escalating restrictions on everyday life, enterprising young Maños in Zaragoza have taken to renting empty holiday apartments so they can socialize in relative peace. The trend has been met with a wave of concern regarding risks of contagion. More information here: Spanish declassified as the official language In an amendment agreed between the PSOE, Podemos and ERC (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya/ Catalan Left Republic) the reference to Spanish being the "vehicular language" throughout Spain has been removed which effectively means it is no longer classified as the default or primary working language in the education system. More information here: We also confirm that autonomos can self certificate for perimeter crossing and we ask you to adopt a local brewery once again. Check out the home delivery offers from our friends at Ordio Minero and Liquidos and tell them Bulldogz sent you!
November 07, 2020
Inside Aragón - 31 October Locked down again?
Our latest news round up podcast covers the uncomfortable development of potential return to national lockdown alongside some other local stories, including the Cocaine shipment intercepted by the Zaragoza city perimeter check points, the unfortunate optics of leading politicians attending banquets in opulent surroundings and an interview with a local chef about how the hostelry sector are adjusting to the challenging reality of the new normal.
October 31, 2020
Interesting Etymologies - Arabic words part 2
Hello word lovers! Part 2 explores words that have a definitive Arabic origin.
October 24, 2020
Inside Aragón 24/10/2020
We await the next political decision which will have profound implications on ll our lives, but, at least, not until next week...Read more at our website
October 24, 2020
Inside Aragón - 16th October 2020
Local news update for Aragón, Spain in English. Impending lockdown restrictions - Pilar festival cancelled - Christmas...cancelled and some good news.
October 16, 2020
Interesting Etymologies - Arabic words part 1
Resident etymologist Charly Taylor explores the mysterious origins of Arabic words in English.
October 07, 2020
Interesting Etymologies - recent creations
In this short instalment, we take a look at some recent words that have come into being. Charly manages to surprise us all with the unexpected etymology of the word "vegetarian", seriously, it is not what you think it is. Otherwise, this is a whirlwind tour around the recent language of the internet. We recommend taking a trip to the Urban Dictionary web page to investigate some of these recent phrases and words.
June 07, 2020
Interesting Etymologies - Folk etymologies
Our series continues with an exploration of some common "folk etymologies" in English. Many of these come from French. These are words where we all think we know the back story but in fact coincidence of sound or something that seems obvious on the face of it can be misleading. Charly does talk about Russian words for the first couple of minutes, do not be alarmed, it does not last for long!
May 28, 2020
Interesting Etymologies - diacritics
A short tour of diacritics in English, and their absence. The circumflex accent and the acute are often substituted for a missing letter. What looks like an impenetrable and intimidating topic can quickly be understood in context of the etymology.
May 23, 2020
Interesting Etymologies - Goodbye
Episode two in our series of Interesting Etymologies with Charly Taylor. In this episode we explore the story behind everyday words such as Breakfast, Window, Cupboard and Neighbour. We are even treated to a brief explanation of the etymology of goodbye. All packed into an astonishing 4 and a half minutes
May 15, 2020
Interesting Etymologies - OK
The first in our new series discussing interesting etymologies in English with our resident interesting guy, Charly Taylor. In this first episode, Charly explores the etymology of OK and using this example then introduces us to some more common false etymologies, including Posh, Golf, S.O.S and Cabal. We even squeeze in a short summary of the V-sign.
May 07, 2020
Hope and Glory: Shoot the moon
Operation Black Buck was the audacious RAF raid on the occupied Port Stanley airfield in 1982 at the start of the Falklands conflict. A mission against all the odds, a true tale of bravery and determination when a fleet of planes set for the scrap heap went south on the longest bombing mission in history with crews that had never been prepared for such feats. Read more about the Operation in our article and find further resources here: Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes: © 2018 Bulldogz
May 03, 2020
Hope and Glory: The Dambusters
The Dambusters of 617 Squadron were made famous by the film of the same name. On the seventy fifth anniversary of the suicide mission to attack Germans dams with audacious engineering and obscene flight and navigation skills, Bulldogz bring you the story of one of the most iconic missions of World War II Further information and reading at the History of Manston website Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes here: © 2018 Bulldogz
May 03, 2020
Hope and Glory: the Somme centenary
We travel to the Somme to tour the battlefield and uncover the horror and futility of one of the most painful and emotional events in British military history. Associated written article found here: The soundtrack was written and recorded by The Lost Clauses. The theme, "Some Foreign Field" is available here: Visit our website for more resources: © 2016 Bulldogz ℗ 2016 Bulldogz
May 03, 2020
From the halfway line - Karate kin
Ben sat down with Shihan Fernando Pérez to talk about his twenty five years running his Karate club in Zaragoza and the secrets behind the mystique of eastern martial arts. Fernando shares his insights on and passion for the discipline of Karate, without painting any fences. Read the article or explore the 25th anniversary newsletter of the Budo Dojo in English or Spanish on our webpage: © 2018 Bulldogz ℗ 2018 Bulldogz
May 03, 2020
From the halfway line - Rollin' with the girls
In March we ventured deep into the heart of the unknown as we attended our first ever Roller Derby game, between Zaragoza and Murcia. A growing and popular sport, Roller Derby is taking Spain by storm, with high octane action, high impact play and fast pace entertainment mixed with 1950s style and plenty of tattoos, it is an entertaining experience we encourage more to sample the atmosphere. Find the Zaragoza Sicarias del Cierzo (Cierzo Assassasins) on facebook and get in touch if you want to play or simply head along to the next match! The Murcia Rock 'n' Roller girls are also on Facebook here: Our good friends Hoppy craft beer house are here: And you can listen to our "Beer Here" pod here: © 2018 Bulldogz ℗ 2018 Bulldogz
May 03, 2020
From the halfway line - any given Sunday
Merrick being injured with broken ribs was unable to play football with his 7 a side Sunday League team, so he dragged Ben and their microphone to the match to ask people why they turn out come wind, rain or shine to play competitive football against people substantially fitter and younger than them....
May 01, 2020
From the halfway line - Irish eyes part 2
The first ever Gaelic Football matches in Zaragoza and the birth of a new Gaelic Football team in the city. An invitational tournement to blood their players prior to the full Spanish season. Join us and the team along with some enthusiastic participation from the sidelines on this most historic occasion. Our picture gallery and Zaragoza GAA's own event report here: The Zaragoza GAA Facebook page The Madrid Harps Facebook page Barcelona Gran Sol Facebook page Bulldog Facebook page Subscribe to our youtube channel for regular updates: Visit our website for more resources: © 2018 Bulldogz ℗ 2018 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
From the halfway line - Irish eyes part 1
The first ever Gaelic Football matches in Zaragoza and the birth of a new Gaelic Football team in the city. An invitational tournement to blood their players prior to the full Spanish season. Join us and the team along with some enthusiastic participation from the sidelines on this most historic occasion. Our picture gallery and Zaragoza GAA's own event report here: The Zaragoza GAA Facebook page The Madrid Harps Facebook page Barcelona Gran Sol Facebook page Bulldog Facebook page Subscribe to our youtube channel for regular updates: Visit our website for more resources: © 2018 Bulldogz ℗ 2018 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 3.1 - Alternative Xmas
Ben and Merrick reconvene at Bulldog Towers to discuss alternatives to the sickly sweet Christmas films you may watch every year. We wish you all a very messy Christmas xxxx Bulldog Facebook page Subscribe to our youtube channel for regular updates Visit our website for more resources: © 2018 Bulldogz ℗ 2018 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 2.6 - British trad
We discuss strange BRITISH CUSTOMS and TRADITIONS. Join us as we explore Shin Kicking, Worm charming, Viking torchlit processions and the world renowned CHEESE ROLLING festival. Sit back and relax, no worksheets for you to worry about and get lost in the world of strange British traditions and festivities. Up Helly Aa footage here: Shin kicking craziness here: Ozzy man reviews Cheese rolling: The Earl of Rone The weird world of worm charming: The bonkers bog snorkellers: https://29:48
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 2.5 - The Bronson
We sit down with Earl Bronson of local Zaragoza funk outfit The Bronson as they release the music video for new single "The Funky Robot". We talk about the fun of dressing up, how helpful alcohol is in preparing to go on stage, why Nazis had the best uniforms, the story behind their massive cameo celebrity reveal at the end of the new video and of course, we indulge in a three way James Brown impression fest! Find us on Facebook and Twitter The new single "The Funky Robot" with the surprise celebrity cameo appearance can be watched here: The director of the video, Ignacio Estaregui, has a selection of his work to view here: Please visit "the Funky Robot" dance school, Or order a burger from the Bronson Bar find them on Facebook Los Artistas Del Gremio are also on Facebook, find them at But the Blues Brothers tribute super group videos are nice and easy to find here: All The Bronson videos can all be found on their youtube account: © 2018 Bulldogz ℗ 2018 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 2.4 - Beer here
The team head out onto the mean streets of Zaragoza for this episode as they try a Beer tasting session at Craft Beer Bar Hoppy ( An episode rich in descriptive language and atmosphere. chance to learn a little more about the delightful world of real beer and certain to get you salivating for a pint. Enjoy! Associated resources available: An associated blog post on beer is available to read here: Please note this episode contains two uses of an expletive. © 2018 Bulldogz ℗ 2018 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 2.3 - Solid British copper
2017 is here, and it's gonna be great, it's gonna be great! We have got the best words for you here as we hurtle head long into a new and uncertain year. So to start on solid ground, your favourite audiotory trio discuss handy language learning and study tips to develop your language use more effectively. This is all delivered in their customary tone, with enthusiasm and what some might say is humour but this time without a worksheet for you to all suffer. There is an associated vocab sheet found here: © 2018 Bulldogz ℗ 2018 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 2.2 - Methane means methane
The year approaches an end and the trio come together to celebrate Christmas and look back at the year in typical Bulldog style, that is, without style... We cover the Olympics, Cupping, celebrity deaths, the Oscars, Portugal's impressive efforts in the field of renewable energy and drug legalisation, Brexit, Trump (inevitably), Pokemon Go, solar powered flight, almost something exciting about space missions and just how awful the Independence Day sequel really was.... The link to the Two Ronnies "Fork Handles/Four Candles" sketch can be watched here Terry Wogan speaking out against Eurovision collusion... A Grand Ma reacts to THE Revenant scene (no spoilers included) Our favourite antipodean Ozzy Man reviews the same scene (this does have lots of spoilers) Programme resources available on our website: Visit our website for more resources: © 2018 Bulldogz ℗ 2018 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 2.1 - Remember, remember
The gang have returned after the Summer break for the new series and we kick off with a particularly grizzly exploration of one of England's oldest festivals, Bonfire night. The story of the gunpowder plot of 1605. Please be aware, some of the conversation includes description of torture and brutal execution practices. Editors Note: The names of the men who arrested Guy Fawkes are known. According to the Parliament records, Sir Thomas Knyvett and Edmund Doubleday found Guy Fawkes in the basement of the House of Lords on 4 November, not Gary...or John! More info at the UK Parliament website. Further activities and resources available on our website: Visit our website for more resources: © 2016 Bulldogz ℗ 2016 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 1.6 - Summer holidays
We're all going on a Summer Holiday Episode 1.6 Yes oh yes oh yes! The heatwave of the Spanish summer is upon us and as the team lose their body weight in sweat just getting comfortable on the sofa they still find the energy to huddle around the microphone and share their summer survival tips with you all.. Visit our website for more resources: © 2016 Bulldogz ℗ 2016 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 1.5 - TV or not TV
The team return to ostensibly discuss television shows to improve your English but the Gambas inevitably rear their ugly heads once more.. Activity & vocab sheets along with transcript available on our website: Visit our website for more resources: © 2016 Bulldogz ℗ 2016 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 1.4 - the beat goes on...
Merrick, Ben and Claire discuss Easter traditions in their families and the delights of the Holy Week in Zaragoza...including a special "on the street" report with real life actual Spanishers!! View the Cadbury Creme Egg Challenge Video here... Activity & vocab sheets along with transcript available on our website: Visit our website for more resources: © 2016 Bulldogz ℗ 2016 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 1.3 - Why work?
Once again, the gang converge to discuss the burning issue of the month. After news has emerged of a Spanish civil servant failing to turn up to work for between 4 to 8 years and STILL get paid....the Bulldog team discuss motivation in the work place and their first jobs....oh....and zombies!! Activity & vocab sheets along with transcript available on our website: Visit our website for more resources: © 2016 Bulldogz ℗ 2016 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 1.2 - New year, sour grapes
Merrick, Ben and Claire return with news of the winner of our first competition and a conversation regarding new year traditions and resolutions Activity & vocab sheets along with transcript available on our website: Visit our website for more resources: © 2016 Bulldogz ℗ 2016 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020
Dead Air 1.1 - Three Kings
Merrick, Ben and Claire welcome you to the very first "Dead Air" podcast as they talk about Christmas and festive traditions in their own family holidays. Activity & vocab sheets along with transcript available on our website: Visit our website for more resources: © 2015 Bulldogz ℗ 2015 Bulldogz
May 01, 2020