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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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Dead Air 2.3 - Solid British copper

Dead Air

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 6, 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 5, 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 7, 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 7, 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 7, 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 7, 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 3, 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 3, 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 3, 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 3, 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 3, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 2020