Category Archives: Dictionary

Mercury Dictionary, other dictionaries, glossaries

Puzzles and Riddles

In Tallinn ZooNow to something quite different! Do you like puzzles? You know, the kind that children make? I do. Also riddles, but puzzles are more mein Gebiet. There is a great puzzle provider called that has a worldwide audience. You can find all sorts of puzzles there, anything from Tiere to Gebäuden (CD*). The picture to the left was taken in Tallinn Zoo in Estonia, and made into a puzzle by yours truly. You could create your own any time!

The words that you see here below are solely about physical puzzles (even if made online), not mental riddles. Try as I might, I can’t find the word in Kiswahili – perhaps they just don’t make puzzles in Africa? If you know the word, please leave a message in the comment section – much appreciated!

puzzle /jigsaw puzzle palapeli mosaiikmäng/pusle pussel puslespil puslespill púsluspil(n) Puzzle(n)/Puzzlespiel(n) puzzle(m) rompecabezas(m)/ puzzle(m) quebra-cabeça(f) rompicapo(m) παζλ(n) головоломка pazuru パズル

*The abbreviation CD (or cd) is used here from now on without further explanation. Here it always means Check (your) Dictionary (not Compact Disc or Corpus Diplomati).

Going to Berlin

FinnishPassportIn three days time, Ich bin ein Berliner! If you’re wondering why the brown color and why in bold letters, well it’s just the way I will be writing from now on – any time I use a language other than English. So brown always denotes here German language.

I still do have some packing to do. Reminds me, funny enough, of a reality-TV show they showed in Finnish TV in the 90’s, titled “Passi ja hammasharja“. It was filmed aboard a ferryboat sailing between Helsinki and Stockholm, and the only thing that the participants were allowed – or needed, can’t remember which – to take with them was their passport and a toothbrush. Yes, you assumed correct: toothbrush in Finnish is hammasharja. And ever since that time, I promise you, many a Finn packing their bags and looking for their passport, can’t help thinking about that darned toothbrush!

toothbrush  hammasharja tandborste tandbørste tannbørste tannbursti Zahnbürste(f) brosse(f) à dents cepillo de dientes spazzolino(m) (da denti) οδοντόβουρτσα зубнáя щётка haburashi 歯ブラシ = はブラシ

Did you notice by the way that I left out the language abbreviations? As a follower of this site, I want you to get used to the color theme, and also used to the idea that at any time, out of the blue, you may encounter a foreign word or sentence here. And they will not always be explained either, but the meaning should be clear from the context. Some day the emphasis will be on German, some on Spanish, some on Japanese etc etc. For the 日本 語 learners,  I will always try to provide the kanji and/or kanas. And I hope I don’t insult your intellect by stating the obvious: Japanese in Japanese is 日本 語  i.e. nihongo

Berlin, hier komme ich! Oh, one more thing! Don’t you agree that my youngest son, born on the day that Berlin became die Hauptstadt of the unified Germany, ought to be an honorary citizen of Berlin? :)


Never too Old to Learn

person-woman-desk-laptop-largeIs there an age limit for learning new languages? Answer: Of course there isn’t! To even ask that is about the same as asking someone whether or not he or she is too old to learn to peel an orange! You’re never too old to learn a few more languages! Or at least a few more sentences! And if for no other reason than just to brighten your – or someone else’s – day!

Here is how that age old wisdom would look like in these languages:

Live and learn(Eng) Oppia ikä kaikki(Fin) Man lär så länge man lever/Den som lever får se(Swe) Lifa og læra(Ice) Man lernt nie aus(Ger) Vis et aprend(Fra) Você vive e aprende(Por) Vive e Aprende(Spa) Vivere e imparare(Ita) Vivere et discire(Lat) Μαθαίνει κανένας όσο ζεί(Gre) Век живи, век учись(Rus) Kuishi na kujifunza(Swa) Seikatsu shi, manabimasu(Jpn) =生活し、学びます

No, you’re never too old, and never too young either! Any age goes – even if as a child you may want to learn to master that one language before taking on another. Or do you? Bilingualism is a pretty common thing in the world!

Anyway, age really is no barrier, and a senior citizen should have ample time to study an extra language, right? Wrong! Just like at any other time in one’s life, time is a commodity fought over by so many different interests that it always boils down to individual choices. So, do you – or do you not – want to order that cup of coffee in lingua regionis? :)

Let’s Get Going

TrackSo enough said about  what this site is about. Here’s what you can expect to get here. I will be posting on a regular basis samples of the Mercury Dictionary that I mentioned before. These samples connect with the topic in question. For example, if we talk about hunger, there will be words and sentences that have something to do with hunger – in as many languages as possible (IAMLAP). The IAMLAP is of course an acronym for in as many languages as possible, but it could also represent the fact that wherever you go, you are always going to come back to – yourself. After another knowledge gathering trip of yours!

There will also be lots of links, many of them leading to Wikipedia – that great free encyclopedia! Most of these Wiki links are to the English pages, but whenever preferable, another language is used.

The language order of the Mercury Dictionary is seen below. English first, but then generally from north towards south, and from west towards east. Except for English, the abbreviations are those used in the IIAF listings for member countries.


So to the sample! Let’s talk about mother. Once in a while (like here) even some additional languages are included.

mother(Eng) äiti(Fin) ema(Est) mor/moder(Swe) moder(Dan) mor(Nor) móðir(f)(Isl) Mutter(f)(Ger) mère(f)(Fra) mãe(f)(Por) madre(f)(Spa) madre(f)(Ita) mater(f)(Lat) μητέρα(f)(Gre) мать(f)(Rus) mama(Swa) haha-oya(Jpn) 母親 = ははおや – anya(Hung) – anne(Turk) – oum(Arab) – Em(Hebr)

GoogleDriveLogo2014In Google Drive where I mainly work on this dictionary, all of the languages are color coded for easy reference. I will be explaining about that later. Anyway, your email address is all that is needed to be able to access any of these updateable files (there are quite a few of them!) in Google Drive! The above sample is really just to give you an idea of the magnitude of the dictionary.

Another thing that I wanted to mention here is that this site will be a lot about travelling. Naturally, languages and travelling do go hand in hand! And of course, wherever you go, you as a true cosmopolitan need to learn some of the language spoken in the country of your choice. The travel sites will be a mishmash of English and that other language! Starting next week from Berlin!