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HPR4002: Today I learnt - 2023-11-24

What's this?

I enjoy finding out about things. Now I'm retired (I have been for 14 years), I have time to research subjects I find interesting. So I do!

The HPR project is going through a phase where the queue can get very low, so I thought having a subject where I could fire off short shows from time to time would help with this. Maybe we can make a series where others who like the idea can contribute when the mood takes them!

My plan is to keep details to a minimum and provide links to sources of more information if you're someone who likes to dig deeper!

TIL 1 - is it learnt or learned?

I discovered that both are acceptable. Both are the past tense (and past participle) of the verb "to learn":

  • learnt is an older form which is more common in British English
  • learned is more common in US English, and is becoming more popular in the UK
  • Grammarist: Learned vs. learnt
  • BBC Ask About English
TIL 2 - the French word for piggy bank

I watch a YouTube channel from a Canadian woodworker who produces English and French versions of his episodes. His latest one is about making a wooden piggy bank, or tirelire in French.

I learnt French at school (though I wasn't much good at it), but have never come across this word. My questions are:

  • Where does it come from?
  • How do you say it?

The Wiktionary page below has answers to both.

  • It's of onomatopoeic origin (representing the rattling of coins).
  • There's audio on the page showing how to say it (as well as the IPA version [International Phonetic Alphabet], see below).
  • YouTube channel - The Woodpecker:
    • L'gosseux d'bois EP 305 - Une tirelire en bois
    • The Woodpecker EP 305 - A wooden piggybank
  • Wiktionary: tirelire
TIL 3 - how to pronounce IPA coded words

I actually learnt about this a while ago, but I thought now would be a good time to share.

The IPA form of tirelire is /tiʁ.liʁ/ (I included the enclosing slash delimiters which aren't part of the IPA but have significance; see the IPA Wikipedia page for details). I have seen these symbols for years but have never managed to decode them reliably.

A few months ago I wondered how to deal with them reliably (and easily). There are many sites offering to transcribe English (and other languages) to IPA, a few of which are free. I only found one that would attempt to speak IPA, and that is IPA Reader.

Paste the IPA into the form, select a reader voice, and click "Read". Some of the voices seem a bit odd. I settled on "Brian" for British English, and it seems fine.

  • International Phonetic Association - creators of the International Phonetic Alphabet
  • IPA Reader

fyyd: Podcast Search Engine

 December 5, 2023  n/a