38 episodes

Learn about the English language, culture, history and traditions with the Bulldogz team of native teachers and special guests!

Dead Air Bulldog Z

    • Language Learning

Learn about the English language, culture, history and traditions with the Bulldogz team of native teachers and special guests!

    Interesting Etymologies - Cricket and Football

    Interesting Etymologies - Cricket and Football

    "Hello again Word Lovers!"

    This week we focus on the etymology of two very English pasttimes, cricket and football


    Charly investigates to competing etymologies for the word cricket, either derived from old French "cricke" to mean a stick or from Dutch "krickstoel".


    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!

    • 5 min
    Interesting Etymologies - Games

    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".


    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.


    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


    • 4 min
    SoundBook - The tell-tale heart by Edgar Allan Poe

    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:


    • 15 min
    Interesting Etymologies: Christmas Special

    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: https://www.bulldogz.org/post/2019/12/06/need-to-know-saint-nicholas Mince Pies : https://www.bulldogz.org/post/history-of-the-mince-pie-a-holiday-dessert-with-a-meaty-past Christmas Dinner : https://www.bulldogz.org/post/2019/12/21/a-christmas-feast-how-to-make-a-traditional-british-christmas-dinnerthe-easy-way Charles Dickens : https://www.bulldogz.org/post/charles-dickens-father-of-christmas The Signal Man : https://www.bulldogz.org/post/classic-christmas-horror-therapy-the-signalman-by-charles-dickens Interesting Etymologies archive : https://www.bulldogz.org/ie

    • 8 min
    Inside Aragón: Christmas Freedoms

    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:


    • 13 min
    SoundBook - The Signalman by Charles Dickens

    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"

    https://www.bulldogz.org/post/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.

    • 32 min

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