Sui generis and words that start with “uni”

Following on from yesterday’s post, I was reading an article in WA Today and came across the Latin phrase sui generis.

Literally, this means “of its own kind; unique”.  It was being used in a legal sense, so it means “when a special and unique interpretation of a case or authority is found to be necessary”. (Wikipedia).

sui = of itself

generis comes from genus = kind or type

“Unique” itself comes from Latin and means “the only one of its kind”.

Uni is a Latin prefix (letters added (or fixed) to the beginning of a word to change its meaning) that means “one”.

Other words that start with uni include;

unicellular – consisting of one cell

unicorn – one horn

unicycle – one wheel

uniform – one form, the same

unify – to make or become one

unilateral – from or to one side

union – two or more things joined into one

unison – literally “one sound”, unison means being together in harmony at the same time.


unite – to join together or combine into one.

unity – oneness, being one.

universe – the whole of creation, from the Latin universus which means “combined into one.”


California Dreamin’ – lyrics in Spanish / letras en español


I’ve been using Anki to memorise 50 words of Spanish vocabulary per day for the last week or so.  I now feel confident enough to attempt translating some song lyrics.  Here is California Dreamin’ by the Mamas and the Papas in Spanish.  If you’re a native English speaker, you probably know the words already.  If you don’t, there’s a link to the song at the bottom of this post.


Español no es mi primer idioma. Si he dado un error, ¿podria me corregir?

Yo he usado Anki memorizar 50 palabras de vocabulario español por dia por la semana que pasada. Aqui esta mi tentativa a traducir algunas letras de canciones. Presento California Dreamin’ por the Mamas and the Papas (Los Mamás y Los Papás).

Hay un enlace a la canción a la abajo de esta entrada.

California Dreamin’ (Los Suenos de California)

Todas las hojas son estan marrónes
Y el cielo es esta gris
He caminado
En uno dia invierna
Yo sería segura y tibio
Si estaba en LA
Los suenos de California
En este dia de invierno.

He entrado en una iglesia
Que he pasado en el camino
He doblado en rodilla  Me arrodillé
Y finjo orar
El predicador gusta el frio
Sabe que voy a quedarme
Los suenos de California
En este dia de invierno

Todas las hojas son marrónes
Y el cielo es gris
He caminado
En uno dia invierna

Si yo no lo diga a ella
Pude salir hoy
Los suenos de California
En este dia de invierno.

How will I know (if I can speak Spanish)?

Yo hipsters,

I mentioned last week that I consider Toxic by Britney Spears to be a perfect pop song.

I’m currently working on an eight-hour bio-pic of Whitney Houston called I Will Always Love You but I Wanna Dance with Somebody Who Loves Me and I was amazed to discover that the original lyrics to How Will I Know? were;

How will I know if I can speak Spanish?

I talk to strangers but no one understands me.

They look at me just like I’m a freak.

How could I know the “h”s are silent?

No wonder Janet Jackson passed on that song.

But it occurred to me that in order to see if my experiment of learning Spanish by using Anki to memorize a phrasebook is successful, I need some form of external, unbiased, standardized testing.

And there are such tests.  They’re called the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE – Diplomas of Spanish as foreign language).


It turns out that there will be an exam on November 22, about a week after I’m due to finish memorizing my phrasebook.

At this stage, I’m considering sitting for the B1-level diploma.

The B1-level test accredits language users’ capacity to:[9]

  • Understand the main ideas of clear texts, in standard language, if they involve well-known topics related to work, studies or leisure.
  • Handle most of the situations in a trip
  • Produce simple texts about common topics or interested subject matters.
  • Describe experiences, events, wishes and hopes, as well as briefly justify opinions or explain plans.

I will reassess whether this is an achievable goal closer to the exam date.

Progress Report

I successfully learned another 70 phrases this week, which brings my total to 280.

I didn’t learn any on Sunday, but made up for it by learning 20 phrases on Monday.

As a reward for reading this post all the way to the end, why not treat yourself to Whitney’s perfect pop song (with the revised lyrics)?

In defence of Britney Spears


Not that she needs me to defend her.

She’s one of the very few people known worldwide by her first name only. I only added her surname to the title of this post in case someone reads this 500 years from now, during which time it is probable that some other person called Britney will have achieved fame in some field.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to hear a radio announcer say, in a very patronising way, how he thought it was wonderful that one of his listeners was not embarrassed to admit that she liked Britney. And she was so not embarrassed that she rang in to request that he play Toxic.

Estuvo de veras molesto (It was really annoying).

I consider Toxic to be the song of the decade 2000-2010 (the noughties? the andies?). In my opinion it is a perfect pop song.
It didn’t even make Rolling Stone’s top 40 for song of the decade – which goes to show how much they know.

I dare you to have a listen, look me in the eye and tell me I’m wrong.

Progress Report
Success! I managed to learn 10 new phrases every day this week, which brings my grand total to 210. The ten phrases I will learn today are…

Spanish day22