Category: Other languages

Ancient Greece

Why it’s all Greek to you and that shouldn’t be a problem

“Give me a word, any word and I’ll show you how the root of that word is Greek. Ok? How about arachnophobia? Αράχνη, that comes from the Greek word for spider, and φοβία is a phobia, it means fear. So fear of spiders. There you go!” “OK Mr Portokalos. How about the word kimono?” “Hmm, […]

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Korean_large

Interview: Korean-American poet Rosanna Oh

In 2005, Congress declared January 13 Korean American Day, in commemoration of the 1903 arrival of 102 immigrants, among the very first Koreans to arrive in the US. Rosanna Oh, a young writer and Korean American, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 2012 with an MFA in poetry. Her work has been featured in Unsplendid, Measure, […]

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Russian new year_large

S novym godom: enjoy a Russian happy new year!

Forget Christmas! In Russia – and in some other former Soviet countries – Novyi God (Новый Год, ‘New Year’) is arguably the most popular holiday of the year. Christmas was banned by the Bolsheviks following the 1917 Revolution and, although it is celebrated nowadays (more on that later), Russia’s biggest winter holiday remains a secular […]

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dove_large

Infographic: words for peace around the world

Amidst all the holiday shopping frenzy, it can be easy to forget the true values of Christmas: joy, love, and, perhaps most importantly, peace. Now, Christmas might not be celebrated in every culture, but peace is a concept that’s understood all around the world. It is therefore no surprise that every language also has a word for […]

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eu

5 language facts about the European Union

The European Union was established on 1 November 1993; in order to mark this anniversary, let’s take a look at some of the languages spoken in the EU. 1. There are over 200 languages spoken in the countries of the EU, but only 24 official languages. You can see the full list of these 24 […]

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pasta

Butterflies and worms: a linguistic look at pasta for World Pasta Day

Did you know that pasta had its own day? No? Well, 25 October 2014 is World Pasta Day. We’ve taken the opportunity to look at a selection of words for different types of pasta. Unsurprisingly, many of the words are simply the Italian for the shape in which the pasta comes, but they may well […]

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colours

Colourful language: colours in international idioms

Although we have a plethora of words in our vocabularies to describe colour, it’s unlikely that we each perceive colour in the same way. What if your red is actually my blue, or my yellow is your green? We may never know if a Parisian’s rouge is identical to a Varsovian’s czerwony, but we can […]

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Is Arabic really a single language?

Is Arabic really a single language?

All language-learners face the difficulties of regional variations or dialects. Usually, it takes the form of an odd word or turn of phrase or a peculiar pronunciation. For most languages, incomprehension is only momentary, and the similarity – what linguists often refer to as the mutual intelligibility – between the standard language taught to foreigners […]

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