Category Archives: babble

Cultural Commentary: ‘Calcio’ and the Language of Italian Football

For those of us who love football, there is no irony in the phrase the beautiful game. It is an art form, a grass-pitched battle. For those who possibly love it a little too much, it is a flawless, romantic dance. The rest of us will look on such descriptions with anything from disdain to(…)


Lithuanian: the Origins of it All

If you’re already dreaming of summer holidays and are considering a little backpacking in Europe, a popular route to take through Eastern Europe thanks to cheap bus travel tends to be Tallinn-Vilnius-Riga. And though we hate to play favourites, there is much about Lithuania’s capital that has stolen our heart. So with that in mind,(…)


A Commercial Christmas: Here’s to Celebrating 200 Years of Bemoaning Capitalism

The complaint that Christmas has lost its meaning to consumerism, capitalism, and overindulgence is almost as much an annual tradition as the event itself; not that such complaints necessarily mean we won’t try to outdo ourselves year upon year, of course. But the nature of these complaints isn’t new, and neither is the language we(…)


Romanian: The Forgotten Romance Language

Sometimes Romance language is synonymous with a language of love, instead of its true origin, as language that originates from those spoken by Romans. And when we think of Romance languages in general, chances are the first that will fall from our lips as suggestions are Italian, French, Portuguese, and Spanish; not necessarily in that(…)


Cornish: Greetings from the Southern English Coast!

When you think of Cornwall, chances are you might be thinking of the humble Cornish Pasty—even if technically they originate from Devon! But did you know that Cornwall, one of the most beautiful counties on the southwestern coast of England, also has its own language; one that is recognised as a minority language by the(…)


10 English-Influenced Terms Unique to Dominican Spanish

Can we agree that languages are weird? They go through more experimental phases than the average teenager and tend to change before you can get a grasp on its current iteration. The result? Strange, mixed breed words. Take the Dominican Republic, for example. For one, there’s the mix of Spanish, African and Taíno culture that(…)


Surviving Taiwan on Limited Mandarin

Nearly a decade ago, I came to Taiwan with one suitcase, a laptop, a generic Mandarin Chinese phrasebook and precisely two words of spoken Mandarin: “Nǐ hǎo” (Traditional Chinese: 你好; English: Hello), which I more or less gleaned from the Rush Hour movie franchise starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Call it foolish, call it(…)


Music and Language: 10 Artists Who Inspire Language Learning

We might have mentioned this once or twice before, but we are big believers that listening to music is a great way to help you learn a language. Our message here today is twofold; first, to give you a few examples of non-English artists who might enhance your own language learning journey, and second, to(…)


Encouraging Second Languages in Schools: Part 2

There’s a joke that lurks around places like Reddit and Tumblr for language lovers, and it goes a bit like this: If you know three languages, you are trilingual. If you know two languages, you are bilingual. If you know one language, you are a native English speaker – variants on the joke tend to(…)