Tag Archives: language

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

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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(…)


Switzerland: Where Multilingualism Works

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Switzerland might be synonymous with cheese, chocolate, and skiing, but there is another area that the country specialises in that should be celebrated, and that’s multilingualism. And while multilingualism is not something unusual to find in a country, perhaps this level of successful integration is. Let’s take a look! Facts and figures Okay, so here’s(…)


How to Lose a Language in 10 Days

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Alright, so we’ve all lost things. We sometimes lose our keys. Occasionally we lose our heads. Kate Hudson taught us how to lose a guy (hence the title). Heck, even Elizabeth Bishop wrote a whole poem about it (“One Art”). But what about a language; how can you lose a language? Boy are you in for a treat.(…)


Lithuanian: the Origins of it All

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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,(…)


Sri Lanka: Learn More About Sinhalese

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Sinhalese, or Sinhala as it is known locally in Sri Lanka, is potentially a surprising discovery to find on the Indo-European language family tree, since Indo-European tends to characterise the language group covering Europe, Iran, and North India. We all have that one family relative that sticks out like a sore thumb, but Sinhalese is(…)


Natural Selection and the Rules of Language

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Despite being considered a humanities subject, language crosses boundaries with science more often than you’d think. With that in mind, it seems the jig is up. Sorry language sticklers: it appears that a new study by evolutionary biologists at UPenn looking at the natural patterns and standard use of English from 11 CE up to the(…)


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

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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

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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(…)


Guarani in Paraguay: An Indigenous Outlier

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When you think of the languages of South America, it’s a fair bet that Portuguese and Spanish are the first ones most people will come up with. English, French, and Dutch might also get a mention owing to colonial history. But in addition to these, there are a wealth of indigenous languages spoken, some of which share(…)


Ghostly & Ghoulish Halloween Traditions from Around the Globe

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Halloween is one of the oldest holidays in the world and also one of the most globally celebrated. You’ll have a hard time finding a place that hasn’t experienced Halloween fever to some extent, and countries all around the world have personalised the holiday to fit in with local traditions and cultural norms. With Halloween(…)