Monthly Archives: October, 2013

Mutual Intelligibility – Can You Understand Me Now?

How much can a Spanish speaker understand of a conversation in Italian? Is it easier learning Swedish if you already speak Danish? And does anybody understand Basque? Languages are classified according to their relation with other languages, beginning with families, which consist of hundreds of languages, and branching out into smaller…well, branches. So Urdu belongs(…)


Kapow! Multilingual Onomatopoeia

Bang! Crash! Whack! No, this isn’t a Batman comic. You’ll probably remember these words and others like them from learning about onomatopoeia as a child. If you weren’t taught what onomatopoeia is, firstly question the standard of education you received, and secondly, know that it is a word that sounds like its meaning. The Science(…)


American Beer: A New Kind of Joke

Americans have long been the butt of international jokes concerning beer quality, and rightfully so. For years the most popular American brews tasted like nothing more than water with a slight beer flavoring. While this might be fine for college party binge drinking, it is most certainly not okay for beer lovers. Finally all this(…)


Parlez-vous (do you speak) Franglais?

Do you parlez Franglais? Franglais est un langue made up of le français et l’anglais, parce-que your French is très terrible or pour le comedic effect. J’aime Franglais; if je ne sais pas a word, je replace it avec English. Un francophone will ne comprende pas, mais c’est  très funny. Quoi? I’ll write in English(…)


Minding Your Manners Around the World

We’re all raised told what is or isn’t acceptable in polite company, so that when we’re fully grown we don’t really think about all the little things we do (or don’t do) that are considered polite or rude. It’s not until you have to learn to mind your manners in another culture that you realise(…)


A Cool Kid’s Dictionary of Dance Moves

New dance trends are popping up all the time and with the unique names they’re given, it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. Although seemingly non-threatening, this fact could have dire consequences. Imagine you find yourself in an unfamiliar club with new friends you desperately want to impress. You’ve heard them use some(…)


Oo-er Misses: The British Obsession with the Double Entendre

If TV and radio are to be believed, the Britain of the 1960s and ’70s was fraught with sauciness and naughty euphemisms. You couldn’t move for double entendres, with programmes including Round the Horne, Are You Being Served? and more Carry On films than you could shake a stick at. Essentially, a double entendre is(…)


The Most Colorful Names for Poker Hands

Even if you’re not a poker player, you’ve probably noticed the game’s exponential rise in popularity over the last ten years. From a relatively small back-room game to being featured on ESPN, Texas Holdem is a game that requires an incredibly high level of concentration and a deep understanding of strategy. Plus, there’s a lot(…)


Integration vs. Preservation: Which Language Do You Teach Your Children?

I remember meeting a girl at school whose parents were German and Italian, but had taught her neither language. Growing up in the USA, she had only ever spoken English. This seems to make sense; English is the main language in America and presumably was also the shared language between her parents and therefore spoken(…)