If I mention Norway, what is the first thing that you think of? Did the word Viking pop into your head? That is because Norwegian comes from Old Norse, which was the language of the Vikings. There are actually two written forms of Norwegian, one called Dano-Norwegian or Bokmål, which comes from the 1500s when it was under rule of Danemark, and the second is Nynorsk, which only 8% of the population uses.
Norwegian is very similar to English and hence is said to be pretty easy for English speakers to learn. There are 29 letters in their alphabet, the first 26 are the same as the English alphabet, the other three letters below are the special ones: Continue reading →
As you may have guessed, the language of this week is Korean!
Korean is the official language of both the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) which is a total of approximately 73 million people. Korean is written in a script is called Hangeul and it is said that the basics of Hangeul can be learned in just a few hours.
In the Korean alphabet, there are consonants:
And then there are double consonants:
There are vowels:
And then there are Complex vowels:
Characters are written from up to down or from left to right and always start with a consonant.
If you want to write only the vowel, it must be written with the consonant o.
Written by itself
When writing in Korean, characters are written to fill an imaginary box and letters can be stretched or compressed to fill in the space of the box and to make it evenly sized with the other syllables. For example, you can see below how the size and shape of the letter ㄱ changes to fill in this imaginary box.
Like always, here are some simple phrases for you to try out:
How are you?
Pleased to meet you
제 이름은 … 입니다
je ireum-eun … imnida
My name is…
I don’t understand
In Korea, there are some rules of etiquette; make sure to bow to new acquaintances and elders, hugging and kissing is generally out of the question and there is an “honorifics” system which dictates different verb endings and vocabulary to use depending on your relationship with the person. In North Korea, there is a specific verb ending for addressing their leader, Kim Jong-il. What this means is that you have to add 옵 [-op-] at the end whenever you are addressing him.
While doing some research, I came upon what seems to be the most famous tongue twister in Portuguese: O rato roeu a roupa do rei de Roma In English it means: The rat gnawed the king of Rome’s clothes
As I tried to pronounce it to test its difficulty, I didn’t find it too hard to pronounce, however I’m not sure just how much of the sentence I pronounced right 😛
Now here comes the big question, what do Portuguese speakers like to joke about? Well I’ve been told its Mother in Laws, blondes; lawyers and, corrupt politicians. Here are a few jokes:
PORTUGUESE: A sogra chega para uma visita surpresa. O genro abre a porta: “Olà! Não nos vemos há tanto tempo! Quanto vais ficar conosco desta vez?” A sogra sorri, querendo ser gentil: “Até vocês se cansarem de mim.” “A sério? Não vais nem tomar um cafezinho?” ENGLISH: The mother-in-law comes for a surprise visit. The son-in-law opens the door: “Hi! Long time no see! How long are you staying this time?” The mother-in-law smiles, trying to be polite: “Until you get tired of me.” “Really? You’re not even staying for a coffee?”
Joãozinho, Little John, is the most mentioned character in Portuguese jokes: PORTUGUESE: Tia Lídia pergunta ao Joãozinho: “O que vais fazer quando for grande como a titia?” O Joãozinho responde: “Um regime!” ENGLISH: Aunt Lidia asks Joãozinho: “What are you going to do when you are big like Aunty?” “Go on a diet!” he replies
Land of homemade pizzas, pasta and gelato, Italy has always been one of the top tourist destinations in the world, so it would definitely benefit you to learn a bit about the language before packing your suitcase.
There are about 65 million native Italian speakers in the world, but it is also a language of diaspora in Brazil, Argentina and the United States. Italian has had a big influence on many different fields throughout history, namely in music, art and food.
Trying to pronounce Italian words and of course trying to imitate the oh so beloved authentic accents of the heartwarming Italian grandmas and well built Italian men seen on television has always been a source of fun and laughter for my family.
So here are a Italian phrases I hope you have fun pronouncing 🙂
Buono come il pane!
As good as bread
As good as gold
Ad ogni morte di Papa
Every time a Pope dies
Once in a blue moon
Hai voluto la bicicletta? Allora, pedala!
You wanted a bike? Now pedal
You made your bed, now you must lie on it
Peli Sulla Lingua
He doesn’t have hairs on his tongue
He tells the truth without any flattery or exageration
And of course, I wouldn’t leave you without a few jokes. Italians often like to joke about politics, the police force, sketchy business practices and local bureaucracy.
Un imprenditore ad un altro: – Come mai i tuoi impiegati arrivano sempre così puntuali? – Facile, trenta impiegati e solo venti posti auto!
A company boss is talking to another: – How come your employees always arrive on time? – Easy, there are 30 employees and only 20 parking spaces!
Due impiegati comunali si incontrano per strada: – Ciao Mario! Posso offrirti un caffè? – No, grazie! Il caffè non mi fa dormire. – Ma come? Sono le otto di mattina!!! – Appunto… Sto andando in ufficio…
Two civil servants meet on the street: – Hi Mario! Can I get you a coffee? – No thanks! I can’t sleep if I drink coffee. – But it’s only 8 in the morning!!! – Exactly… I’m on my way to the office…
Being home to many philosophers, such as Leonardo da Vinci, today I leave you with a quote from the great philosopher, “learning never exhausts the mind”.
Selon moi, parole de canadienne, devenir un “vrai” française passe par la maîtrise des expressions idiomatiques et leur bonne utilisation. Voilà une liste des expressions françaises de la vie quotidienne et leur traduction en anglais. Enjoy!
Faire comme chez soi
Make yourself at home
Passer une nuit blanche
To have/spend a sleepless night
Faire peau neuve
To become a different person
Rater sa vie
To make a mess of one’s life
Voler de ses propres ailes
To stand on one’s own two feet, to fend for oneself
Faire l’école buissonnière
To play hookey, to skip/cut class
Etre élevé dans du coton
To be brought up in luxury, to be given a sheltered upbringing
Etre pourri gâté
To be spoiled rotten
Ça ne colle pas entre eux
They aren’t hitting it off, they aren’t getting along
The language of this week is …. Castilian! Or more commonly known as Spanish. It carries the name Castilian due to the fact that it originates from the Castile region of Spain.
Did you know that Spanish is the official language for over 10 countries in the world? Including Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Guatemala, Ecuador and Cuba and many more! In fact, there are about 450 million native Spanish speakers in the world.
Here is the Spanish alphabet:
a á b c d e é f g h i í j k l m n ñ o ó p q r s t u ú ü v w x y z
There are also 5 digraphs, pairs of letters together used to represent one single sound:
ch, ll, rr, gu and qu
Because English and Spanish are both of Latin origin, if you speak English, you may already recognize more than 3000 Spanish words. Here are a few simple Spanish phrases to start you off:
Hello, my name is
Hola, me llamo
How are you?
¿Como está usted?
Nice to meet you
And of course, as you probably know by now, I love jokes, so here are a few in Spanish:
1. – Doctor, doctor, no puedo recordar nada – Vaya, y desde cuándo tiene usted este problema? – ¿Qué problema?
– Doctor, doctor, I can’t remember anything – Oh well, and how long have you had this problem? – What problem?
– Doctor, ¿usted cree que podré vivir 40 años más? – Depende. ¿Usted parrandea con sus amigos? – No, doctor – ¿Bebe? – No, doctor – ¿Fuma? – No, doctor – ¿Tiene pareja? – No, doctor – ¿Y para qué diablos quiere usted vivir 40 años más?
2. – Doctor, do you think I could live 40 years longer? – Depends. Do you party hard with your friends? – No, doctor – Do you drink? – No, doctor – Do you smoke? – No, doctor – Do you have a partner? – No, doctor – So why on earth do you want to live 40 years longer?