God of the day

These days it is hard to believe that people in ancient times were consumed by religion. Each single conduct had its own religious meaning. Daily chores were soaked with rituals. Nothing stayed without it as ancient tribes lived in a world of fear of massive number of unexplained events and unforeseen nature phenomena, for instance: a simple river flooding could be interpreted as a sign from beyond. An Ancient Norse protected their households from lightning strikes by gathering acorns since the oak was the symbol of Thor. Other societies were also extremely superstitious. The Ancient Romans believed that both animate and inanimate objects were hosts to numina (divine presence). Therefore, it is quite obvious that also between Tigris and Euphrates rivers people’s lives were revolving around pantheon of gods.

Continue reading “God of the day”

Hyperpolyglots – linguistic demigods of our time.

The confusion of languages at Babel Tower is a bible story that everybody knows. Basically, Babylonians built an extremely high tower which served as visible from a long distance landmark, or in other words, an external point of reference for nomadic troopers and navigators. Since the tower helped people to find their way back or through the terrain it was a deal breaker for god who wanted people to be scattered all over the world, and not gathered in one city or a place. To avoid this problem in the future, god confused builders languages (source: https://bible.org/book/export/html/4838).Maybe if Babylonians hadn’t bragged so much about the tower, they wouldn’t have drawn god’s attention to it. Who knows?

Continue reading “Hyperpolyglots – linguistic demigods of our time.”

Discover Canada

French navigator and explorer Jacques Cartier let 3 expeditions into what is called today Canada. He was sent in 1534 by King Francis I to the New World in search of treasures and a new route to Asia. Unfortunately, those expeditions failed the king who expected gold and diamond but he was given worthless tombac and quartz. The expeditions were suspended up to the 1604 when Samuel de Champlain, called also a “Father of New France”, was granted to explore those lands one more time. He established Acadia – the first permanent French settlement in New World. The settlers, however, moved to a more sheltered harbour because of severe winter experience. New place named Port Royal was situated in area which is called today Nova Scotia. By 1607 there was established one more French settlement called the St. Lawrence River which allowed France to lay claim to those lands. Then the old Haudenosaunee village was transformed into Quebec from Algonquian word “kebec” which meant “narrows”.

Continue reading “Discover Canada”

Language and your brain

What is the relation between those two: the nature of human brain and the nature of language? The answer to this question is given by Victoria Fromkin and Robert Rodman (1998) who introduce us in their book to neurolinguistics, the interdisciplinary study concerned with the biological and neural language functions. They give us proves that human language is processed in the most complex of human body parts – the brain. Each single organ is made up of “approximately 10 billon nerve cells and billions of fibres which interconnect them”. Its role is to control and process your motor and sensory activities.

Continue reading “Language and your brain”

The Tower of London ravens legend

Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to visit London for sure he wandered into the Palace and Fortress of Her Majesty. This unique tourist attraction, built by William the Conqueror, not only boasts a massive defensive and Palace structure, but also wonderful views at the River Thames. The building houses the crown jewels studded with the largest diamonds in the world. The Tower of London is known primarily for its bloody history of the prison from which there was no escape. To the only entrance led solely a waterway, consequently prisoners were sent to the penalty place on boat.

Continue reading “The Tower of London ravens legend”

Eton Mess – the nineteenth-century England spellbound in a crystal chalice.

Many of us associate England with the red telephone boxes, Big Ben and tea which is drunk, sometimes with milk, at 5 o’clock. Other people tend to connote England with significantly old buildings such as best boarding schools for young, aristocratic chosen ones as Harrow, Rugby, Winchester or, mentioned in the title, Eton College founded by Henry VI.

Continue reading “Eton Mess – the nineteenth-century England spellbound in a crystal chalice.”

Fine language makes fine impression

Language is like a song – it has its rhythm and melody. When you listen attentively to other languages you may notice that some of them are rather quick like Chinese or Spanish and others stretch like a spaghetti because of phonetic lengthening which is present for example in Italian in Sicily. It is said that people with good ear for music are able to articulate foreign sounds more efficiently. There is a lot of truth in this claim. One can guess our cultural, social or educational background after the way we pronounce different words. A particular word can be articulated in several different ways, for instance Cracow inhabitants lengthen phonetically word endings and Koszalin inhabitants their middles. Ways of articulation depend on the phoneme resources which are present in a given language or dialect.

Continue reading “Fine language makes fine impression”

Chinglish – word for word translation.

What induces inhabitants of People’s Republic of China, third largest in area and the first in population, to learn English? First of all, they are motivated by the fact that English language is the most widely used by European and American employers. Unfortunately, the differences in word order and grammar do not allow them to learn it easily and pleasantly.

Continue reading “Chinglish – word for word translation.”