• Pride of Poland: How Poland Rediscovered Its Cuisine

    by  • July 19, 2013 • 0 Comments



    Anne Applebaum discusses the rediscovery of Poland’s national cuisine beginning in the early 1990s in this article for Foreign Policy.  Although during communism there existed expensive private restaurants that advertised unique menus, those offered by Poland’s more common state-run restaurants often lacked the flavor and diversity that reemerged in mainstream cuisine after the Cold War.  Addressing this variety in cuisine, Appelbaum writes:    

    “With political stability came national self-confidence, and with that came a revival of Polish cooking on a national scale.  Today, the most fashionable Warsaw and Krakow restaurants no longer serve bland foreign food with fancy names.  Instead, there are robust pork and duck dishes, red cabbage, and wild mushrooms.  They serve smalec, an old-fashioned peasant spread made of pork fat and eaten with rustic black bread.  Trout, venison, and wild boar, all historically part of Polish cuisine, have reappeared on menus too.” 

    Applebaum also discusses karczma, or roadside inns, which are among her family’s favorite locations for finding tasty meals.  Among the dishes that can be found at these inns are zurek, a soup made of sour bread stock, white sausage and vegetables; as well as a type of grilled pork filet served on a skewer.  

    If you are interested in learning more Polish cooking, Appelbaum published last year the cookbook From a Polish Country House Kitchen: 90 Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food.

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    What do you call your bebê?

    by  • July 12, 2013 • 0 Comments

    From the BBC: ” Michelle Obama described the most-tweeted picture ever (above) with the words, “That’s my honey giving me a hug.”"

    It probably comes no surprise that every culture has different common nicknames for people to address the ones they love. Even in English, “sweetie pie,” “honey,” and “darling” may be a little hard to explain to those unfamiliar with the language.

    But even among the differences, there are commonalities. Little animals clearly reign supreme across cultures for terms of endearment: from “my flea” in French to “gazelle” in Arabic to “little elephant” in Thai, there seems to be an overwhelming urge to compare loved ones to small beasts.

    To read more, check out the BBC’s  list of 10 unusual terms of endearment.

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    Say What?: Language Website Forvo Allows Users to Listen to Over 1.9 Million Pronunciations

    by  • July 11, 2013 • 0 Comments



    If you are looking to improve upon your pronunciation while studying a language, the free online pronunciation guide Forvo is a valuable resource to consider.  Choosing from over 300 languages (over 1.8 million words), users can also select from words according to numerous other categories.  If you are interested in hearing the pronunciation of sports-related words such as  sraithchomórtas (Irish for league) or čtyřhra (Czech for doubles), for example, you will be able to listen to a recorded pronunciation contributed by one of the website’s users.

    Other features included are the option to download audio pronunciations, user-created lists of words lacking an audio pronunciation, and the capability to rate the pronunciations recorded by other users.



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    Wednesday’s Word of the Week- Beer!

    by  • July 10, 2013 • 0 Comments

    Want a bier in German? A Birra in Italy? Or a Cerveja in Portugal? Thanks to this cool map from The Drey, you can see what to ask for in every country in Europe if your thirsting for a beer. It also gives a cool glimpse into the different language trees in Europe for all you language geeks out there.  If you know olut, beir, cerveza, and pivo, that will cover you for most of the continent (except for Hungary, where you’ll need to ask for a “sör”).

    To butcher a Shakespeare quote, “a beer by another name would taste as good.” What is your favorite place in Europe to get a beer?

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    One of Our Pillars: Volunteers

    by  • July 9, 2013 • 0 Comments

    “Hej! Salut! Wie geht’s?

    My name is Daniel and I’m a volunteer here at the GLN. I work in the Marketing and Communications department, which involves thinking of creative ways to get students more engaged in the GLN community and increasing the GLN’s exposure in the DC area. From writing blog entries to setting up video shoots, there are tons of ways to get involved.

    Volunteering at the GLN has been great — not only am I learning new skills, but I’m also glad knowing that my time spent here is fruitful and helpful for others. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet a bunch of fun people brought together because of their love of languages. It’s not often you get to meet people who have taken Yoruba or Georgian just for kicks.

    I’ve studied several languages myself, both in an academic setting and through self-study. Swedish has been a current favorite, though I find the vast vowel system to be pretty intense, not to mention the weird pitch accent system. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe a bit during my undergraduate years, where I learned that I should have been born in beautiful Vienna (sorry, Chicago!). I can’t wait to get back and explore some more.”

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    Latin of the Muslim World: The Role of Arabic in the Language Studies of Polyglot Timothy Doner

    by  • July 8, 2013 • 0 Comments

    For many, learning even one language is considered a challenge.  Can you imagine trying to learn several?  How about before age 18?  In this interview with Lane Greene, author and editor of The Economist’s Johnson blog, 17-year-old polyglot Timothy Doner discusses his interest in linguistics and the reasons behind his decision-making when choosing a new...

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    Хотите изучать русский язык? Meet Susannah!

    by  • July 5, 2013 • 0 Comments

    Всем привет!

    Hello everyone, my name is Susannah Powell. Neither I nor my family is Russian, but thanks to a wonderful woman named Faina Piven, I have a lifelong fascination with Slavic culture and languages. Along with teaching high school Russian, Ms. Piven was a survivor of the siege of Leningrad, a certified yoga instructor and practiced African dance in her spare time. Also, under hypnosis, she discovered that she was a light bulb in a former life. I learned little grammar or vocabulary from Ms. Piven, but I quickly decided that, if her compatriots were half as eccentrically intriguing as she was, I had to learn Russian in order to get to know them better.

    Two study abroad trips to Moscow, three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine and a year of grad school in St Petersburg just confirmed the unpredictability of Eastern Europe and its people. I spent the following three years as a Russian translator in a very dry, technical field. My new job better fits my personality, but I miss using foreign language on a daily basis. Teaching with GLN helps fill that void.

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