• Which country tastes the best?

    by  • June 28, 2013 • 0 Comments

    Image by jaaron

    In the never ending debate over which country has the best food, Lonely Planet has picked its top eleven. For the garlic and chili fans, Thailand offers some delicious options, and there are classic options like enchiladas in Mexico, pastas and pizza in Italy, and dumplings in China.

    Indonesia, Spain, and Greece also make the list.

    In my limited travel experience, no culinary experience has yet beaten a pint of Guinness and hearty pub food in Ireland. How about you? What is your favorite cuisine? What’s the top culinary destination in the world?

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    A Potential Renaissance: Are the Arab Countries Doing Enough to Promote Translation?

    by  • June 27, 2013 • 0 Comments

    Arabic Script

    Earlier this month, Ursula Lindsey discussed the rise of translation in Arabic-speaking countries in this piece for the online publication Al Farner.  In this article, Lindsey comments on initiatives sponsored by Arab governments in response to the U.N.-sponsored Arab Human Development Report from 2003, which criticized the academic and cultural environment of these countries.  Focusing on translation, which was described in the report as “chaotic and static,” Lindsey writes:
    “Although Arab governments condemned the U.N. report they also responded to it, particularly in the Gulf.  Many members of the United Arab Emirates have started translation programs, including Abu Dhabi, which began Kalima, a project that has translated 300 general knowledge books into Arabic so far.  Qatar established a Translation and Interpreting Institute in the collection of academic institutions known as Education City, in Doha.  Along with the efforts to translate important books into Arabic, there is also a groundswell to translate Arabic fiction and poetry into Western languages to make it more widely available.”
    Lindsey goes on to discuss current problems that are hindering these efforts to promote translation, addressing the critique that these efforts do not go far enough.  Focusing on sociology and literature, she also summarizes the importance of translation in academia, as it enables the exchange of ideas between non-Arabic and Arabic speaking countries.
    Readers interested in resources for Arabic translation and literature will find also find a list of links at the end of the article.
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    Shoot like a pro: taking better travel pics with your smartphone

    by  • June 21, 2013 • 0 Comments

    Yes, you can even learn to make obligatory food pics better!

    For those of you taking advantage of some summer vacation time to go practice your language skills in foreign countries, Yahoo! Travel recently put together a cool slideshow of ways you can take better travel photos.

    The best part is, the tips are designed for smartphones. Did you know when you use the iPhone Camera app, if you tap and hold for a few seconds you can lock the exposure? And shooting from low down or high up makes for a more interesting photo. It doesn’t take much to make some really interesting and memorable travel pictures, so study up, get away, speak a different language, and take awesome photos!

    Click here to read more tips.

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    Silesian Gone Viral: The Rise of Polish Dialect Memes

    by  • June 20, 2013 • 0 Comments


    This recent blog post from Lexiophiles discusses the increased prevalence of internet memes in Polish dialects, a trend that began in 2012.   Among the dialects featured in these memes are Goral (spoken in southern Poland), Silesian (southwest Poland), and Podlasie (eastern Poland).  

    In the case of the the Silesian internet memes, the blog mentions that they are the product of “the growing awareness of Silesians’ own ethnic and linguistic heritage” that had “recently led to calls for more recognition on the official level, and among other things, the creation of the absolutely official Silesian Wikipedia.  Another reason for the growing appeal of these memes in Silesian is that “Internet-era Silesian humour, combined with the widely stereotyped lingo, proved a magnet not only to Silesians, but also to everyone else who half-understood their utterances.”

    For examples of Silesian memes, as well as of the other dialects featured in this post, the links below will lead you to a facebook page specializing in memes related to one of these dialects:    

    Gorals memes: fb.me/GwaraGoralska
    Silesian memes: fb.me/Slonskisuchar
    Podlasie memes: fb.me/ howorymoposwojomu

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    Revival of the Magyars: Hungarian Heritage at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

    by  • June 17, 2013 • 0 Comments

    Hungarian Folk Dance


    The Smithsonian Folklife Festival will take place on the National Mall from June 26 through June 30 and from July 3 through 7.  Among the special programs included in this year’s festival is Hungarian Heritage: Roots to Revival, which brings together a combined total of around one hundred dancers, craftspeople, cooks, and musicians to celebrate Hungarian culture.  In an interview posted on the festival homepage, co-directors Jim Deutsch and Agnes Fülemele give a basic introduction to Hungary and discuss the importance of expressing a rich cultural tradition that was censored under communist rule.  Says Fülemile:

    “In the last two decades of socialism in Hungary there is (was) a very strong revival movement.  Those generations of musicians and dancers and craftsman practically pilgrimaged to the original localities, learning the authentic expressions, and practicing these traditions gave a very special opportunity for this young generation to express their own straightforward identity and criticism of socialism.”

    Along with other programs (One World, Many Voices; The Will to Adorn) from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, musical performances from Hungarian Heritage will also take place at The Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage starting on June 26.


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    How do you say “Mouthful” in German?

    by  • June 12, 2013 • 0 Comments

    The longest word in the English language (pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis) is 45 letters. But it has nothing on the 63-word behemoth in German that is  Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. It was such a mouthful that the word–which references a law about the labeling of meat–was officially repealed by a local parliament. Thanks to the use of compound nouns, the German language has many “Über” words, including a 83-letter monster meaning “”Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services.”

    To read the entire story from the Telegraph, click here.

    What are some of your favorite long words in English and other languages? Let us know in the comments!


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    Do More for 24 and Give the Gift of Language Today

    by  • June 6, 2013 • 0 Comments

    As the clock strikes midnight and the new day begins, the Global Language Network (GLN) is joining other DC area nonprofits in a 24-hour crowd funding campaign, beginning now and ending 11:59 pm, called Do More 24. Hosted by the United Way of the National Capital Area, Do More 24 seeks to create a local movement that leverages the power of the crowd to support our region’s nonprofit organizations through focused, online giving that is directed at creating maximum impact.

    Since 2005, GLN has positively impacted the DC community by offering affordable classes in over 60 languages to over 6000 students by engaging and training volunteer native speakers who teach their language and share their culture with our community.

    Join us! Be part of the Do More 24 movement. By donating $12, $24, $48, or more to GLN, your contribution will help us to continue to:

    • offer classes in a wide variety of languages,
    • keep classes affordable and accessible, and
    • promote cultural well-being.

    Here’s how you can join the Do More 24 movement:

    1. Click here to donate! Every dollar counts!
    2. Spread the word through your networks, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter (using #domore24)
    3. Donate $200 or more and receive priority registration to one of the GLN’s many classes + 1 year membership to GLNsiders

    Give to GLN today and help us to do more!

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