An aspiring polyglot, learning Russian is a goal of mine that I have long desired to fulfill. After completing my Russian Foreigner class with GLN this spring, I came away with more than than new Russian vocabulary and grammar. Through interactions with my teachers and classmates, I also developed a stronger appreciation of Russian culture. Because many of the class participants had already studied some Russian, traveled or lived in a Russian-speaking country, or had a Russian acquaintance, I was able to draw upon a wealth of diverse experiences to get the most out of my time in the classroom. Whether we were discussing Russian proverbs, holiday traditions or food recipes, there was often someone with a personal story to tell.
Because of GLN’s desire to create a community focused classroom environment, the organization’s low cost price model encourages this diversity of students that may otherwise be discouraged from enrolling.
To keep these costs low, GLN relies on donations in addition to the work of its many volunteers. Please consider helping us with our mission this Thursday, June 6th, by donating to our Do More in 24 campaign. This 24-hour crowd funding campaign, co-organized with the United Way, will last from 12:00am until 11:59pm. Your support will also enable us to continue offering courses in over 60 languages, find additional classroom space, and organize events for the GLN community.
Michelle Tsai explores the popularity of spelling bees outside of the United States in this 2007 article for Slate. Although she is able find examples of spelling bees in other languages, she finds that the orthographic difficulty of English makes it optimal for competitive spelling.
“Spelling bees are a particularly British and American phenomenon. The orthography of some Romance languages, like Spanish, is so regular that one can easily figure out the spelling of a word just by hearing the way it sounds. English, on the other hand, contains Latin, Greek, Germanic, and other roots, not to mention whole words borrowed from other languages. That’s why an American schoolchild might get stuck with tricky words like ursprache and appoggiatura.”
Are you studying a language that would be ideal for competitive spelling? If so, what aspects of the language make the words challenging to spell?
On June 6th, donate to the GLN.
The GLN is joining forces with other area nonprofits and the United Way of the National Capital Area for a region wide day of giving: Do More 24. On Thursday, June 6th we will work together to help change the lives of those in need in 24 hours. The money raised will support additional classroom space, language course offerings, and special GLN community events.
Donate on June 6th: http://domore24.org/charities/the-global-language-network/
Why should you do more in 24 for the Global Language Network?
Our Vision is to connect and empower people through language and culture. This continues to be our focus and the main driver of our success!
Since 2008, the GLN has brought the gift of language to more than 6,000 students. We continue to offer affordable language classes in more than 60 languages by engaging more than 80 volunteer native speakers and training them to teach their language and culture in the GLN community.
The GLN stands on a unique three pillar model that has help us achieve such an amazing accomplishment in a short period of time:
- Dedicated Teachers;
- A Communicative Approach; and
- Fostering a Learning Community.
NerdGraph put together an infographic comparing the advantages and disadvantages of being monolingual vs. multilingual. While mono linguists tend to have a wider vocabulary and faster retrieval rate, bilinguals tend to be more creative and better problem-solvers.
Other fun facts:
- 99% of Latvians can speak two or more languages
- Bilangualism results in a 2.8% increase in hourly wages
Check out the full infographic from NerdGraph: Monolingual vs Bilingual.
With the recent release of Dan Brown’s latest novel, Inferno, The Guardian’s Nick Lezard discusses in this article ten important facts about Dante, emphasizing his relevance for modern day writers and Italian speakers especially.
Elaborating on fact number five, which states that Dante “more or less invented the Italian language,” Lezard writes:
“OK, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but in his day there was no country-wide language – rather, several dialects. This is still pretty much the case today, but the reason Italian is the way it is is largely because Dante decided to write his poem in his beloved Tuscan dialect, rather than in Latin.”
If you can speak some Italian, or are currently learning the language, can you identify any dialects in addition to Tuscan? If you’ve signed up for GLN’s Italian Foreigner class this summer, it may be an interesting question for your teacher.
Albrecht Dürer, Self-portrait (1484). Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia commons
The National Gallery of Art is currently featuring an exhibit of the German artist Albrecht Dürer, widely regarded as the most important artist of the Northern Renaissance. The exhibit, on display through June 9th, features a large number of works on loan from the Albertina Museum in Vienna. Home to the the most renowned Dürer collection in the world, the Albertina’s contributions to this exhibit make it the largest display of Dürer’s artwork to be shown in the US in over forty years.
From the National Gallery of Art website:
“Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) has long been considered the greatest German artist, uniquely combining the status held in Italian art by Michelangelo in the sixteenth century, by Raphael in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and by Leonardo da Vinci in our own day.
While Dürer’s paintings were prized, his most influential works were his drawings, watercolors, engravings, and woodcuts. They were executed with his distinctively northern sense of refined precision and exquisite craftsmanship.”
For further reading on this exhibit, the Washington City Paper and The New York Review of Books both have articles discussing this collection, as well as the historical significance of Dürer’s artwork.
The Bantu have a word for it: “ Bilita Mpash.”
If you’ve ever had a relationship that feels like “reheated cabbage,” felt the irresistible urge to squeeze something cute, or wanted a name for the people who loiter in coffee shops but don’t spend any money, There are languages out there for that have words for them all.
One of the many reasons to learn a new language is to find the perfect word. If you’re curious about which language any of these words belong to, read all 38 Wonderful Foreign Words We Could Use in English.