Culture shock: transform it into a positive experience

Culture shock: transform it into a positive experience

What is culture shock? As the phrase itself states, culture shock is the feeling you experience when facing a cultural situation that is new, different and unknown to you. Although the word “shock” seems rather unfriendly and negative, undergoing culture shock doesn’t necessarily have to be an unpleasant experience. Believe it or not, it can turn out to be a really enriching, positive and life learning one. But, how do you survive culture shock? Top 7 things that can cause it First of all, we need to understand that culture shock can be presented to us in both obvious and more subtle ways. We can experience culture shock when coming in contact with different: Languages – Especially when meeting somebody from a faraway country whose language is not only spoken differently but it is also written differently. For example, an English speaker being introduced to a Chinese speaker or a Korean speaker being introduced to a Portuguese speaker.Weather – This can be even harder for those used to extreme weather. For example, an Alaskan native used to very cold weather traveling to an island on the Caribbean.Landscapes – Imagine moving from a mountainous town full of lakes and forests like those in Switzerland to an arid landscape full of cacti like in Arizona, United States, or the other way around.   Food – Here we’re talking not only about tastes, colours and smells, but also about quantities, meal schedules and customs. For example, in Latin American countries as well as in some European countries, people tend to have a snack between lunch and dinner called “merienda”. And don’t even get...
Travel to South America : the things you should know

Travel to South America : the things you should know

Travel to South America, the fourth largest of the world’s continents Ready to travel to South America? Here are some things you should know about it. Firstly, South America is located in the Western Hemisphere and constitutes the southern part of the Americas. Secondly, it consists of 12 independent countries— Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela —, the overseas department of French Guiana and some outlying islands. Thirdly, South America is connected to the rest of America by the Isthmus of Panama and is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Lastly, South America is also home to a wide variety of climates, breathtaking landscapes and rich cultures with its north-south extent of about 4,700 miles and its east-west extent of about 3,300 miles. Feel like home South American people are known to be kind and warm hearted. When greeting, they tend to go for a kiss on the cheek, even when you haven’t been formally introduced to the other person. They are used to being open with foreign people and are always willing to show their culture to the rest of the world by sharing a mate with you, teaching you some capoeira moves or making you a delicious ceviche. Language variations When traveling to South America, you must remember that the main spoken language in most countries is Latin American Spanish, but it is not the only language used in this southern continent. Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, and other languages such as English,...
Constructed languages – Na’vi, Klingon, High Valyrian

Constructed languages – Na’vi, Klingon, High Valyrian

Rytsas everyone! Kirimvose for visiting our blog post about constructed languages! You just learned your first two words in High Valyrian: Rytsas – Hello – and Kirimvose – Thank you. David J. Peterson is the person who developed High Valyrian for the fantasy world in G.R.R. Martin’s book series The Song of Ice and Fire, also known as Game of Thrones. This is only one of many languages that were constructed for movies or TV series. But what’s behind these constructed languages? What rules do they follow? Let’s have a look at some of the most popular constructed languages for movies and series worldwide. Basics about constructed languages First of all, a constructed language is a language that was consciously invented by one individual and that has an elaborate linguistic system consisting of a specific phonology, vocabulary and grammar. Invented language, planned language and artificial language represent three of the many names for this phenomenon. As opposed to other languages we know such as English, French, Spanish, Japanese, etc., constructed languages have not evolved from thousands of years of development. There are many different reasons why people create new languages, for example: universal communication, research on already existing languages, and most importantly for our topic, to make a fictional world seem more authentic. The process of inventing a new language is complex. Thus, it is mostly professional linguists who do the job. There are two types of constructed languages – a posteriori languages and a priori languages. A posteriori languages contain aspects from already existing languages. Moreover the elements are usually simplified and mixed with other ones. A priori...
Austrian German – A Standard Language Variety

Austrian German – A Standard Language Variety

How to categorize Austrian German German is a pluricentric language, just like English. This means that there are several standard varieties that exist in different germanophone countries such as Austrian German. A ‘language variety’ is a general term for a specific version of one language and when it is a ‘standard variety’, it is usually used publicly and considered prestigious. However, a language variety is not to be confused for a ‘dialect’. While dialects mainly appear in the spoken language with different forms of pronunciation or with slightly different grammatical structures, a standard variety manifests itself also in written language and its structures are considered as the correct standard for that country. One example of this is Austrian German, whose relationship to Standard German is comparable to that of British and American English. Austrian German and Standard German vocabulary in comparison One aspect that distinguishes Austrian German from Standard German is the vocabulary. Therefore, unique terms can be found in all areas of life. For example, in Austria you go to the Kassa (cashier) instead of the Kasse. ‘Stairs’ are called Stiege, but in Standard German you say Treppe. And also, a very common word is Jänner for Januar (January). In the culinary field there are many differences between Austrian and Standard German. For example, ‘cream’ in Austria is Schlagobers while in Standard German you say Schlagsahne. In Austria Aprikosen (apricots) are Marillen, Puderzucker (powdered sugar) is Staubzucker (literally dust sugar) and Quark (curd) is Topfen. And when it comes to drinks, in Austria you cannot order a Weißweinschorle (sparkling white wine), you have to ask for a Weißer...
Macanese: a Chinese-Portuguese mixed language

Macanese: a Chinese-Portuguese mixed language

Chinese, Macanese and… Portuguese? Hundreds and hundreds of languages in China Chinese is the most common term to indicate a range of different languages, among them Macanese. Based on the number of native speakers throughout the world, Chinese is the most spoken language all over the world. It is official in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. However, Chinese-speaking communities can be found basically everywhere. There are Chinatowns across the globe. The most famous are in NY, London and Toronto. Among all the different varieties of Chinese, two standards (spoken and written) exist: Cantonese and Mandarin, and Traditional and Simplified. Our previous blogpost is about some clarification on their differences. Nevertheless, China is a huge land of giant metropolitan cities like Beijing or Shanghai and home to about six thousand small villages. Its people speak more than 200 different languages generally described as dialects of Chinese such as Pekinese, Shanghainese, Xiang,  Taishanese, etc. Just Chinese? Not in Macau Meanwhile, there are not only speakers of Chinese and its various dialects in China. Macau is an autonomous territory of 30.5 km2 with a population of 650,900. That is why it is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Macau was a Colony of the Portuguese Empire from 1557 until 1999. Finally, Portugal transferred the sovereignty to the People’s Republic of China. People consider it the last European Colony in Asia. Although 20 years have passed since then and despite the distance from the mainland, the Portuguese influence is still prominent in Macau, both artistically and linguistically.  You can walk on streets ornamented with calçada portuguesa surrounded by red lanterns...
Silbo Gomero – A Whistle in the Spanish Language

Silbo Gomero – A Whistle in the Spanish Language

Silbo Gomero is Spain’s Exotic Whistling Language Languages can use so many different forms of sounds. You probably have heard about languages that use clicks like Xhosa in South Africa. It sounds more or less exotic because only rare languages use them. Even more rare if you think about whistling. But that is exactly what Silbo Gomero, a languages in the Spanish territory, does. Languages of Spain Spain is a European country that is home to many different languages. These languages possess a co-official status with Castilian, the standardised language variety in Spain. In Barcelona, the Balearic Islands, and Valencia, Catalan is the co-official language along with Spanish. The same place takes Euskadi in the Basque Country. In the Iberian Peninsula there are many varieties, dialects and even distinct languages:. These are Aragonese, Galician, Valencian (the variety of Catalan spoken in Valencia), Andalusian dialect, Portuguese. Even English is spoken in Gibraltar. But there is another one far from the mainland, plunged in the Atlantic Ocean and close to Africa. On a small island belonging to the Archipelago of Canary Islands, a language exists that is not a spoken one: Silbo Gomero. The History of Silbo Gomero Silbo Gomero or simply, “el Silbo” (the whistle), takes its name from the Island of La Gomera. The primitive inhabitants of the Canary Islands, the Guanches, settlers from North Africa, developed it since needed a way to communicate across long distances, especially among shepherds. In fact, Silbo Gomero is perceptible up to 5 km away. Nowadays, people still use it to communicate because there are places on the Islands that are not covered...