Hispanic Culture Around The World

Hispanic Culture Around The World

In our last blog post, we talked about the Spanish language, which is spoken all over the globe. This time, we are focusing on the culture associated with it. In this blog post, we set out some of the most popular traditions of Hispanic culture. About the word “Hispanic” and Hispanic culture We use the term Hispanic when referring to people who originate, either directly or through their ancestors, from a predominantly Spanish-speaking country, especially from Spain or a Latin American country. The Catholic religion It goes without saying that Hispanic culture is closely related to the Catholic religion. Take Argentina for example. Jesuit missionaries from Spain introduced Catholicism in Argentina in the 17th century. Since then, the Catholic Church has had a significant influence on Argentina’s history, as well as on the ruling class in the country. There are regional differences in the practice and degree of religiosity in Argentina. The capital of Argentina is Buenos Aires. People consider it to be the most secularized region of the country. On the other hand, the provinces of Jujuy, Salta and Tucumán often show a strong sense of religious devotion. One of the biggest religious assemblies in Argentina is Señor y Virgen del Milagro (in English, the Lord and Virgin of the Miracle). People usually celebrate it in Salta. The event contains a large procession of people who walk, bike or ride on horseback from their farmlands and desert towns into the province. It’s also recognizable in a great number of movies or TV shows that include a Hispanic or Latin individual. They tend to carry the rosario (a beaded necklace with...
Talking about the weather – How to start a conversation around the world

Talking about the weather – How to start a conversation around the world

Weather in small talk Spring has come with new beginnings and new weather conditions. Did you know that the weather is one of the most common topics for small talk around the world? In a lot of countries, people use small talk to fill awkward silences or as a way of breaking the ice and they do that by talking about the weather. Let’s imagine you are stuck in the elevator with a person you don’t know, what do you talk about? The weather of course! However, not every country welcomes small talk. Countries like Scandinavia, Sweden, Finland and Norway are not really into small talk. As for everything related to language, it is just a question of culture. For instance, in the USA and the UK, small talk is very common. Indeed, in the USA, small talk occupies at least six hours per day of conversation. In the UK, instead, 38% of British people make small talk about the weather. Talking about the weather – the weatherese language Actually, talking about the weather is not something we do just in small talk, but rather, there is a specialised language about the weather called weatherese. Forecasters use this language in weather forecasting. The problem is that forecasters seem to pay more attention to what the weather is than to how the weather may affect people. Indeed, specialised language is often used to save time, as most people do when speaking in a particular field. The problem with forecasters is that they are talking to a general audience, so they should be understood by everyone. On the other hand, academics...
The Language of Women | Does Language Shape Our Thoughts About Gender?

The Language of Women | Does Language Shape Our Thoughts About Gender?

The Language of Women As A Secret Language The language we speak shapes our thoughts about gender and our perception of reality. Many linguistic studies say that there are several types of languages in the world, including the language of women. There are natural languages (or human languages), formal languages, and artificial languages. The latter are often used and created either for amusement or for practical purposes, e.g. Esperanto. Among these are the languages created by women and for women. Mothers are key figures in children’s language development, so much so that we speak about a “mother tongue” to identify a native speaker of a particular language. However, from a linguistic point of view, there is no “female language”, “language of women” or “natural female language”. The Language of Women and Prejudices We also have to consider that our language reflects our social prejudices. What happens if none of the existing languages enable women to express the feelings and emotions inherent to them? What happens if women can’t express the way they feel and think because their language doesn’t contain the right words to convey their thoughts? Or because their language describes and reflects a patriarchal society? Think about how you use your language and whether it’s more geared towards how men or how women express themselves. Native Tongue As A Language of Women, By Suzette Haden Elgin  The American linguist and writer Suzette Haden Elgin addressed this topic in the 80’s. She theorized that if women had their own language to express their opinions, they might represent reality in a very different way than when men talk. To...
Food and Translation – Are We All What We Eat?

Food and Translation – Are We All What We Eat?

How is food related to translation? The New Year has just begun and one of the first points of a New Year’s resolution is often to eat healthily and to keep fit. For this reason, in this blog post, we talk about food and how its cultural nature can sometimes be challenging in translation. Food has always been a vital part of life. We all need food, it is fuel for our body, it gives us energy and powers our runs. But food is also part of our language, our culture, and our identity. Food represents what we are if it is true that we are what we eat. Hence the relation between food and translation. As we all know, language and culture are intrinsically related. Since food is part of our culture, it is unavoidable that translating food will represent a hurdle for translators. Food in our lives and translation in idioms If we think of fairy tales, which are timeless, we can see how deeply rooted food is in every tradition. For example, take Snow White and The Seven Dwarves, from which the concept of the poisoned apple has spread around the world, and has also been used in famous films. In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, there is a scene in which Princess Elizabeth, who has been kidnapped by Captain Barbossa, is eating with him. He offers her an apple and, looking at his gaze, she exclaims: “It’s poisoned!”. The cross-reference to the fairy tale is obvious. Food is also present in some idiomatic expressions, which sometimes are difficult to translate...
Halloween and Religion – How do they relate around the world?

Halloween and Religion – How do they relate around the world?

It’s October, Halloween’s month. You can’t say October without thinking of pumpkins, witches, ghosts, and all the other words connected to Halloween. In this blog post, we’d like to explore the relationship between Halloween and religion around the world. So, where does Halloween come from? About 2,000 years ago, the Celts who lived in England and Ireland introduced this festivity. They celebrated it on October 31st. This day marked the end of the summer and the beginning of the cold winter. Halloween was associated with their religion. Indeed, the Celts believed that, on this day, the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. Their return made it easier for the Druids, the Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. However, at that time, this day was known as “Samhain” (a Gaelic word pronounced sow-win). The word “Halloween”, instead, has Christian origins. In fact, it comes from the Scottish word “Hallowe’en” which means “All Hallows’ Eve”, and in Western Churches, on November 1st, it is All Hallows Day. In the 1800s, thanks to Scottish and Irish migrants, this celebration spread to America, where it is still hugely celebrated today. Halloween in Europe As much as Halloween seems to be an international festivity, people around the world have different ways to commemorate their beloved dead. Starting in Ireland and England, Halloween is especially celebrated by kids. They love dressing up in Halloween outfits and knocking on doors asking for “trick- or-treat”. In England, on November 5th, there’s another celebration:  Guy Fawkes Day. This day commemorates the execution of an English traitor, Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the Houses...
Chinese to English Translations of Ancient Chinese Poetry

Chinese to English Translations of Ancient Chinese Poetry

Invitation to Classical Chinese Poetry has been one of the most ancient and significant genres of literature all over the world. One of the reasons is its ability to express millions of delicate feelings. Chinese poetry is written in a way that enables readers to enjoy the beauty of the language. There have been many attempts to translate poems from Classical Chinese to English. As a result, these poems have become more popular around the world. In this blog post, we focus on Chinese poetry and try to explore its depth through a poem from a prominent Chinese poet so read on! What is Chinese poetry and why is it so attractive? With its long history, China has one of the richest cultural backgrounds in the world. Some of the very first elements of their cultural heritage appeared in the form of poems. Those poems used Classical Chinese (also known as Literary Chinese). They are far different from any modern form of the Chinese language we know today. So why haven’t they all been forgotten by now? In fact, many people still love and study these poems today. It is due to the sophisticated and beautiful way in which they express ideas and provide profound insights into life and beauty. Classical Chinese to English Although translating Chinese ancient poetry is an extremely challenging task, there have been many attempts to translate poems from Classical Chinese to English. Thanks to those contributions, we now have access to the world of old Chinese poetry. We’ve picked one of the highly appreciated poems translated from Classical Chinese to English so that you...