Despite there being 54 countries and 2 billion people in the Commonwealth, not many people have heard of Commonwealth Day. It is an annual celebration held on the second Monday in March. The HM Queen Elizabeth II, who is also the Head of the Commonwealth, gives a speech to the whole of the Commonwealth every year, which is also broadcast throughout the world.
National anthems denote patriotism and great pride in a country and its people and are usually played during international sporting events and medal ceremonies. The lyrics can talk about the history, culture and even politics of a country but some national anthems stand out for more than just the meaning of their lyrics.
Did you know that a lot of words we use in everyday life in the English language originated in India, including the word ‘Hullabaloo’? You might be surprised at just how many words you recognise. The words vary from clothes (pyjamas, bandana, pashmina) to food (chutney, char, curry) to modes of transport (catamaran, dinghy, juggernaut).
The Venice Carnival in Venice, Italy is known for its masks and is a magical spectacular a couple of weeks before Lent begins (on Ash Wednesday). This year the carnival begins on the 11th February. Traditionally, meat, eggs and butter were meant to be used up before the fasting of Lent began. The celebration and festivities before Lent gave way to many carnivals around the world, including the Venice Carnival. What makes this carnival memorable though are the costumes and, in particular, masks worn by its patrons.
Do you consider yourself a ‘Madame’ or a ‘Mademoiselle’? A ‘Senorita’ or ‘Signorina’? Well, it doesn’t matter in the French language anymore as a town in Western France (Cesson-Sevigne) has banned the word ‘Mademoiselle’ (or ‘Miss’ – UK equivalent) from all of its official documents. The reason for this is that the town’s community believes that women should not be defined by their status anymore. Men have always been addressed as ‘Monsieur’ once they become teenagers.
A survey by Northumbria University in the UK has shown that Japanese learners of English find the Glaswegian accent in Scotland the most socially attractive. More than 500 people were questioned in the study to find out how worldwide perceptions of the English language are changing. [Read more…]
Compilers of the new online version of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) have highlighted the influence of Wales on the English language. The dictionary claims to be the only English dictionary that tries to get to the roots of the first known use of every word in the English language. [Read more…]
Did you know the Beckhams are learning sign language with their children Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz so that they can communicate with a friend of theirs who is deaf? David Beckham, wife Victoria and kids are all receiving tuition on a regular basis.
Researchers at San Diego Zoo have been monitoring communications between African elephants and have found what has been described as a “secret language”.
Elephant’s are well-known for their trumpeting calls, but did you know that they also growl? [Read more…]
Did you know that English comedian Harry Hill speaks in Spanish on an episode of the popular British TV series “Harry Hill’s TV Burp” to announce the ‘fight’ segment?
Find out how to learn to speak Spanish and get the Spanish language advantage>>