Today’s blog post will take us to South Eastern Europe, namely to Greece, and to some vocabulary around the theme of shopping.
This week’s blog post is taking us to Israel and to the Jewish diaspora again and we are going to look at the vocabulary related to the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana ראש השנה, which was celebrated this week, and the foods that are usually eaten on this holiday (these vary depending on the country of origin).
Hogwarts is called Hogwarts Școala de Magie, Farmece și Vrăjitorii in Romanian. Voldemort is Cap-de-Mort, and Harry is the Boy Who Lived or „băiatul care a supraviețuit”. Muggles are Încuiați, non-magical people of wizard descent or Squibs are noni, half-blood wizards are „sânge-semipur” and Mudbloods are „sânge-mâl”. The 4 houses are Cercetași (Gryffindor, lit. ‘scouts’), Astropufi (Hufflepuff), Ochi-de-Șoim (Ravenclaw, lit. ‘Falcon Eye’) and Viperini (Slytherin, lit. ‘pertaining to vipers’). The Death Eaters are Devoratori ai Morți and Mad-Eye Moody is called Ochi-Nebun Moody. Quidditch is Vâjthaț, the Sorting Hat is called Jobenul Magic care face Sortarea and The Burrow is Vizuina and Diagon Alley is Aleea Diagon. The London wizarding pub The Leaky Cauldron is La Ceaunul Spart and the street Knockturn Alley becomes Nocturnalee (‘Nocturnal Alley’) in the Romanian version.
In the Czech edition of Harry Potter, Hogwarts is called Škola čar a kouzel v Bradavicích (from bradavice meaning ‘wart’) and the village of Hogsmeade is Prasinky (from prase = pig, swine, hog). Diagon Alley is Příčná ulice, lit. the ‘straight street’, and Knockturn Alley is Obrtlá ulice. The Weasleys’ home The Burrow is Doupě and The Leaky Cauldron is Děravý kotel. The four houses of Hogwarts are Nebelvír (from nebe = ‘sky‘ and lvír -> lev = ‘lion’) for Gryffindor, Hufflepuff is Mrzimor, Ravenclaw is Havraspár (from havran = raven, and spár = claw) and Slytherin is Zmijozel ( zmijozel = ‘adder’, and zmije = snake, viper, and zlo = evil).
The Norwegian edition is interesting from a language aspect, since nearly all names and terms have been changed to a more Norwegian version. Hogwarts is called Galtvort høyere skole for hekseri og trolldom and the village of Hogsmeade is Galtvang (both from ‘galt‘ meaning ‘hog’). Dumbledore is called Humlesnurr, Professor Snape is Professor Slur, Professor McSnurp is Professor McGonagall, Professor Sprout is Professor Stikling and Gilderoy Lockhart becomes Gyldeprinz Gulmedal (lit. ‘Goldprince Goldmedal’) and Hagrid is Gygrid and Dobby the House-elf is Noldus. The Dursleys, who live in Hekkveien 4 (4 Privet Drive), are called Wiktor, Petunia and Dudleif Dumling (dum = dumb, stupid). The Weasleys are called Wiltersen in Norwegian, so Ron is Ronny Wiltersen, Ginny is Gulla, Percy is Perry and Fred and George are Fred og Frank! Hermione Granger is Hermine Grang, Nilus Langballe is Neville Longbottom and Draco Malfoy is Draco Malfang. Diagon Alley is Diagonallmenningen, Knockturn Alley is Spindelsmuget and the shop ‘Flourish and Blotts’ is ‘Snirckel & Blaek‘ (from blekk = ink). The bank Gringotts becomes Flirgott. The Burrow is Hiet and The Leaky Cauldron is Den lekke heksekjel. The 4 Hogwarts houses are: Gryffindor Griffing, Hufflepuff Håsblås, Ravenclaw Ravnklo and Slytherin Smygard.
The Danish Hogwarts is called Hogwarts Skole for Heksekunster og Troldmandsskab. Diagon Alley is Diagonalstræde (Diagonalstræde is not a pun in Danish, though) and Knockturn Alley is rendered as Tusmørkegyden (lit. ‘Twilight Alley’) . The Burrow becomes Vindelhuset (‘the spiral house’), The Leaky Cauldron is Den Utætte Kedel and Gringotts is called Gringotts Troldmandsbank. The Owlery is Ugleriet. The ghost Moaning Myrtle is Hulkende Hulda. House elves are husalfer. Professor Sprout is called Professor Spire and Gilderoy Lockhart is Glitterik Smørhår (lit. Glittery Butterhair). Professor Horatio Schnobbevom is Horace Slughorn. The subject Divination is Spådom and the art of Apparition is called Spektral Transferens.
In Swedish, Hogwarts is called Hogwarts skola för häxkonster och trolldom, Diagon Alley is Diagongränden, Knockturn Alley becomes Svartvändargränden (lit. ‘Blackturner Alley’), the wizarding bank Gringotts is Gringotts trollkarlsbank (or just simply Gringotts). The pub The Leaky Cauldron is Den Läckande Kitteln and The Burrow is Kråkboet (lit.’Crow’s Nest’). The Death Eaters are the Dödsätare and the Sorting Hat is en sorteringshatt. The subject Spådomskonst is divination and Potions is Trolldryckskonst. 12 Grimmauld Place is Grimmaldiplan nummer 12 (the pun in English – ‘grim old place’ – is lost here in the translation) and the Forbidden Forest is Den mörka skogen. The young Voldemort Tom Riddle is called Tom Gus Mervolo Dolder. Bill and Fleur Weasley’s house, The Shell Cottage, is Snäckstugan in Swedish.
If you like the paper Hogwarts castle in this article, it can be purchased on Amazon here: ‘Build your own Hogwarts castle!‘ (ISBN 978-1535422352) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1535422351
Today’s blog post will take us to Scandinavia, and to some thematic vocabulary about a topic of current importance, namely the environment, in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian.
Miljøet = the environment
globale oppvarming = global warming
Klimaendringen = climate change
Drivhuseffekten = Greenhouse Effect
utslipp av karbondioksid = carbon dioxide emissions
drivhusgasser = greenhouse gases
havnivåstigningen/ Havnivåendring = sea level rise
økosystemet = ecosystem
biologisk mangfoldet = biodiversity
en truet art = a threatened species
ørkendannelse = desertification
en regnskog = rainforest
avskogningen = deforestation
forurensningen = pollution
sur nedbør = acid rain
holdbar = sustainable
fornybar = renewable
fornybar energy = renewable energy
bærekraft = sustainability
Miljøet = the environment
global opvarmning = global warming
Klimaændringen = climate change
Drivhuseffekten = Greenhouse Effect
Kuldioxidudslippet = carbon dioxide emissions
Drivhusgasser = greenhouse gases
stigende vandstand i havene = sea level rise
økosystemet = ecosystem
biodiversitet = biodiversity
en truet art = a threatened species
ørkendannelse = desertification
en regnskov = rainforest
skovrydningen = deforestation
forureningen = pollution
syreregn = acid rain
bæredygtig = sustainable
Vedvarende = renewable
vedvarende energi = renewable energy
bæredygtighed = sustainability
Miljön = the environment
Global uppvärmning = global warming
Klimatförändringen = climate change
Växthuseffekten = Greenhouse Effect
Koldioxidutsläppet = carbon dioxide emissions
Växthusgaser = greenhouse gases
höjning av havsnivån/havsnivåhöjning = sea level rise
ekosystemet = ecosystem
den biologiske mångfald = biodiversity
en hotad art = a threatened species
ökenspridningen = desertification
en regnskog = rainforest
avskogningen/skogskövlingen = deforestation
miljöförstöring = pollution
surt regn = acid rain
hållbar = sustainable
förnybar = renewable
förnybar energi = renewable energy
hållbarhet = sustainability
Today’s blog post will take us to Asia and America, namely to Chinese, Turkish and the Native American Lakota language. All three languages and cultures associate different colours with the four cardinal directions.
Colours associated with the cardinal directions in Chinese
In China, each of the 4 cardinal directions is associated with a colour, as well as an animal and a season. The centre is yellow and is associated with the human realm. The North is associated with the colour black, as well as winter and a turtle 龜 Guī or snake. The South is thought of as red, and its associated animal is the phoenix 凤凰 Fènghuáng and the summer season. The East is associated with the Chinese colour qing 青, which denotes green as well as blue. (See a previous blog post on colour perception in different languages). Its animal is the dragon 龍 lóng and its season is spring. The West is white, and its animal is the tiger 虎 Hǔ and the season of autumn.
Colours associated with the cardinal directions in Turkish
Also the Turkish language associates different colours with the four directions. The North is thought of as black (kara), the East is associated with the Turkish colour gök, which is a sky blue or turquoise, the South is seen as red (kızıl, a rusty shade of red) and the West is associated with the colour white (ak). What is interesting in Turkish is that the seas surrounding the Turkish peninsula and Anatolia take their names from these colour associations: the Mediterranean, which is west of Turkey, is called Akdeniz, or the White Sea, the Red Sea is Kızıl Deniz, and is located to the south of Turkey (its name is said to come from the rust-coloured sediments flowing into it) and the Black Sea, or Kara Deniz, is north of Anatolia (the Black Sea is also rich in iron sulfides, where only sulphur bacteria can thrive, and its sediments are dark).
Colours associated with the cardinal directions in Lakota
The Native American language Lakota associates not just a different colour with each of the cardinal directions, but each direction also has a value or virtue attributed to it as well as an animal nation, and a stage of life. There are two different systems of colour association, which vary from dialect to dialect. The centre of the sacred circle, or hocoka, is green and blue, the green standing for Grandmother Earth and the blue for the Sky. The North is associated with cold, discomfort and hardship (the direction from which winter comes), the East is associated with the sunrise, the South is the direction from which the sun is strongest, and the West is associated with the sunset and, by extension, the end of life.
Today’s blog post is taking us to North-Eastern Europe again, namely to the 3 Baltic countries (Estonian: Balti riigid, Baltimaad, Latvian: Baltijas valstis, Lithuanian: Baltijos valstybės) Estonia Eesti, Latvia Latvija and Lithuania Lietuva and to their respective languages. Estonian belongs to the Balto-Finnic branch of the Uralic languages, whereas Latvian and Lithuanian belong to the Baltic language group of the Indo-European languages.
Survival vocabulary in Latvian
Sveiks (said to a male)/Sveika (said to a female) = Hello
Labdien = Good day/afternoon, hello
Uz redzēšanos! = goodbye!
Jā / nē = yes / no
Paldies = Thank you
Lūdzu = please; you are welcome
Vai jūs runājat latviski/angliski? = Do you speak Latvian/English?
Atvainojiet = excuse me
Piedodiet = sorry, I apologize
Kā jums klājas? = How are you?
Labi, paldies = fine, thank you
Kā jūs sauc? = What is your name?
Mani sauc… = My name is…
Prieks iepazīties! = Nice to meet you!
No kurienes jūs esat? = Where are you from?
Es esmu no… = I am from…
Survival vocabulary in Lithuanian
Labas/ sveiki = hello
Laba diena = good day (‘good afternoon’)
Sudie = goodbye
Taip/ ne = yes, no
Ačiū!/Dėkoju! = Thank you
Prašom! = please; you are welcome; here you are; don’t mention it
Ar jūs kalbate angliškai? = Do you speak English?
Aš nesuprantu = I don’t understand
Kaip gyvuojate? = How are you?
Man viskas gerai = I am fine
Kaip jūsų vardas? = What is your name?
Mano vardas yra… = My name is…
Malonu = nice to meet you
Atsiprašau = excuse me
Atleiskite = sorry
Iš kur jūs esate? = Where are you from?
Aš esu iš… = I am from…
Survival vocabulary in Estonian
Tere = hello
Head aega = goodbye
Jah/ei = yes/no
Vabandage = excuse me; sorry
Aitäh/tänän = thank you
Palun = you are welcome; please
Kas te räägite eesti/inglise keelt? = do you speak Estonian/English?
Kust te pärit olete? = where are you from?
Mis te nimi on? = What is your name?
Minu nimi on…/Ma olen… = My name is…/I am…
Väga meeldiv = nice to meet you
Kuidas läheb? = how are you?
Hästi = fine
Today’s blog post is continuing our series on the comparison of vocabulary of closely related languages and is taking us to the British Isles again, as well as to Brittany (Bretagne) in France, and to the various Celtic languages spoken there, namely Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic, as well as Cornish and Breton. Our topic today is the weather and the most important words related to it. Both Welsh (Cymraeg) and Cornish (Kernewek) belong to the Brittonic group of the Celtic languages (to which also Breton Brezhoneg belongs), and Irish (Gaeilge) and Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) belong to the Goidelic group (to which also Manx Gaelg belongs).
The terms for these weather-related words in Cornish/Kernewek:
weather – kewer, sunshine – Howl, wind – gwyns, rainbow – kammneves, rain – glaw, clouds – kommol, thunder – taran, thunderstorm – hagarawel derednow, lightning – lughes, snow – ergh, hail – keser
and in Breton/Brezhoneg:
the weather – an amzer, sunshine – Heol, wind – avel, rainbow – kanevedenn, rain – glav, cloud – koumoul, thunder – taran, thunderstorm – arnev, lightning – luc’hed, snow – erc’h, hail – grizilh
Today’s blog post continuous our series on efficient learning and revision strategies in language learning and will show you some simple methods with which you can avoid mixing up closely related languages.
A simple but very efficient method of learning or revising closely related languages is to use textbooks and learning materials written in one of the languages to learn or revise the other one. To give an example, if you tend to mix up, let’s say, Spanish and Portuguese, or Spanish and Italian, then use some materials that are written in your ‘stronger’ language of the two to revise or learn the other. The great advantage of this method is that you see the two languages directly side by side in comparison. If you compare the vocabulary when revising, you will see exactly where the two languages converge and use a very similar or even identical word or expression, and where they depart and use a quite different word or phrase. A nice side effect of this technique is also that you can practice and revise two languages at the same time. And in the case that you really do not understand a word or phrase in either of the languages, you can always look up that word or phrase in a dictionary in your native tongue. A further advantage of using materials written for speakers of one of the two languages for learning the other is that these books and resources will usually point out the pitfalls precisely for speakers of one of the languages in learning the other and often contain tips on which aspects in particular to pay attention to avoid any such mistakes and ‘false friends’.
If you prefer online-resources to books, then you can use the same technique on duolingo, both for revision and to learn a new language. One of the nice things about this platform is that many languages are available in a wide range of language combinations, especially the more popular languages, so that you can choose one that suits you best, e.g. learning Italian via Spanish, or a Spanish-Portuguese combination, etc. The system will then show you exactly where the sentences in both languages converge and depart in their vocabulary and grammatical structures. Those readers who know the platform will know how strict the system is about a very precise translation of the words and sentences. If you practice regularly in this way, you will be far less likely to mix up the similar languages over time.
Today’s blog post will be about colour perception in different cultures and languages around the world.
The terms for colours cannot always be translated in a straightforward manner since some colours, esp. green and blue (“grue”) in some Asian languages, are often perceived differently from those in the West, and are considered separate colours in those countries whereas in English there is just one term for both shades or vice versa.
In Russian, there are two different terms for blue which are considered as separate colours and not just as shades of the same colour as in English: голубой (‘goluboy’) light blue and синий (‘siniy’) dark blue.
In Hungarian, there are two separate terms for red: piros is a bright red and vörös is a dark red.
In German, there are two different terms for pink: Pink is the same bright saturated shade as in English, but when the colour is pale pink it is called rosa.
‘Grue’ or green and blue in various Asian languages
The origin of the perception of a green-blue (‘grue’) colour, which in English is called ‘teal’ or is seen as two separate colours (blue and green), comes from the Chinese character 青 (qīng).
The colour qīng 青 can mean either of the colours that in English are referred to as ‘green’, ‘blue’, or ‘black’, depending on the context and the nouns or fixed phrases it is used with. To give an example, qing means ‘blue’ when used with ‘sky’ 青天 (qīngtiān) or ‘eyes’青眼 (qīngyǎn) , but ‘black’ when used with ‘hair’ 青丝(qīngsī) and ‘green’ when used with the character for ‘mountain’ 青山 (qīngshān), ‘grass’青草 (qīngcǎo) or ‘vegetables’ 青菜 (qīngcài).
Qing 青 , according to tradition, is the colour of things that are born and the term 青春 (qīngchūn ‘green spring’) means youth. This is connected to its meaning ‘black’ since young people in China have dark hair, or 青鬓 (qīng bìn) ‘black temple hair’, an idiom referring to young people. Qing can also refer to black clothes or fabrics and one of the main female roles in Chinese opera, 青衣 (qīngyī), refers to the fact that most actors wear black clothing.
Qing can also refer to the colour ‘blue’, which originates from the dye bluegrass which in ancient times was used to dye things in the colour of qing. The idiom 青出於藍，而勝於藍／青出于蓝，而胜于蓝 (qīngchūyúlán ér shèng yú lán, ‘blue comes from the indigo plant but is bluer than the plant itself’) describes how a student could come to excel their teacher.
The character 青qing originally derives from the components for 生 ’growth of plants‘ and 丹 ’cinnabar‘, which was also used for dyeing and by extension came to refer to ‘colour’ in general, so 青qing came to be known as the ‘colour of growing plants’ and green-blue, and came to describe a range of colours from light green through blue to deep black 玄青 (xuánqīng). Over time, the character for cinnabar was exchanged with the similar character for ‘moon’月.
The modern Mandarin Chinese language, however, also has the blue–green distinction with 蓝/ 藍 lán for blue and 绿 / 綠 lǜ for green. Another peculiarity of Chinese colour perception is the case of ‘red’ 红 / 紅, hóng and ‘pink’ 粉红, fěn hóng (lit.’powder red’), which are considered varieties of a single colour.
青 qing (Cantonese 廣東話 )
In Cantonese, qing 青 can describe the same range of colours as in Mandarin Chinese. It means ‘green’ when referring to grass, plants or the mountains, ‘blue’ when referring to the sky or stones, and ‘black’ or ‘young’ when referring to hair or fabrics. However, in Cantonese (廣東話), 青 qing meaning ‘black’ is still used in contexts where the use of 黑 would be inauspicious since it is a homophone of ‘乞’ (beggar), for example 黑衣, ‘black clothes’, would also mean ‘beggar’s clothes’.
Vietnamese has taken over the green-blue colour perception from the ancient Chinese character 青 and is read as xanh, which can mean both ‘green’ or ‘blue’ depending on the context. To specify which shade exactly you mean, you have to add some descriptive terms, so xanh da trời means ‘blue as the sky’, xanh dương or xanh nước biển means ‘blue as the ocean’ and xanh lá cây means ‘green like the leaves’. Vietnamese sometimes uses the terms xanh lam for blue and xanh lục for green, which derive from the Chinese characters 藍and 綠 respectively.
Also Japanese has the colour green-blue, or ao 青 (hiragana あお, romaji ao, historical hiragana あを), which also derives from the ancient Chinese character and its connotations. So ao 青 can mean ‘blue’, ‘green’ or ‘black’ depending on the context. In the case of Japanese, the colour connotation ‘black’ comes from the bluish-black colour of a horse’s hair. Ao is also used in particular to refer to the green of traffic lights and to the colour of plant leaves, vegetables and apples. By contrast, other ‘green’ objects will generally be referred to as being 緑 midori, e.g. clothes, cars, etc.
Also in the native American language Lakota (‘Sioux’), one word is used for both blue and green, namely the term tȟó. However, a term for ‘green’ – tȟózi- has come into use, which is made up of the terms tȟó meaning ‘blue-green’ and zí meaning ‘yellow’. In the same way, zíša/šázi refers to the colour orange, šá on its own meaning ‘red’. The colour purple or violet is thus šátȟo/tȟóša.
Some interesting links for further reading on the topic:
Does your language also have a different colour perception from the English one? Let us know in the comments!! 🙂