Archive for June, 2011

Alter lingua, alter persona.

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Now we understand some of the principles of business and we understand some of the principles of the concept of Freedom of Speech, but spam … ? Whadda gonna do? Filter as much as you can and deal with the rest. Call it peculiar, but we keep separate folders for spam that sneaks through in foreign languages – it’s amusing to study. OK. It’s peculiar.

One spam got through our filters that did catch our eye; it was an “opportunity” to learn to speak English – supposedly from Cambridge (University, we assume) – and it was written all in Spanish. Well that’s a fine notion.  We all need to learn a few more languages. Seems that the Romans (who had a saying for just about everything apparently) said, “Alter lingua, alter persona.” (“Another language, another person.”) Meaning that one can’t learn a language without becoming in some sense another person; that is, to learn a language, one must also learn the history, the humor, the literature, the religion, the politics, etc. of the people who speak that language as a native tongue. More about that later, back to this spam. Included was one beautiful (to our eye) image:

Learn English language flags

Not really too colorful – mostly red, white and blue – but very “active” looking. Let’s look a little deeper. Of course there’s the largest flag of the UK, the US waving into Canada, and subtly below are (left to right) images of Northern Ireland, the Scottish Saltire, (perhaps that’s the tip of the tail of the Welsh dragon – Y Ddraig Goch) and Guernsey.

Conspicuously missing are flags of, perhaps, Australia and New Zealand, Ireland; heck, why not throw in India and a few others? Perhaps it would be to “cluttered”. There are a lot of countries that speak English as a major language. It might be an interesting exercise to design a similar graphic of a the francophone countries’ flags or (what’s the word for) Spanish language speaking country flags. Nice idea. Point being that there’s not a much better way to symbolize all those countries than with their flags. Symbols speak volumes, and flags are powerful symbols.

Back to that idea of native tongues, we’d like to give a little plug to our friends at Morsmål (that’s Norwegian for mother tongue or something like that). From their website:

Morsmål is an NGO maintaining official relations with UNESCO.
A multilingual information portal and a meeting place for bilingual researchers, teachers, parents and pupils.

Morsmål logo They’re pretty proud about the fact that they just passed the 700 mark of folks who have “liked” their Facebook page. Go on. Check ’em out. You’ll like ’em.

Flag Days around the world

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Here in the United States we celebrate Flag Day today. In fact, it’s the 234th anniversary of the old Stars and Stripes. A little research shows that several other countries also celebrate their flag on a special day. Here’s a little list for you:

Italy January 7th
Mexico February 24th
Aruba March 18th
England April 23rd
Faroe Islands April 25th
Poland May 2nd
European Union May 9th
Haiti May 18th
Philippines May 28th
Sweden June 6th
Peru June 7th
United States June 14th
Argentina June 20th
Finland Midsummer’s Day
Pakistan August 11th
Russian Federation August 22nd
Australia September 3rd
Brazil November 19th
Albania November 28th
Scotland November 30th

Did we miss any? Please let us know.