Spotlight on Russia

The World Cup is upon us and the eyes of the world will be glued to their TVs over the coming months to watch the games taking place in Russia. That said, here’s a little linguistic trivia on where the word Russia likely comes from: While much of the ancestry of modern Russians can be... Continue Reading →

April – The Month of Opening

Like so many words in our native language, we generally don’t think about where they come from and what their meaning and, perhaps, true spirit is. Take a look at the words for “to open” and “April” in a couple of romance languages: aprire/aprile (Italian), abrir/abril (Spanish/Portuguese). Notice that the letters p and b are a... Continue Reading →

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

As we celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, we thought we’d reflect not just on the “luck of the Irish” but how they and other cultures celebrate the idea of luck. China: Is it lucky number 7 or number 8?  Depends on who you ask! In western cultures, we like number 7. Probably because the... Continue Reading →

Happy Lunar New Year!

Lunar New Year is just around the corner and you will start to see signs around the city wishing people a “Happy Chinese New Year”. What many people don’t realize, but what our Korean or Vietnamese language teachers could tell you: Lunar new year is not just celebrated in Chinese communities. In Vietnam the lunar new... Continue Reading →

Sardinia: More Than Just a Beach Vacation

Sardinia is best known for its beautiful, pristine beaches, its stunning landscape, and the Italian glitterati who descend in high season. But the island also offers a fascinating history that dates back dozens of millennia. The earliest settlers are estimated to have arrived as long as 50,000 years ago, and from 1500 to 500 BC... Continue Reading →

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela!

July is a month of filled with independence celebrations. Rather than going for the usual suspects (Bastille Day! 4th of July!), in honor of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on July 18 (he would have been 99), we thought we would take a moment to shine a spotlight on the linguistic richness of Mr. Mandela’s home country, South Africa. First... Continue Reading →

Go Forth and Conjugate!

[CW] When some people think of verb conjugations, they get a little nervous. All of those endings, the spelling changes, the irregulars… English, if it’s your native language, seems so much simpler. All you do is stick an -s or -es on the he/she/it forms, and Bob’s your uncle. That’s still a conjugation, of course,... Continue Reading →

Learning Vocabulary

(Image source: pixabay.com) [CW] Learning vocabulary is obviously an important part of learning a language. In some ways, it's also the most boring part, because it really just comes down to memorization. And memorization can be tedious. But memorization is really the first part of the process; to move new vocabulary from your short term... Continue Reading →

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