Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Translate French to English? Oh là là, Parlez-vous Français?

French is the official language of France. But apart from France, many countries and independent entities list French as an official language. It ranks fourth in the list of commonly spoken languages in the European Union.

French as an official language

Below are just some of the countries that use French as the de facto or official language:

• France
• Belgium
• Benin
• Burkina Faso
• Burundi
• Canada
• Cameroon
• Chad
• Côte d'Ivoire
• Democratic Republic of Congo
• Guinea
• Haiti
• Luxembourg
• Madagascar
• Mali
• Niger
• Rwanda
• Senegal
• Switzerland
• Togo

There are also independent entities like French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Aosta Valley that use French as their official language. In Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Mauritania, French is commonly spoken by one sector of the population although it is not an official language. In Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, it is not surprising to hear the elite and the elderly speak French. After all, these countries once belonged to the territory formerly referred to as French Indochina.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Language of the Māori, A Taonga of New Zealand

Taonga means “treasure” in the language of New Zealand’s indigenous people, the Māori. Their language is also called Māori or Te Reo Māori, which enjoys official language status in New Zealand together with English and New Zealand Sign Language. Commonly referred to as “te reo” or “the language,” Māori is under the Eastern Polynesian language group. As of the 2006 Census, around 157,110 residents of New Zealand claimed that they could speak Māori. The Māori Language Commission currently regulates this language.


Māori was the predominant language of the country until 1800s. With the influx of English speaking missionaries, settlers, traders and gold seekers, Māori soon became New Zealand’s minority language.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

G’day Mate! Learn Some Australian Slang

Australia, officially referred to as The Commonwealth of Australia, has no official language. Its de facto national language is English and it has a number of Aboriginal languages as well. What is interesting when it comes to language from the land down under is their special brand of English.

The Australian slang

You may think that Australians are speaking in codes when you hear them on television, in movies or up close. But they are speaking nothing more than Australian slang. This is often referred to as “Strine.” Generations of Australians have made-up words, phrases and expressions that they incorporated into English. Australian slang is spoken in all levels of society.

Listening to Australians speak their slang will leave you both perplexed and mesmerized at the same time. Their vocabulary is quite colorful and their accent can make you smile. It’s both funny and.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brazil, The World’s Ultimate Host

Brazil, the largest Latin American country, is playing the ultimate host this decade. Just recently, this South American country hosted the 60th Annual Miss Universe Competition. As a follow up to this show of mesmerizing beauties, the 2014 FIFA World Cup will also be held in Brazil. Two years after the biggest football event in the world, Brazil will be the host country for two other major sporting events: the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Paralympics. With a spectacular line up of world-class events, Brazilians are eagerly preparing for the influx of participants and visitors alike.

About Brazil

Brazil’s motto is “Ordem e Progresso” (Order and Progress). In the world stage, Brazil is the fifth largest country in terms of total land area and one of the fastest growing economies. It borders a number of South American countries including Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Suriname and French Guiana. The Atlantic Ocean lies on the eastern side of Brazil. Brasilia is the country’s capital.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Argentine Tango – a Language of Movement and Passion

No other dance evokes so much passion than Argentine Tango. It is not merely a series of movements but a language all on its own. In fact, during the 8th Tango Dance World Championship held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the winners of the 2010 Mundial de Tango were dance partners who spoke little of each other’s mother tongue. However, they did speak a fluent language, the language of Tango.

Dancers, 21 year-old Diego Ortega and 42-year old Chizuko Kuwamoto, barely understood each other verbally. But when it came to the dance, they completely understood what each other was saying based on their movements. They share their feelings and emotions through each touch, step, sway, look, and breath on the dance floor.

The Argentine Tango history

Argentine Tango is a very exacting dance with precise movements and steps. A dance believed to have been born in Rio de la Plata some 100 years ago, it has since become a symbol of the Argentinian soul and part of the country’s national character. In 2009, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO, declared Argentine Tango as part of the cultural heritage of the world.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

English – the Other Language in India

India is one of the top five English speaking countries in the world. The official language of the country is Hindi. They don’t have a national language owing to the fact that India is comprised of many states with different cultures that use languages other than Hindi.

For example, in Punjab there’s Punjabi and in Andhra Pradesh there’s Telugu. Urdu, Kashmiri, Dogri, Tamil, Kannada are some of the other regional languages spoken in India.