Friday, June 29, 2012

Fête du Canada on July 1 (A Celebration of Canada Day)

Canadians celebrate! The National Day of Canada is here!

Canada Day in Ottawa

Every July 1, the federal holiday in Canada is widely observed for its historical, cultural and nationalist importance. All over the country, celebrations of this festive summer holiday include spectacular fireworks displays, colorful parades, delicious barbeques, exciting carnivals and fairs, enjoyable family picnics and entertaining concerts.
British North American Act

Just like all major holidays, Canada Day or Fête du Canada traces its roots to a historically significant event.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

John, Mary and Muhammad in Different Languages

If your parents named you John, don't be surprised that in France people will call you Jean. Or if you find yourself in Spain, an abuela (grandmother) may refer to you as Juan. Women with names like Mariska, Mariah and Mary owe their names to a Hebrew name. Muhammad, the most popular name in the world, has many different spellings in different languages. Fascinating, isn't it?

Most of the given names today originated from Latin, Greek, Hebrew or Arabic names. Throughout human history, given names have changed from one location to another. As people moved across lands and over seas due to migration, war or a multitude of other reasons, they brought with them their given names that came from their original mother tongues. The locals in their new communities must have spoken a dialect or language different from theirs. So when their names were adopted in these new settings, their original given names were changed in order to fit the local language or dialect better.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Wonderful World of Dr. Seuss

"I like green eggs and ham! I like them Sam I Am!" Dr. Seuss wrote more than 40 children's books and won countless awards including two Emmy Awards, two Academy Awards), a Peabody and a Pulitzer. The man behind the penname Dr. Seuss, Theodore Geisel, was extremely talented, very witty, imaginative, artistic and politically and socially conscious. His writing style was entertaining to say the least. Because of his early reader books, reading and learning became more fun for new readers. Today, the same children who grew up enjoying his books and the many transformations of Dr. Seuss's stories are now introducing Dr. Seuss to a new generation.

Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss), seated at desk covered with his books
Often times, the words he uses in his children's books sound like a lot of mumbo-jumbo. There's a lot of rhyming going on in every page. Nonsense and made up words form part of his stories. The locations and characters are often invented, but many parallel the people, places and situations Geisel experienced or observed throughout his life. He may have written his books for children but most adults enjoy them, too. If you are willing to suspend reality and enter the world of imagination, you will surely be in for a treat when you open a Dr. Seuss book.

Welcome to the colorful world of Dr. Seuss!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Celebrating the National Day of Luxembourg

Luxembourgers are gearing up to celebrate one of the biggest festivities in their country this weekend. June 23 is celebrated in the country of Luxembourg as its National Day.

In many countries around the world, National Day is celebrated to commemorate the country’s independence from a colonial ruler. In Luxembourg, it is a day to honor their Grand Duke.


Emblèmes of Luxembourg
Luxembourg is a delightful Western European country nestled between Belgium, France and Germany. Though this diminutive country is often overshadowed by its larger neighbors, Luxembourg is home to over half a million residents with strong political influence and a highly developed economy. In fact, the people of Luxembourg enjoy the highest GDP per capita in the world! Since 1815, the country has been headed by a grand duchy, when the King of the Netherlands recognized the territory as an independent kingdom.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day and How Fathers Affect Language Development in Children

Fathers often get the short end of the stick when compared to mothers. Part of the reason why this is so is because many fathers do not assume the same child-rearing responsibilities as mothers. Traditionally, in most cultures since time immemorial, mothers are left at home to care for their young. Fathers are the traditional providers. They go out of the homes to make a living in order to provide food, shelter, and clothing for the whole family. Mothers are on call 24/7 taking care of their children's physical and emotional needs. Female parents spend more time with their children than their counterparts thus having greater influence on the children.

A Father's Tenderness

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Let's Get Ready to Rumble! The English Language Hides Pugilists’ Talk

The defeat of Filipino boxer Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, dubbed as the best pound for pound boxer today after winning world titles in 8 different weight classes, to Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley last June 10 at the MGM Grand arena in Las Vegas, U.S.A. sent shockwaves throughout the world. Many sports analysts, boxing aficionados, occasional fans, and of course Filipinos throughout the globe expected Pacquiao to win. Based on what many people saw, whether on live television or in the arena, it was clear to them that the boxer from the Philippines clearly won the boxing match. But two out of the three judges gave the fight to Bradley giving Pacquiao, a congressman in Sarangani Province, on the island of Mindanao, his first loss in years.

Manny Pacquiao

The Pacman's loss definitely stings for those who believed he would prevail. But leave the Pacquiao-Bradley fight for now. Let the coaches, managers, boxing analysts and other interested parties argue about who deserved the coveted belt. Instead, learn about boxing words, phrases and terminologies that you might have been using for years without knowing that these come from the world of the pugilists.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The importance of fathers communicating with their children

Father’s Day is coming up and it’s a good time to remember fathers all over the world who stay involved in their children’s lives.

Father and Son
In most societies, the father is tasked with providing for the children and the child rearing responsibilities are given to the mother. However, it is becoming clearer that fathers provide an integral element in raising happy and balanced children. Modern fathers know the grave importance of having an active role in their children’s upbringing. Many studies have shown the many benefits that children reap in their social, emotional and intellectual growth when they have an open line of communication with their fathers.

For children, talking with their dads is a way that they feel loved. It is also an opportunity for fathers to affirm their children. Various cultures demonstrate their love and affection towards their children in a number of ways. Communicating with children is an integral aspect in building a strong family relationship in just about any society.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Latin: Brushing Up on a Dead Language

People often take their language for granted. Only a few bother to learn the history behind their own mother tongue or what words and phrases in their language's vocabulary are actually words that come from another language. Take the English language for instance. There are many words used in the English language that are borrowed from such languages as German, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese. These languages mentioned are all languages still spoken by millions, if not billions, of people today in various parts of the world.

Arms of the United States of America
(E Pluribus Unum) 

But there are also words in the English language that come from one of the so-called dead languages of the world – Latin. Without being aware of it, adult English speakers have been using Latin words for much of their lives. Latin gave rise to what is known as Romance Languages, a category where French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and many other related languages rose from.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hail To The Queen! Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Royal Monogram of Queen Elizabeth II's
Diamond Jubilee

The time is ripe for a royal celebration. The United Kingdom is abuzz this year because it is Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. 2012 marks the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the British throne. A myriad of activities has been going on since the start of the year with more celebratory activities to come during Central Weekend, which starts June 2 and ends on the anniversary of her Jubilee, June 5.

Queen Elizabeth II has served the British and the people of all the other commonwealth  realms, territories and crown dependencies. She is the representative of Britain's past and present. The British Empire, once a super power that ruled nations across the globe, introduced to its subjects the British way of governing, their culture and their language, English. The Queen continues this tradition by being the face of the British Monarchy. She symbolizes continuity and stability in the 21st century.

A princess was born

Queen Mary touring London's dockyard area with
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose, May 1939.

It was on April 21, 1926, at exactly 2:40 in the morning that Elizabeth Alexandra Mary graced the world with her presence. Princess Elizabeth of the House of Windsor was born in Mayfair, London. Her father and mother were the Duke and Duchess of York. The Duke was later crowned as King George VI and the Duchess became Queen Elizabeth.