Friday, September 28, 2012

From al dente to zucchini, the romantic language of the Italians has made food simply molto delizioso!

Italian is one of the most beautiful of the Romance languages. It’s lyrical, with softly lilting words, wherein each phrase and sentence almost seems like a song.

Italian trattoria sign
At the same time, Italian food is known around the world to be some of the most delicious and savory. Who doesn’t enjoy a slice of pizza from a pizzeria, a plate of carbonara pasta from a trattoria, a slice of mozarrella cheese or a cup of cappuccino? To celebrate, we bring out a bottle of Spumante and make a toast!

You don’t have to be a prima donna or “first lady” to enjoy Italian food and even a diva to be hard pressed to complain about a serving of tiramisu. Italian cuisine is simple yet highly flavorful and is certainly not a fiasco or failure. No wonder it has taken the world by storm, appealing to people of all ages.

Italians didn’t just give us delicious pizza, pasta and gelato. Many English words have their roots from various Italian words. It’s not surprising then that the English loan words in Italian often relate to items of beauty, such as art, music, architecture and most especially, food!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Biblia Sacra Vulgata, the Latin Translation of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew

Seven billion, thirty-six million, three hundred sixty-four thousand, four hundred eighty – a very long numerical word – which could be written as 7,036,364,480. This is not a magic number. It is the total number of humans living on earth, at least since September 1, 2012. While many statistical figures could be extrapolated from this number, let us concentrate on religion and the Bible.

Around the middle of 2010, the number of Christians in the world is 2,280,616,000 or 32.4% of the world’s total population. From this total Christian population, the highest number belongs to the Roman Catholic, which has 1,150,661,000 members. While most of the Roman Catholics are no longer practicing or are occasional churchgoers, it cannot be denied that they still remain true to their faith.

A Bible from 1859
The guiding book for Christians and from which the Church bases and obtains its doctrines is the Holy Bible. The dictionary defines the Bible as the collection of Christian scriptures, which consists of the Old and the New Testaments. It is also defined as the Jewish scriptures that consist of the Prophets, the Hagiographa and the Torah. Hagiographa, also called Writings, is the collection of twelve books of the Bible, the third of the three main parts of the Old Testament, based on the Jewish tradition. It consists of the Psalms, Job, the Song of Solomon, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Daniel, Ruth, Esther, Nehemiah, Chronicles, Lamentations and Ezra. The Torah is the Hebrew word for instructions or teaching. This consists of the first five books of the Bible based on Jewish tradition, and includes the Bereshit or Genesis, the Shemot or Exodus, Vayikra or Leviticus, Bamidbar or Numbers and Devarim or the Deuteronomy.

Friday, September 21, 2012

English is Spoken in Sweden, So Why Learn Swedish? (Nordic words used in English and all things Swedish)

Coat of Arms of Sweden

The Kingdom of Sweden is on the Scandinavian Peninsula, in the northern portion of Europe. It is bordered by the countries of Norway and Finland and is at the same time connected to Denmark via a long bridge. Swedish is the official main language spoken in this Nordic country. On July 1, 2009 the Swedish government created a language law to protect and promote its official language as well as the country’s minority languages, namely Finnish, Romani, Yiddish, Meänkieli or Torne Valley Finnish, and all the Sami dialects. Sweden ranks eighth with the highest per capita income in the world, with a total GDP/PPP in 2011 of around $ 381.719 billion. It was one of the great powers of Europe during the 17th century and early part of the 18th century and is now one of the world’s richest countries.

What come to mind when we think of Sweden?
·      Meatballs
·      Absolut Vodka
·      Automobile manufacturer Volvo
·      The Swedish Chef in the Muppets
·      Home furniture store IKEA
·      Ericsson, one of the largest is telecom companies in the world today
·      Nobel Prize

Some famous Swedes are:
·      Alfred Nobel, the chemist who invented the dynamite, but also gave us the Nobel Prize
·      Professional golfer Annika Sörenstam
·      Poet Erik Axel Karlfeldt
·      Poet/Novelist Verner von Heidenstam
·      Stieg Larsson, author of novel turned movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
·      Niklas Zennstrom, the co-founder of Skype

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy 30th Birthday to Online Smiley, the emoticon that started it all

Who would think that a simple combination of characters would be able to convey so much meaning, oftentimes causing you to smile or chuckle and generally cheer you up?
Binette typographique à l'origine du smiley    
Emoticons, those little icons and sometimes a combination of several keyboard characters that create representative images, usually employed to convey a feeling or an emotion.

Thirty years ago, a researcher at the Carnegie Mellon Institute University, Scott Fehlman, proposed the use of two basic emoticons, a happy :-) and a sad :-( face. He never believed that these two small things would become so big and start a trend that continues to be developed and created up to this day. So to Scott Fehlman and his two little emoticons, three cheers for a Happy Birthday!

Let us then take a tour of the story behind emoticons, their uses and usefulness in today’s digital-centric life.

Emoticons Help Clarify Language
Mooning SkypeEmoticons

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Monday, September 17, 2012

The Origins of Popular Words in Architecture and Design

When buying a home, there are many architectural details that people look for to ensure they buy the most beautiful home they can afford. For example, the façade of the home has to be inviting, the stucco walls have to be sturdy and free of graffiti, the balcony has to have a fabulous view and the interior carpet has to be soft and plush.

Whether it’s a studio you’re looking for, a palazzo or a villa complete with a portico, balcony and fountains with a replica of the various Greek gods of mythology, many of the words used in art, architecture and design are rooted in the romance languages.

Origins of architecture
The term architecture refers to the planning, design and construction process of a structure. The resulting buildings or structures are considered works of art, often defining a particular period in history.

The word architecture is from the Latin word architectura. In Greek, it is from the word arkhitekton, which is a combination of words meaning chief and builder or carpenter.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Moving to the Pulsating Rhythm of the Dominican Republic's Merengue

When the people of the Dominican Republic want to unwind or celebrate, the dance of choice is Merengue!

The official dance
Merengue is the Dominican Republic’s official dance form. Because of Haiti’s proximity to the country since they share the same island, Merengue has also reached its shores and the Haitians have created their own version of the dance. In Haiti, the dance is called Meringué.

Haitian and French influence
The Haitian Meringué or Mereng is said to have evolved from African slave music, especially chica and calenda and injected with the French influence of the Minuet ballroom dance sometime in the 18th and 19th centuries.

It is believed that the black slaves witnessed how the French performed the Minuet in the colonial homes and from there created their own version of what they saw when they had their own celebrations.

Unlike the rather staid and boring European dance, the slaves decided to incorporate their own steps and made the dance more upbeat by dancing it to the thump of drums and creating a faster rhythm for the dance. This transformed the French minuet into something more joyful, which is often characteristic of African dances.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Romance and Allure of the Viennese Waltz (Silent Communication through Dance)

Capturing the Viennese Waltz

For anyone who’s ever watched any of the dancing shows on TV such as “So You Think You Can Dance” or the immensely popular “Dancing With The Stars,” it is well known that the Viennese Waltz is one of the most anticipated dances there are.

It is graceful, elegant, romantic and simply sublime. To watch a couple glide and rotate effortlessly across the dance floor is quite a sight to behold. However, modern day people probably don’t realize just how controversial this dance it.

The younger Johann Strauss probably never realized how he would revolutionize dance when he composed his musical masterpiece, The Blue Danube or An der schönen blauen Donau, its long name, which translates to “By the beautiful, blue Danube.”