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Differences between Spanish – South America and Europe

cze 17

Languages change when spreading to new places. Spanish, due to its huge range and the distance between the countries in which it is used, has developed forms characteristic for the regions. During colonization by Spain of certain areas of North America, territories of Central America and South America, the language of the colonizers became a separate language, much different from that of the native language. Here are some differences between the Spanish language used in Latin America and its European counterpart.

In Spain, Spaniards term their language Spanish. Meanwhile, many Latin Americans call their language the Castilian language. This difference has its source in Castile (the region of Spain), where the first colonizers came from. Castilian is a dialect, as is Gaulish and Gaelic in Great Britain, although English remains the dominant language. In the same way, Spanish is considered to be the dominant language in Spain, and Galician and Catalan are just different variants of the proper Spanish in some regions.

The grammatical differences are also very interesting. The first example is voseo. In Central America, Argentina and Uruguay, the conversion of the pronoun (the equivalent of you) to vos was accepted. Similar differences appear for the the verb cantar, i.e. to sing – the native Spaniards will say tú cantas, in turn a resident of Uruguay vos cantas.

In many other languages, as in both Spanish varieties, one word can have many meanings depending on the region in which it is used. For example, the word Haragán – in Spain, but also in some parts of Latin America is a term for a lazy person. However in Venezuela and Argentina, it means something completely different – it is hair dryer.

Distinct differences in lexis occur even in small languages (based on the number of users) ​​within a single country. There are many differences and they concern various fields. For example, a resident of Argentina and Chile named a strawberry – frutilla, while a resident of the Iberian peninsula would describe it as a fresco. A resident of Madrid will say falda for a dress while a person living in Buenos Aires will certainly call it a pollera. Very interesting are the borrowings from the languages ​​of the indigenous people of the Americas. In the Spanish variety of Spanish, we find words from Nahuatl, such as cuate or guajolot, meaning a friend (Spanish: amigo) and turkey (Spanish: pavo). While in Spanish, used in Europe, the word computer translates into an ordenator. Spanish in Latin America will translate the same word as computadora. Europeans generally accepted the term mobile phone and the Spaniards transformed it into teléfono movil. When it comes to Latin American countries, direct consumers of American media, there society calls it a cellular phone.

Of course, these differences are not so important that a person who knows Spanish in Europe cannot cope with communication with a person living in Latin America.

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Hindi – the fourth most spoken language in the world

cze 05

Hindi is the mother tongue for over 200 million people. In fact, it is used by many more people because it is not only the official language next to English, but also the language used in traffic instructions.

Over half a billion Indians speak Hindi. This language is the fourth most widely used language in the world (after Mandarin, English and Spanish). Hindi has also existed since the 12th century as a written language.

The main areas in which Hindi predominates are Central and Northern India, in the area of ​​the city of Delhi and in some Indian states.
Hindi uses the Devanagari alphabet. Devanagari is the syllable script in which the characters represent whole syllables. In this way, each consonant in this alphabet is connected to a vowel.

In the Indian constitution, the official languages ​​of the country are Hindi and English. In addition, the constitution officially recognizes 22 further national languages, typical of a region or state.  In a country as large as India, a total of 35 languages ​​are used, each of which has at least one million people. Many of these languages ​​have their own writing systems so there are 12 different alphabets in the country. A resident of North India speaking with a neighbor from the South of India will certainly use English or Hindi.

The twin language for Hindi is Urdu. Urdu is the mother tongue for over 50 million people in India and for millions in Pakistan. In a conversation, a person speaking in Urdu will have no problems communicating with a Hindi speaker.
Both languages ​​have the same grammatical structure and basic vocabulary. Hindi has many borrowings from Sanskrit, while Urdu has distinct influences from Persian and Arabic. Not to mention the fact that Hindi uses the Devanagari alphabet and the Urdu Arabic alphabet.

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How to Make a Linguist? One woman’s’ path.

maj 20

I grew up in America knowing that I had Polish roots but having no exposure to the language. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I began asking more questions and trying to learn more about my family history. By becoming a genealogist and studying my family origins, I was led to learn new skills and topics such as research, analysis, language and history. A high school project started me down the path of collecting documents about my ancestors. But very quickly I ran into the language barrier. Many of the documents I sought were in foreign archives and written in foreign languages (mostly Polish, Russian or German). But I was determined to make progress anyway.

After graduation, I joined the U.S. military as a linguist and I chose to study the only Slavic language available to me at that time, Russian. The courses were extremely intense and my sole responsibility for the first 18 months. That career decision has led to a lifetime of studying language, culture and history. My work life has supported my hobby for many years and between the two I have amassed large amounts of context in which to study my roots.

At the age of 35, I was finally able to move to Poland to work on a Master’s degree in European Studies and attempt to learn Polish. I have found it to be more difficult to learn than even Russian. In part, because so many young people that I have met in Kraków speak English now. Studying difficult Slavic languages has made me appreciate that I am a native speaker of English especially since English has become more and more prevalent throughout the world. At the same time, Polish both delights and frustrates me on a daily basis. As an analyst, I see patterns in language and therefore prefer to learn visually with documents and reading. But to truly become fluent in a foreign language, you must converse. That is even more difficult for introverted people but it can be done. I hope. I am still trying. The Polish ladies at the deli counter still ask me to repeat myself and I know I do not always use the correct grammar, but I’m hungry and the kiełbasa is so tasty!

Recently, I was given the wonderful opportunity to be a translation intern at Atominium. Here, my past experiences and personal abilities converge to make translating from Polish to English everyday a joy and a challenge. The challenge of translating ever new topics keeps things interesting and contributes to language learning. After all, as I believe Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit”. That’s how you make a linguist, or any professional really, with tons of tiny habits throughout a lifetime that add up to a powerful skill set. Both people and languages are constantly evolving, so it is convenient that now language learning is both my hobby and my job. Where are your habits taking you?

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„Pole and Hungarian brothers be…”.

maj 06

Lengyel, magyar – két jó barát this is one of the best known proverbs in Polish and Hungarian. See the most interesting Hungarian curiosities!

Hungarians came to Europe probably from the Southern Ural Mountain region around the years 895-896. After centuries of migration, they crossed the Carpathian Mountains and entered the Danube areas populated by the Slav peoples.

What is the Hungarian name of Poland?

Lengyelország – this is the Hungarian name of Poland. It comes from the Lędzian tribe. It is pronounced Lendzielorsaag.

The Hungarian Parliament unanimously established the 23rd of March as the Day of Polish-Hungarian Friendship, and Poland adopted the same resolution shortly thereafter.

The pen comes from Hungary!

The inventor of the pen was the Hungarian artist and journalist László Bíró. He was frustrated with how much time he had to waste by filling his fountain pens and cleaning dirty cartridges. After the outbreak of World War II, he fled to Argentina and there, together with his brother George, perfected the invention. Since then, in English, the word biro is synonymous with a pen.

The Hungarian language, belonging to the Finno-Ugric family, is considered one of the hardest to learn in the world. It has as many as 35 cases through which words change their sound. The closest language it is related to is Finnish, although interestingly, some words are very similar to Japanese.

Tapping beer glasses with beer is unkind!

When the Hungarian Uprising was suppressed in 1848, 13 Hungarian generals were shot. Austrians knocked beer mugs after each of the executions. After these events, the Hungarians vowed that they would not tap beer mugs for 150 years. Although this time has already passed, this tradition is still strong in the nation.

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Interesting Facts About Spanish

kwi 23

Spanish is the most widely spoken language in the world – by about 500 million people in 135 countries. Let’s discuss some quirks of the Spanish language.

The names of Spaniards are very long. Pablo Picasso’s real name, for example, was Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisma Trinidad Ruiz Picasso. A person who speaks Spanish speaks an average of 7.82 syllables per second. Lollpops Chupa Chups also came from Spain (from the Spanish verb chupar, which means to suck).

Have you ever „thrown the house out the window”? According to Spaniards, it is possible. The phrase „tirar la casa por la ventana„, which loosely translates to „spending much more money than you expected”. The phrase comes from the 18th century, when King Carlos III introduced a lottery to Spain! People who had won a lot of money were getting rid of household goods – furniture, clothes and various items, by throwing them out the window. So when we go shopping and happen to spend a lot of money „we throw the house out the window”.

All cat lovers probably know what to do when a cat suddenly and unexpectedly attacks you. Spaniards say: „here is a hidden cat” („aquí hay gato encerrado”). This idiom came from the 16th century custom of carrying money in purses made of feline leather. Purses were most often hidden under layers of clothes or in an attic.

And one last question: have you ever ironed your ear? This is also one of the more interesting phrases. Spaniards are known for their afternoon siesta. Spaniards will describe this activity by the phrase: „planchar la oreja” („iron the ear”) because by laying your ears on the pillow, you „iron” them a little while you sleep.

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