Posts Tagged ‘Languages’

IDnyc: The Pulse of New York City


Having traversed nearly 50 countries and explored countless metropolises along the way, I never feel more alive than I do while I’m experiencing New York City’s very own Union Square. While Central Park, Times Square and the Statue of Liberty attract most of the tourist interest in this world-class city, Union Square is where one can truly feel its pulse.

Spend an hour sitting on the rounded steps facing 14th Street on any summer evening, and you’ll be consumed in the creativity, diversity, energy and sheer talent on display. The four kids breakdancing in front of you, showcasing their incredible strength and body control, will be performing on Broadway in a few weeks’ time. On your left, an aging man from Brooklyn just beat an immigrant from Russia in chess, while his friend from Botswana waits patiently for his crack at the champ. The paintings for sale on your right look like they were stolen from a gallery Uptown, yet the artist who created them continues to churn out masterpieces in front of your eyes, explaining his inspiration in the process. And that language you hear being spoken behind you, well, that surely wasn’t taught in any of the schools you attended.

The most international city on the planet, New York is a place people all around the world dream about. Union Square is the place where they come together, creating the trends and styles of tomorrow that help New York City sustain its place among the world’s greatest cities.





Imagine a World Where Everyone is Trilingual!


It is no secret that there are many similarities among Scandinavian languages—from the unique characters to the sounds, they are among the more distinctive languages in the world. Danish and Norwegian are the most closely related, although it is common for speakers of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish to be able to understand each other.

Finnish is a different story, as it traces its roots to Eastern Europe as opposed to Scandinavia, and Icelandic and Faroese are outliers as well. But never mind the details—similarities exist, especially among the Big Three.

However, it is a testament to the language skills of Scandinavians that despite their understanding of their neighbor’s tongues, they often choose to converse among each other in English. Much like British English, American English and maybe the American “southern accent” sound much different, often to the point of difficulty to understand, the different Scandinavian languages have different ways of pronouncing sounds. Danes say that Norwegians “sing” their words, while Norwegians say that Danes talk “as if they were chewing a potato at the same time.” As a result, despite their ability to understand, it is often easier for them to just shift into English.

What a luxury it must be—not only to be able to speak our own language and that of our neighbors, but English as well. So much for being proud to be “just” bilingual!