vendredi 25 mai 2012

Good bee, see you loter!

" One time when I was Spain I went to a kiosk to buy stamps and an envelope (...)
I knew the word for stamp was 'sello' and that an envelope was a 'sobre', so I thought nothing could go wrong. However, the shopkeeper gave me a desperate look after I have placed my order and started to look for a cigarette brand behind him, which he almost knew didn't exist. Later, when everything was solved, I wondered what the conversation must have sounded like if it would have been in my native language.

I suppose it would have gone as followed:

'Good afternuffle' (the shopkeeper already got a skittish look on his face)
'Two stampers of bla peezzetas and an enveloke, please'.
'Which brand did you say exactly?' (...)
'No, no, I don't want cigarittties. I would have to like stoomps and an enveclock. Please.'
Fortunately another customer just walked in and says he would like to buy stamps himself. I start nodding excitedly at the stamps. The shopkeeper understands me and a moment later I finally have my stampies and my enveloke. With a well-meant 'Good bee!' I left the store."

Freely translated from Remco Campert -'Tot Zoens'.

This phrase is just one of the many language incidents that happen while being abroad. You think you know the language, until you actually have to use it. It might seem more difficult than it looked on paper, and you were so sure you pronounced it correctly...

Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to take a language course in Spanish, Italian or French, to make sure you are able to talk with the locals, to know what jokes they are making during dinner, or to just buy some stamps to send a postcard back home. Languages enrich your life, and you will benefit from them for a life time. They come in handy, even at moments you didn't expect them to.

So think about it, maybe you want to go to Argentina, or to China and you could use some extra lessons in the language they use over there.

Just have a look at our website and see if there is anything that you'd like, we are happy to help you.

mardi 8 mai 2012

The living dead

"Jippus in horto ambulabat. Omnium taedebat. Ecce autem! foramen in saepe factum conspexit, non ita magnum. Mirabatur Jippus quid rerum trans saepem appareret. Regia domus? Murus? An heros? Humi subsidens per foramen spectavit. Quidnam conspexit? Nasum pusillum, osculum, ocellos duos caesios. Ecce puellam, non maiorem Jippo. ‘Quid est tibi nomen?’ rogavit Jippus. ‘Jannica sum,’ puella dixit."

*Translation: Jip was walking in the garden. He was tired of everything. But look, what did he see there? A small whole in the hedge. What can be at the other side of the hedge? Jip thought. A palace? A fence? A hero? He sat on the ground and looked through the whole. What did he see? A small nose. A small mouth. And two grey eyes. There was a girl, not taller than Jip. "What is your name?"  asked Jip. "Janneke", said the girl.

This is a phrase in Latin, one of the 'dead' languages we know in the world. Jippus et Jannica is a parody on the Dutch book: 'Jip en Janneke', which has been a popular book by children for many years. The Dutch book is written by Annie M.G. Schmidt, the Latin version is a translation.

Is Latin a dead language?

Latin is not spoken any more, but many of us still learn this language in High School. Many languages in Europe are a derivative of Latin, and it is still widely used in biomedics and the creation of new words. Even though English derives from a Germanic Language, around sixty per cent of the language comes from Latin. The roman languages like Italian, Spanish and French derive directly from Latin, and therefore they are easier to learn when studying Latin first. Latin is intensively grammatical, so looking at grammar in your native language is therefore highly recommended. The largest institution that is still writing and even speaking in Latin is the catholic church. You often still see motto's in Latin, and Wikipedia even has 70,000 articles written on the Latin page

Cicero, Plato, Shakespeare and many other 'fathers' of the past have written their books and plays in Latin. Even though they are dead, we are still learning the wise ideas and words they wrote. More and more students are taking the Latin exam, and seem interested in this language. They learn about the history of Rome and the understanding of Western civilization, sociology, culture and philosophy. Learning Latin helps them also to expand their vocabulary and has a positive result on their test results in general.

Having this all said: what do you think? Is Latin dead or alive?

Source: Athenaeum-Polak & v Gennep