A Boring Language

From the Shakesville Blog:

What’s your favorite swear word?


Seriously? That’s it? How impossibly boring.

Now here is we swear in Argentina:

¡La concha de la lora de la hija de la mil camionada de putas que te requeteparió¡

And yeah, the way it should be pronounced does sound like a single word.


Port Wisdom

My sister is too funny. She is traveling in Portugal, so she decided to share with me a piece of wisdom she just learned about port.

“You cannot leave a bottle of port open for longer than two weeks,” she communicated to me gravely.

I laughed so hard I almost choked. Port is the only alcohol I like and imagining me sitting over a bottle without finishing it for two whole weeks is hilarious.

This reminded me of our neighborhood butcher who tried to explain to me how to freeze sausages to prevent them from spoiling.

For Language Learners

This is a trick I taught my students the other day and that I’m sharing with all of my fellow language learners.

When you encounter a new word – a noun or a verb – don’t use a dictionary to look it up. Translating is the worst thing you can do as a language learner who is not specifically preparing to work as a translator. There is absolutely no need to link a word to another word in a different language. Link it to an image instead. This will help you get to a point where you don’t construct English phrases in your head and then translate them into the target language but just speak.

This is why I suggest you use Google Images. Link the word to an image in your mind.

Of course, you have to do this intelligently. For instance, we did this exercise in class where we used Google images to decipher a complicated sentence in Spanish about a nineteenth-century shepherd. In the sentence, the shepherd took his bag and a series of objects that were going to be useful to him while tending to his sheep. One of the objects he used had the same name as a brand of vacuum cleaners.

“What a weird guy this shepherd is,” a student said. “Why on earth would he take a vacuum cleaner to the fields with him?”

A Ukrainian Wedding Tradition: A Riddle

In Ukraine, we have this wedding tradition where somebody steals the bride’s shoe, fills it with champagne, and the groom has to drink the champagne out of a shoe in one gulp.

Can anybody guess what this folk tradition is supposed to symbolize? Like all folk rituals, this one has a very profound meaning.

To give you a hint, I will tell you about another Ukrainian wedding tradition that is much easier to decipher. The guests at a wedding load the groom’s (just the groom’s, not the bride’s) mother onto a cart and drive her to a garbage heap where they throw her into the garbage. This tradition is linked to the first one and is supposed to precede it in time during a wedding celebration.