Daniel Tammet was born in London. His mother spoke English and he grew up in an English-speaking environment. Yet to his ears the English language was an alien language. Words and sentences were a puzzle the young boy could not figure out. Daniel was an autistic savant. He was a self-confessed misfit in a world of words. He was also a mathematical genius. Daniel felt, thought, and dreamed in a private language of numbers.
‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ is a common Shakespeare reference from Romeo and Juliet. In the play, Juliet tells Romeo that his family name is not important. Their love is what matters. To many soon-to-be mothers and fathers, names do matter. Young parents spend countless hours trying to find the perfect name for their baby.
The average person lies twice in the first ten minutes of meeting someone new, and up to 50 percent of the time when speaking to their mother. A study showed that 99 percent of people lie, and even the few who claimed not to, probably also are lying.
There’s an amazing diversity of greeting customs around the world. In Tibet sticking out your tongue can be a way of welcoming people. In New Zealand, Maori greet each other by touching noses. Ethiopian men touch shoulders, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, male friends touch foreheads. In many Asian countries, people bow to each other when meeting. And in some European countries, as well as Arab countries, hugs or kisses on the cheek are more the norm.
Adapted from image by: Donkey Hotey (CC BY 2.0)
When you listen to someone speaking a language you don’t understand, can you pick up any meaning? Most people can, because a lot of body language is universal, and up to 90% of all communication is nonverbal. Most of spoken language is not universal though, and there are very few words, which are the same across all languages. Modern linguists are beginning to study these universal words now. Image by: qthomasbower License: (CC BY 2.0)
Reuben is a gifted soccer player and fearless goalie. He was playing for an elite youth soccer team in Atlanta, Georgia when the unfortunate accident happened. He was kicked in the head by an opponent and went into shock. He stopped breathing multiple times and came in and out of consciousness on the soccer field. His coach said, “I thought I might lose him…”
Meet Richard Lewis. A world traveler and linguist who speaks 10 different languages, Richard is highly experienced in interacting with people from many different cultures. In 1996, he first published a book called ‘When Cultures Collide’. Now, in that book he presents a model of 3 different predominant cultural types into which people from various countries can be placed.
In Iceland, elves are a part of the national culture. Many of the country’s 230,000 citizens believe they actually exist. This belief is what led a mob of 150 men and women to protest a NATO military base in Keflavik in 1982. They believed the military was disrespecting the elves and their jets were desecrating the holy ground of the hidden people.