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.
The very mention of the gang’s name, The Forty Elephants, sent shivers down the spines of shop owners all over London. A mere glimpse of a member sent chaos exploding through a store as cashiers and shoppers ran. But this fearsome gang wasn’t your run-of-the-mill pack of villainous men. The Forty Elephants was a young, all-female gang of thieves in the early 20th century. They were called the Forty Elephants because they came from a part of London named ‘Elephant and Castle.’
The word “time” is the most common noun in the English language, so it’s no wonder that there are so many idioms related to time. Keeping time is an idiom that means measuring time. The history of keeping time dates back to ancient Egypt. They used tall standing beams called obelisks to measure the time it took the sun to move across the sky. Watching the moving shadow of an obelisk was used by cultures all over the world to tell time. Later, people used burning incense or candles, sand in an hourglass, and even water to keep time. In 1685, a man named Christiaan Huygens invented the world’s first pendulum clock that used a swinging weight to measure time.
Coffee and the caffeine inside it is one of the world’s most popular drugs. The scientific opinion about whether it is healthy or not is always changing. Some researchers say that coffee creates inflammation in your body and can cause high blood pressure as well as other problems. Other researchers say coffee can lower your risk for some types of cancer and other diseases.
As the year winds down, people around the world resolve to make changes in their lives. This New Year’s resolution tradition is more than 4,000 years old and dates back to the Babylonians, who resolved to pay old debts and return borrowed things at the end of the year. Today, people all over the world still make New Year’s resolutions. A few years back, Google created a website recording peoples’ New Year’s resolutions from different countries.
The tradition of mixing money with marriage dates back to the beginning of recorded history. In some cultures, the woman’s family pays the man’s family. And in other cultures, the wealth flows in the other direction. While these traditions might seem anachronistic, they are alive and well in many countries around the world.
‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ Is this idiom wrong?
In the African nation of Mauritania, big is beautiful. Some women even visit “fat farms” where they gorge on large quantities of high calorie foods, hoping to return home a bit rounder. Meanwhile, weight-loss camps are gaining popularity in many western nations.
The difference between low and high context communication can perhaps be illustrated in the following example. Let’s say you meet someone for the very first time. You know nothing about each other, so you have to spend many hours talking and asking questions in order get to know each other. That’s pretty low context communication. But let’s say you’ve been married for 30 years. You don’t even need to talk in order to communicate. One look from across the room and you know exactly what your wife or husband is thinking, and nobody else can understand. That’s high context communication.