Culture Studies

The Propagation of Written Language Systems

The spread of written language systems across the world was documented in The New Atlas of World History: Global Events at a Glance, published by Princeton University Press. Recently, a video was created and posted by Business Insider (and also Tech Insider) to visually illustrate the dawn of the era of written language systems, from [...]

By |2016-10-19T13:07:04-07:00February 1st, 2016|Culture Studies|

Vietnam: Staying on a Growth Course

In Vietnam, the Communist Party re-elected 71-year-old General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (pictured above) to head the state for the next five years. The message from Hanoi for the decision revolved around a particular word: "stable." In Vietnamese, it would be ổn định — "stability." In English "stable" has two meanings: one is the noun; [...]

By |2016-10-19T13:07:22-07:00January 28th, 2016|Culture Studies|

South Korea: East Asia's Most Developed Economy

The Republic of Korea (the more formal name for South Korea) is the most-developed East Asian nation, and the 17th most developed nation in the world, according to the latest release of the Human Development Index (HDI) published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The most recent report, issued on 14 December 2015, uses [...]

By |2016-10-19T13:10:11-07:00January 4th, 2016|Culture Studies|

Russia: A Contradiction of Culture

Eastern Europe, predominated by the Slavic language group, shows a great deal of linguistic and cultural diversity. Over 315 million people speak one of over a dozen Slavic languages. These languages are split primarily into three groups: East Slavic, West Slavic, and South Slavic.The East Slavic group is dominated by Russia, the world's largest nation. [...]

By |2016-10-19T13:10:29-07:00December 30th, 2015|Culture Studies|

Winter Solstice Around the World

Today is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Solstice derives from the Latin solistium, sol- ("sun") + stitium ("standing still"). It is the day when the "sun stands still in the sky." This happens twice a year: during the summer, for the longest day of the year, and in winter, for the shortest day of [...]

By |2016-10-19T13:11:15-07:00December 22nd, 2015|Culture Studies|

Cuba: Commercial Flights from U.S. to Resume

Announced just this morning, the United States and Cuba will resume direct commercial flights by allowing "chartered operations and establish scheduled air services." This long-expected move has been in the works over the course of 2015, and follows the re-opening of the American Embassy in Havana this summer.Tourism has been booming over 2015, with some [...]

By |2016-10-19T13:11:42-07:00December 17th, 2015|Culture Studies|

It's Cold & Flu Season!

If, like many of us, you are suffering or have suffered from a cold or flu this year, you might be interested in some particularly useful international terms and idioms regarding these common ailments.ChineseFor instance, in China, the complex and rare character 齉, nàng, is quite appropriate. This 36-stroke character stands for "stoppage of the [...]

By |2016-10-19T13:12:16-07:00December 14th, 2015|Culture Studies|

The Value of German

Angela Merkel was just chosen as Time's Person of the Year for 2015. In their headline, Time described her as the "Chancellor of the Free World." Which means it is timely to look at how German is playing an increasing role in international politics, business, and culture.Many people know speaking a second language is valuable [...]

By |2016-10-19T13:12:25-07:00December 10th, 2015|Culture Studies|

What is the origin of the word raccoon?

If you live in the United States, you are probably familiar with raccoon. In the heart of Silicon Valley for example, they come down at night to forage in the streets and backyards. But do you know the origin of the word? According to Wikipedia:The word "raccoon" was adopted into English from the native Powhatan term, [...]

By |2015-09-09T21:27:48-07:00September 9th, 2015|Culture Studies, Daily Questions|

How was Paris before 1900?

In the past few years, countless tourists have strolled the streets of Paris, taking pictures of monuments and selfies in front of the Seine river. Over hundred years ago though, photos were very rare. This posts gathers a lot of pictures taken between 1842 and 1902 which appeared in this article in Paris Zig Zag magazine.PS: as explained [...]

By |2015-09-08T20:32:22-07:00September 8th, 2015|Culture Studies, Daily Questions|
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