Oh, I see! moments
Travel Cultures Language

When Worlds Converse

by Joyce McGreevy on April 24, 2017

A handwritten word list in Greece exemplifies how global citizens can help each other become multilingual. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

A handwritten word list in Greek is a global citizen’s treasured gift.
© Joyce McGreevy

Language Lessons for Global Citizens

When you travel, what languages do you speak? After all, every day you navigate a rich linguistic landscape—and that’s before you leave North America.  As a global citizen, you’re more predisposed to becoming multilingual than you may realize.

For example, did you ever

  • attend kindergarten, use a thesaurus, or study algebra?
  • wear corduroy or khaki, moccasins or a parka?
  • observe graffiti or a replica?
  • blitz through work like a ninja, or do yoga on a patio?

Nobody in Bulgaria
Is Calling You a Hobo

by Joyce McGreevy on February 27, 2017

A Bulgarian street prompts the thought that learning a second language will mean learning a second alphabet, Cyrillic. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

Not all who wander Bulgarian streets are lost, just the non-Bulgarians.
© Joyce McGreevy

When Learning a Second Language
Means Learning a Second Alphabet

Your mission? Walk to the store. The one with signs that say “HOBO!” Funny, many stores in Bulgaria display that word. Why? You’re learning a second language, but hobo is nowhere in your phrasebook.

Even more mystifying to an English speaker? Bulgarian maps.

A Bulgarian map helps the author understand that learning a second language will mean learning a second alphabet, Cyrillic. (Image in the public domain.)

Should I turn наляво or надясно? And which is which?

Someone tells you, “Bilingual signs are everywhere.” So off you go, innocent as the day you were born. Sure enough, you find a sign with two versions of a street name.

An Idiom Abroad

by Joyce McGreevy on January 3, 2017

The statue of the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow shows that Scotland's fashions go beyond the wordplay of clothing idioms. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

Trafficking in high fashion, Glasgow style. 
The Duke of Wellington monument at the Gallery of Modern Art.
© Joyce McGreevy

A Wordplay Stitch in Time

Sew, a funny thing happened on the way to a textile exhibition. One morning in Glasgow, I stopped at a café to write. The assignment: draft a column  about the wordplay of clothing idioms.

I’m no smarty pants, but I hoped to leave readers in stitches so I put on my thinking cap, booted up my laptop, and buckled down to work.  As cellphone users aired their dirty linen in public, I felt hampered and wished they would put a sock in it.

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