Oh, I see! moments
Travel Cultures Language

Don’t Say Goodbye
to Saying Hello

by Joyce McGreevy on February 5, 2018

A man and a woman conversing in Ireland shows how saying hello is fundamental across cultures. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

Saying hello is saying yes to life.
© Joyce McGreevy

Meeting & Greeting Across Cultures

In a New Yorker cartoon entitled “How to Clear a Space at a Crowded Beach,” a man says hello to all and sundry. His cheeriness so horrifies New Yorkers that hundreds collectively retreat.

Oh, I see: Some people like saying hello. Some people give hello the heave-ho.

In Galway, Ireland, (pop. 258,000) passersby often say hello to one another. Nothing fancy, mind you. A quick tap of the second syllable and you’re on your way. In Istanbul, Turkey (pop. 15 million) a local who said hello to passersby would prompt a puzzled reaction.

The Hidden Hearts of Bruges

by Joyce McGreevy on November 28, 2017

Bruges by night inspires the writer in Belgium, where being bilingual is just the beginning. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

Bruges by night is safe and serene.
© Joyce McGreevy

Where Being Bilingual
Is Just the Beginning

So, you’ve practiced your French to visit Belgium. Well, not so fast! Here, being bilingual is just the beginning. In this country the size of Maryland, only 40% of the population speaks French.

The Other 60 Percent

Now how’s your Flemish? Because we’re bound for Bruges. Known locally as Brugge, it’s arguably Europe’s most picturesque small city.

ruges is a World Heritage city in Belgium, where being bilingual is just the beginning. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

This World Heritage city welcomes 7.5 million visitors a year.
© Joyce McGreevy

A Game of French Wordplay: Les Bons Mots

by Meredith Mullins on November 20, 2017

A French bakery (boulangerie) with two women selling baguettes, illustrating baguettiquette, a form of French wordplay about the etiquette of eating baguettes. (Image © Meredith Mullins.)

Proper baguettiquette begins with the selection of the right baguette.
© Meredith Mullins

French Language Puns Offer Stories about the Culture

You can often step into French life through its language. Sometimes you can even invent new words to expand the boundaries of French language and culture. All it takes are some bilingual puns and a fun sense of French wordplay.

What word inventions come to your mind?

Observing Baguettiquette

What are the rules and traditions surrounding that oh-so-French symbol, the baguette?

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