Tag Archives: language

The Same, but Different

Freeway Signs in Arabic

One of the most fascinating things about traveling in a foreign country is the language, the sudden emergence of a completely different script on every common object and structure everywhere around you.

This is particularly (and much more intensely) true when the language in question doesn’t use the Roman alphabet (which is used in English, Spanish, and German, for example), as in the picture above. Especially after 10+ hours on a plane, reeling from jet lag, scanning for familiarity and finding it in something like a freeway sign, then realizing that you have no idea where you are. Or where anything else is.

That’s when you start thinking: I am far more ignorant than I ever could have possibly known. And now it’s time to do something about that.

(Everybody know what language that is? Anybody have a guess at what country this is from? Hint: Shoreline students just made a brief stop there.)

UPDATED: Quiz: Animal Sounds in Different Languages

By Taken by fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au Canon 20D + Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Taken by fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that the way people represent the sounds made by animals varies quite a bit among different languages? See if you can match the animals to the sounds:

1. Japanese: nyan nyan

2. Dutch: knor knor

3. Urdu: meh

4. Spanish: cua cua

5. Swedish: iihaha

6. German: tschiwitt

7. Chinese: wang wang

8. Turkish: uagh

Animals: goat, horse, cat, lion, dog, bird, duck, pig

As promised, here are the correct answers for the quiz: 1. cat  2. pig  3. goat  4. duck  5. horse  6. bird  7. dog  8. lion