After a long hiatus from his world travels, during which he enjoyed the beautiful Seattle summer, Dolphie is visiting Moscow, the capital of Russia. For almost 1,000 years, this city on the banks of the Moskva River (from which its name is derived), has served, on and off, as a political and power center in the area we now call Russia.
Here, Dolphie is visiting The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, also known as St. Basil’s Cathedral. The cathedral was built in the mid-16th century in honor of the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. (Doesn’t that sound just a bit like something from a Harry Potter book? Harry Potter and the Capture of Astrakhan! On a tangent here, many made-up words and names in English fantasy novels are based on other languages. For example, J.R.R. Tolkien drew inspiration for one of his Elven languages from Finnish. Perhaps J.K. Rowling looked to Slavic languages for some of her names.)
(Two things: 1 – AW80D stands for Around the World in 80 Dolphies, wherein we follow the international adventures of Dolphie, mascot of Shoreline Community College; 2 – Credit where credit’s due, so thanks Wikipedia, and if you’d like to see where I got my information, just click the links.)
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.)
Of the more than 6,900 languages spoken in the world, how many do you think you could recognize if you heard them? Actually, how many languages did you think there were in the world? If you’re anything like me, probably far fewer than that.
The fine people over at greatlanguagegame.com have gathered audio snippets of just 80 of the world’s languages and challenge you to identify them. You’re offered a choice of two or three languages, and you need to choose which language is being spoken in the audio sample. See how much you know about our world’s languages!