World Summit Award and what it actually means

WSA winner 2015So we’ve been bragging about winning a WSA award lately quite a lot and with the main congress just passed, we’re ready to give you more information on what it is and why it is significant.

WSA Singapore AwardTo begin with, WSA is the United Nations based World Summit Award Social Innovation Congress that honours digital innovations creating sustainable social change and impact world-wide. Every year, WSA chooses 40 best e-solutions in 8 categories from all 193 member states. The 3 day congress in Singapore has wrapped up the successful edition of world’s top digital content in 2015. During the 3 days Congress in Singapore, the selected best of digital start-ups, young entrepreneurs and distinguished experts from around the globe offered outstanding examples and insights of how digital technologies drive the United Nations agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG’s).

What it means for us to be amongst the top 5 best e-learning and science solutions in the UN?

First of all, this is by far the biggest recognition that Bliu Bliu has had to date and the first global award that we won! It means that our language learning methodology is making sustainable impact locally and globally and is getting worldwide recognition.

It also acknowledges the innovative approach that we’re taking to language learning that is otherwise a very traditional process defined by billions and only questions by few.

For us personally, it is the greatest encouragement to continue adding more languages, better content and easier ways to consume content at individual level.  


Additionally, we are super proud to be part of WSA community of social entrepreneurs who are making sustainable impact across the globe. Some of the other winners include:

  • Coderdojo that is an open source, volunteer led, global movement offering free programming clubs for young people.
  • MIROCULUS low-cost, open source device that can easily and affordably check for cancer using a single blood sample.
  • Social Coin help enterprises, smart cities, and universities to achieve their Corporate Social Responsibility goals by engaging communities in acts of altruism and community-building.
  • PARE 360 an empowering violence prevention tool that allows children to combat bullying through anonymous reporting and involvement in schools.
  • In the absence of a formal Emergency Medical System in developing countries, the majority of accident victims with potentially survivable injuries die before they reach a hospital. Criticalink uses an innovative dispatch system and location-based mobile technology to save these lives by providing roadside accident victims with emergency medical care through a network of volunteer First Responders.

 

As you can see, WSA is much more than award. It is a community of people who don’t wait for someone to solve their or their neighbours’ problems and instead takes action to solve them with digital technologies.

WSA communityOver the 3 days event in Singapore we took part in workshops, meetings, discussions and lots of social activities with greatest entrepreneurs of today. We came back full of ideas, inspirations, new connections and friends who will hopefully contribute to Bliu Bliu’s goal to bring more languages to more people across the globe!

You can check out the pictures from the event on our Facebook.

And don’t forget to let us know if you’d like to find out more about WSA, the congress or Bliu Bliu! :-)

Milda & Odeta Bliu Bliu Team

Milda & Odeta, Bliu Bliu

Let’s look at what Bliubliuers are up to this summer

Summer is at it’s full swing and we have looked at what BliuBliuers from across the globe are doing this summer. Here is some for your weekend planning and don’t forget to send us your photos, stories and advises! We want to hear what you’re up to and we want to share your advises with the whole Bliu Bliu community! Send your stories to indre@bliubliu.com

Here we go….

Let's look what bliubliuers is up to this summer“It’s my third time in Lithuania and I love it! A good food, old architecture, hot weather, BBQ parties I just love it! Also, my local friends is introducing me to more and more people who are really friendly, fun and I believe will stay my friends after I leave :) Lithuania is worth visiting!”

-Mhara, UK

 

 

 

 

Let's look what bliubliuers is up to this summer“After a long walks power nap is always a good idea!”

-Agne, Lithuania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What can I say, don’t drive during the storm and beware of falling trees”

-Thomas, Mexico

Let's look what bliubliuers is up to this summer

Children raised by bilingual couples are more intelligent and have better memory

Bilingual children are more intelligent and have better memory

Merely a couple decades ago cross-culturalism was feared for its (purportedly) negative effects for children. It was said that growing up in a multilingual society is confusing for a child who doesn’t have proper language and cognitive skills. That such children will never learn any language properly and will grow up somehow mentally disadvantaged. Nonsense! The media was overwhelmed with multiple scientific evidences that state quite the opposite.

Multicultural environment should is advised for those who want their children to grow up with a well-rounded mental training, because bilingualism does train the brain!

Bilingual settings and executive functions

Sara, a child whose parents are an Irish and an Argentinian, is raised in a society that speaks only Spanish, while her parents speak both Spanish and English at home. She was also taught a little bit of Irish Gaelic. Once, Sara participated in a test of cognitive performance and was evaluated to have a truly decent executive functions, such as attention focus, distraction resistance, decision-making, responsiveness to feedback, task switching and mental flexibility in general. Better than those who know only one language. “All this due to prolonged exposure to multilingual environment”, it was said.

Children raised by bilingual couples are more intelligent and have better memorySince she is switching from English to Spanish and back all the time, Sara is more perceptive to the situation she is in. Language switching requires keeping track of changes around you in the same way that drivers monitor their surroundings while on the road. Similarly, choosing the right word while blocking the same one from another language trains us to suppress irrelevant information and forces the brain to solve a problem. So it’s an exercise to the brain much like a weight to a muscle!

These mental skills are essential for children in school and in the world generally. Flexible mind makes sense from the new information easier. It can make connections and understand the big picture – the skills that are taught and nurtured in school.

The working memory of bilinguals

One of executive functions is working memory. It is closely related to attention control and focus, something that parents and teachers struggle to bring out in their offspring or pupils. Not surprisingly, knowing two languages improves working memory too!

To give an example of scientific evidence, a study at a few universities from Spain and Canada in 2013 revealed substantial information on this topic. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology concluded that bilingual children have better working memory, which holds, processes and updates transitory information. It affects all the tasks that requires keeping things in mind for a short time, from mental calculation to reading and understanding a text from a beginning to an end.

Children raised by bilingual couples are more intelligent and have better memoryEven though working memory forms in the first years of human’s life, it can be trained and improved. The same goes with many other executive functions. The mind is really flexible, so children who are exposed to a few languages since the early youth experience the benefits of such flexibility most efficiently! Differences between monolingual and bilingual children have been confirmed by studies that tested participants as young as 6-year-olds. And the differences have been significant even at such an age.

A peek into bilingual brain

There are physical differences between monolingual and bilingual brain as well. Simultaneous usage of multiple languages restructures the brain by increasing the process of myelination. It means the production of myelin, a substance among the nerve cells that is responsible for faster impulse propagation in the brain. In short, this means a faster processing of information and fewer losses of such activity.Children raised by bilingual couples are more intelligent and have better memory

 

So even very young children who hear more than one language in their environment will not only grow up with betterexecutive functions and memory, but will also sense and comprehend various information faster than those who can only speak one language.

If you want to know more about the effects multilingualism has on the brain, we have more on this topic.

Cross-cultural environment is widespread. A married couple of a Spaniard and a Chinese doesn’t surprise anyone anymore. And it shouldn’t! Freedom to experience any and all cultures and languages not only allows us to understand others, but makes our minds sharper. If you thought that cross-cultural family is too difficult to be a part of, you were only partially right. While raising a bilingual child might not be easy, the effort is not meaningless. The interplay of cultures and languages in society keeps it brilliant and mentally healthy!

Don’t get stuck in boring language classes. Learn a language by experiencing it.

Taking classes is a usual thing to do if you want to learn something. However, it is not necessarily the best option if you want to learn a language. You get tons of assignments, never ending new word lists and so on. Also grammar and rules aren’t always easy or fun! More likely- it’s stressful and unnatural. So are you familiar with a situation, where you put all the time and effort and still don’t remember any of new words? Or you try hard to learn grammar over and over again, but still didn’t understand it or it’s not easy to apply it in real life? Or even if you you finally figured out how to use grammar, however your sentences seems stiff, boring and unnatural?

The main point is- there are alternative ways to study and these are more promising. Do not sit in boring classes, instead – experience them. Make it fun- make it count.

There is an important distinction between language learning and acquisition. According to some studies, the later happens through active experience, also while you keep in mind your motives and conceptualization of how the language can be used in the future. In other words- you have to actively indulge in the process and also to keep being motivated. However, your goal is not the learning process itself, your goal is the results! So keeping that in mind, we prepared an explanation on how to get these results in the best way possible to learn languages.

Learn like children.

Don't stuck in boring language classes. Learn a language by experiencing it.

Firstly, think about children. The age at which they start to use grammar and logically use their language is approximate five. However, it was never the case, that they had to listen to their mom explaining all the perks of grammar, pronunciation or irregular words conjugation etc.. Children would never sit still through. But all of us learned somehow and are fluent. How did that happen? In order to acquire the language the learner needs sources of natural communication, interesting and challenging environment. And language classes lack natural communication part and are usually boring. So what you need is to find the environment where you can use the language, where you can write and read what truly interests you and more importantly- where you can move at your own pace. It has to be self-initiative and interesting. Also, teachers in classes are usually seen as saviours at all kinds of situations. However, children don’t have their *savior* in terms of language learning. they learn by listening, speaking, absorbing all the surrounding information and experiencing it. They learn naturally and that’s the best way there is so far. If you want to get the results as fast as children- learn as children do.

Why you should not depend on a teacher while learning a language?

Think of it this way: even the best singer’s performances will be considered poor, if his songs are boring. Also fairly average singer with proper songs could be considered good and become successful. Makes sense? Same is with language classes. All the variables, like content, grammar and so on are significant, but the teacher- as a head of the class- is essential. If you choose a class and the teacher is using bad material, is not giving attention to everybody or as it was stated before- helps you too much- it’s not worth it. Your time might be wasted by trying to memorize long wordlists that are useless or by writing sentences you would never use in real situations just to learn the grammar. You might waste your time, money and get minimum results. The best way to acquire language is by participating in natural situations using it. You can never speak like a native if you learn from artificial situations in class.

If you want to sound like a native- speak with them!

Don't stuck in boring language classes. Learn a language by experiencing it.When you reach the level of basic fluency (knowing words that everybody uses frequently) the best way to deepen it, is by speaking with natives. It could be very stressful for you. “What if I don’t understand what they are saying?”- you ask. Well, that’s the main point. They speak quickly, use slang, might mumble or their voice pitch can be unusually low or high and you won’t understand at first, but the longer you listen- the easier it’ll get and you yourself will be able to use these slang words. No classes can prepare you for that. Even if you are best in class, if you diligently studied all these words there will be a lot of unknown ones in the real world- and that’s where we live haha.

Micro and macro language learning environment.

Language learning environment could be divided into two main levels: macro and micro. Micro level environment includes everything what you have coutious impact with (mainly while speaking and listening): your friends, family, Don't stuck in boring language classes. Learn a language by experiencing it.loved ones etc. Micro level also involves books we read and media we consume. All of the text above, were micro level studying aspects. However, macro environment is equally important. Studies show, that information, which comes with your surroundings, such as speaking passerby, commercial on the bus and random street signs is unconsciously adopted into your long-term memory and that information can be used anytime. The secret in fluency is combining both levels. However, if you don’t have a possibility to live in France for a year, but you really want to learn french fluently, there is another way to do it. And that is simply living the language. If you are able to create various situations, where you can actively use it- it will work out well. You have to live the language as natives do. All these shopping lists should be in french, thinking about your morning commute- french again, deciding what movie to watch- yes, in french. And that movie should be in french and with french subtitles too. You got the idea.

Learning a language in order to become fluent is 24/7 work. However it is not that difficult if you start learning correctly from the start. Don’t waste any time- do not attend classes, but better adopt this science proven methodology- you will be happy about it and see the results faster than you think. We hope this information helped you if you were struggling with a decision in between taking classes or learning in alternative ways.

These aspects reflects what language learning platform Bliu Bliu is built on. It’s our core values at Bliu Bliu.

Visit our website and try for yourself. Fast results, easy and fun learning process. 

7 Wonders of Italy

The world is full of beautiful places that nobody ever talks about and Italy is one of the countries where such hidden gems are plentiful! We’ve been in many places all around the world so far, but Italy keeps surprising with it’ wonders every time we return to it.

Rome, Milan, Florence and a few other cities are the most popular travel destinations in Italy, but the country is so much more than that. It has a vibrant intercultural heritage, people of various identities live there today. A rich history spanning over two thousand years and beyond and, of course, a stunning nature both aboveground and underground which is as diverse in the different regions of the country as the people residing there.

We have only written about the German speaking part of Italy before, so it’s high time to tell some more about this amazing country and its hidden curiosities for adventurous tourists to see. 7 wonders of Italy, if you like. Here we go.

RELAIS CASTELLO DI PETROIA

7 Wonders of Italy

A little more than 20 kilometres to the North-east of the city of Perugia is a wondrous 15th century castle owned and exchanged by many landlords since the middle ages. It was turned into a modern luxurious hotel only recently. Yes. A modern hotel. In a medieval castle. The best part about it is the area it is in. The castle is situated on a tall hill surrounded by green countryside, hills, forests and mountains in the background. A truly breathtaking place to take a rest from all of the remaining world. You will truly feel as if you were in another dimension.

SUNKEN CITY OF BAIA

In the gulf of Naples lies a classical Roman city of Baia that has sunken underwater 7 Wonders of Italydue to volcanic activity which subsided the coast. What was an ancient equivalent of Las Vegas where powerful Roman figures used to spend their leisure time, today is an underwater archaeological museum. It is full of classical sculptures and ruins of luxurious villas. Tourists can choose among various ways to experience this majestic heritage. The easiest way is to board a glass-bottom boat, while those who want to explore more closely can snorkel or scuba dive and touch the ancient stone with their own hands.

PARCO DEI MOSTRI

7 Wonders of ItalyThe park of monsters of Bomarzo (a town midway between Rome and Perugia) is a rather simple but unique park. It is full of statues, but these statues are not of Gods or classical heroes of Roman culture. Instead, the park is infested with monsters. Like many things in Italy, it is an old site, commissioned in the middle of 16th century to express the grief of war. War elephant, monstrous fish, two giants tearing each other apart and colossal expressions of horror and madness are among the sights you will encounter. If you’re interested in extravagant pieces of art, this is a place to go to. Salvador Dalí, who visited the park himself and loved it very much, would approve.

TERME DI SATURNIA7 Wonders of Italy

Merely a few kilometres away from the village of Saturnia are a group of natural geothermal springs that are open for tourists to enjoy. The water there maintains temperature which almost equals that of human body (up to 37 celsius or 100 fahrenheit). The natural outdoor spa is also full of small waterfalls and is surrounded by a relaxing atmosphere. Yet again, this wonder is very old. It has consistently flown for over 3,000 years. And yes, this means that the same place has been used by Roman nobles too. So while you’re having a great time there, you’re also becoming a part of history yourself!

CIVITA DI BAGNOREGIO7 Wonders of Italy

Another jewel in mid-Italy (literally called “Jewel on the hill”) is an ancient town of Civita di Bagnoregio. It was build on a tall plateau by etruscans 2,500 years ago, the indigenous people of Apennine Peninsula who were later assimilated into what became Roman society. The plateau is overlooking Tiber river valley and the town within these walls is admired for its old architecture full of arches and exciting pathways. The town has about 100 inhabitants in the summer and that is the only time when tourists are freely allowed inside. It has hotels, restaurants and anything you might expect from a town. So don’t sleep and visit the jewel before autumn starts!

THE GIANT BUNNY OF ARTESINA7 Wonders of Italy

One of the hills in Artesina, a village of northwestern Italy, is where a giant pink bunny lies for more than 10 years now. And it doesn’t seem to be going anytime soon, because its entrails are gaping from its side. It was finished in 2005 by an art group of four people known as Gelitin from Vienna. 60 metres long and 20 metres high this giant pink bunny by the name of Hase (meaning, simply, “hare”) surpasses many species of dinosaurs in size, but is far from intimidating. Hikers eagerly climb all over its body and sit on its chest. Nobody seems to be disturbed by the giant’s presence, so it will stay there until it naturally dissolves. According to the bunny’s parents from Vienna, that might happen around 2025 – something to keep in mind if you haven’t seen the world’s largest bunny yet.

CONSONNO

7 Wonders of Italy

Consonno is a “city of toys” that was built in 60s, but never entirely finished. It was an idea of one man who bought an entire village in order to turn it to a tourist destination. It might have worked out, because the village was close to Milan, so a decent number of tourists would have been attracted. However, the construction was never ended because the main road towards Consonno was washed away, so people stopped coming. Nowadays the city of toys stands as a failed and abandoned version of Las Vegas, full of graffiti and deteriorating buildings in the style of medieval castles, islamic minarets, various other influences and remainders from the old village before construction started. Discover restaurants, galleries, hotels, ballrooms and other facilities. You won’t find such as these in Milan!

These are just a few gems from the wonderful land of Italy. There are literally dozens and dozens more curious and unknown places, objects and sites to discover and they are no less intriguing than the ones we chose to write about. Should you find yourself in Italy, don’t underestimate smaller cities and remote regions of the country. Who knows what you will find simply by travelling along the road? More random giant bunnies? Underground caves? Ancient foundations of long forgotten towns overgrown with trees and creepers? Everything seems possible in Italy.

Share your summer moments with us

Share your summer moments with usIt’s summer!! Okey, the weather in Lithuania right now is not the best, however IT’S SUMMER!!! And we want to invite you to share your summer moments with us!

We’re very curious to find out how the summer is going for you, if you had any big or small trips, interesting projects, precious moments, visited any interesting places – in other words WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO THIS SUMMER SO FAR?

Send us your pictures at indre@bliubliu.com with short stories, any tips that you have for summer activities, for places to go to, things to see or do and all summer we will be sharing your stories on our blog, Facebook and Instagram with a #bliubliuersummer.

So let us begin:

Milda, Community Manager at Bliu Bliu

IMG_1094IMG_2721

 

 

 

 

 

Milda LOVES camping and she wants to share the ingredients of successful camping with you:

  • Friends
  • Friends
  • More good friends and good mood
  • And all the remaining details like tens, sleeping bags, air beds (if you’re looking for comfort, in that case don’t forget the air pump), something to make fire with, something to cook in, plenty of food and drink, fresh water!, a knife!, summer clothes for daytime and warm clothes for nighttime, anti mosquito spray!!, candles and torches, guitar (if anyone knows who to play it, otherwise, better leave it at home)
  • Many games like football or volleyball ball, playing cards, frisbee, rackets and similar. 

And the best tip – get there early and get the best spot for your tent!

Enjoy camping this summer!

Indre, Social Media Manager at Bliu Bliu

13467690_1321985111148952_554230487_o13275191_1321985154482281_571535700_o

Cosmic Milky Way in Anyksciai

 

 

 

Indre has been very busy exploring interesting places in Anyksciai in Lithuania. If you are in Lithuania, you should definitely go to Anyksciai and in addition to Tree Top Walking Path and Puntuko Akmuo (which is the biggest stone in Lithuania) also explore Labyrinths’ Park and “Cosmic” Milky Way exhibition.

Odeta, Head of Marketing at Bliu Bliu

You can lay bricks too

IBuilding home doesn't have to be expensiven addition to the trip to Rhodes, which I described in previous post and the Pita Gyros that you should definitely try if you are around Greece or Greek food, I am also reconstructing a house this summer.

My best advise is that you don’t really need people who are demolishing walls or laying bricks! It’s easy to do it all by yourself! :-) The most important thing is to watch a lot of Youtube videos on how to do these things and Voilà! You will save thousands of € or $ or £ and a new home won’t cost you a fortune.

So what have you been up to this summer? Send us your stories to indre@bliubliu.com and we will share them with the whole community to have fun, enjoy and celebrate together! #bliubliuersummer!

How to get free things on holidays

How to get free things on holidays


Do you travel or go on holiday abroad? Do you bother to learn at least couple words in a local language?

Well, you should! And I will tell you why.Rhodes little cities

Recently I was part of a group of 14 people to go to Rhodes, a pretty Greek island with cute beaches, good food and good wind for kitesurfing which was the purpose of our trip.

On the first day of our trip, we went for groceries where I got some tomatoes and a map of Rhodes as gifts from a shop keeper. My friends asked me how I managed that and to be honest, I really wasn’t sure.

 

Olive oil factory, Rhodes

 

The next evening, we went to another grocery store where a shopkeeper offered a lift back to our hotel and couple days later bought me and my boyfriend some drinks in a place where we used to get dinner.

 

Rhodes amazing pita gyrosI also started getting more meat on my Pita Giros (see further note on what it is, if you’re not familiar with Pita Giros) and more free stuff at random grocery stores.

All of my friends were super jealous and I was thinking: “Okey, this is fantastic! Greek people are just amazing and I will never want to leave this place!”

But this was not it.

IMG_20160609_175549

A Russian kiting instructor, who lives in Rhodes for 3 years now, has given me extensive advices on technique, found me a kite harness to try when my one wasn’t performing and lifted my kite whenever it fell close to the shore. Just like he did to people who were paying for his services.


He was the one who made me realise why this was all happening. He literally said: “Don’t get me wrong, I love speaking Russian and there’s not so many people who I can speak to here”.

It all started to make sense.

In 2006 I spent a summer in Greece working in a nightclub as a bartender. During the long days on the beach before work I started learning Greek and because I am fascinated with Greek language some of it has stayed with me to date!

So at the shops and at the dinner place I was speaking to people in basic Greek. And I mean basic – I was greeting, saying “efcharistó” meaning “thank you” quite a lot and asking what people’s names where in Greek.

As for Russian, I learned Russian as a child from watching cartoons so although I can’t write and can barely read, speaking is not a problem for me.

So to sum up, here’s what speaking maybe 20 words in Greek and some Russian gave me:

  • 3 tomatoes
  • Map of Rhodes
  • A bar of olive oil soap
  • 4 oranges
  • Kitesurfing advise
  • Kitesurfing assistance
  • A free rent of kite harness for a day
  • A lift home
  • A local drink
  • Extra meat on my Giros
  • Directions on where to find amazing off track beaches

Overall, that’s 1000 times more than I expected, because I didn’t expect anything!

At this point I started thinking about my trips to Spain and France some time ago. And guess what? I too got things for free in those countries and more importantly, very good advices on where to go, where to eat, what to see and where to get the best local experience!

Just for the record, Bliu Bliu tells me that I know 137 words in Spanish and 251 word in French.

Is that a lot? I don’t think so.

Is it worth it? Hell yeah!!

Rhodes, GreeceSo before you go on holiday this summer, why not learn a 100 words in a local language and enjoy a much better experience with so many perks that would not necessarily be available without the language factor.

Because knowing at least couple words can make wonders and enhance your holiday experience immensely!

Enjoy your travel or holiday this summer!

 

P.S. Pita Gyros is almost a kebab, but 100 times better! It’s pork in pita with some tzatziki,onions, tomato and french fries and it is absolutely delicious!

Around The World With German

Due to Germany’s imperialistic past, its language is one of the most popular in the world. It is, in fact, spoken all around the globe by diverse communities of native people and immigrants. So even if you never come to Germany, knowing the language can open many doors, save you time and help bypass various problems while travelling abroad. If you speak German, you can literally wander all around the world and be understood in the most unexpected places.

Around the world with German

While German is an official language in some countries of middle Europe (these are Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Liechtenstein), it is spoken in many other European countries as a minority language. German-speaking communities can also be found outside Europe. Here are some of such unknown havens for you to visit and find a little bit of Germany in.

SANTA CATARINA

Brazil has one and a half million German speakers and most of them live in the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Espírito Santo and Santa Catarina. There is a number of cities and villages in Santa Catarina where German is the main language of communication.

Pomerode, considered the most German city in Brazil, is a good example. Its German influence can not only be felt in language, but also in architecture, cuisine and other cultural dimensions of the local society. Pomerode receives many tourists every year, so there are always things to do here.oktoberfest

You can stop by the zoo or go on a wildlife tour, visit a theatre or numerous museums if you’re interested in the town’s history and culture. Traditional music, dances and all kinds of fun practiced by the locals themselves can be encountered at any time of the year. As a side note, if you venture outside the town to the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, you can see right whales in summer or migrating penguins in winter. Away from the coast you will find spectacular mountain ranges.

Blumenau is another city, similar to Pomerode, but much bigger and famous for Oktoberfest of Blumenau which attracts over a million tourists every year. That makes it the biggest one of them all, except the original festivity in Munich. But you don’t have to visit during October to experience German folk traditions. The locals value their custom with a fervour rarely seen in Germany itself. Besides, the German dialect they speak (in all the states mentioned above) is actually similar to what you would have heard in 19th century Germany. So it’s definitely worth the visit.

THE DAKOTAS

Around the world with German

German is the 2nd language of North Dakota and is spoken almost just as widely in its southern counterpart. A small and cosy town of Wishek, ND, founded by Germans from Russia in the beginning of the 20th century, is famous for its annual Sauerkraut Day that is held the second Wednesday of every October. Last year was the 90th anniversary of this unique tradition. Great music and more than a hundred gallons of delicious sauerkraut is what draws a whole lot of people to town every year. Another thing that the town is famous for is German Sausage at Stan’s Supervalu, where they

Around two percent of Namibian population are of German descent, and almost fifty thousand people speak the language. The majority of speakers live in the capital Windhoek and in smaller cities of Swakopmund, Lüderitz and Otjiwarongo. The latter city (its name means beautiful place in Otjiherero!) is a place you should definitely visit because over one third of its population speaks German. Not only that, the city is home to a number of exotic attractions for tourists, such as Crocodile farm where you can see these formidable creatures up close or even take a selfie with them! Cheetah conservation farms are situated in the city’s vicinity as well. Otjiwarongo Summer festival and the German Carnival are something everyone should experience.

Around the world with GermanTalking about German carnivals, the best one of its kind is annually held in Windhoek, better known by its abbreviation – WIKA. One of its main goals, besides having great fun, is to uphold true German traditions. Over two weeks of live music and dance, parades, performances, good food, German beer and a nice blend of German and African culture is what you will find there, and much more. If you are not fortunate enough to be in Namibia during the festivals, Windhoek has more than enough museums, parks, reserves, activities (such as horse riding) and places to meet people of German ancestry and have a chat in their own language.

SOUTH TYROL

Why not stop in Europe for a while? That’s where German is the most popular of course, but not only in Germany or countries where German is an official language. Italy, for example, is not among them, but its northernmost region of South Tyrol fits right into our list (yep, it’s in the north, but it’s called South Tyrol, because other Tyrols are not in Italy). Despite the fact that South Tyrol is a part of Italy, German is the dominant language of the region.

Around the world with German

There are a number of towns to be visited in South Tyrol. Its capital, Bolzano, has a medieval city centre with many churches, a cathedral and famous museums with Ötzi the Iceman in one of them (namely, South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology). If you’re into nature, you can go skiing in the mountains, see their tops burning with ablaze beacons during summer, take a hike in Terlano Wine Trail (and learn about wine along the way), visit numerous geological parks, the Dolomites (included in UNESCO world heritage), the astonishing lake of Caldaro and so much more.

As for culture, pretty much every village in the region has a music band in traditional costume and you can hear them on various occasions. The region is known for its Christmas and Easter traditions which are actively followed today. For example, Klöckeln is a Christmas advent tradition, where masked people move from house to house singing songs, ringing bells and asking for gifts, representing a very old and symbolic custom of the region. If you get the chance, see it for yourself or even participate! It’s a unique region to explore in its entirety and you don’t need any other language except German to get by!
The world is full of amazing German-speaking regions, cities and villages. Every each of them is different, every each of them was born out of a mixture of different cultures, waiting for you to explore. So there is one more benefit of learning German. One that barely anyone thinks of. You can travel to a whole lot of places all around the world, Germany being the least original of them!

Languages shape multiple personalities

Languages shape our personalities

Language was nothing more than a tool used for speaking until the beginning of the 20th century. After that, we slowly became aware that it is also a discrete system which shapes the social surroundings and experience of every speaker. We became aware that without language our experience would be dramatically reduced. We could have no social interactions. It means no friends, no job, no education, no anything! Using a language is so deeply rooted within us that we rarely reflect on it even today. 

LANGUAGE SHAPES OUR THOUGHTS

Not only do we use language, but it also makes an impact on us. Without us ever knowing it.

Each language has it’s own unique structure making it into a unique system. We use languages to interpret the world, so it is not surprising that by speaking two languages we interpret the world through two distinct systems. Multi-linguists usually notice this through comparing different tongues. This way we can see how differently different languages guide our thoughts regarding similar matters. Same could be said about expressions, phrases and grammatical structures.

EVERYTHING IS EITHER A MAN OR A WOMAN

Nouns have genders

In many languages nouns have genders

Take gender for example. While a German or a French see nouns as males, females or neutrals, for an English speaker it is quite difficult to understand that nouns have genders. Therefore for an English speaker the world changes when he/she has to look at a table as a male or a bed as a female. To add to that, one study found that the nouns used to describe the same word in different languages changed depending on whether the noun was masculine or feminine. German and Spanish speakers were asked to describe objects having opposite genders in those two languages. The descriptions they gave differed in a way predicted by grammatical gender. For example, when asked to describe a “key” — a word that is masculine in German and feminine in Spanish — the German speakers were more likely to use words like “hard,” “heavy,” “jagged,” “metal,” “serrated,” and “useful,” whereas Spanish speakers were more likely to say “golden,” “intricate,” “little,” “lovely,” “shiny,” and “tiny”.

CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE AND YOU’LL CHANGE YOUR PERSONALITY

We know now that language influences our cognitive process. But can we also say that for every language a person speaks, one has an additional personality? That bilinguals have two personalities and multilinguals even more? Surely this doesn’t mean they are all schizophrenics. But there are some aspects of our behaviour that are influenced by language as much as our thoughts.

Numerous social researches have been conducted in effort to understand how speaking several languages influence us. The results are diverse and many of them are rather subjective, but most often they agree with the notion that our thoughts and behaviour are indeed shaped by the tongue we use. Bilinguals often give differing answers when they use different languages to the same questions. Particular aspects are stressed depending on what the language system allows to express more easily and straightforward. For example, English forces us to focus on the action, while German makes us pay more attention to the beginning and the end, instead of the whole act as a continuous process. It doesn’t mean that we don’t understand it as such, only that we arrive at such conclusion differently. 

New language - new personalitySome people even notice a change in their character when they use another language. They say they have more patience in one language than in another. They are generally nicer towards others, they swear less or find it easier to apologise, to show affection and their true feelings. While this is subjective, it is nonetheless a fascinating effect which can be used by multilinguals to their own advantage.

Languages shape our personality

Saying that each language applies a unique personality to the speaker might be a little exaggerated, but there is little doubt regarding influence the language has on our thoughts and even actions. The structures, words and rules of sentence construction shape our understanding of the same events and phenomena in ways that can sometimes be unthinkable in another language. Words and various phrases bring cultural context as well. The derivation of words are extremely distinct and it carries its meaning as well, which can even contrast among different languages.

Language and culture are two sides of one coin, so by embracing new languages, we tap into new cultures. We become more tolerant towards that culture and its people, we understand the way they think and see us and the world. We become more tolerant, more experienced. Even if our personalities do not change, with every new language we grow and become the better versions of ourselves.

So lets learn some new languages and grow!

Get 3 months of Bliu Bliu Premium for FREE

Happy Birthday to all our learners

Continuing our birthday celebration week, today we want to give 3 months of Bliu Bliu Premium for FREE to everyone who joins one of our language Challenges.

So pick a language, join this week and enjoy 3 months of Bliu Bliu Premium for FREE after the Challenge ends.

German Challenge starting on the 23rd of May

Lithuanian Challenge starting on the 30th of May

English Challenge starting on the 30th of May

Spanish Challenge starting on the 13th of June

Italian Challenge starting on the 13th of June

French Challenge starting on the 13th of June
We bet you will be looking forward to our birthday next year, won’t you? :-)

ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS because we LOVE YOU!

Lots of love,
Bliu Bliu Team

Learn Spanish, German, French, Italian, Lithuanian