A bit about multilingualism and multiculturalism. Corina Moscovich

First semester is over... 
Different moments came to my mind, not just inside Uni; but for example waiting for the train with my colleagues. One time, someone started asking to the rest: How do you greet people in your country? How many kisses do you give when you great someone? And the answers were so interesting that I wanted to record them somehow. There we were, coming out of a class from a Master in Multilingualism and Multiculturalism and right there, we had reality.
I always explain to my friends and my family that I learn not just from the professors and the theory, but from my colleagues. I really enjoy spending time with them, asking or answering questions, sharing experiences, ways of teaching/learning.
That day at the train stop, I learnt about kisses and hugs being given for special occasions such as birthdays or farewells. I also learnt that my colleague from Japan did not greet his mother with a kiss before departing to Luxembourg, because they do not kiss each other.
One time, in a group we share on FB, someone posted: “We all know how dogs bark but how is it "translated" in your language?” Immediately people started talking about dog barking and how to say it in different languages. Although we knew that animals have different sounds in different languages, our answers really surprised us all: ham-ham in Romanian, waf or woef in Dutch, how how in Arabic, bau-bau in Bulgarian, Haf haf in Armenian, Wuff-Wuff in German, wan-wan in Japanese, hau hau in Slovak and in Polish, guau guau in Spanish, Bow bow in Hindi and in few other Indian languages. We were astonished to discover that gav-gav is used in Greek, Russian and Ukrainian and that Au au is used in Portuguese as well as Lithuanian.
Then, the conversation switched to proverbs about dogs and we discovered that a barking dog doesn´t bite was the same in mostly all the languages the debate included: "Perro que ladra no muerde", “Το σκυλί που γαυγίζει δεν δαγκώνει”, "cão que ladra não morde", “Căinele care latră, nu muşcă”, etc. This debate was very enriching as it showed us how through a simple question we can all help to provide data and then, compare the results.
For me, multilingualism always plays a good value. Multilingualism generally implies multiculturalism, as language is culture. Or, languages are cultures. 
Corina Moscovich

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