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French is the language that turns dirt into romance.

Stephen King

Oct 21, 2011 / 30 notes
Learning a language makes our minds stronger and more flexible. Actually using it gives us an entirely new experience of the world.

- John Cleese

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Oct 17, 2011 / 40 notes
Jun 23, 2011 / 6 notes

Funny man Will Ferrell developed his comedic roots at an early age, making fun of his friends while living in the Southern California suburban town of Irvine.

After graduating USC, he joined The Groundlings comedy troupe in LA and then became a regular series cast member for Saturday Night Live in 1995. During this year, while in an acting class, he met his future wife, Swedish actress, Viveca Paulin. They married five years later and have three sons.

Ferrell is well acquainted with his wife’s culture. Every summer, he and his family celebrate mid-summer in Sweden, a typical Swedish tradition. He also appeared on an episode of Man vs. Wild, where he traveled throughout the tundras of Sweden with the show’s host, Bear Grylls. In the episode, Ferrell came across various unique situations, which included eating the eye of a reindeer.

Ferrell’s three boys speak Swedish and English as well. In an interview for Moviefone, he said, “I know enough [Swedish] and I keep saying to them, ‘My Swedish is really good right?’ and they’re like, ‘No! It’s terrible, are you crazy?’

Is the question really whether I can name any besides Björn Borg? Well, I do know how to say his name properly.

Geena Davis (when asked who is her favorite all time Swedish athlete)

As a teenager, Davis was an exchange student in Sandviken, Sweden, where she speaks fluently to this day, whether written or spoken.

Source: Sports Illustrated

Jun 21, 2011 / 4 notes
…by all means, have your kids dive into the glamorous world of Mandarin. But don’t forget the language that will likely be far more important in their lives: el idioma mas importante es Espanol!

Nicholas Kristof (on the importance of learning languages)

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Source: Primero Hay Que Aprender Español. Ranhou Zai Xue Zhongwen.

Jun 16, 2011 / 6 notes
Jun 13, 2011 / 7 notes

American born author, Jack Kerouac was born to French-Canadian parents. His known baptism name was Jean Louis Kirouac but referred to as Ti Jean or little John. Kerouac spoke the French-Canadian dialect called Joual until he learned English at age six, not speaking it confidently until his late teens.

In an article in Le Devoir by Gabriel Ancil, Kerouac’s articles in the Montreal newspaper revealed the existence of two unpublished novellas Kerouac wrote in French in the early 1950s. One of them, Sur le chemin, was composed at high speed in William Burroughs’ apartment in Mexico City. In the other, La nuit est ma femme, Kerouac identified French as the language in which he often swears, often dreams, and always cries. 

In the same article it was also revealed on the 50th anniversary of his novel masterpiece On The Road that Kerouac’s first version was in French. The first ten pages were laid down on January 19, 1951, several months before writing the first version of the English novel.

Source: http://www.ledevoir.com/2007/09/05/155613.html

It is necessary, especially for Americans, to see other lands and experience other cultures. The American, living in this vast country and able to traverse three thousand miles east to west using the same language, needs to hear languages as they collide in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

A tourist, browsing in a Paris shop, eating in an Italian ristorante, or idling along a Hong Kong street, will encounter three or four languages as she negotiates the buying of a blouse, the paying of a check, or the choosing of a trinket. I do not mean to suggest that simply overhearing a foreign tongue adds to one’s understanding of that language. I do know, however, that being exposed to the existence of other languages increases the perception that the world is populated by people who not only speak differently from oneself but whose cultures and philosophies are other than one’s own.

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try to understand each other, we may even become friends.

Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

According to her Wiki page, Angelou speaks Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, and West African Fante. Amazing.

Jun 10, 2011 / 298 notes