Tagged: italian

Invisible Cities – an Italian novel

Written by Italo Calvino and published in 1972, Invisible Cities is a collection of page-long descriptions of cities, as described by Marco Polo to Kublai Khan. The two men do not have a common language, so we realise that Polo is describing his travels using not only words, but hand gestures and props to make himself understood to his host. The novel, written originally in Italian, is incredibly vivid and explores our imagination. It’s complex, but there’s an enjoyment to be had from just reading it at face value without adding your own interpretation or thinking about it too deeply. Although the cities are described in a clearly exaggerated way, the images are too intense for them to be totally made up…. This is definitely worth reading – it’s totally captivating and although there’s no plot as such, it’s almost impossible to put down. Also, you look kind of intelligent reading it on public transport, which is always nice.

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“thank you” in 5.7% of Europe’s languages

Saying thank you is always nice. And it’s even nicer when you can say it to someone in their own language. Nelson Mandela once said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language – that goes to his heart”. And whilst you probably won’t be able to speak every single language on the planet (about 7,000 of them), it’s still nice/useful to be able to say a few words of Albanian, isn’t it?

There are an estimated 260 languages spoken in Europe, but here’s how to say thank you in 15 of them (that’s 5.7% of all the languages of Europe!!!):

1. French – merci

2. German – danke

3. Dutch – dank u

4. Spanish – gracias

5. Italian – grazie

6. Portuguese – obrigado

7. Croatian – hvala

8. Danish – tak, Nowegian – takk, Swedish – tack

9. Greek – ευχαριστώ (efcharistó)

10. Bulgarian – благодаря (blagodarya)

11. Polish – dziękuję

12. Russian – спасибо (spasibo)

13. Irish gaelic – go raibh maith agat

14. Turkish – teşekkür ederim

15. Albanian – falemnderit