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Tag: learning English

Cultural Beliefs in Britain: Strange Superstitions

In honor of Halloween next week, we have dedicated this blog to superstitions; everyone has them but we don’t always know where they come from.

Every culture has their particular superstitions: don’t walk under ladders or scaffolding, black cats are unlucky, 13 is an unlucky number, seeing ravens means someone you know will die soon, horseshoes bring luck, etc. There are also certain groups of people that are more superstitious than others, for example, actors, sailors, and athletes. Actors can never whistle backstage, or say the name Macbeth – you must always call it the Scottish play. Sailors believed that an albatross was a sign of hope and killing one would bring bad luck.

The list of strange superstitions is long, and there are some strange ones.

Come and have a look at the weirdness of British culture:

General Superstitions

  1. If the ravens of the Tower of London leave, then the Crown will be lost.
  2. Black rabbits have human souls and white ones used to be witches.
  3. You will have bad luck if you spill salt. You must throw salt over your back to counteract the effect.
  4. For luck, brides must wear something borrowed, something blue, something old and something new
  5. If you say ‘white rabbit’ three times on the first day of the month, it will bring you luck for the rest of the month.
  6. Don’t eat lettuce if you want to have children.
  7. Magpies are a bird that you have to greet every time you see it; when you see a magpie say “Hello Mr Magpie, how is your lady wife today?”. There was also a children’s rhyme written about them:

One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold,

Seven for a secret never to be told.

Yorkshire

  1. Cutting off the end of a loaf of bread makes the devil fly over your house.
  2. Bread will not rise if there is a dead body nearby.
  3. If you visit a newborn child, put a silver coin in its hands.

Somerset & Dorset

  1. A double-yolked egg means that you will have twins. It used to mean that someone would get married quickly due to a pregnancy.
  2. A slow boiling kettle will have a toad inside of
  3. Stirring food in the opposite direction of the sun will ruin it.

Did you find any of these strange or weird? Do you want to share any strange superstitions that you believe in? Let us know about them!

[SPEAK UP LONDON] 7 INSPIRATIONAL MULTILINGUAL PEOPLE

7 INSPIRATIONAL MULTILINGUAL AND BILINGUAL PEOPLE

Sometimes all we need is a little inspiration to push us forward. 

#SpeakUpLondonBlog #SpeakUpLondon

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2013 file photo, American actor Leonardo DiCaprio poses for a portrait, in New York. The United Nations has named Leonardo DiCaprio a UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made the announcement Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, calling DiCaprio “a credible voice in the environmental movement.” He also invited the actor to the upcoming UN Climate Summit planned for September 23. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)

 

 

Language is an amazing form of communication. Especially when you are multilingual or bilingual. This skill helps you communicate better with people when you’re in foreign lands. With language, you can connect with the culture even better and understand it without getting lost in translation.

With all of the fun and excitement that comes from learning a new language, there are times when it can be strenuous and hard, especially when trying to remember certain words and phrases.

So, the team here at Speak Up London, thought it best to show you people that you can aspire to. We will be introducing you to 7 Inspirational Multilingual people.

You can and will learn the language you’re set on learning, and these inspirational people are proof of this. Don’t give up, when you’re so close to reaching your goal.

 

 

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1.) Leonardo DiCaprio

Languages: English and German

 

Leonardo DiCaprio was born in Los Angeles to an Italian/German father and a German mother. Leonardo often visited his maternal grandmother in Germany, where he was able to learn and practice his German.

 

 

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2.) Johnny Depp

Languages: English and French

 

Johnny Depp was born and raised in was born in Owensboro, Kentucky. Depp is of mostly English ancestry, with some ancestors from elsewhere in Europe. He is descended from a French Huguenot immigrant, Pierre Dieppe.

 

 

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3.) Natalie Portman

Languages: English, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Japanese, German, Sign Language.

Natalie was born in Jerusalem to an Israeli father and American mother. She grew up speaking Hebrew and English, but also knows conversational French, Japanese, German, and Spanish.

 

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4.) Raden Mas Panji Sosrokartono

Languages: 24 languages and 10 Indonesian tribal languages.

Sosrokartono is considered the most genius man in Indonesia, beside President Habibie. He mastered 24 languages and 10 Indonesian tribal languages. After the first world war ended, he became head of translator for League of Nations.

 

 

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5.) Dikembe Mutombo

Languages: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Tshiluba, Swahili, Lingala, and two other central African languages.

Mutombo is a former NBA player and is able to speak English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Tshiluba, Swahili, Lingala, and two other central African languages.

 

 

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6.) Timothy Doner

Languages: English, French, Hausa, Wolof, Russian, German, Yiddish, Hebrew, Arabic, Pashto, Persian, Mandarin, Italian, Turkish, Indonesian, Dutch, Xhosa, Kiswahili, Hindi, Ojibwe, Kinyarwanda, and Creole.

Timothy was only 17 years old when he was featured in the New York Times for his ability to speak over twenty languages to various levels,

 

 

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7.) Elizabeth I

Languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Latin, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish and Irish.

 

Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, his second wife, who was executed two and a half years after Elizabeth’s birth.

 

 

 

We hope that you get some inspiration from these people, and that their linguistic skills push you further to learn a new language.

 

 

 

 

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