Traveling Languages Series Post: D, E, F

If you’re thinking of traveling to other countries, it’s interesting to see the languages officially used there. I’m hoping this series will help you plan which countries to visit to practice, study, or hear a rare language or simply just to know which languages are official in which state.

  •  Denmark
    • Danish (statewide)
    • Faroese (in the Faroe Islands)
    • German (protected minority language in Southern Jutland)
    • Kalaallisut (in Greenland)
  •  Djibouti
    • Arabic
    • French
  •  Dominica
    • English
  •  Dominican Republic
    • Spanish
  •  East Timor
    • Portuguese
    • Tetum
    • Indonesian (constitutionally enlisted as working language, and still in widely used after 23 years annexation)
  •  Ecuador
    • Spanish (Quechua or Kichwa and Shuar are official languages of intercultural relation, ancient languages are official in their territories.)
  •  Egypt
    • Arabic
    • Coptic (de jure language of the Coptic Church)
  •  El Salvador
    • Spanish
  •  Equatorial Guinea
    • Spanish
    • French
    • Portuguese
  •  Eritrea
    • Arabic (working language)
    • Tigrinya (working language)
    • English (official)
  •  Estonia
    • Estonian (nationwide official language)
    • Russian (de facto minority language)
  •  Ethiopia
    • Amharic (working language)
  •  Fiji
    • English
    • Fijian
    • Hindustani
  •  Finland
    • Finnish (statewide, except in the Åland Islands)
    • Swedish (statewide) (in the Åland Islands where Swedish is spoken monolingually)
    • Sami (minority language in Enontekiö, Inari, Sodankylä, and Utsjoki)
  •  France and overseas departments and territories (Languages of France and language policy in France)

    • French (statewide)
    • Corsican (in Corsica)
    • Breton (in Brittany)
    • Tahitian (in French Polynesia)

Info retrieved from Wikipedia.

On spotting mountains and climbing them

A really reflective poem by P. Alford reminds us that traveling, like many other things, isn’t only for the very rich or a select few. You can do almost anything if you put your mind to it. Limitations are self-created, self-preserved!

Climb the highest mountain,
Swim the deepest sea,
Always aim to be,
The best that you can be,
Love with all your heart,
Laugh with all your soul,
Enjoying every day you live,
Should be your daily goal,
Remember you are special,
Unique in every way,
Let no one on this earth,
Stand in your way.

Here’s an article I drifted onto the other day. It’s on 10 Spectacular Volcanic Plugs & Natural Monoliths. My hope is to ascend El Peñón de Guatapé in Colombia one day!
Sugarloaf Mountain, Brazil
El Peñón de Guatapé
El Peñón de Guatapé
Penyal d’Ifac, Spain,_%C3%89glise_Saint-Laurent_et_Aiguilhe_PM_48569.jpg
Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe, France

Photo descriptions and source files here:

From the TOLB: Happy 150th Birthday London Underground: 30 reasons we love the tube

So, I was reading a piece by the The Time Out London blog in celebration of the London Underground’s 150 years of existence. Just thought to offer it for my readers to look at. I would agree with many of the points as to what makes the system so great such as convenience (#1) and the alternative the costs of car ownership (#3) or cab service (#26). I also love taking naps on the tube (tube is how Londoner’s refer to their subway system). I do also like their take on “extended bedroom,” (#19) where we can tidy up a bit more on our way to some important gig or catch up on some sleep (#14) than if we had to drive their ourselves.


One thing I would have to disagree with, however, is #27:


27. British queuing
There’s no greater example of British properness than witnessing a queue at a tube station. At the front of the queue during rush hour at Canary Wharf? No need to worry about being pushed out of the way, and if you are, there will be a volley of people speaking up for you.


I rarely see any acts of “British properness” when queueing in tube stations (queueing is how the British refer to “persons forming a line”). People are usually hell-bent on trying to board the next train, even if they only joined one of the small crowds swarming around the potential next stop of the upcoming train doors.


Read more here:


Traveling Languages Series Post: G, H

If you’re thinking of traveling to other countries, it’s interesting to see the languages officially used there. I’m hoping this series will help you plan which countries to visit to practice, study, or hear a rare language or simply just to know which languages are official in which state.

  •  Gabon
    • French
  •  Gambia
    • English
  •  Georgia
    • Georgian
  •  Germany
    • German (nationwide; official)
    • Danish (in Schleswig-Holstein) (minority language)
    • Lower Sorbian (in Brandenburg) (minority language)
    • North Frisian (in Schleswig-Holstein) (minority language)
    • Romani (nationwide) (minority language)
    • Saterland Frisian (in Lower Saxony) (minority language)
    • Upper Sorbian (in Saxony) (minority language)
  •  Ghana
    • English (statewide; official)
    • Adangme (in Greater Accra)
    • Dagaare (in the Upper West Region)
    • Dagbani (in the Northern Region)
    • Ewe (in the Volta Region)
    • Ga (in Greater Accra)
    • Gonja (in the Northern Region)
    • Kasem (in the Upper East Region)
    • Nzema (in the Western Region)
    • Twi (in Akuapem, Akyem, Ashanti, Fanteakwa, Fante, and Kwahu)
  •  Greece
    • Greek
  •  Grenada
    • English
  •  Guatemala
    • Spanish
  •  Guinea
    • French
    • Fula (national)
    • Maninka (national)
    • Susu (national)
  •  Guinea-Bissau
    • Portuguese
  •  Guyana
    • English (official)
    • Guyanese Creole (national)
  •  Haiti
    • French
    • Haitian Creole
  •  Honduras
    • Spanish (official)
    • Garifuna (in the Northern Caribbean Coast)
    • English (in the Bay Islands)
    • Miskito (in Eastern Honduras)
  •  Hungary
    • Hungarian (official)
    • Croatian (minority)
    • German (minority)
    • Romanian (minority)
    • Serbian (minority)
    • Slovak (minority)
    • Slovenian (minority)

Info retrieved from Wikipedia.

Why Power Outlets Look So Weird in Other Countries

 By Andrew Tarantola at Gizmodo

 Getting foreign gadgets to play nice with the local power grid is a nightmare any time you travel internationally. Here’s why every country on the planet (except yours) totally screwed up indoor wiring.

In the early days of the electricity craze, just after Nikola Tesla and the Westinghouse company wiped the floor with Thomas Edison’s DC power scheme, inventors around the world began working on ways to harness the fantastical energy for household work. Everybody had a different idea of how to do so. In fact, when Westinghouse standardized its operating frequency 60 Hz, it snuffed out nine other potential frequencies. The same is true for the worldwide standard of 120 and 220-240V systems—these two beat out ten other options to become the de facto voltages.

However, Germany paid little heed to the US’s choice of a 60 Hz frequency. They instead decided on a 50 Hz standard because that’s what was already being used by the BEW company, which held a monopoly on German power generation and transmission, in 1899. The 50 Hz scheme spread through Europe while the 60 Hz spread through North America. They became competing, nearly-universal standards—120V at 60Hz in North America, 220-240V at 50 Hz in Europe.

The other problem with early electrical systems: There was no easy way to tap into the power supplying small appliances. If you had a table lamp or a hair dryer or some other low voltage gadget, you’d have to knock down a wall and hard-wire it into the house’s electrical grid. Amateur inventor Harvey Hubbell is credited with creating the first appliance with a “Separable Attachment Plug.” However, instead of the cord remaining attached to the device, it would be hard wired into the system and would disconnect from the base of the gadget.

While Hubble’s preliminary plug and socket design prevented access to live wires from the home grid, many other inventors stepped up to improve his pioneering design to reduce shock and fire risks through the inclusion of grounding and electrically insulated pins, polarized shapes, and additional cut-off switches.

The most momentous of these added features arrived in 1928 at the hands of Philip F. Labre. Until then, it was uncomfortably common to receive an electrical shock when removing plugs because the pins (or prongs) would short easily short when the plug was partially pulled out of the outlet. The electrical current could travel through the person into the ground. By integrating a third pin slightly longer than the other two, Labre was able to direct all potential short circuits safely to the ground rather than through a person.

The problem with Labre’s design is that the triangular plug can be inserted into the socket in three different ways, two of which are wrong. This creates what’s known as an unpolarized plug. So engineers developed plugs that could only be fully inserted into a socket when properly oriented, thus guaranteeing a safe, polarized connection.

There are a few ways to design such a plug. […]read full post here.