Toronto. Cultural diversity leading the world.

Sitting in a café in downtown Toronto you could be anywhere in the world. In fact, it’s almost impossible to tell you are in Canada. The city is a melting pot of faces from all around the world, no more Caucasian than it is African, Asian, Indian, Arab or Latino. Just over half of the Toronto regions 5.6 million residents were born in another country … Continue reading Toronto. Cultural diversity leading the world.

Six great reasons why English speakers should learn other languages

A person who speaks many languages is a polyglot. A person who speaks two languages is bilingual. And a person who speaks one language? You guessed it, a native English speaker. As native English speakers we have the confounding situation where everyone else speaks, wants to speak or has to speak our language so our need to learn other languages is anywhere from very low … Continue reading Six great reasons why English speakers should learn other languages

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Freedom for the Basque country: Independence graffiti along Spain’s ancient Camino

Walking the Camino del Norte in Northern Spain is as much an exercise in history as it of the body. Any notion of Spain as one unified nation was quietly put to rest for the autonomous regions of Spain are as distinct as the nations making up the United Kingdom. The Camino del Norte begins in the Basque country, Spain’s most notorious separatist state, starting … Continue reading Freedom for the Basque country: Independence graffiti along Spain’s ancient Camino

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Multilingualism. Benefits for culture, society and your mind

“Multiculturalism means more than a nice variety of food. Language is part and parcel of a multicultural society as culture is mediated through language and vice versa. It makes multiculturalism more interesting and valuable.” This is John Hajek, the Director of the Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross Cultural Communication (RUMACC) at the University of Melbourne. Many children in English speaking countries are denied the … Continue reading Multilingualism. Benefits for culture, society and your mind

Eight questions for more interesting conversations

“Conversation is civilized speech. It is more purposeful than chatter; more humane than gossip; more intimate than debate. But it is an elusive ideal.” John Armstrong, The Conversation. All too often our verbal exchanges involve flippantly jumping from one topic to another, a smattering of small talk peppered with a rant here and there. And we’ve all been to that party or event where the … Continue reading Eight questions for more interesting conversations

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Australian aboriginal lore and how I learnt to be invisible

I’ve been on this Earth for 30 years and in that time I’ve learnt a lot about a lot of different people. I’ve travelled through Europe, South East Asia, Central America and the Pacific and lived in Asia for an extended period. I’ve been up and down the East Coast and along the West Coast of this country. I’ve met and befriended people from all over the … Continue reading Australian aboriginal lore and how I learnt to be invisible

Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds’ eggs

Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds’ eggs and human hearts and dreams, are also fragile things, made up of nothing stronger or more lasting than twenty six letters and a handful of punctuation marks. Or they are words on the air, composed of sounds and ideas – abstract, invisible, gone once they’ve been spoken – and what could be more frail than that? But, … Continue reading Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds’ eggs