Ioana has been living in London for 2 and a half years. She believes moving to London was the best decision she ever took, and here she shares some of the reason why England is amazing. Happy St George’s Day!
I vividly remember one of the first times I went by myself to the supermarket after I arrived to London. The cashier asked me how my day was going, smiled and made small talk. Now that may seem something natural if you’ve lived here for a long time but believe me, that made such an impact on me. If it’s one thing that stands out from the Brits’ behaviour that’s politeness and it makes such a positive difference to respect each other and live in a comfortable environment.
Many people ask me “So how’s the food there? I heard it’s bad,” thinking about the heavy English breakfast with beans and sausages. Now I’ve never had an English breakfast but what I have had is porridge. Porridge is amazing. If I would have to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life then that’d be it.
Tea with milk. In some countries when people say “tea” they think of infusions, camomile tea, raspberry tea and so on. So imagine thinking about having that tea with milk. Disgusting. Which was my thought exactly until I found that the Brits actually drink black tea, the English Breakfast. It goes really really well with milk, especially on gloomy days, staying warm inside and curling up with a cuppa.
Hard working and devoted people. Brits work hard and put passion in what they do. They rarely treat tasks superficially and they have a natural sense of going the extra mile when it comes to delivering performance. No wonder London is one of the biggest and most successful cities in the world. These people work hard and play hard.
British accent. It just makes everything sound so sophisticated. It’s not easy to master, I’m still working my way through it but it’s totally worth it.
Balanced weather. Now hear me out. I’m not saying British weather is the best. But having a balanced temperature throughout the year means very rare or no snow in the winter and bearable temperatures in the summer. Which is how it should be in a city where we go to work and don’t have time to build snowmen or get a sun tan. That’s what holidays are for!
If you haven’t been to England yet, it’s definitely something you should consider, either for crazy, busy, exciting London or for the more quiet little picturesque villages in the countryside.
Ioana is responsible for Customer Care at EuroTalk and handles all communication with potential or existing customers. She’ll also help you with Tech Support for either the uTalk app or our computer based programs.
Our small office has been very busy recently preparing a big new update to uTalk, and we’re very happy to finally share it with you! Some of you may have already tried it – if you have we’d love to hear what you think.
So what’s new?
Stars and Specials
Stars are the biggest change within the new features, and it’s safe to say we’re all pretty excited about them! With the Stars, the more you play the more you get, so they’re basically in-game coins. By earning stars and achievements you can then buy additional topics or what we call uTalk Specials. These are extra topics that you may find helpful in various situations such as Camping, Driving, Sailing and many others.
We’ve introduced the Score Dashboard where you can see your points, your stars, uTalk Specials and Achievements. These are designed to keep you motivated; every time you get past a small milestone (like getting 30 correct answers in a row or try out half of the topics), we’ll reward you with stars that can be used to buy the uTalk Specials.
The store inside the app where you can purchase extra topics has a brand new look too, which we think is nice to play with. We’ve added beautiful imagery and interactive descriptions of how the app features will help you learn, so you always know exactly what you’re getting.
Something that’s not new but always helpful to have is the search bar at the top of the screen that you can use to search for words when you’re in a rush. Plus, you can search with emojis too!
The uTalk app is free to download for iPhone and iPad, and you can try any of the languages for free with our Starter Pack. We’d love to hear from you so please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or even better, if you love the update, leave us a review on the App Store and we’ll be your friends for life 🙂
Bhutan, known as the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’, only opened up to visitors in the 1970s, which means the tour of India and Bhutan the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are going on, is a very special trip! The country is still relatively unexplored by outsiders and holds some lovely traditions, like their measure of national happiness instead of GDP.
The national language of Bhutan is Dzongkha, which we have released on uTalk just in time for the royal visit. The language stems from the old-Tibetan language and uses a Tibetan alphabet. As it’s the Royals’ first time in Bhutan, here are some phrases they may find useful whilst they’re there!
Kate and Will arrive in Bhutan on 14th April and will be welcomed by a traditional ceremony at the Buddhist monastery Thimpu Dzong. So here are some phrases in Dzongkha that they could use:
It’s a pleasure to meet you – Chhoe Dang Chhe Dey Ga Tro Jung Yi
Welcome – Joen Pa Lekso
Monastery – Goen Pa
Dress – Mo Gho
They will also be meeting the King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, and his wife Queen Jetsun Pema. Queen Jetsun gave birth to a baby boy in February so a good word for the Royal Couple to know may be alu (baby) or chhom (gift).
On their second day in Bhutan William and Kate will be hiking for up to 6 hours to Paro Taktsang, which is the Tiger’s Nest monastery, and will also attend a reception for British Nationals. They may want to use the phrases:
Hiking pole – Lam Doel Gi Kharw
Insect repellant – Bub Kag Ni Men
Is there any phone reception nearby? – Na Phar Tshor Druel Thrin Gi Gyue Lam Ga Tay Yoe Ga?
During their stay in Bhutan they may try some of the local cuisine, which is known to be quite spicy! These may be the most essential phrases to know:
Delicious – Zhim Tong Tong
Not too spicy please – Naa May Sa May Kha Ma Tsha Mi Chi La
What phrases do you think the Royal Couple need to know for their trip to Bhutan? You can find more Dzongkha phrases in our uTalk app.
Today’s guest post is by Ed, who’s taking part in our uTalk Challenge. After successfully completing uTalk Japanese in January, Ed’s turned his attention to Welsh for February. Here he explains why learning a language is important for everyone, regardless of age.
I am a retired IT Manager aged 66 years. I am married with two grown up sons, one married with two children. My wife still works so I am one of these modern ‘house husbands’, which is fine with me. Other than gardening, ironing, shopping, cooking and cleaning (I don’t do much of the latter), I play golf, help with a local amateur dramatic society (treasurer and occasional performer), sing in our church choir, and keep fit.
Since grammar school I have always been interested in languages and linguistics. I put this down to having had a very good French teacher and an inclination towards role play, hence the amateur dramatics. I also did German at Grammar School, and did Latin ‘O’ level in one year, which I really enjoyed.
In 1970 I travelled overland to India and learn some Turkish and Farsi to help me along the way. Many years later I worked in Dubai for a while and learnt some Arabic. Over the years I have picked up some Italian and Spanish in relation to holidays.
When the opportunity to join the uTalk Challenge came along it seemed the perfect way to indulge my linguistic interests and to “stimulate the little grey cells” and slow down the aging process.
Four years ago my wife and I visited Japan for the Cherry Blossom Festival and I learnt some Japanese. That came in very handy as English wasn’t as widely spoken as I had thought it would be. We loved the country and the people and I found the language interesting, hence my choice of Japanese for my first month.
I think the uTalk Challenge offers a unique opportunity to try out a number of languages that are completely different from English and Indo-European languages in general. It’s a great mental exercise for any one, not just for someone my age. It also means that you can learn something of the language of a country when going on holiday, something I believe shows respect for the people and their culture, and enhances your experience. Better than just buying a phrase book, it allows you to hear the pronunciation by native speakers. You can, as I have done, download the extra topics and choose which one you want to study. You have nothing to lose and a great deal to gain.
Valentine’s Day is a moment we should all pause our busy lives to celebrate love and the important people in our lives with whom we share special moments – not only lovers but also friends or family.
Obviously a popular holiday on the American continent, followed by Western Europe and in the last years Eastern Europe, the world’s interest towards the popular celebration of love has been rising.
Although Valentine’s Day is internationally celebrated on 14th February, some cultures have their own version of it around the year.
1. Dragobete – Romania
Romanians celebrate Dragobete on the 24th of February, a day that not only celebrates love but also the fact that spring is getting close. In old times it was an occasion for the young girls and boys to get together and play different games, dance and confess their love for each other.
2. Dia dos Namorados – Brazil
Brazilians celebrate Dia dos Namorados on 12th June, which is the day before Saint Anthony’s day (the marriage saint). One of the reasons Brazilians choose to celebrate love on this day is that traditional Valentine’s Day on February 14th would coincide with the Carnival celebration, which takes place in February and some of March. Dia dos Namorados is a day when people exchange little gifts, like sweets and flowers and lovers enjoy a romantic dinner or night out.
3. Qi xi – China
The Chinese version of Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the seventh night of the seventh month (also called Double Seven festival) of the Chinese lunar calendar – that is sometime in August. Qi xi (pronounced chee – she) is nowadays celebrated similarly to other cultures by offering flowers and chocolates to the loved ones as well as couples spending a romantic day together.
4. Valentine’s Day and White Day – Japan
Japanese culture celebrates love on the same day as Valentine’s Day but instead of men offering gifts to women, it’s the other way around. Then one month later, on 14th March on White Day, it’s the men’s turn to reciprocate the gifts. The difference is that Valentine’s Day chocolates are a symbol of a man’s popularity, but the ones on White Day are only for couples or romantically involved people. Black Day (on April 14th) however is a day when the singles, or the people that haven’t received any gifts on any of the holidays, gather to “commiserate”, often wearing black, eating black coloured food and complaining about their love life.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day – or maybe you don’t celebrate at all – we believe love is a great feeling that we should hold onto every day and show our loved ones how much they mean to us.
Download our app uTalk – Learn a Language to find out how to say “I love you” in 130 languages.