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Did you know?

  • Not all cultures perceive the colour spectrum in the same way: the Western world sees Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, while the Japanese see an extra colour: “aoi” - which is translates roughly as a shade of green. The Ibibio people of Nigeria only divide the spectrum up into four colours!
  • In Finland there is no word for please: they aren’t being rude, though – they just assume politeness, so the extra word is actually unnecessary.
  • Heavy rain is described differently in different countries. In Britain it rains ‘cats and dogs’, in Denmark, it rains ‘shoemakers’ apprentices’ and in Afrikaans it rains ‘old women with knobkerries (clubs)’.
  • If you’re in Germany and you’ve been told your meeting is at ‘halb vier’ (‘half four’), don’t turn up at 4:30 – ‘halb vier’ actually means half an hour TO four, so you’d best be there at half three!
  • The fastest elevator in the world is Installed at the 101-storey ‘Taipei 101’ building in Taiwan. It runs at 1010 meters per minute, taking visitors from the 5th floor to the 89th floor in 37 seconds.
  • Feeling blue? You’ll regret it in the morning. In English it’s fairly common to say you’re ‘feeling blue’ if you feel sad. In German, to be blue (blau sein) is to be drunk.
  • Although everyone seems to associate fortune cookies with China, virtually nobody in China eats them and they were probably first made in 19th Century Japan!
  • Ther phrase “taking French leave” in England means going on holiday without notifying anyone. Oddly enough, the French mean exactly the same thing when they “take English leave”.
  • Take care when exchanging business cards in Japan: they aren’t just cards, but representations of the giver and should be handled with some ceremony. NEVER write on a business card or put it in your back pocket, as this is considered disrespectful.
  • There are 6,900 living languages in the world and many thousands more dialects.