Transatlantic tidbits on language & life

Dragonfly Productions ...words & more - Übersetzungen, Texte & Recherche, Redaktion, Lektorat, Korrektorat Translations, freelance writing, editing, proofreading


While Europe is experiencing a milder-than-average winter, North America is firmly in the grip of very icy temperatures. Apparently, the cold has a mind-numbing effect as well, as we seem to be witnessing an uptick in weather-related linguistic inflation lately.

Kategorien/Categories: ›EN‹  ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›Transatlantic‹   –  22.01.2014

Everyone thinks about the USA when you talk about the proverbial ‘melting pot’, but just across the border, in southeastern Canada, cultural and linguistic diversity are still very much a part of daily life.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›Kultur/Culture‹  ›EN‹   –  28.10.2013

Botanical names may be hard to wrap your tongue around, but it does make communication regarding the identification of plant species more precise. On the other hand, you might be missing out on some pretty neat local names for plants.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›EN‹   –  17.08.2013

Why is horseradish, this pale root that gives a potent kick to many beloved foods, named after a four-legged creature in English, while in German it’s named after a body of water? There is a connection here – for those who want to see it.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›EN‹   –  12.06.2013

New England still has scores of covered bridges crossing its waterways - they are, in fact, one of the most beloved hallmarks of the region. While they provide users with a brief “back in time” experience, they also require a special form of communication: cooperation.

Kategorien/Categories: ›EN‹  ›Kultur/Culture‹   –  18.02.2013

Is winter cold, bleak and awful, or full of white, frosty magic? A season where everything dies a little, or the necessary prelude to a glorious rebirth? Definitely it’s a time to huddle around the warm fire and be creative. Why else are there so many poems about winter?

Kategorien/Categories: ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›Kultur/Culture‹  ›EN‹   –  13.01.2013

How do we bury our dead? It’s always enlightening to take a look at a country’s cemeteries, which showcase differences in graveyard culture. Not surprisingly, a lot of it is actually dictated as much by climate as it is by cultural and religious influences.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Kultur/Culture‹  ›EN‹   –  27.11.2012

One of the things I’ve always loved about the English language is the ease with which new words are formed. At a moment’s thought, new, descriptive verbs are coined or words melded like Siamese twins to form new concepts. The good ones become part of our vocabulary, and sometimes we don’t even think about their creative origin anymore.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›EN‹   –  15.10.2012

Pictograms are everywhere: they help guide the traffic, tell us how to wash our laundry properly and let us know where to find the correct restroom. The ubiquitous symbols help to convey important information without the use of written language, thus transporting their message beyond borders and cultures.  Well, nearly so.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›EN‹   –  06.09.2012

Going camping in a State or National Park invariably includes huddling around a crackling campfire. While the romance of campfires invokes fond memories for most, there is a new, darker aspect to this time-honored tradition: it could kill trees (and we’re not talking about the ones you’re already burning).

Kategorien/Categories: ›Lifestyle‹  ›EN‹   –  07.08.2012

Why is it that some countries seem to have a strong tradition of celebrating their national holiday (think France or the United States), while for others it’s just another day off? The secret, I believe, lies in the timing.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Transatlantic‹  ›Kultur/Culture‹  ›EN‹   –  04.07.2012

Back in March, I wrote about the plastic landscape asparagus growers have created throughout southwest Germany. They hope to force the tender stalks a few days earlier in order to get the first harvest. Here, in the US, we’re deep in green asparagus country – the familiar white version, so common in Europe, is hardly to be found. A look at two different asparagus cultures.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Transatlantic‹  ›Kultur/Culture‹  ›EN‹   –  30.05.2012

Freiburg - New Hampshire: we're on the move. Und weiterhin für Sie da.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Anglizismen‹  ›DE‹  ›EN‹   –  30.04.2012

Come springtime, before the trees in the woods leaf out, the glorious smell of garlic abounds in the wetlands and woods of southern Germany. Bärlauch is a local delicacy and used creatively in the springtime cuisine – but is practically unknown in the States.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Transatlantic‹  ›Heimat‹  ›EN‹   –  13.04.2012

For some, forming anagrams is a passionate sport and they’ve reached masterful levels of mixing up letters. For those who aren’t quite as nimble as the average puzzle maniac, there’s the internet.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›EN‹   –  18.03.2012

The word “ghetto” has been around for a while, changing its meaning somewhat over time. But I never thought about the word’s origin – until I stumbled over the “original” ghetto, which is actually a district in Venice. Who knew?

Kategorien/Categories: ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›EN‹   –  19.02.2012

Venice evokes many different images:  romantic gondola rides, impressive  palazzos, a picturesque maze of tiny alleyways connected by countless bridges. The city, spread out over 118 islands, is an art historian’s dream come true – but interestingly, it also holds the key to future urban planning. A look at to the ultimate carfree city.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Transatlantic‹  ›Lifestyle‹  ›EN‹   –  02.01.2012

“Maybe” is such an inconspicuous little word, yet it looms large in our everyday communication.  While it is, for some, the essence of non-commitment, and for others an expression of doubt, positive thinkers like to focus on its inherent aspect of the here and now.  A taste of Zen, then?

Kategorien/Categories: ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›EN‹   –  05.12.2011

Rush, rush, rush... in today’s world, speed is everything. We cross huge distances in the blink of an eye, just because we can. How different travel was in the old days. An homage to a slower world.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Lifestyle‹  ›Kultur/Culture‹  ›EN‹   –  27.11.2011

Times have changed. Instead of one tyrannical, power hungry king we now have a multitude of threats to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's time for a new declaration. This one I discovered recently on we.net.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Heimat‹  ›Kultur/Culture‹  ›EN‹   –  09.10.2011

The sound of the streetcar ringing brings back memories from an earlier time. Musings about our modern soundscape.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Transatlantic‹  ›Lifestyle‹  ›EN‹   –  19.09.2011

Colmar is a small city in Alsace, France, boasting a picturesque old town with a labyrinthine layout of alleys and canals. It also is the birthplace of an artist known to most not by name, but only by his most famous creation: Liberty Enlightening the World, aka The Statue of Liberty. A visit to the Bartholdi museum is a must – and not just for patriots.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Transatlantic‹  ›EN‹   –  04.07.2011

A visit to the International Street Organ Festival in Waldkirch

Kategorien/Categories: ›Kultur/Culture‹  ›EN‹   –  30.05.2011

Communication matters! Having just spent a week in Italy, I realized how important it is to be able to fully express oneself. At least, if you’re the kind of person who likes to have more contact with the natives and learn about the local area and its customs.

Kategorien/Categories: ›EN‹  ›Kultur/Culture‹  ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹   –  08.04.2011

They say when you move to a different country and learn a foreign language, you’ve only truly “arrived” once you start to think and even dream in that new language. Well, I don’t know about my dreams, but I recently discovered that I talk to cars… but only in English.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Lifestyle‹  ›EN‹   –  03.03.2011

That’s the title artist Stefan Strumbel gave his series of ultra-modern cuckoo clocks. The Black Forest artist with roots in street art provokes viewers to rethink conventional concepts of Heimat and all its associated symbolism. But what exactly is Heimat?

Kategorien/Categories: ›Heimat‹  ›Kultur/Culture‹  ›EN‹   –  31.01.2011

Guest blogger and political junkie Clayton Macdonald looks for a glimmer of hope amid the recent the mid-term elections in the USA.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Transatlantic‹  ›EN‹   –  05.11.2010

On a recent flight from Germany to Boston via Dublin, I had an encounter of the more scary kind. While changing planes, I walked into a full-fledged U.S Customs and Border Patrol point and was practically on American soil – in the middle of Dublin Airport. So does the Eastern U.S border extend all the way to Europe now?

Kategorien/Categories: ›Transatlantic‹  ›EN‹   –  10.10.2010

Giant puddles. Splashing boots. Happy faces. It’s good to see that kids are still kids.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Lifestyle‹  ›EN‹   –  23.07.2010

There’s no better way to start your day than to know you’ve made people happy. And, I tend to generate smiles wherever I go. The secret is simple: I ride a recumbent bike. Kids, especially, seem to get a real kick out of that. Who knew?

Kategorien/Categories: ›EN‹  ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹   –  12.05.2010

A recently published book about living without a car in Germany by author Carsten Otte spawned an interesting book reading event here in Freiburg: during a two hour tram ride through town, Otte entertained an audience with his experiences as a pedestrian, bicyclist, and train passenger.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Lifestyle‹  ›EN‹   –  05.04.2010

Visiting Switzerland always makes me appreciate what multi-lingual really means. In a country with four official national languages, it is rare to find a person who only speaks one language. More commonly, folks are able to express themselves in at least one or more languages additional to their respective mother tongues.

Kategorien/Categories: ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›EN‹   –  26.02.2010