While flipping through my flipboard one night, a tile with a picture of two cowboys caught my attention. It was the cover for the upcoming “Fiesta de la Patria Gaucha“; the world’s largest celebration of gaucho tradition and culture held in the first week of March in Uruguay. The aptly named festival of the Gaucho Motherland is attended by participants from Uruguay, Argentina and Southern Brazil, regions that share a common past of livestock and plain fields. Former FIFA world player of the year Ronaldinho who comes from that part of Brazil once had Gaúcho attached to his name to differentiate him from a player with the same first name.
Ukraine is well known as a country but what is it most popular for anyways? Off the top of my head nothing comes to mind. A quick check in Google and the orange revolution pops up (ignoring Chernobyl disaster). For lovers of soccer, it’s not a really difficult question because Andriy Shevchenko quickly springs to mind. A different Shevchenko might spring to mind for those not interested in sports. Inna Shevchenko, FEMEN (nsfw) leader and self-professed sextremist has been drawing a lot of attention to Ukraine, the birth place of a new kind of feminism called sextremism. She’s now based in Paris where she has established a training centre to train even more sextremists.
Who owns the Senkaku/Diaoyu/Diaoyutai islets and why are two powerful nations (three if you include Taiwan) flexing muscles over them? A small number of uninhabited or uninhabitable rocks jutting out of the sea don’t seem to be pricey real estate in the eyes of a simpleton but knowing ownership comes along with fishing rights, miles of pacific ocean and potential oil and gas deposits, then waging war might be worth it. Taiwan can’t even formally declare itself independent of China, yet it doesn’t want to be left out. Its presence in this tussle can be likened to interference by Rey Mysterio in a WrestleMania match between Big Show and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin nursing an injured knee and of course a dignified Mr. McMahon (USA) pulling some strings in the background.
Don’t come to the UK! That might become the new slogan of a country that generates over £100 billion per annum in revenue from tourism. There’s more to the slogan than meets the eye nevertheless, its purpose can be easily misconstrued if received by those it is not directed to. The new slogan is the core message of a proposed elaborate ad campaign by the UK government meant to discourage immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania; two of the poorest countries in the EU with a combined population of 26 million who will be free to live and work in the UK next year. Although the ad campaign is creative and innovative, it brings to mind Mitt Romney’s disastrous idea of “self deportation” by illegal immigrants across the pond as a solution to the prevailing immigration dilemma in his country.
You’ll never find a theory whose expression is so ubiquitous like the Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT). If you have ever witnessed a foreign student trying to communicate with local students or stewards of expatriates trying their best to be understood, then you’ve probably seen the theory in action. The two examples cited here are convergence processes of the theory while the other two accommodation processes are divergence and over-accommodation. The accommodation processes are sometimes necessary for effective communication between speakers of a common language with different speech patterns and sometimes, speakers can unintentionally engage in one of the three processes of the theory. From my observation, you can easily predict which of the processes people will engage in based on their country of origin and whom they are speaking with.