Sounds of Europe
We are used to hear various kind of sounds in our every-day life, but we often tend to forget that all those sounds are the product of a national culture and history. If one tries to listen to sounds in other European countries, one may notice little differences. Police sirens are for instance really different from one country to another. The bells and chimes of the main European cathedrals don’t ring the same way. And if you listen carefully to the ringings in the undergrounds, you will without doubt observe small variations. This section is about all those brief sounds in Europe.
There is much to be learned from a single animal actually. The cock, for instance makes undoubtedly exactly the same sound all over Europe when he crows. But surprisingly European people do not hear the same onomatopoeia as they listen to him, and consequently do not translate it the same way in letters. This constitutes the funny list above with every European cockcrow, accompanied by some explanations on the importance of this animal in every country. If you want to hear the pro[…]
Did you know that the expression of “the dog being the man’s best friend” was first recorded as being made by Frederick II, King of Prussia, referring to one of his Italian greyhounds? Europe was already there, in this Italo-Prussian friendship! Of course Frederick II knew that dogs make undoubtedly exactly the same sound all over Europe when they bark. But surprisingly Europeans do not hear the same sound as they listen to it, and consequently do not translate it the same way in letters. We already listened to how the cock crows all over Europe. Let’s now discover how the dog barks! Be […]
Achoo! Atchoum! Hatschi! Etcì! Why does the same body reaction produces different sounds all over Europe? This is funny and entertaining to notice that all Europeans use a different onomatopeia to transcribe into words the act of sneezing. This shows the creativity of our languages. And all Europeans do not tend to answer the same way after someone sneezes. For religious reasons, some will reply “Jesus”, “God Bless You” or even “may God put a blanket over you” after sneezing ; others will just answer “to your health”, “health” or “be healthy” and others will just say “wealthiness”, “beauty” or “to your wis […]
A two-person conversation can be sometimes like a tennis match. Inevitably there are short periods of silence as people pause to let the other person take over the speaking. But sometimes a speaker doesn’t want to give up his/her turn and instead wants a little extra time to think about what he is going to say next. They use a “filler” to signal this. We, Europeans, are a hesitant bunch, and those filler offer us brief moments of reflection. A filler can be a sound or word that is spoken in conversation by one participant to signal to others that he/she has paused to think but has not yet finished speaking. Of course, different languages have different characteristic filler sounds […]
Beurk! Yuck! Eca! Bleah! Disgust is experienced primarily in relation to the sense of taste (either perceived or imagined), and secondarily to anything which causes a similar feeling by sense of smell, touch, or vision. Researchers found that the emotion of disgust has evolved as a response to offensive foods that may cause harm to the organism. Experiences even showed that human beings naturally express disgust in reactions to mouldy milk or contaminated meat. To some extend, it is then somehow funny to discover that all European languages developed their own words to express disgust in front of a dirty mark, a distasteful meal or a horrible smell. This led to a great diversity […]
The old continent has experienced many centuries of wars and self destruction. Europeans share consequently a common history of suffering and pain. But when pain is being transcribed into words, it is interesting to notice that citizens in Europe don’t share the same expressions. Ache is not a sound in itself, but every culture needed to put this feeling into words to define this internal experience. It comes to the following list of interjections used in Europe when somebody screams because of pain. If “Au” tends to be the most common, many other forms coexist to express one’s soreness in all parts of the continent […]
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