The other day, I witnessed a fascinating scene in the office. I was quietly working on my computer while something incredible happened next to me.
Our Italian, Russian and Taiwanese coaches were having a culture shock.
The culprit is none other than “@”.
Who could have thought such a common symbol would lead our team to have an explosion of amazement?
Here is the reason why: In Italy, it’s called a snail. In Russia, it’s a dog and in Taiwan it’s a little mouse.
And then, I was very disappointed because in France, we have a special name for it “arobase”, which sounded way less creative than other coaches’ languages.
By doing some research, we discovered that this symbol is used all over the world for the same purpose but rarely has the same name. In some Eastern European languages it is called a monkey, and the list goes on…
This moment showed me once again that languages are amazing. It is not just about pure linguistic differences, they are also rich in meaning, metaphors and images.
I would have never seen the resemblance between a “@” and a monkey, but now it makes sense!
Questioning the way we name things can bring many beautiful discoveries, either in our native language or other languages. As a Japanese learner, I find myself amazed by the meaning of kanji sometimes. Let me give you an example:
上手：jouzu which means “skilled, good at doing something”
The first kanji (上) means “up” and the second (手) means “hand”.
When you are good at something you have an upper hand. Isn’t it brilliant?
As a multilingual enthusiast, I am always looking forward to these mesmerizing moments that you would never have by sticking to your native language.
It makes me feel like a kid discovering the world all over again, and it is extremely refreshing.
Do you have any amazing linguistic discoveries too?
Olivia was born and raised in the Loire Valley in France, she majored in International and European business law. Passionate about languages and multiculturalism, she decided to take the opportunity to live in Tokyo for a semester as an exchange student in Chuo University. Once back to France, she worked as an in-house legal counsel in contract and business law. Slowly missing living abroad within an international environment, she then decided to build her own opportunity and go back to Japan in a move to become fluent in Japanese. This is when she joined Veritas, feeling highly motivated about the value it creates to its clients and willingness to contribute to the goals of Japanese’s ambitious leaders of tomorrow.