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From Tourist to Real New Yorker… all the secrets.

Done. You finally booked your 2 weeks holiday direction New York City, Statue of Liberty, Empite State Building, the MET, Soho, Times Square, Central Park… everything is on your list. Ready for a lifetime experience? Oh, wait a minute, I think you just forgot something (no, I don’t mean your favorite wool jumper with the Santa Claus on it!) but the final ingredient to your amazing trip: how to become a real New Yorker.  Let me help you with few tips before taking off.

Secret #1 – Black is the new trend

New Yorkers are fashionable and make sure it stays that way. No colour, no prints or fantasy clothes, so the Hawaiian shirt that you love so much can stay in your wardrobe. (with the Christmas jumper actually!) By wearing black, you will never be wrong; it’s always trendy and will go with everything. Read more

Which City Speaks the Most Languages?

Which city speaks the most languages? It’s not London, nor any of the metropolises of Europe.  It’s actually New York City. This city of immigrants is also the most linguistically diverse city in the world. Want to learn more? Here are 7 interesting facts about New York City and its languages.

There are over 800  languages spoken in New York City.

For reference, the most linguistically diverse country in the world is Papua New Guinea, with 820 languages. New York crams almost that many into a single city. Nowhere else comes close. Even London “only” has around 300 different languages.

Queens is the most linguistically diverse neighborhood in the entire world.queens_montage_2012_1-1

“The capital of linguistic diversity, not just for the five boroughs, but for the human species, is Queens,” according to Rebecca Solnit and Joshua-Jelly Schapiro’s  Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas.  Residents of Queens speak approximately 138 languages, according to 2000 census data.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that Queens also holds the Guinness World Record for the most diverse place on the planet. Read more

Arabic Becomes Popular Language Choice At New York City’s Friends Seminary

When New York City’s Friends Seminary began offering high school courses on Arabic language and culture two years ago, the decision was not without controversy, especially since few of the school’s students are of Arabic descent.  In particular, some parents were concerned that by offering the language, the school was taking sides in the interminable conflict between Israel and Palestine.

However, the classes have proved quite popular, attracting a group of dedicated students who plan to continue studying the language, both in US colleges and abroad. And although more students take Spanish and French, the Arabic students seem more inclined to use the language outside of school and to seek out future careers that revolve around speaking it. For example, the New York Times interviewed the first nine graduating seniors in the Arabic class, and this is what they found:

Of the nine graduating seniors who studied Arabic, all plan to continue — most applied only to colleges that offer the language; several say Ms. Swank’s classes influenced their thoughts about their futures. For Mr. Adamopoulos, that might mean practicing medicine in an Arabic-speaking country. Mr. Smith-Stevens, who starts Middlebury College in the fall, intends to major in international relations, with a focus on the Middle East. Even Mr. Peebles, who hopes to keep performing, plans to continue his Arabic studies at Tufts University. “Inshallah,” he added — God willing.

With the relationship between the Muslim world and the United States becoming more and more tense, it’s encouraging to see young people who are willing to bridge the gap between the two cultures. Hopefully, more US schools will begin to offer Arabic as an option in high school, since students are much more likely to become fluent if they start studying a language in high school rather than college.