|Picture by Muu-karhu (Wikipedia Commons)
Carnival season is upon us, and that means many things. First, obviously the wild parties going on in many countries around the world right at this moment, where masks, costumes and music rule the day. And second, that each Carnival celebrating region is also celebrating and honoring, among other things, its own individuality and uniqueness.
It might be hard to see, what with all the glitter, the colors and the cheerfulness all around, but Carnival is a cultural statement – and as such, it is a festival of languages, as well. As a person who is writing from the epicenter of one of the most famous Carnivals in Europe, the Cologne Carnival, I can assure you that if I walk down the street right now and listen to some of the conversations taking place, and I will probably understand only a small percentage of what is being said. And not only because of all the beer that’s being consumed as a general rule, but also, because Carnival is a time to speak and sing in the regional dialect of the area, Kölsch.
It’s not even taught at schools, and very few actually speak it fluently, but Kölsch survives thanks to local pride and festivities such as this one. Music groups sing songs that sound German, but are not; people greet each other on the street with a very Kölsch “Alaaf!”, instead of a “Guten Morgen”. That is the Kölsch spirit; that is the Kölsch individuality.
And the same happens with other Carnivals, of course. Take the Carnival of Venice. You will probably learn more Venetan if you happen to be there at this time of the year than at any other. Or go to Rio de Janeiro: apart from dancing to the rhythms of the Samba (which actually originated in Africa), you will hear bands singing in African dialects, a commemoration of their own identity as opposed to the traditional Carnival that was brought upon them during the Portuguese colonization. African and Native American dialects can also be heard in the famous Mardi Gras in New Orleans during the big Parade. In Spain, different parts of the country –Canary Islands, Northen Navarre, Catalonia- celebrate different kinds of Carnivals emphasizing their own dialects and idioms. The examples could go on forever.
It is clear that the world does not have an official language. Even countries which do have an official language most often have uncountable variables, dialects and accents that account for an impossible-to-grasp variety of cultures, identities and whole different languages.
And that is why translation is vital and important to keep this flow going. Because people love to have fun with their own individual language. Because languages are fun, and worth celebrating. inwhatlanguage enjoys offering the best translation services to make this world a little more fun and colorful – and with amazing offers, like our time-limited 20% off discount for Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese and Chineseprojects until the end of February!
Let’s celebrate languages together!