[Repost] Saint Patrick’s Day (on Independent.co.uk)

Saint Patrick’s Day: Google Doodle marks patron saint of Ireland – here are 10 things you didn’t know about the man himself

Sunday 16 March 2014

Google has celebrated St Patrick’s Day with a saintly green stained-glass Doodle on its search page.

Whether you are planning to join raucous revelries and ingest more green food dye than is healthy, or spend a quiet evening with a hearty plate of colcannon, be sure to arm yourself with the following surprising facts about the day’s namesake to impress your companions.

1. St Patrick isn’t Irish

Despite being the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick was born in Britain around 385AD, to aristocratic parents Calpurnius and Conchessa. It is unclear whether they lived in Scotland or Wales, but they are believed to be Romans and are thought to have owned a townhouse, country villa, and many slaves.

2. He was a slave, and wasn’t religious until he was an adult

At 16, he was kidnapped by traders, sent to the Irish countryside and made to tend to sheep as a slave. This is where he turned to God after being ambivalent towards religion as a child.


3. Voices told him he could escape his captors

Six years into his captivity, St Patrick apparently heard a voice urging him to travel to a distant port where a ship would be waiting to take him back to Britain. During the journey, he was captured again, and taken to France for 60 days where he learned about monasticism.

4. He escaped again, and rose up the early Church’s ranks

After making his escape and having found God, he became a priest in his twenties, and eventually became a bishop

5. He gained his sainthood by becoming a missionary

Aged around 30, he was tasked with becoming a missionary and returned to Ireland, where he successfully converted many Celtic pagans to Christianity.

6. He gave the shamrock its significance

It was as a preacher that he used the shamrock, now the unofficial national flower of Ireland, as a symbol of the holy trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

7. Snakes never lived in Ireland…

St Patrick has been credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland, although science now suggests that water-locked Ireland did not ever have any snakes.

8. Green wasn’t his colour

Like St Nicholas who is mistakenly associated with the colour red – and actually wore green – St Patrick dressed in blue vestments.

9. He was partial to a shot or two of whiskey

Reassuringly for anyone who feels guilty indulging too heavily on a Saint’s day, it is believed St Patrick said everyone should have more than just a swig of whiskey on his feast day. He apparently chastised an innkeeper who served him too little of the drink.

10. He died on his feast day

St Patrick is thought to have died on his feast day, 17 March, in 461AD. It is a national holiday in Ireland, and on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean, which was founded by Irish refugees.

Cf. original piece: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/saint-patricks-day-as-google-doodle-marks-irish-national-holiday-here-are-10-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-saint-himself-9193795.html

[Repost] Vuoi fare conversazione in una lingua straniera? (by Francesca Cosi e Alessandra Repossi)


Articolo originale apparso su:
Studio editoriale Cosi e Repossi –> http://www.cosierepossi.com/2014/03/imparare-lingue-scambi-di-conversazione.html

Vuoi fare conversazione

in una lingua straniera?

Hai mai fatto scambi di conversazione per imparare o perfezionare una lingua straniera? Per metà del tempo parli italiano e per l’altra metà la lingua del tuo interlocutore.

Se una volta era necessario incontrarsi di persona, oggi su internet è possibile organizzare gratuitamente scambi con utenti di tutto il mondo, grazie al sito ConversationExchange.

Su ConversationExchange la procedura è semplicissima: cliccando su “Cerca un partner di conversazione” al centro della pagina, si apre un form in cui dobbiamo inserire la lingua del nostro interlocutore, la nostra e spuntare la casella “Usando un chat software“. In base a questi dati, il sito ci offre una lista di utenti che rispondono alle nostre esigenze e che potremo contattare via Skype o con uno degli altri software suggeriti.

Se poi vogliamo incontrarli di persona, è sufficiente selezionare la casella “Conversazione faccia a faccia“, il paese e la città in cui vogliamo organizzare lo scambio.

Abbiamo messo alla prova il sito cercando interlocutori madrelingua portoghesi e i risultati sono stati incoraggianti: abbiamo trovato 251 utenti disposti a scambiare online conversazioni in questa lingua con l’italiano e 2 brasiliani che accettano anche incontri face to face a Firenze.

E tra una conversazione e l’altra è possibile ampliare il nostro vocabolario con Memrise, che permette di creare e rafforzare i collegamenti mentali tra una parola italiana e il corrispettivo nella lingua scelta arrivando a memorizzare 1000 vocaboli stranieri in 22 ore. Da provare!

La foto è stata scattata nel 1973 da Charles O’Rear ed è disponibilequi.

[Repost] Ten Things You Must Never Do to Your Colleagues

by  on Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cf. original piece: http://najit.org/blog/?p=1793

Ten Things You Must Never Do to Your Colleagues

  1. Do not give advice freely, even if you think it would be helpful, unless you are specifically asked for it.  It is far better to just lend an ear. Most people just need a sounding board to express their thoughts and come to a decision about events in their lives, professional or otherwise.
  2. Do not refuse to share resources.  If you can help to make an assignment come off better with the product of your research, don’t hold back. It will make you look better to your colleague and the team better to the audience.  Remember that if your partner is not up to par for some reason, you will be judged together, not necessarily separately.  I am not, however, by any means condoning interpreters who consciously fail to do their part.
  3. Do not increase on-site drama by making unnecessary comments about the assignment, players, conditions, etc. If it’s a tough gig, you have enough on your hands without revving up the emotions, which will not improve anything  and only serve to put everyone more on edge.  Strive to put everyone at ease, focusing on the positive.
  4. Do not give work recommendations unless you are fully in agreement with doing so. Do not cave-in out of embarrassment.  It is better to blush once, if necessary,  than to have a permanent red face over possible fallout.
  5. Do not show off, either by hogging the microphone, speaking of past assignments, dropping names, etc. You don’t need to forcefully demonstrate how good you are.  Others will form their opinion of you based on your unaffected performance.
  6. Do not be late. There are very few, if any excuses in my book for this, and it speaks volumes about you both professionally and personally. You may be the best interpreter in the world but if I can’t count on you when I need you, it doesn’t matter.
  7. Do not show up unprepared. Even if you don’t have specific direction as to how to study for an assignment, there is always some generic research that can be done to help you navigate more easily through a difficult job. If you have a reputation for prepping, it will precede you favorably with both clients and colleagues.
  8. Do not gossip. Either about colleagues, clients or assignments.  There is absolutely no upside to this and you will be classified by others accordingly.
  9. Do not share personal information regarding clients, fees, payment practices & conditions. The scales of justice are not balanced on your shoulders.  Each professional needs to sort this out and you are not the arbiter.
  10. Do not force yourself into the lives of others, be it clients, colleagues or otherwise.  If you are interested in a relationship, put your best foot forward and show it but don’t overdo it. The Universe is at least as smart as we are and will choose who we should be with at any particular time for our own good. Remember that everything happens for a reason.

I look forward to  hearing about your own list of Don’ts and experiences in this regard.