Language Facts: Europe


🌹 Bulgarian – The Language of Roses 🌹

Interesting Fact: Bulgarian is one of the oldest Slavic languages, with historical evidence dating back to the 9th century.

🙏 Common Phrase: “Благодаря” (Blagodarya – Thank you).

🐺 Favourite Idiom: “На вълка козината, а на козата вълчината” (Na vulka kozinata, a na kozata vulchinata – The wolf gets the goat’s fur, and the goat gets the wolf’s skin, meaning each gets what they deserve).

🌺 Cultural Tidbit: Bulgaria is a world leader in the production of essential oils – in particular rose oil – for which its exports are responsible for 3/4s of the world’s total supply.

Aerial View of the Water Dam in Vacha Reservoir, Bulgaria

🌌Danish – The Language of the Northern Lights 🌌

🤯 Interesting Fact: Danish has nine vowels and even more vowel sounds (22 or 23) and is actually one of the languages with the most vowel sounds.

👌 Common Phrase: “Det er fedt” (It’s awesome/cool) – “fedt” means ‘fat’ in Danish, but “det er fedt” or just fedt is used quite often by Danes to point out something is cool or great.

🐮Favourite Idiom: “Der er ingen ko på isen” (There’s no cow on the ice – meaning there’s no need to worry).

🚲 Cultural Tidbit: In Denmark, cycling is the king of transportation. If you can master the art of biking through Copenhagen’s busy streets, you’re practically Danish!

Boats along Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo from Pexels

🏰 Czech – The Language of Castles and Legends 🏰

🔤 Interesting Fact: Czech is known for its challenging pronunciation and unique sounds, including the ř character, which is a rolled ‘r’ combined with ‘ž’, unique to the Czech language.

🍻 Common Phrase: “Na zdraví!” (To health! – similar to Cheers!)

🌳Favourite Idiom: “Když se kácí les, létají třísky” (When the wood is chopped, chips fly – meaning there are always some risks involved in achieving something).

🌉 Cultural Tidbit: In the Czech Republic, the love for beer runs deep. It’s not just a drink but a proud part of the national heritage and culture. If you can order a pivo in a local pub, you’re well on your way to fitting in with the Czechs!

Drone Shot of the City of Prague

☘ Irish – The Whisper of the Emerald Isles ☘

🦄 Interesting Fact: Irish, or Gaeilge, is a Goidelic language of the Celtic language family, and while they come from the same roots, it is distinctly different from Scottish Gaelic.

🍻 Common Phrase: “Sláinte” (slawn-cha – Health! or Cheers!).

🏡 Favorite Idiom: “Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin” (There’s no hearth like your own hearth – meaning there’s no place like home).

😝 Cultural Tidbit: In Ireland, storytelling is an art form, and the gift of gab is said to be granted by kissing the Blarney Stone. So, pucker up and prepare to tell tales like a local!

View of the cliffs at Baltimore, CO, Ireland

🏛 Greek – The Language of Philosophers 🏛

📐 Interesting Fact: Greek is the only language to have a mathematical constant named after a letter in its alphabet, Pi (π).

🙋‍♂️ Common Phrase: “Καλημέρα” (Kaliméra – Good Morning!)

Favourite Idiom: ” Πέφτω από τα σύννεφα” (I’m falling from the clouds” – to a big shock or surprise – negatively!)

🥗 Cultural Tidbit: Greeks are known for their hospitality, and it’s said that if you’re not careful, you might end up adopted by a Greek family after just one visit!

White Concrete House Near Body of Water Under White and Blue Cloudy Sky , Santorini, Greece

🔥 ❄ Icelandic – The Language of Fire and Ice ❄🔥

🧙‍♂️ Interesting Fact: Icelandic has remained so unchanged for centuries, modern speakers can still read the old sagas without much trouble. It’s like time travel, but with more vowels!

🐳 Common Phrase: “Gaman að kynnast þér” (Nice to meet you)

🏔 Favourite Idiom: “Ég kem alveg af fjöllum!” (I come completely from the mountains! – useful when you feel entirely out of the loop of a conversation!)

😎 Cultural Tidbit: Icelanders love their hot springs, and they believe good ideas come from a good soak. So, if you’re stuck on a problem, just jump into the nearest geothermal pool!

Sun Voyager Sculpture in Reykjavik, Iceland

🐲 Welsh – The Language of Dragons and Singers 🐲

🎲 Interesting Fact: Welsh has words that are almost all consonants, so if you’re playing Scrabble, you’re in luck!

🙌 Common Phrase: “Sut wyt ti?” (How are you?).

🐝 Favourite Idiom: “Gorau adnabod, dilyn bicell” (The best way to know someone is to follow the bee).

🎶 Cultural Tidbit: Wales is famous for its choirs, and it’s rumoured that even the sheep join in the harmonies!

Twr Mawr Lighthouse on Ynys Llanddwyn on Anglesey, Wales

🖼 French – The Language of Elegance and Artistry 🖼

🍷 Interesting Fact: French is often considered one of the most romantic languages in the world. It’s a Romance language that evolved from Latin, like Italian and Spanish. However, French is unique in that it was heavily influenced by the next-door Germanic languages, making it the most divergent from Latin. Its grammar rules are treated with the kind of reverence usually reserved for fine wines and fancy cheese.

🧀 Common Phrase: “Comment ça va?” translates to “How’s it going?” and is used with friends, family, and those of similar social status. It is an informal way of asking how someone is doing.

🎭 Favourite Idiom: “L’habit ne fait pas le moine” (The habit doesn’t make the monk, meaning appearances can be deceiving).

🗼 Cultural Tidbit: French literature, art, and philosophy have left an indelible mark on human history. From Voltaire’s wit to Monet’s brushstrokes, French creativity continues to inspire and captivate.

A view of the Eifel Tower, Paris, France

🌇 Swedish – The Language of Viking Lore and Midnight Sun 🌇

☕ Interesting Fact: Swedish, like a well-crafted IKEA manual, combines Germanic roots with Latin influences. It’s spoken by over 10 million Swedes, who casually switch between fika (coffee breaks) and discussing the weather.
🍻 Common Phrase: “Skål!” (Cheers!)
⚖ Favourite Idiom: “Lagom är bäst” (Moderation is best, meaning balance is key).
🌺 Cultural Tidbit: In Sweden, they celebrate Midsummer by dancing around maypoles, wearing flower crowns, and pretending it’s not dark at 2 a.m. Because when you have endless summer nights, why not?

Colorful Houses in Smogen, Sweden