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Category: Education Unveiled in News Page 1 of 2

As We File In To The Classroom, I Have A Feeling Of Dread. What If The Teacher Asks Me A Question?’

To access the returns of Esther Addley to Foyle and Londonderry College in Northern Ireland, click here. For Hannah Pool’s return to Parrs Wood High School in south Manchester, click here. To see Gareth McLean’s return to Linlithgow Academy in West Lothian, click here. And to view Stephen Moss’s return to Hartridge High School in Newport, click here.

When I had to choose between the local girls’ school and the comprehensive school, my dad was initially inclined towards the former, fearing distractions from boys. However, I convinced him that all my friends were going to the comprehensive, and that boys were repulsive anyway. Thus, in 1986, I enrolled as one of 1,800 students at Parrs Wood High School in Didsbury, south Manchester. The school was a run-down monster, reminiscent of something from the eastern bloc. During rainy days, black buckets would line the corridors, and reaching the school involved traversing a large metal bridge above a busy dual carriageway. Upon descending, one would land on a concrete field known pretentiously as the "hard concourse."

Initially, it took weeks to learn one’s way around the school, and it was easy to get lost or delayed. Despite all the disarray and gloom, Parrs Wood had a lot of playing fields, although they were marshy and far from ideal. Today, the school has undergone significant changes, with an entertainment complex occupying the former site and a new state-of-the-art school erected nearby.

Although my brother attends the new sixth form and my sister is in year nine, it remains odd to me that they attend a completely different school from the one I went to. Before returning to my alma mater, my dad gives me a file with my old reports, some of which had a dismissive tone, particularly with regards to my spelling and concentration issues. Nevertheless, I embrace the chance to return to school, scrambling to get ready while adhering to the school’s new uniform regulations.

In the past, the school uniform was merely a black jumper, black trousers or skirt, and a blue or white shirt. Now, students wear a jade green sweatshirt for younger years and a black sweatshirt with green trimming for year 10 and 11 students, to be paired with black trousers or skirts. Although I try my best to comply, I am forced to improvise with a black top with polka dots, skinny black pants, and makeup, which is prohibited.

To access the full story, follow the links above for each respective individual’s return to their former high school.

After a brief interval, I find myself in the midst of Miss Jan’s food technology class hearing about the value of carbohydrates. On today’s menu is a pasta bake with white sauce. After a quick 10-minute demo, the entire class huddles up in their mini-kitchens with about 30 pupils cooking their personal pasta bakes. With all the bustling noise, I finally complete preparing a modest yet well-made pasta bake whilst also getting a headache.

During the break, we head over to the outdoors to get some fresh air, and I’m amazed to know that the tuck shop has ceased to exist due to Jamie Oliver’s initiatives. However, the cafeteria serves healthy food like muffins, toast and fruits. I gobble up a banana and later, we attend geography with Ms Lister.

The whiteboard has the objective written: "To comprehend the events of Mount St Helens." Before me lies a green table with "Haven 4 Tash" inscribed in Tipp-Ex. While the majority of the class watches a video on a volcano’s eruption, a few students throw rubber pieces around, bang the tables and swing their chairs. The teacher intermittently tells them to remain silent, but it doesn’t last long. If their conduct reaches C3, they receive a half-hour detention. The children are funny, quick-witted and cheeky. By lunchtime, I’m famished and slightly excited to visit the school cafeteria.

Due to the healthy food initiatives introduced by Jamie Oliver, I don’t find pizzas, chips or Twizzlers. Instead, I opt for baked potatoes with cheese and salad, which is my regular lunch when I eat at the office canteen. The only difference is that I can’t walk to the stores after my meal. Instead, I spend my break idling around and worrying about my math class in the afternoon.

The feeling of dread looms over me as we enter the classroom for math. What if the teacher decides to ask me a question? Math was never my forté, and I peaked at the age of ten. I wonder if it’s more embarrassing to crack a lame joke than to answer a question incorrectly. Mr Overland initiates rollcall, and I notice that each pupil picks up a swipe card in the morning to check-in. We indulge in a round of Countdown, but playing with teenagers is not the best idea as it only highlights a person’s inadequacies. Then we watch the second video for the day. The lesson is exhaustive, but the tricks and techniques used to make it engaging inspire me. With the videos, interactive classes and worksheets, no segment lasts more than a few minutes. Teaching for the PlayStation generation, indeed.

Finally, we end the day with French class, discussing imaginary ailments and pointing to different body parts. By the end of the day, I am worn out, craving for some chocolate, wine, and a probable need for Valium. Going to school isn’t as terrible as one thinks, but it is exhausting. J’ai mal à la tête (I have a headache).

In conclusion, I realize that school wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. Has anything changed since I was there? It felt smoother, brighter, swifter and more student-focused. I don’t understand how this complies with all the stories about the deteriorating state of education, but it is evident that school is better.

Vast Majority Of Educators Reject Republican Proposals For Arming Teachers

Following the recent mass shooting at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 children and two adults, Republican politicians have rejected calls for gun control and put forward proposals such as arming teachers and beefing up police presence and security at schools.

However, many American teachers have criticized these suggestions, arguing that they would be ineffective solutions and mere distractions from the real problem – the interests of gun lobbyists and manufacturers, who heavily fund and support Republican politicians.

Jim Gard, a high school math teacher in Broward county, Florida, who survived the 2018 Parkland school shooting, stated, “If they cared at all, something would have been done. It would have been done after Columbine. Until they start caring more about people’s lives than worrying about their donations and their own careers and their own power, this will never end.”

Furthermore, Elizabeth Boyd Graham, a high school teacher in Houston, Texas, remarked, “If more guns made it safer, we’d be the safest country in the world, and we’re not. The states with the weakest gun laws have the highest amount of gun violence."

Notably, a 2019 survey conducted by a researcher at California State University, Northridge found that 95.3% of the more than 2,900 teachers around the US surveyed felt that teachers should not be carrying guns in the classroom. Jourden Armstrong, a teacher for 15 years in Michigan, explained, “I went to college to become a teacher, not a law enforcement officer,” citing that more sensible gun regulation was necessary.

The National Education Association has also criticized proposals of arming teachers, with Becky Pringle, its president, highlighting, “Bringing more guns into schools makes schools more dangerous and does nothing to shield our students and educators from gun violence. We need fewer guns in schools, not more. Teachers should be teaching, not acting as armed security guards.”

Additionally, several teachers fear retaliation for speaking out against these proposals and prefer to remain anonymous.

According to a teacher in Houston, public education in Texas is already experiencing a severe lack of resources due to underfunding. This issue has been highlighted in a 2021 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which revealed that Texas ranks 40th out of 50 states and Washington DC in public education funding, spending only $11,987 per student annually. This amount is more than $3,000 less than the national average of $15,114.

The Houston teacher further elaborated on the problematic situation in their school, stating that there is a lack of essential personnel such as a nurse or a librarian. Additionally, teachers are not reimbursed for purchasing school supplies out of their own pockets, which further exacerbates the issue of underfunding in the education system. To put matters into perspective, even something as simple as a pizza party for students couldn’t be funded by the district.

The teacher mentions that the situation is tragic and that they don’t have textbooks for their subject area. On the other hand, the district seems to find funding for other less necessary items such as guns, which further highlights the skewed priorities in the system. As a result, the teacher expresses a desire to obtain a color printer for the classroom instead of being given a gun following the tragic Santa Fe shooting.

In summary, the lack of resources and underfunding in the education system in Texas is a significant issue that needs to be addressed. Teachers are finding it increasingly difficult to provide quality education to students, and it’s essential that necessary steps are taken to rectify this problem.

Stormzy Effect’: Record Number Of Black Britons Studying At Cambridge

The recent surge in the number of black British students enrolling at the University of Cambridge is being attributed to the “Stormzy effect.” After the musician supported scholarships for black students at the institution, Cambridge has reported that 91 black British students were admitted as first-year undergraduates at the start of the academic year. This marks an increase of almost 50% in comparison to the previous year’s 61 students and takes the total number of black undergraduates at the university to over 200, marking a first-time high. Last year, grime music sensation and the first black British solo artist to headline Glastonbury Festival, Stormzy, established two scholarships designed to support black students at Cambridge. In August, he then announced that he would also fund the tuition fees and living expenses of an additional two students. Since the announcement, the university claimed that it has seen an increase in the number of black students engaging in outreach activities and making enquiries about its courses, resulting in a rise in applications. This trend is also attributable to the influence of Courtney Daniella, a Cambridge graduate and YouTube influencer, who appeared in videos aimed at dispelling misconceptions about studying at the institution. Cambridge has also announced a record number of black, Asian and minority ethnic students admitted this year with the group now accounting for nearly 27% of admissions. According to Graham Virgo, the senior pro-vice-chancellor for education, this highlights years of progress in broadening Cambridge’s appeal to students from a range of backgrounds. However, the Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, noted that more must be done if students from diverse backgrounds are to be universally accepted and accepted at the top universities in the UK.

When Earthquakes Hit, It’s The Poor City Dwellers That Die

Consider the following scenario: you are located in a city that has experienced an earthquake. The initial tremors, which cause the ground to shake up and down, arrive gradually at a speed of around 4,000 miles per hour. These vibrations continue for a few minutes, during which time a second, slower set of waves materialize. These vibrations shake the foundation of the earth side to side, traveling at an approximate speed of 2,000 miles per hour. As a result, your house oscillates from side to side, generating significant pressure on its brickwork, roof beams, and wall supports.

The critical issue at hand is what factors determine the likelihood of loss in such an event, including potential loss of life, limb, livelihood, or home. The solution is relatively straightforward: to be at the greatest risk, you must live in a poor nation with a corrupt, dishonest, or inefficient government.

Sadly, this is the case for more than half of the world’s population since they reside in urban areas. By 2010, about 73 percent of the world’s urban population will be found in developing nations, with many individuals residing in unregulated housing. Approximately one billion people live in shantytowns and slums, and this number is increasing annually by 25 million.

Ultimately, if the walls in your dwelling collapse or if the roof caves in, it is more likely to occur within your slum tenement, your child’s school, or at the shabby sweatshop where you attempt to earn a dollar a day. These findings are supported by a 200-page study by the UN’s International Strategy for Natural Disaster Reduction, which collected data from 1975 to 2007. A group of professionals, including meteorologists, seismologists, vulcanologists, earthquake engineers, hydrologists, and flood control experts, analyzed the numbers. Words like "death" and "economic destruction" are not theoretical concepts for these academicians.

Risk And Poverty In A Changing Climate tells a depressing tale. The world’s cities have grown progressively perilous, and climate change and environmental destruction in rural areas will exacerbate the issue. This is because the combination of global warming and habitat deterioration will make it more challenging to live in rural areas, resulting in even more individuals being pushed towards cities. This will also boost the likelihood of flooding, drought, and other climate-related catastrophes, resulting in an ever-greater number of potential casualties concentrated in unregulated housing in crowded urban areas.

Within this broader picture, some fascinating extra risk factors exist. A disproportionate percentage of the planet’s surface pose the most significant dangers. For instance, over the past three decades, Bangladesh, India, and China accounted for 75 percent of the flood fatality risk due to their heavy population density. Countries without any coastal area or too much of it, such as small island states and land-locked developing nations, are the most economically vulnerable. They are already impoverished and are hit hardest by modest natural disasters.

Vanuatu, a beautiful Pacific coral island paradise, harbors the most significant potential fatalities from a tropical cyclone, with St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean following closely behind. These islands lie on the paths of tropical storms and, like many other places, are impoverished. The number of people in Japan at risk from typhoons is similar to the number at risk in the Philippines. Regardless of this fact, fatalities in the latter nation are 17 times more likely since being impoverished makes a difference in every sense.

While natural disasters also impact the well-off, the world’s costliest natural disasters have occurred in Japan and the United States. However, both countries have robust economies, with citizens possessing insurance coverage, employment options, bank accounts with money, access to good roads, and helpful communities and governments with clear disaster response plans. Individual losses may transpire, but communities can recover.

Unfortunately, natural disasters incur a terrible and far-reaching toll on impoverished nations. Individuals who survive may lose everything they own in a flood or cyclone, including their families, homes, crops, livestock, tools, bedding, stores, roads, friends, schools, and even the nearest medical clinic. They may also live in nations where the government is unable or unwilling to assist in the situation.

The poor may require years to return to their previous living standards after a disaster, leaving them at risk of the same calamity in the future. Those that could benefit the most from a national or regional effort to plan for natural disasters are precisely the ones who get impacted the hardest.

The issue lies with governments that are weak, corrupt, or ineffectual as they are less inclined to implement plans that would benefit the most vulnerable sections of society.

Furthermore, due to the ever-increasing population, the number of individuals at risk of facing natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, droughts, forest fires, and landslides continues to rise. The forests are being destroyed, the soil is eroding, and the landscapes are drying up, which is compromising the natural protection against disasters like these.

The growth in population and the economy is causing the emission of greenhouse gases, which is likely to increase the frequency and intensity of climate-related hazards.

Countries that are already struggling with poverty, environmental degradation, and geography will be the hardest hit by these hazards, and it is unfortunate that governments in these countries are likely to be the least effective. It is indeed a disheartening situation.

Bill Wright Obituary

Bill Wright, who has passed away at the age of 81 due to cancer, was an extraordinary individual with a diverse range of interests and accomplishments. He was not only a teacher but also a Welsh international race walker, an expert in Spanish language, and an avid supporter of the Nuneaton Borough football club for almost five decades.

Bill was born in Alfreton, Derbyshire, and spent his childhood in south Wales until the age of seven when his family moved to Southampton. In his youth, he had an opportunity to visit Spain, which left a lasting impression on him and inspired him to delve deeper into the country’s culture and language. After completing his education at the Queen Mary College, London, where he focused on studying history and Spanish, he became a teacher. It was during this time that he met Janice Barlow, also a teacher, whom he married and shared a blessed period of 59 years with.

As a teacher, Bill taught business studies and travel and tourism at Hornchurch College in east London before moving to Coventry, where he worked at Henley College for the rest of his career, eventually becoming a senior lecturer and retiring in 1990.

Bill and Janice had two children, Isabel and Alistair, both of whom were born deaf. Bill and his wife were a constant source of support to them and others in the deaf community. In 1992, Bill helped to create the Coventry and Warwickshire sign language interpreting service, one of the earliest initiatives of its kind in the UK.

Aside from his teaching profession and passion for Spanish culture, Bill was a remarkable athlete, becoming the Welsh 10,000 metres champion in 1976. He continued to compete in races well into his 70s and was an influential figure in race walking as a judge, national and regional treasurer, and interpreter for Spanish and Mexican race walking teams. In addition, he coached Andy Penn, a British Olympic competitor from Nuneaton, who acknowledged Bill’s inspiration and guidance as the driver for his success.

Football was another sport that fascinated Bill. Together with his son and other family members, he visited various World Cup and European Championship matches throughout his life, including the 2018 World Cup in Russia. As a long-time supporter of Nuneaton Borough, a minute’s applause was held in his honour during a game after his death.

Bill leaves a profound legacy of kindness, perseverance, and excellence. He is survived by Janice, their children, and their five grandchildren.

Top Of The Class: Labour Seeks To Emulate Finland’s School System

It’s midday at Lintulaakson school in Espoo, a suburb of Helsinki, and the younger children are munching on snacks before their after-school activities commence. In one of the classrooms upstairs, a group of twelve-year-olds are crafting clothes on sewing machines after having carefully cut out their patterns. Meanwhile, outside, children are playing on an enormous playground that boasts football pitches, basketball courts, and climbing frames. As they play, one boy casually calls out "Hey Petteri!" to the principal, Petteri Kuusimäki, asking if they can start school at 10am next year. Kuusimäki laughs and playfully responds to the children, using their first names.

The Finnish education system is well-renowned and respected around the world. Finnish students consistently score highly in the top tiers of the international PISA league tables. During a tour of Lintulaakson school, Kuusimäki describes a utopia of education: a place where educators are well-trained, highly respected, and trusted, and where the well-being of children is of utmost importance. Finland does not have Ofsted-style inspections, and does not stream students by their abilities or have national exams until the age of eighteen. The country also does not have school uniforms, school league tables, or fee-paying private schools.

The Labour party recently committed to following Finland’s lead and to not only abolish Ofsted, but to integrate private schools with the state sector. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn justified this policy by citing examples such as Finland where it is not allowed to charge fees for education. Hundreds of delegations of teachers and policymakers from around the world regularly travel to Helsinki to visit Finnish schools, which are funded on the principle of equality of opportunity for all students. International visits are strictly regulated and are paid for; a presentation costs €682 per hour, while a school visit costs €1,240.

Despite this interest in Finland’s educational system, Finnish educators admit that they do not possess all the answers, and solutions that work in one country often don’t translate well to others. Finnish schools have become more diversified over time, and the curriculum has been revised to better accommodate gifted children. Though there have been some recent changes, such as compulsory pre-school for six-year-olds to help readjust to life in school and an increase in the minimum school leaving age to eighteen, the Finnish education system remains largely the same and focuses on delivering quality schooling that is free of charge.

According to Jerrim, even by outlawing school fees, the resources will only be redirected elsewhere, which could result in unintended consequences, such as an increase in property prices near good schools.

In 2013, Pasi Sahlberg, a renowned Finnish educator, paid a visit to Eton College, the UK’s most renowned and elite boarding school. Sahlberg used to be a maths and science teacher in Helsinki and now travels worldwide to spread awareness of Finnish education and provides consultation on education reform.

Sahlberg recalls that walking the corridors of Eton and watching its students was like going back 200 years in time. Sahlberg stated that even if he had the opportunity to enrol his children in Eton, he would say no. With its rich history, peculiar uniforms, and expensive yearly fees of £40,000, Eton is a far cry from Finland’s schools’ modern egalitarianism.

Sahlberg believes that the most important thing to learn in school is to understand that people come from various backgrounds, but they can learn in the same classroom. Comparatively, Eton boys won’t learn that in their school. Like Jerrim, Sahlberg remains sceptical of other countries seeking to copy the Finland model. He feels that Finland’s schools’ success is dependent on the country’s unique history and culture, small population of 5.5 million, and high taxes.

Sahlberg also deems it unrealistic for the Labour Party to promise to abolish private schools. He believes that private education has become too established, and it’s challenging to eliminate it entirely. In his view, it would be preferable for the Labour Party to strengthen the present state sector in England, which has become fragmented through academisation and free schools. Merely banning private schools and proposing that they be made illegal is unrealistic. There are better alternatives to improve the education sector in England.

Art, Drama And Languages To Become ‘preserve Of Private Schools’ As State Sector Cuts Bite

State schools across England are facing a severe budget crisis, with many being forced to cut back on costly and less popular subjects such as art, drama, design technology, German and French. The majority of state schools are expected to be in the red by the coming academic year due to high energy bills and the rise in teachers’ pay, which has not been fully funded.

As a result, many schools are planning to reduce the number of teaching staff and assistants, with unions and heads cautioning that increased class sizes and a lack of funds could lead to a reduction in the number of subjects offered. Smaller courses with a lower number of students, such as art, drama, German and French, are particularly under threat, as it may no longer be financially viable to maintain them with fewer students enrolled. Design technology is also at risk, given the expense of materials and the need for smaller classes for safety reasons.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, noted that culturally important subjects will become the preserve of private schools if cuts are made across the board. He warned that valuable subjects could disappear, as many schools will not want to admit they are cutting courses due to financial constraints.

The issue is particularly acute at the post-16 level, where schools may need at least 100 students in each year group for certain subjects to be run financially. The funding crisis has also led academies to ask teachers to teach subjects outside their area of specialism, leading to staff frustration and concerns about teacher retention.

Adam Watt, a professor of French at Exeter University, warns that if only those who can afford private education have access to language courses, the future workforce’s potential will be seriously compromised. Apart from directly teaching language skills, learning French and German at school instils valuable communication skills, multi-tasking abilities, flexibility of thought, and awareness of and openness to difference.

Despite the mounting concerns, a spokesperson for the Department for Education (DfE) stated that core funding this year includes a £4bn increase to help schools deliver a “broad and balanced curriculum”.

The Life-saving Qualities Of Pizza

Research conducted in Italy suggests that consuming pizza could have various health benefits. These benefits appear statistically significant when individuals consume pizza as a complete dish rather than its individual ingredients. A study published in Circulation in 2001 by Dario Giugliano, Francesco Nappo, and Ludovico Coppola found that consuming pizza didn’t cause the build-up of atherosclerosis in the blood vessels. Silvano Gallus from the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche in Milan conducted various studies on the health effects of consuming pizza. A report published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2003 found that pizza consumption had an apparently favorable effect on cancer risk. In 2004, Gallus also published a study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, which found that the regular consumption of pizza reduces the risk of digestive tract cancers. Further, research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in the same year suggested that consuming pizza may prevent acute myocardial infarction, while a 2006 study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention found that pizza had no significant role in the risk of sex hormone-related cancers. While these studies all suggest that pizza may be beneficial for health, they did hedge their bets and noted that pizza may only represent a general indicator of the Mediterranean diet’s potential health benefits. These studies apply specifically to Italian-made pizza consumed in Italy, and the effects may be different for foreign pizza or pizza consumed by foreigners.

Anglia Ditches ‘polytechnic’ Tag

After thirteen years of its abolition, the last remaining "polytechnic" has vanished from the UK higher education sector. Anglia Polytechnic University has now changed its name to Anglia Ruskin University so as to remove the confusing "poly" from its title. Vice-chancellor David Tidmarsh stated that the term is outdated in the UK and means different things to different people, hence the decision to adopt a new name that would reflect the university’s reputation for providing quality services and education.

After a period of long consultation, Anglia Ruskin University was eventually chosen from over two hundred suggestions. Other names like Anglia University and Anglia Metropolitan University were discarded. The university’s roots date back to 1858 when a Victorian scholar named John Ruskin founded the School of Art in Cambridge, now incorporated in the university’s campus. Ruskin was an innovative educator who was passionate about equipping students with relevant work skills and ensuring that higher education was attainable by all.

Professor Tidmarsh highlighted that over 90% of Anglia Ruskin University’s students come from state schools and over 93% of the graduates enter employment or initiate further studies within six months of receiving their degrees. The name change was part of a comprehensive university overhaul that involved investing £55m in the campus and refocusing the curriculum. This included trimming down up to 75% of the university’s individual courses to make it more streamlined. The changes were made after a poor inspection report a year ago, which indicated limited confidence in the university’s performance.

Cultural Vocabularies: How Many Words Do The Inuits Have For Snow?

Examining the distribution of words within a language can yield fascinating insights. While many are aware of the extensive lexicon of Inuit words for snow, the Hawaiians, for example, possess an extensive list of 65 words specifically for fishing nets, 108 for sweet potato, 42 for sugarcane, and 47 for bananas. Similarly, the Scots have a highly specialized vocabulary for describing foul weather, the Somali a rich assortment of words for camels and their unique feeding and sexual practices, the Greeks a range of expressions for face slapping, and the Baniwa tribe of Brazil an impressive 29 words for various types of ants and their edible counterparts.

In Zimbabwe, the Shona people, an agricultural society, have developed specialized verbs to describe different types of walking such as chakwair, which is used when walking through a muddy patch and results in a squelching sound, or dowor, which denotes walking for an extended period on bare feet. Other verbs include svavair, used when one is huddled, cold, and wet; minair, characterized by swinging hips; pushuk, when wearing a very short dress; shwitair, indicating nakedness; seser, when walking and causing the flesh to ripple; and tabvuk, which describes moving with such thin thighs that the individual appears to be jumping like a grasshopper.

One would not expect some words to have an equivalent in English, such as the Namibian word hanyauka, which means to walk on tiptoes on warm sand. Similarly, some local terminology, such as mmbwe, meaning a crocodile’s stomach’s round pebble swallowed by a chief, from the South African Venda language, would not be suitable for adoption into British culture. My favourite example of all is the Persian word "nakhur," which denotes a camel that gives no milk until someone tickles its nostrils.

Despite cultural and linguistic differences, universal sentiments are expressed in the vocabularies of various languages. Persian has "mahj" for looking beautiful after a disease, while "wo-mba" from Cameroon’s Bakweri language refers to a child’s smiling in sleep, and "termangu-mangu" in Indonesian means "sad and not sure what to do".

When examining colors, we find that 21 languages have distinct words for black, red, and white, followed by eight languages that include green. Yellow is the next color to be added, featured in another 18 languages, followed by blue in six languages and then brown in seven. The Bassa people of Liberia perceive only two colors in their rainbow: ziza (red/orange/yellow) and hui (green/blue/purple). In contrast, the Shona of Zimbabwe view four colors: cipsuka (red/orange), cicena (yellow and yellow-green), citema (green-blue) and cipsuka again (the word also represents both the purple end of the spectrum). Only the Europeans and the Japanese see seven colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

Cultural perspectives on time are well reflected in the vocabularies of various languages. While claims that languages lack words for certain concepts are often untrue, only Panjabi has a word ("parson") for the day after tomorrow or the day before yesterday. The Zarma people of West Africa, for example, use "wete" to refer to mid-morning (between 9 and 10 am), while the Chinese use "wushi" for 11am to 1 pm, and the Hausa of Nigeria’s "azahar" refers to the period between 1:30 pm to roughly 3 pm. Samoans use "afiafi" to cover both late afternoon and evening, which extends from approximately 5 pm till nightfall. In Hindi, "pal" is a time measurement equivalent to 24 seconds while "ghari" indicates a small window of time lasting 24 minutes.

Even within Europe, with its shared linguistic heritage, idioms conveying the same meaning may differ greatly in their unique and localized usage. For example, the English "carrying coal to Newcastle" carries the same message as the German "taking owls to Athens," the Italian "selling ice to the Eskimos," the Spanish "like taking oranges to Valencia," or the Hungarian "taking water to the Danube."

The way animal sounds are expressed varies widely from culture to culture, leading one to question if we all perceive these sounds differently. For instance, frogs are said to go kwaak-kwaak in Afrikaans, while the Munduruku tribe of Brazil utilizes korekorekore to describe the same sounds. In Argentina Spanish, it is berp.

My arduous research spanning over five long years has sought to unearth how distinct or uniform the world’s tribes are in the way they articulate these sounds. After studying over 700 dictionaries from across the globe, however, I have come to the conclusion that there is no definitive answer to this question. The answer often spans the opposite of what one initially expects.

Linguistic anthropology has seen substantial progress in recent times. At the onset of the 20th century, the Sapir-Whorf theories hypothesized that language determines and limits thought. Presently, a more widely-accepted view is that linguistic categories affect thought processes and non-linguistic behavior but do not impede cognitive capabilities. Lingual anthropology is currently delving into this area and is increasingly focusing on matters such as social identities, collective ideologies, and interactions.

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