Category Archives: Uncategorized

Race to Paris

Located on the shelf called “French Games” is one such board game titled “Race to Paris”. This game is best for beginners as it utilizes many basic nouns and verbs. You use cards to create French sentences and the longer the sentence, the more points you can receive. More points means making it to the center of the board, AKA Paris.

There are also arrows located on the cards that show what cards can be placed before and after others which means you can create sentences easily (even if you have no idea what the words mean) and advance in the game. Although not being able to translate your sentence means fewer points.

It is also a useful way to practice your pronunciation since some spots require you to test your opponents on their knowledge of French vocab words. For beginners it is a great way to expand one’s vocabulary and even advanced students can review. Regardless, everyone can have a few laughs at the basic, but somehow still funny, sentences such as “I admire the sad professor.” Don’t we all.

La Vita è/e Bella

We’ve all seen it before- an innocent, misguided soul walks into a tattoo parlor with their favorite word or quote translated into a language they are not familiar with. Before they know it, the Chinese symbol for “oven” or meaningless Arabic gibberish is permanently etched on their body.  For speakers of these languages, I imagine seeing these tattoos on their peers, on strangers and on celebrities causes some combination of frustration (because their language is being used incorrectly by people who will probably never know what they really have written on them) and entertainment (because it’s sort of like a little inside joke among those who know the language).

One of the first things I learned in my introductory Italian class was the difference between “e” and “è.” “E” in Italian translates to “and,” while “è” translates to “is.” Mixing these two up can completely change the meaning of what you are trying to say. One often quoted Italian phrase is “la vita è bella,” meaning “the life is beautiful.” This is a popular tattoo among both Italian speakers and non-Italian speakers. One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen is the phrase written as “la vita e bella,” which translates to “the life and beautiful.” Leaving out one simple mark changes the meaning of the whole phrase! Fortunately, this can be easily fixed. Unfortunately, it might take a while for someone to recognize the mistake.

If you’re looking to get a tattoo in a language you’re unfamiliar with, make sure to do a little bit of research on what you want written and on the language you want it written in, or find someone you trust to help you out. Don’t be another person on the long list of foreign language tattoo fails!


Spot it! Basic Italian

Here at the Language Resource Center, we carry Spot it! for basic Italian. Spot it! is an educational game that features universal images and words. Between any two cards, there is always only one matching pair. These pairs can be two images, two words, or an image and a word. Players can compete to find the matching pair before their opponent or race against the clock, seeing how quickly they can spot the matches themselves. Spot it! is an awesome tool for beginner Italian speakers. The repetition of the words among the cards solidifies word recognition and the pictures support reading comprehension. Saying the words aloud improves speech and trying to find matches quickly strengthens processing speed. Spot it! makes learning basic Italian vocabulary fun and breaks away from tedious memorization techniques. Playing Spot it! will improve your vocabulary and boost your understanding of the words you’re learning in a way lists and index cards can’t!

LRC Student Staff: Hannah Harder


Salut! My name is Hannah and I am from Winston-Salem, NC. I’ve been studying French since middle school and it has helped fuel my love of new cultures and travel. I am currently a music major who has a weird thing for romantic and 20th century French composers.
I hope to utilize music as a lens to study other cultures as well. I was born in Indonesia and have been obsessed with it since. I’m always ready to revisit, though now I hope to return to study the different musical instruments and styles of Sumatera, Java, and Bali.

LRC Student Staff Member:Yazhi Zhang

53DDFDC5-B49A-4EF2-98E8-D8500EEDDA1B183756F8-6220-47A9-91D4-00ED901E2094你好!Guten tag! Hola! Hello! I am a new LRC staff anf my name is Yazhi Zhang, and I am a sophomore in Gettysburg College. I am originally from Shanghai, China. When I was 15 years old, I came to America to study. My high school was in Arizona, and it is a great place to learn Spanish. Therefore, I learned Spanish for two years. My majors in college are Political Science and Economics, and I have great interest in studying different languages. I know German a little, Spanish a little, English well and Chinese perfectly! One of the reasons why I like studying different languages is that I love traveling. For me, it is the greatest thing to travel around the world and expand my horizons. Therefore, my ideal job in the future is to be an IB teacher and teach students in different countries. Oh, and I am thinking about study abroad in UK during my junior year! 🙂

LRC Student Staff Member: Melissa Menna


The new semester has begun, and we are featuring profiles of our multilingual and multi-talented student staff members.

Ciao! I’m Melissa Menna, a sophomore Psychology major and Neuroscience and Italian Studies minor from Long Island, New York. I began studying Italian in middle school as a school requirement, and have loved the language ever since! Studying Italian has taught me so much about where my family comes from and the reasons behind our traditions. I’m planning on studying abroad in Florence, Italy in Fall 2016 and am BEYOND excited to finally get to see all of the incredible art, try all of the delicious food, and walk the beautiful streets of the country I have been studying for years! Someone is going to have to pry me away from all of the pasta, pizza and gelato at the end of the semester! In the future, I hope to study another language at Gettysburg- maybe Portuguese or Japanese- and enrich my education with more international experiences. Along with language study, I’m passionate about bagels, baking, and Birkenstocks.

International Flash Mob

This past spring, I had the incredible opportunity to be a part of a flash mob with students from all over the world. While studying abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan, I heard that some of the local Japanese students wanted to put on a flash mob with the international students. To say I was excited would be an enormous understatement. Having been active in musical theater all through middle and high school and nostalgic for those days, I jumped on the opportunity. At least twice week we would meet in groups of 10-20 to learn and practice the choreography. Often we were further broken down into groups of 3 or 4 to teach each other. At first this was a real challenge because, while there was normally at least one Japanese student who spoke English well enough or one international student who spoke Japanese enough, we were all very hesitant to try to speak to each other for fear of making mistakes or being misunderstood. This didn’t last long though; dancing and laughing together made us all more relaxed and comfortable with each other. When you’re all messing up the same dance moves it’s hard to care about messing up a conjugation or particle.

Laughing and dancing together, we all became friendly quickly. Since the Asian Studies program (the one for the international students) and the International Professional Development program are housed in completely separate parts of the campus, it is likely that many of us would not have met if it weren’t for the flash mob.

One afternoon at the beginning of the semester, not long after signups for the flash mob had happened, but before rehearsals started, I met a group of Japanese students who invited me to have lunch with them sometime. As excited as I was to take them up on their offer, we ended up parting ways without getting each other’s contact information. At a school with over 10,000 students, finding a few individuals who you only know by first name is no easy feat. Luckily, I saw two of them again the next week at the first practice. Through the flash mob, we all got to know each other better and became friends. Or, as we liked to say, in reference to one of the songs we danced to, family.

Becoming friendly with the Japanese students  and attending dance practices was also a great way to improve my language skills. We would talk in both Japanese and English, both clarifying what we were trying to say in our second language and correcting each other so we all learned. At practice our leaders would often give instructions in both languages as well, giving us great listening practice with a concrete way to check our understanding.

Besides all the learning, participating in the flash mob was a great experience simply because it was fun. Even though the dance practices were often exhausting, every second was worth it. We talked, we learned, we danced, we laughed, and at the end we all cried a little knowing it was over. If you ever have the chance to work with people while abroad in a fun way, I strongly encourage you to do so. Although we were all different, we truly became like family.

See also the making of video for interviews with the leaders of the flash mob and behind the scenes footage of our practices!

When Arabic Tattoos Go Bad (or why you should talk to a translator first)

I have tattoos. I’m quite proud of them. I’m a big fan of tattoo culture, and I think more people should be as well. But today, as I was so innocently minding my own business, I came across something that firmly reminded me that some people just should not get tattoos.


bad arabic tattoo

Before I go further into what will be an awesome rant, let me preface this by saying that Chinese and Japanese are not the only languages that suffer from people’s tattoo-related abuse. Many people choose to have ridiculous things tattooed on their body because it looks pretty or because they think there’s some sagely meaning behind the words.

What you see above is a man’s arm with what he thinks is the Arabic for “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” What actually is on his arm is “Mem-Alif Lam-Alif Ya-Wa-Ta-Lam-Kalf Ya-jim-Ayn-Lam-Kaf Alif-Qaf-Wa-Ya,” or, for the ease of people who aren’t familiar with Arabic script, gibberish.

You see, Arabic is written in a script that connects. It works like cursive. What is written on that man’s arm is not words—it’s just letters. In actual Arabic, the phrase would look like this:

ما  لا يقتلك يجعلك أقوى

See the difference?

Even if the letters were properly connected in order to form words, this would still not be the world’s most fantastic tattoo as the font used is the computer-basic font for Arabic. It would be like getting an English tattoo in Times New Roman rather than in a unique or interesting font. Most non-Arabic speakers tend to get tattoos in this basic font because there is a general lack of knowledge about the beauty and versatility of Arabic script.

Now, there is nothing wrong with getting a tattoo done in Arabic (or Chinese, or Japanese, or any other language), even if you don’t speak or study the language. Arabic tattoos can be really stunning. They are absolutely gorgeous when they’re done correctly. It’s going to be on your body for forever. That’s a really long time. You should at least be able to be proud of it.

But please, please, please, if you do want a tattoo in a foreign language, verify that what you’re getting is correct! Consult a translator. I promise, you’ll be thankful you did.

Otherwise, this could happen to you:

picture taken from post on Tumblr
picture taken from post on Tumblr. OP claims it means “appreciate life.”

I don’t know who told this person that’s what that tattoo meant. It actually means, “I’m disgusting.”

For some samples of some gorgeous Arabic tattoos, check out Josh Berer is a calligrapher who designs absolutely breath-taking tattoos in Arabic. He’s also a translator, so you know you’re getting the real deal from him.

French Scrabble!

french scrabble

In addition to Spanish and Italian Scrabble, the LRC now has French Scrabble! It’s a great way to practice spelling and vocabulary while having lots of fun, regardless of level.

You can play the same way as English Scrabble, with 2-4 players and words placed horizontally or vertically, players rotate turns, the game ends when all letters in the bag have been used and once one player finishes all of their letters. For a fun, new twist on a classic, you can incorporate the “tulies spéciales”. Each player gets three of the special tiles to use in addition to the normal 7. One of these three functions the same as the blank tile, but is worth 3 points, while the other two can be used to claim empty spaces for your next turn. There is also a variation for team play.

If you’re a French beginner, use a dictionary while you play to learn new words! Come down to the LRC to play! Jouons!