Did you know…?

In Tibet, it is considered normal, even polite, for people to stick out their tongues at one another when greeting or coming to an agreement. This originates from an old legend about an evil 9th Century Tibetan king who was famed, not only for his cruelty, but also for his black tongue. As Buddhists, Tibetans are traditionally superstitious and believe heavily in reincarnation. People show each other their tongues in order to let the other know that they are not the embodiment of the barbaric and black-tongued king.

In Mexico, when walking alongside females, men will habitually walk on the side of the pavement closest to the road and cars in order to shield the fairer gender from potential, unforeseeable harm. And they say ‘chivalry is dead’?

In Russia, people only give bouquets of flowers containing an odd number of stems. Giving even numbers can turn a kind gesture into an offensive one. Even numbers of flowers are used solely for funerals and, by bringing even numbers into a home, you are tempting death over the threshold.

Streets in Japan have no names. Whole blocks of land are numbered and divided into smaller numbered plots, in no particular order. Addresses are written starting with the largest land unit and ending with the name of the addressee. In Kyoto and Sapporo, however, an unofficial street name system has been devised, using North, East, South and West as starting points.

Traditional Lithuanian weddings frequently involve a custom known as the ‘hanging of the matchmaker’. Historically, as it was difficult for young couples to meet, a suitor was chosen for a woman by her parents, aided by a hired matchmaker. Towards the end of the ceremony, friends of the bride would jokingly claim that the matchmaker had lied about the groom’s wealth and they would pretend to take him away to be ‘hanged’. The bride or her mother would then pity him and save him by wrapping a sash or towel around him before a dummy was hanged instead.

By Harvey Wilks

Creative Culture – speaking as a specialist

Creative Culture is taking part in the Languages in higher education conference in London on 1st July

As part of our engagement to promote languages and cultures, Mélanie Chevalier, founder of Creative Culture, will be speaking on the employers’ panel of the event. She will be addressing higher education language teachers coming from around the world for the occasion.

This event as well as our participation aim at emphasising on current challenges in the global labour market. How are languages used in various industries? What elements should be tackled from the early and later stages of language learning? How to incentivise students to learn foreign languages and for what purposes? In other words: materialise their learnings into more concrete aspects of professional life.

Creative Culture will share their experience on the use of languages in the creative industries. Not only will we approach the language and adaptation processes, which are involved in making a creative concept/ project global, but also the cultural achievements and added-value generated by the language contribution, from the client’s and the language professional’s perspective.

To know more about the event, please visit: 

Piaf and Creative Culture: Perpetuating the Legend

After enchanting London and Buenos Aires, Piaf is now performing in Madrid and Creative Culture is proud to have been part of the success story!

This brilliant adaptation of Edith Piaf’s life written by Pam Gems and directed by Jamie Lloyd features Elena Roger who received an Olivier award for her perfect embodiment of the Parisian Sparrow in 2008. The play depicts the singer’s career in a realistic way – from being discovered performing in the streets of Paris, through to her various painful love stories, WW2 in France and her important role in the Résistance, her alcoholism and drug addiction, and the difficult attempt to conquer America. It truly is an enriching experience which makes the audience travel through major historical events, social themes and more personal controversies of life.

The acting parts are spoken in the local language (English in London in 2008 and Spanish in Buenos Aires in 2009 and in Madrid currently) whilst the singing is entirely performed in French. This is where Creative Culture has made the difference, providing Elena and the entire cast with a native French linguistic coach, including translation of the songs, accentuation and pronunciation rules and cultural background to help with the performance. Present already on the project in 2008, Elena Roger was extremely pleased with the quality of service and wished to renew the experience with Creative Culture: “The coaching was very energetic, precise and demanding whilst Melanie's professionalism enabled me to excel in my representation. Without her I wouldn’t have been able to transmit the feelings of the songs with such confidence and authenticity. I am really grateful to her.”

We definitely recommend the play which will be showing until 18th July 2010 at the Nuevo Teatro Alcalá in Madrid. For more information please visit:

By Melanie Chevalier

Promoting languages for future generations

Creative Culture recently had the chance to collaborate with CILT, the National Centre for Languages in the UK, for the Business Language Champion (BLC) programme which brings schools and businesses together.

The BLC programme takes place across the UK, trying to make children aware of the multilingual and multicultural society we are living in and raise their interest in languages from a professional perspective. Their approach is quite an unusual one since they do not aim at giving language lessons but introducing the pupils to small or large international businesses which require language skills from their employees. It also shows why it is important not to reduce the business language(s) to English only – which is not spoken at all by 75% of the world’s population.

Creative Culture started collaborating with Chelsea and Hurlingham School in Fulham in May 2010, presenting our company, case study projects and the importance of foreign languages in various creative industries. We are glad to participate in something we know could be a powerful tool for these children’s future and to help them to have a better vision of today’s reality in our kind of business. We are aware that people who speak only one language are at a disadvantage in the current job market and this trend will keep increasing in the coming years.

In a world where there are emerging economies and new markets to compete and trade with continuously, BLC is trying to make UK students want to develop their language skills and appreciate the world they are evolving in, a rich multicultural environment and a continuously changing society.

For more information about the BLC programme, visit their website:

By Elisabet Valle