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Differences in Work and Leisure Across Countries

Differences in Work and Leisure Across Countries | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
An apparent paradox that frequently puzzles journalists is that Europeans work fewer hours than…
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Love of Leisure, and Europe's Reasons

Between mountains of suitcases and children racing each other with luggage trolleys at the airport of this Scandinavian capital, Maibritt Ditlev, husband, Anders, and daughter, Lotte, in tow, remarked that her whole country seemed to be going on vacation. ''In Europe we like our summer holidays,'' she said, emphasizing that even a lot of cash would not tempt her to give up her two-week trip to Iceland. In fact, she works part time because she treasures time off. ''We have a nice house and can afford to go on two family holidays a year -- what would we need more money for?''
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Brussels plans migration centres outside EU to process asylum applications

Brussels plans migration centres outside EU to process asylum applications | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
European commission wants to use offices and embassies outside EU to process applications for asylum and refugee status before migrants reach Europe
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Greek Culture Week Organized in Moscow | Greek Reporter Europe

Greek Culture Week Organized in Moscow | Greek Reporter Europe | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
The Moscow Greek Culture Center is organizing an event aiming at the promotion of Greece in Russia.
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European languages were carried from the East

European languages were carried from the East | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
A wave of migrants 4,500 years ago left their trace in the DNA and languages of modern Europeans.

This is according to a study that found evidence of this Stone Age migration by analysing DNA of 69 people who lived across Europe between 8,000 and 3,000 years ago.

Among the shifts in the genetic make-up of ancient Europeans they found that DNA associated with the Yamnaya people appeared strongly in what is now northern Germany.


Researchers have identified a mass migration of Kurgan populations (Yamna culture) which went from the Russian steppes to the centre of Europe 4,500 years ago. Previously, researchers had believed it spread 8,500 years ago, when the first farmers from the Near East, now modern day Turkey, brought it to Europe

WHAT ARE THE ROOTS OF INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES?
There are two main theories as to how Indo-European languages spread in Europe. 

The first is the Anatolian hypothesis, which claims spread of the language occurred some 8,500 years ago, when the first farmers from the Near East (currently Turkey) brought it to Europe.

The Kurgan hypothesis, meanwhile, proposes that the language was spread by nomadic herders of the steppes found to the north of the Black and Caspian Sea.

This theory suggests their language spread throughout Europe after the invention of wheeled vehicles, from 6,000 to 5,000 years ago.

The Yamnaya were herders who lived in the steppe north of the Black and Aral Seas.

This injection of DNA indicates 'a massive migration into the heartland of Europe from its eastern periphery,' said the researchers, led by David Reich of Harvard Medical School.

Such a large-scale influx would likely have affected not just the DNA but ancient cultures as well.

Although genes can't determine what people spoke, the researchers argue that their findings could influence the debate about the origins of Indo-European tongues.

Indo-European languages include more than 400 tongues, from modern languages such as English and Polish to ancient languages like Hittite and Sanskrit.

Basque, which is spoken in south-west France and northern Spain, is not Indo-European, and may be the only surviving relic of earlier languages once spoken more widely, according to the BBC. 

Linguists have long debated whether Indo-European languages came to Europe with farmers migrating from the Middle East or some other group, such as the Yamnaya.

Previously, researchers had believed that Indo-European language spread some 8,500 years ago, when the first farmers from the Near East, now modern day Turkey, brought it to Europe.

Via Charles Tiayon
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European Cultural Foundation: Connecting Culture,Communities and Democracy | P2P Foundation

European Cultural Foundation: Connecting Culture,Communities and Democracy | P2P Foundation | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
Here is an opportunity to meet projects working for the commons all over Europe and a chance for a 10.000 euros R&D grant.

Via jean lievens, Susan Myburgh
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Europe court upholds religion ruling on Turkey schools

Europe court upholds religion ruling on Turkey schools | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
Rights court urges Turkey to allow minority religious groups to be exempted from religious classes at their will.
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Shooting at cartoonists, again

Shooting at cartoonists, again | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
THE terrorist shootings in Denmark are the latest skirmish in Europe's ongoing contest between freedom of expression and radical Islamists, and as with January's...
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The continuing decline of Europe’s Jewish population

The continuing decline of Europe’s Jewish population | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
The Jewish population in Europe has dropped significantly over the last several decades – most dramatically in Eastern Europe and the countries that make up the former Soviet Union.

 

It’s been seven decades since the end of the Holocaust, an event that decimated the Jewish population in Europe. In the years since then, the number of European Jews has continued to decline for a variety of reasons. And now, concerns over renewed anti-Semitism on the continent have prompted Jewish leaders to talk of a new “exodus” from the region.

 

There are still more than a million Jews living in Europe, according to 2010 Pew Research Center estimates. But that number has dropped significantly over the last several decades – most dramatically in Eastern Europe and the countries that make up the former Soviet Union, according to historical research by Sergio DellaPergola of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

 

Tags: Judaism, religion, Europe.


Via Seth Dixon
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The Planetary Archives / San Francisco, California's curator insight, May 7, 2015 12:18 PM

"Europeans" have been trying to get the Jews out of Europe since the Crusades. The Holocaust was the perfect excuse. The resulting chaos in Palestine is a direct result of Jews being forced out of Europe.

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 15, 2015 1:13 AM

Granted the Holocaust was nearly 80 years ago, much of the Jewish population have grown roots in countries that were not affected by the way Hitler persecuted the Jewish religion. The Eastern part of Europe is seeing the largest decline because that part of Europe saw the worst of the persecution of Jews.

Carmen Hart's curator insight, September 27, 7:13 PM
#geo152
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Brussels’s Next Balkans Ersatz State: Vojvodina, by Wayne Madsen

Brussels’s Next Balkans Ersatz State: Vojvodina, by Wayne Madsen | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
The United States and the European Union are preparing to end the war which they waged against Serbia in 1999. After having amputated it from Kosovo, they are now seeking to take Voïvodine. In order to do so, they are currently modifying its population, setting up a new team in power in neighbouring Croatia, and buying up all the Serbian media.
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Welcome - What is Europe? - LibGuides at City College Libraries

Welcome - What is Europe? - LibGuides at City College Libraries | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
This LibGuide accompanies Prof. Barbara Syrrakos' Course 10031, What is Europe?
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European Vacation: Why Americans Work More Than Europeans | Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

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Urbanisation in Europe: limits to spatial growth — European Environment Agency (EEA)

Urbanisation in Europe: limits to spatial growth — European Environment Agency (EEA) | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
Key note speech by Mr Ronan Uhel, Head of Spatial Analysis, European Environment Agency, at the 44th International Planning Congress, 20th September 2008, Dalian, China.
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European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Towards a Comprehensive European Migration Policy: 20 years of EU Action

European Commission - Press Release details page - European Commission - Fact Sheet Brussels, 04 March 2015 For almost twenty years, the European Union has been building the foundations of an overarching and comprehensive migration policy. This memo offers an overview of European actions in this area, which also underscores the need for a comprehensive European Agenda on
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Europe

Europe | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
Europe faces an interesting set of immigration challenges and opportunities: Demographic pressures as many European societies age, a lively and at times tense policy and political debate over questions of identity and immigrant integration, and a unique policy environment that has knit 28 European countries together with regards to the management of outer borders, asylum, and other immigration-related topics. MPI has long conducted research and analysis of European policy on topics ranging from labor mobility and border security to immigrant integration, citizenship, and foreign qualifications recognition, which can be found below.
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The Human Journey: Migration Routes

The Human Journey: Migration Routes | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
When humans first ventured out of Africa some 60,000 years ago, they left genetic footprints still visible today. By mapping the appearance and frequency of genetic markers in modern peoples, we create a picture of when and where ancient humans …
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Cultural struggle to define Russia's identity

Cultural struggle to define Russia's identity | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
Home-grown culture and arts play a central role in Russia's sense of self, says Bridget Kendall - and Vladimir Putin wants to use that to his own ends.
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The Golden Age for Spanish language women writers and beyond - The Daily Princetonian

Professor Ronald Surtz has been teaching with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures at Princeton since completing his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1973.


“The profession chose me,” Surtz explained. “Spain and Spanish literature have always interested me.”

Surtz said he finds the study of Spanish culture particularly compelling because of its uniqueness among its European neighbors.

“People think they know Spain,” Surtz said, “but in reality Spain is constantly surprising. It doesn’t really fit the European model.”

This spring, Surtz is teaching SPA 301: Topics in Spanish Literature of the Golden Age – Women Writers of Spain and Latin America. The Golden Age of Spanish literature spanned from the early 16th century to the late 17th century.

He finds this topic intriguing because it explores the voices of dissidents and often times suppressed groups in Spanish history. The course also relates to Surtz’s own research: He recently traveled to Spain to write the first English translation of the visionary sermons of a 16th century Spanish nun. According to Surtz, works such as this illustrate “a combination of the old, customary traits with the new, imaginative traits in a blend of orthodoxy with unorthodoxy.”

Surtz is particularly interested in the works of female writers because of their refusal to submit to the social norms of their time.

“They didn’t have it easy,” Surtz said. “Female writers needed to justify what they were doing to their contemporary society. During that era, women publishing books was almost like walking naked in the streets.”

The course is conducted entirely in Spanish, but most of Surtz’s students are not Spanish concentrators. Instead, these students already have some familiarity with Spanish language and culture and are seeking to engage more deeply with the literature, he said.

Surtz incorporates a mixture of old and new into the classroom when he outlines the books that the class will read during the semester. He assigns readings with which he is well acquainted as well as readings that are relatively new to him.

“The core of this course is similar to what it was 20 years ago,” Surtz explained. “But as the course evolves, there is a growing expansion into modern texts.”

In addition to works from the Golden Age of Spain, Surtz also includes readings from the 19th and 20th centuries, hoping to build on the framework of the literature from earlier centuries. Many of these modern texts deal with themes such as the Spanish Civil War, but are, according to Surtz, “refracted through the lens of female characters.”

Surtz finds the movement from historical to modern texts particularly poignant because these new texts bring a fresher feel to the course.

“Literature is organic,” he said. “It grows over time.”

Via Charles Tiayon
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European invasion: DNA reveals the origins of modern Europeans

European invasion: DNA reveals the origins of modern Europeans | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
Map depicting the two major hypotheses of the spread of Indo-European languages (white arrows) and geographic distribution of the archaeological cultures described in the text. Wolfgang Haak, Author provided
Europe is famously tesselated, with different cultural and language groups clustering in different regions. But how did they all get there? And how are they related?

One way of answering these questions comes from digging up relics of the past. Europe has a rich archaeological record, ranging from periods well before the famous metal ages (i.e. copper, bronze and iron) to the recent adventures of the Romans, Vandals, Huns and Vikings.

Distinctive types of pottery and cultural practices associated with burials and settlements have been used to group the ancient populations into individual “archaeological cultures”. However, it hasn’t been clear whether there is a genetic basis for these group boundaries or whether they’re just cultural.

Another line of evidence to illuminate how various groups are related comes from their languages. There is the well known Indo-European language tree – ranging from Hindi to Russian to Spanish. But it’s also quite unclear how the languages spread to their present regions.

Now we have another layer of information to help us reveal the history of European peoples: DNA sequencing.

Along with our colleagues, we have been using genome sequencing technology to analyse the vast array of ancient skeletons recovered from across Europe, ranging from the original hunter-gatherer inhabitants to the first farmers who appear around 8,000 years ago, and right up to the early Bronze Age 3,500 years ago.

The genetic results paint a fascinating picture, and were published in a recent series of papers in Nature and Science.

Third wave

What we have found is that, in addition to the original European hunter-gatherers and a heavy dose of Near Eastern farmers, we can now add a third major population: steppe pastoralists. These nomads appear to have “invaded” central Europe in a previously unknown wave during the early Bronze Age (about 4,500 years ago).

This event saw the introduction of two very significant new technologies to western Europe: domestic horses and the wheel. It also reveals the mysterious source for the Indo-European languages.

The genetic results have answered a number of contentious and long-standing questions in European history. The first big issue was whether the first farmers in Europe were hunter-gatherers who had learnt farming techniques from neighbours in southeast Europe, or did they instead come from the Near East, where farming was invented.

The genetic results are clear: farming was introduced widely across Europe in one or two rapid waves around 8,000 years ago by populations from the Near East -– effectively the very first skilled migrants.

At first the original hunter-gatherer populations appear to have retreated to the fringes of Europe: to Britain, Scandinavia and Finland. But the genetics show that within a few thousand years they had returned, and significant amounts of hunter-gatherer genomic DNA was mixed in with the farmers 7,000 to 5,000 years ago across many parts of Europe.


Perhaps not so far from their ancestors as they seem. Ard Hesselink/Flickr, CC BY-NC
Click to enlarge
Wheeling across Europe

But there was still a major outstanding mystery. Apart from these two groups, the genomic signals clearly showed that a third -– previously unsuspected – large contribution had been made sometime before the Iron Age, around 2,000 years ago. But by whom?

We have finally been able to identify the mystery culprit, using a clever new system invented by our colleagues at Harvard University.

Instead of sequencing the entire genome from a very small number of well preserved skeletons, we analysed 400,000 small genetic markers right across the genome. This made it possible to rapidly survey large numbers of skeletons from all across Europe and Eurasia.

This process revealed the solution to the mystery. Our survey showed that skeletons of the Yamnaya culture from the Russian/Ukrainian grasslands north of the Black Sea, buried in large mounds known as kurgans, turned out to be the genetic source we were missing.

This group of pastoralists, with domestic horses and oxen-drawn wheeled carts, appear to be responsible for up to 75% of the genomic DNA seen in central European cultures 4,500 years ago, known as the Corded Ware Culture. This must have represented a major wave of people, along with all their cultural and technological baggage.

Speaking tongues

This discovery also answered another major archaeological conundrum: who or what was the source of the Indo-European language family, which is wide-spread across Eurasia and the world, and includes English, Spanish, French, Greek, Russian and Hindu?

Archaeologists had two major hypotheses: the language family came with either the invading Near East farming wave more than 8,000 years ago, or some form of steppe population sometime much later. Evidence in support of the first hypothesis was the large scale cultural turnover evident with farming.

The second hypothesis was supported by linguistic evidence of common words across Indo-European languages for things like wheeled vehicles and transport that would match the economy and toolkit of the steppe herders.

Our new genomic data finally provides a smoking gun – or a wheeled cart in this case – as the missing evidence of a major cultural contribution from the steppe in the early Bronze Age. While we can’t definitively prove that the Yamnaya were the first to introduce Indo-European language to Europe, the size of the genetic input suggests that it brought at least major parts, if not the whole thing.

So for those of us with European heritage, the next time you see an oxen-drawn cart, or a domestic horse, think “that’s my heritage”, along with a good chunk of hunter-gatherer and a firm base of early farmer.

Via Charles Tiayon
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5 facts about religious hostilities in Europe

5 facts about religious hostilities in Europe | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
Harassment and attacks against religious minorities continue in many countries there, and hostilities against Jews in particular have been spreading.
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Russian roots and Yemen's Socotra language

Russian roots and Yemen's Socotra language | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
Moscow, Russia - The Semitic language spoken by more than 50,000 inhabitants of Yemen's Socotra island is a linguistic time machine.
Socotri is the most archaic and isolated of several archaic and isolated tongues spoken in Yemen and Oman known as "modern South Arabian languages". Its vocabulary is immensely rich - for example, there are distinct verbs for "to go" according to the time of the day, or for "to give birth" depending on the animal involved.
Socotri's roots are close to the oldest written Semitic tongues that died out thousands of years ago - and it has grammatical features that no longer exist in Arabic, Hebrew or Aramaic. The study of Socotri helps understand the deep, prehistoric past - and the subsequent evolution - of all Semitic tongues.
"This is a very archaic linguistic and literary system that in many ways, I think, has preserved what we, the scholars, are used to perceive as the Biblical world or the ancient Arabic world," Leonid Kogan, professor of Semitic languages at Moscow's Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies, told Al Jazeera.

 South Yemen separatists
"All of it is very much alive on today's Socotra."
Then how is it that Socotri's first alphabet was invented five millennia after the cuneiform tablets in Akkadian - the first written Semitic tongue - and it happened some 5,000km north of Socotra, in Russia's Moscow?
A neglected tongue
Driven by greed, curiosity, and monsoon winds, countless sailors and merchants have for centuries passed through Socotra, a major trading hub between the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa.
But the language of its inhabitants - fishermen, semi-nomadic herders, and date-palm growers - remained off scholars' radar.
Medieval Arab travellers who reached the distant corners of Europe, Indonesia, and sub-Saharan Africa - describing dozens of ethnic groups and the tongues they spoke - wrote next to nothing about Socotri and its linguistic siblings, although they realised the radical difference of the language from Arabic and its tantalising complexity.
"Despite historical contacts and a common culture, there is no mutual understanding between native speakers of Arabic and native speakers of any" modern South Arabic languages, wrote Marie-Claude Simeone-Senelle, a French expert on Socotran folklore.
Western linguists "discovered" Socotri in the early 19th century, and thought the Biblical Queen of Sheba (the Quranic Bilqis) spoke it.
Austrian orientalist David Heinrich Muller used the Arabic script to write down several examples of their oral poetry in 1889, but modern Socotrans have trouble understanding them now.
Southern Yemen became a socialist, pro-Moscow state in 1970.
Huge red stars appeared on public buildings as the nation's leaders adopted Marxist ideology and tried to de-Islamise the nation.

Russia-Yemen ties go back to 1970 when Yemen became a socialist, pro-Moscow state [AP]
Strategically located Socotra hosted a Soviet military base, which meant Soviet scholars had unlimited access to the island's historic and linguistic treasure trove.
Russians step in
One of them was Vitaly Naumkin, an acclaimed Arabist and the current head of Moscow's Institute of Oriental and Classical Studies. For several decades, he studied Socotran ethnology, archaeology, and linguistics and painstakingly classified Socotri's extremely complicated and diverse grammar.
His team also invited Socotri-speaking "informants" to Moscow - where they spent months retelling their mother island's oral poetry and folk tales, or conjugating verbs for the Socotri grammar tables.
There, in 2010, one of the informants named 'Isa Gum'an used the Arabic script to write down a story he'd heard from a friend.
"It was our major surprise … when one November evening in 2010, 'Isa Gum'an somewhat timidly revealed to us that, in order to better preserve an interesting story he had heard from a friend a few days earlier, he had decided to put it in writing using Arabic script," Naumkin wrote in the preface to the 2014 book of Socotran folklore.
The eureka moment prompted the invention of an easily accessible Socotri alphabet based on the Arabic script. To reflect the phonetics of Socotri, Russian linguists decided to add four letters to the Arabic alphabet - using symbols that denote non-Arabic phonemes in the languages of the Indian subcontinent.
Socotran folklore helps understand many themes, literary features of written ancient Semitic traditions - the Old Testament, Ugaritic epics, and even Assyro-Babylonian, Mesopotamian literature.
Leonid Kogan, Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies
But it was not the use of the Arabic script and additional symbols that make the new alphabet matter - it is the comprehensive scientific effort that followed it.
"One should not overemphasise the importance of these additional symbols, that, after all, are not that hard to invent," Kogan said.
"What is really important and challenging is the general concept of Socotri as a written, standardised literary language. That's what we call 'the new Socotri writing system', and that's the most complicated, most controversial task."
The new script was shown to Socotri speakers who had no difficulties reading it.
It also "has enabled the direct, active and creative involvement of Socotrans in the linguistic investigation of their mother tongue, allowing them to check, approve and, not infrequently, correct the work of Western researchers collaborating with them", Naumkin wrote.
Together with several scholars from his institute, in 2014, Naumkin published a 750-page book with Socotran folklore that utilised the new alphabet and contained Arabic and English translations of the texts.
Part two of the compendium is to be published this year.
Roots and ties
Although the Socotri language was isolated, the folklore was not. Some of its themes are similar to those found among Algerian Berbers, in India, Africa, and Europe.
"There is an absolutely obscene plot that has distinct parallels with the Dravidian [folklore] of Middle India and [the speakers of] Mofo-Gudur near Lake Chad," Yuri Berezkin, professor of anthropology at the European University in St Petersburg, told Al Jazeera.
"This could be traced to early Asian-African contacts of the 2nd-1st millennia BC, but could be later."
But more importantly, it still retains some themes that date back to the dawn of human civilisation and religions in the Middle East.
"Socotran folklore helps understand many themes, literary features of written ancient Semitic traditions - the Old Testament, Ugaritic epics, and even Assyro-Babylonian, Mesopotamian literature," Kogan said. "And vice versa, a trained philologist acquainted with those traditions is capable to see the world of Socotra from a completely different, unexpected angle."
Arabisation or synthesis?
Socotra, dubbed by some as "the Indian Ocean's Galapagos", is famed for its landscapes, blood trees, plants that produce frankincense, and hundreds of endemic life forms - some of which face extinction.
Socotri is just as endemic - but is it endangered?

Children play among fishing boats on the beach at Qalensiya, the second biggest town on Socotra island [Reuters]
After the fall of the pro-Soviet government and Yemen's reunification in 1990, the southerners were reintroduced to Islam, largely thanks to neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Socotrans were especially zealous to learn proper Islamic practises - and overcome the stigma of a "backwards" people, Kogan said.
But the Islamisation did not bring about Arabisation, something that has been happening in the Middle East for centuries with the gradual conversion of those who spoke Aramaic, Coptic, and Berber languages.
Socotrans do adopt political, technical, and religious terms from Arabic, but their language stands strong.
"What we are able to see now is a rather harmonious synthesis, and there are good chances that Socotra and Socotris find their appropriate place in a broad Arab and Islamic context without getting rid of most of their - to be sure, highly esteemed and cherished - traditional values," said Kogan.
Source: Al Jazeera

Via Charles Tiayon
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Olaf Husby's curator insight, March 16, 2015 9:33 AM

Planen var å dra til Socotra en gang, men av klare grunner prioriteres andre reisemål.

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National movements from Flanders to the Faroes challenge borders across Europe

National movements  from Flanders to the Faroes challenge borders across Europe | European Peoples and Cultures | Scoop.it
Catalans’ vote on September 27th will be seen as a plebiscite on independence
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