If you've ever struggled through Marcel Proust's seven-volume epic, "Remembrance of Things Past," you have C.K. Scott Moncrieff to thank. Moncrieff introduced the French novelist to the world with his translation, while also living lives as a poet, soldier and spy in his own right.
When the Nazis wiped out Jewish life and culture during World War II, it was hard to imagine it would ever come back in Poland. But it is starting to return. Though it's not Jewish people who are leading the way.
The Cantonese-speaking heartland of southern China is also the country's most populous region. But Beijing still considers the region's native language of Cantonese to be a minority dialect, and now it wants Cantonese broadcasters to switch to Mandarin — but why now?
A bunch of places in Ukraine and Crimea end in "-opol", from the ancient Greek word for city: polis. That's no accident. Russia chose those names after conquering the Black Sea region from the Turks. But why?
Remember the last time you saw a foreign language film? You sat down in the dark, popcorn in hand, and for the next two hours you read all those subtitles. But even if you've seen a lot of subtitled movies, you've probably never thought of who wrote those fleeting words on the screen?
These days, the word "thug" is bound up in questions of racial discrimination in the United States. So it may be surprising that it's actually an Indian word that referred to a notorious group of 14th-century robbers and killers.
North Koreans may speak Korean, but not the kind they have to learn if they defect to the South. And even with a new smartphone app to guide them through South Korea's unfamiliar dialect, it's a tough and unnerving challenge.