• Lavanya Nair

Interwoven Cultures: Intrinsic Links that Unite Us

One would assume that the progression of time would result in a society, rich with multitudes of lineage and a large volume of acceptance for all. Though our generation appears to have developed significantly since the early 20th Century, the horrific crimes against humanity that have been brought to the forefront in recent times, have the potential to stunt our growth as people. Following the aftermath of ‘Brexit’, coupled with the upcoming presidential elections and riots staged in the USA, driven by racial brutality, there exists an abnormal degree of acrimony and ethnocentrism that continue to drive the wedge further apart. The media constantly projects the uprising of xenophobic behaviour among the Caucasian community with controversial cult followings such as the KKK, gaining a larger network of supporters. What it fails to highlight is the everlasting prejudice and discrimination that is present within ethnic minorities. Neighbouring nations are notorious for their harrowing past relationships with India and Pakistan, Japan and Korea as well as Turkey and Kurdistan being shining examples.

Amidst the animosity, it is intriguing to discover just how many similarities are present as you scour each continent. From the mouth-watering staple dishes to the links between linguistics, one can marvel at the unnecessary bigotry that could lead to the decline of diversity.

Kobako | Wikimedia

Voracious travellers are no strangers to the edible gems that are on offer, usually boasting a carb filled base layered with fragrant spices, zingy herbs and pungent aromas. Within Europe, light, but filling spreads are usually opted for, where as spicier recipes are more popular across Southern America, Africa and Asia. Nevertheless, one can recall several variations of staple concoctions that are prepared in a distinct way. For instance, Russian cuisine is well known for its Sauerkraut, a cabbage side dish that has been fermented. Insatiable food lovers can recall the South Korean classic, Kimchi, widely prepared and now globally enjoyed. Both are notorious for their signature sour tang and also possess homeopathic qualities. The beloved, combination of chicken and rice is also a fundamental element of all cuisines with multiple nations incorporating their own flair. Savour the succulent portions of ‘arroz con pollo’, a Latin American delight, rich with kaleidoscopic hues that draw you in and leave you craving seconds. If one should desire the irresistible flavours of the Caribbean, Jamaican Jerk Chicken will surely satisfy even the most refined palettes with a unique, seasoned blend of local spices coupled with wild bean rice; a heavenly and comforting delicacy. For those who can tolerate that extra fiery kick, the Indian classic, Biryani is sure to curb a hefty appetite.

From traditional variations that take hours to mould together to recent modifications, containing everything from freshly caught seafood to high protein eggs and meats, it is evident, many countries already share a close bond, deeply rooted in cherished comestibles that have been passed down the generations and eventually shared with the world.

Megan Morris | Flickr

The art of communication is one that has taken centuries to perfect with many works documenting the evolution of both the written and spoken word. With over 7 billion humans inhabiting the Earth, the existence of 200 languages and dialects is no surprise. A native tongue such as English, possesses infinite potential to develop as time progresses while borrowing and adapting foreign phrases as it has done ever since the power of the British Empire was at its height. Those who speak multiple languages can note how many lexes are universally identical with slight modifications, influenced by accents, and the regional environment. For instance, the word ‘mum’ is globally comprehended whereby a non-English speaker will automatically correlate it with their local equivalent. The word ‘mama’ or ‘ma’ is verbally utilized across Europe, Africa and Asia with variations such as ‘omma’, ‘amma’ and ‘okasan’ hailing from Korea, India and Japan. Many can recall the belligerent atmosphere clouding over the Indian and Pakistani border that has yet to evaporate with racial slurs being hurled in an attempt to humiliate, provoke and underline the omnipresent battle concerning religion.

However, their national languages; Hindi and Urdu, contain few distinctions, allowing proficient speakers of one vernacular to fully process the other. The developing world holds as much guilt as the first world with economically secure nations such as the UK and Germany, being surrounded by an air of tension brought on by the effects of both the First and Second World War. Nevertheless, the language many people across the globe are eager to study, is Germanic in nature with 80 out of 100 common English phrases have identical counterparts. Many have familiarised themselves with the concept of a ‘Doppelgänger’; (a clone of sorts) derived from German and popularised by paranormal literature in recent times.

The extent at which dialects and languages will intertwine and evolve into new, improved verbatim is unknown. The advancements so far, negate our initial preconceptions about us being dissimilar.

Lavanya Nair

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