Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Local Language


This coming Spring marks 15 years of my making the US my home - and 10 years of our family making the Pacific Northwest our home. When you relocate to a new place, there is always a lot to learn, including learning a new language. And I don't only mean a national language - English, in my case. Justin is a born and bred American, but for him too there is a need to learn to understand locals from time to time. Let me show you just a couple of examples of how and why. One occasion would be simply spelling and pronunciation that don't go hand-in-hand. While it's often the case with the English language, there also are other languages that get involved - like French or local Indian tribal languages. For instance, if you're driving I-5 visiting from out-of-state, you might read the name of the city Puyallup as PY-all-up, as in "pie", or perhaps POOY-all-up as in "pooh" (Winnie the, of course), and good luck asking about it then. The locals pronounce it PYU-all-up. Tricky, huh? Yet it's just one example, and every place has plenty - something that only locals know like the back of their hand, and what takes a lifetime for newcomers to learn.





Okay, okay, you probably think. That was cheating. Only Native Americans can know how to correctly pronounce words in their language. Of course the rest of the world needs to learn that, silly girl. And I agree. Let's talk about UPS though. Wait a minute, this one's easy - it's way too familiar to fellow Americans. But if you, like us, think that the widely known abbreviation UPS refers to United Parcel Service, the world's largest delivery company, you might get really confused when you are in the city of Tacoma. You might quite literally even get lost. Now I'm here to try to de-confuse you. When Tacomians tell you they live near UPS, they do not mean a mailing or distribution center at all! They refer to the University of Puget Sound, a private liberal arts college that also is one of the most significant urban reference points to know about the city. 

  

While Justin and I were both unclear about it, Anya got the reference immediately - not only did she hear about this university, but she also has visited it with her school choir before. Don't get me wrong. We heard about the university, of course, nevertheless the first thing we both pictured when we heard UPS in Tacoma was the delivery service. How weird, we thought, to consider a shipping center a main city landmark. Little did we know! So in our regular attempts to explore the city, we made a point to finally stop by UPS in Tacoma.


The University of Puget Sound was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1888 in downtown Tacoma. Two cities were considered for the location, Port Townsend (then booming with business and called the City of Dreams - I wrote about it HERE) and Tacoma, which got a nickname City of Destiny. And for the University of Puget Sound, it really became a destiny.



While UPS still has ties with the United Methodist Church, it's no longer affiliated with the church and is the only independent liberal arts college in Western Washington. It offers bachelor degrees in Arts, Science, and Music, as well as Masters in Arts of Teaching, Education, Occupational Therapy and Doctors in Physical Therapy. It seems, there were quite a few presidents of the university who made major changes and whose vision made UPS what it is today. Rev. Dr. Edward H. Todd was a president from 1913 to 1942, stabilizing both financial and academic sides. He started the Million Dollar Campaign, raising money for buildings and equipment. This money moved UPS in 1924 to its current location. Most of the buildings were constructed during the presidency of Rev. Dr. R. Franklin Thompson (1942-1973).




We took a relaxing walk in the gorgeous campus in North End, the residential area of Tacoma. There are both original and newly constructed buildings, the latest addition being the Athletics and Aquatics Center completed in the Fall of 2016. The campus seems to be very quiet on weekends. We only saw a few college kids here and there and small groups of adults taking a walk, just like ourselves. It brought memories back. Justin is a University of Notre Dame graduate, and his college campus was as beautiful (only many times larger) as UPS. My alma mater, the Siberian Federal University (used to be called Krasnoyarsk State University in my time) wasn't nearly as pretty, rather minimal really - yet still the spirit of academic learning, the energy of youth, open-mindedness, freshness, curiosity about life, high hopes and dreams of the future rushed over me as soon as I stepped on the UPS grounds.





We were told that there are free events on campus, like concerts, so it's worth coming back, but I really just enjoyed being there, walking the beautiful wooded trails, admiring the thoughtful and elegant architecture, both old school and modern. It's a wonderful background for photos, and there are still many corners to explore, so I'm positive we will be back - as fellow explorers, students at heart. And I know there is still a lot to learn, but one thing I can guarantee for sure, and that is... we will never confuse our local UPS with a nation-wide parcel service, and that's a promise!








Photos by Justin
Location: University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA

My outfit:
Lace top - Eloquii
Skirt - Glamour X Lane Bryant
Coat - Ashley Stewart (old)
Tights - via Lane Bryant (old)
Boots - Aquatalia via Nordstrom Rack (old)
Purse - Michael Kors via TJ MAXX
Earrings - Chico's (old)

* * *

18 comments:

  1. Natalia,
    Love the red pleated skirt with the crocheted blouse, so lovely! Yes English is so nuanced and frustrating to learn, I too, thought of united parcel service, but was thrilled to see the photos of the university ; beautiful architecture!
    xx, Ellle
    http://www.theellediaries.com/blog/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Elle! I'm pleased with this ensemble, I must admit.
      Did I make it sound frustrating? I hope I didn't. Every language and dialect, every culture and subculture has this phenomenon. It was rather cultural musings and fun for me as a linguist to reflect on. :)

      Delete
  2. very nice location!!
    genius to layer the black lace over the red! and the addition of the cheeta coat is totally fab! and you know i love a plissé skirt!
    languages... a foreigner would never believe what all is named "german language" here - some dialects can only be understand from the few local people of an area. for other germans it sounds like another language :-)
    huge hugs!
    xxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Beate! You are absolutely right - dialects are like that, but that's whole another topic! Local urban names are quite a curious linguistic phenomenon actually - I wrote thesis on this subject... hard to believe, 20 years ago!

      Hugs back to you, my dear! <3

      Delete
  3. mwahaha, sometimes local pecualiarities are really shocking! Nearby, there's a bus stop named Olympia, because of the cinema that was there (ages ago), and locals have no problem with it, but it was very difficult to find it with no actual references.
    That UPS campus looks amazing, a really beautiful place to go for a walk, and a magnificent background to your pictures!. Lovely outfit!, you look very elegant in your sheer/lace shirt and fabulous red skirt!, and I love your coat too!, really modern-classic!
    besos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, my dear Monica! Yes, you got it - it is about toponymy, and Olympia which only remains as a toponim, but not as a place/institution any longer, is a great example. :) In my home town, if you are an outsider and hear "I live in Three Little Pigs" will probably make you calling a certain phone number for help. :)

      Delete
  4. Dear Natalia, I love your lace leo pleat look :) and this great location at university campus. No mistake in name with UPS the parcel Service :)
    Many hugs, tina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know for your country this isn't even especially old campus...but for Tacoma, it is quite old, and has an old world charm about it, we really enjoyed it. And I think my outfit was perfect for this place (not planned - pure serendipity!).

      Delete
  5. This outfit/shoot felt doubly inspiring to me, as both Natasha's outfit and our choice of setting really seemed "just right" ... and with the weather cooperating (for the first time in quite a while), it was an irresistible chance to create some great images. I look forward to going back to UPS to shoot again, perhaps in late morning. This outfit was also a favorite of mine as it just kept surprising me ... every time I looked at it, I felt a sense of "wow", as I discovered something unexpected about it. A great outing in all respects. Yay! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm dreaming of coming back to UPS... hopefully soon. :)

      Delete
  6. A gem of a location for your photos , I love the history associated with universities. Your black and red outfit with your leopard coat had that perfect touch of trend and sophistication. As for the nuances of language , it must be so confusing for any new comer. Here each state has different meanings for so many things.Looks like Spring is on the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Spring is coming! Thank you, Jill! I also appreciate local history, and a language as a part of history and culture.

      Delete
  7. What a fabulous backdrop for your stunner of an outfit! Fairy tale turrets accompanying a majestic beauty in lace and tassels.
    Isn't the English language a puzzle? We live on the outskirts of an area called Caldmore but pronounced Kar-ma. In the 1960s the Police were able to track down a notorious cild killer after he anonymously called them and referred to the area in the way only a local would. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that's some story! Yes, languages are fascinating. Thank you, Vix! I learned a new to me word - turrets. :)

      Delete
  8. Local languages fascinate me too. Idioms, dialects, jargon- they're all interesting topics. In Croatia every village has its own dialect, it can be very confusing to strangers. But that is why foreign students of Croatian language can blend in easily- or so I heard them say. There is a dialect that resembles every European language.

    I really like your red skirt. Perfect styling. Wonderful location. It was nice learning something about this University.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really are fascinating! And what you shared about your mother tongue is quite unique! I knew someone who studied Croatian language at university. I studied Czech, and some other students studies Polish at our uni. They all have things in common with Russian, of course, as they all are Slavic languages, but I also found that Czech had lots of German influences, so the fact that I was learning both of those languages was helpful. And my friend who was Ukrainian told me that it also helped her to learn Czech. :)

      Delete
  9. I love your lace top Natalia!!! Eloquii wins-I just placed an order...

    - www.inmyjoi.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have tons of fun designs lately! Thank you for stopping by, Joi!

      Delete