#LanguageFacts – Weirder Than You Think!

If you think the world of languages is boring, think again! Here are some intriguing facts about the languages taught here at GA Institute.


Written Chinese is over 3,000 years old!

The oldest Chinese characters that have been found to date are fragments of characters carved into animal bones and turtle shells from the Shang Dynasty. These bones are called “oracle bones,” and they were used for divination. Soothsayers carved questions into the bones and then burnt them until they cracked. The pattern of the cracks was believed to indicate the answer.

Check out our Chinese courses here.



The chess term “checkmate” is from a 14th-century Arabic phrase, “shah mat,” meaning “the king is helpless.”

A king is mate (sheikh-mat) then means a king is unable to respond, which would correspond to there being no response that a player’s king can make to their opponent’s final move. This interpretation refers to the intent of chess being not to kill a king but to leave him with no viable response other than surrender.

Check out our Arabic courses here.



Ballet dancers learn a lot of French!

Ballet was formalized in France which resulted in an impressionable amount of terminology being in French, therefore having the performer to learn the French language along his or her journey. For example, the ballet term ‘pirouette’ literally means ‘spinning top’, and the term ‘chasse’ means ‘to chase’.

Check out our French courses here.

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