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Planet Veritas: The origin of modern languages

Planet Veritas: The origin of modern languages | Language news | Scoop.it
By Greg Hill
“25 Maps That Explain the English Language” is a marvelously informative way to look at our mother tongue. It’s difficult to convey graphic maps in print, so a visit to the source, www.Vox.com, is worth the effort. Any description I attempt of Minna Sundberg’s gorgeous “Comprehensive Overlook of the Nordic Languages in Their Old World Families” is doomed to failure. However, the article incudes excellent textual information, too. For example, the maps cover the major evolutionary epochs in English’s development; some that you might know readily, like “The Anglo-Saxon Migration,” but others, such as “Danelaw” and “The Great Vowel Shift,” are less familiar.
It was news to me that 4,500 Anglo-Saxon words are still in use, like “day,” “year,” “think,” “kiss” and “love,” which amount to about 1 percent of all modern English. Danelaw is the period of the Denmark-based Viking invasion of Britain under lamentably nicknamed Ivar the Boneless, beginning in the 800s. Norse terms that remain in the vocabulary include “law,” “murder,” and the pronouns “they,” “them” and “their.” But while “leg” and “husband” are Norse, “arm” and “wife” are Anglo-Saxon. William and the Normans arrived in 1066, infusing all sorts of fancy French words into our language. So while the coarse Anglo-Saxons “sweated,” the Normans “perspired.”


The Great Vowel Shift describes the striking evolution in pronunciation that occurred for unknown reasons between 1400, the age of Chaucer’s Middle English, and 1700, the time of DeFoe and Swift. In essence, English-speakers began pronouncing long vowels higher up in their mouths than their predecessors. The example given on the Geoffrey Chaucer page on Harvard.edu, is “Middle English ‘long e’ in Chaucer’s ‘sheep’ had the value of Latin ‘e’ (and sounded like Modern English ‘shape’)”. Not all words with those vowels shifted, and words with “ea” usually kept their old pronunciations. But you can blame the GVS for “steak” and “streak” not rhyming, and “mice” no longer being pronounced “meese.”
It’s no wonder that Chinese speakers find English as difficult to grasp as English and Spanish speakers find Greek. Shakespeare wrote “It’s all Greek to me” in Julius Caesar, and some Spanish etymologists say that “gringo” comes from “hablar en griego,” meaning “to speak in Greek, or unintelligibly.” A recent WashingtonPost.com article on this said, “The phrase actually comes from a Medieval Latin proverb, ‘Graecum est; non potest legi,’ meaning ‘It is Greek; it cannot be read.’”
The Language Log page on UPenn.edu provides a “Directed Graph of Stereotypical Incomprehensibility,” a title that ought to discourage most Chinese readers. It’s a flow-chart with circles showing the 36 major languages with arrows pointing out which languages are incomprehensible to the speakers of others. Arabic speakers, for instance, also find Greek enigmatic, and also Hindi. Persians find Turkish cryptic, while the Turks find French trying, French find Chinese mystifying, the Chinese find English puzzling; we also find Dutch troubling, the Dutch find Latin perplexing, and Latin speakers say the same about Greek.
Nonetheless, a study released by Northwestern University last fall found that “Speaking more than one language is good for the brain” since “bilingual speakers process information more efficiently and more easily … The benefits occur because the bilingual brain is constantly activating both languages and choosing which language to use and which to ignore …When the brain is constantly exercised in this way, it doesn’t have to work as hard to perform cognitive tasks, the researchers found.” This is scary news for those of us who find all other languages challenging, because our sad crowd’s brains, for better or worse, are simply wired differently. Fortunately, our public library has a wealth of language-learning aides, including the wonderful Mango database, a slew of books and CDs, as well as foreign-language movies.
Many of our greatest wordsmiths, like Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, and Winston Churchill, drew often on the Anglo-Saxon part of the vocabulary. The president’s friend William Jayne wrote, “Mr. Lincoln’s language and style were Anglo-Saxon; he was not a classical scholar, his words were English pure and clear … The common people understood his arguments.”
Or as Mark Twain put it, “Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.”
Greg Hill is the former director of Fairbanks North Star Borough libraries. Contact him at 479‑4344.

Via Charles Tiayon
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

@Planet Veritas - Language News Check out this interesting insight into the origins of modern languages. Only for the linguists amongst you!

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The Surprising Link Between Language and Corporate Responsibility

The Surprising Link Between Language and Corporate Responsibility | Language news | Scoop.it

We've heard that Eskimos have 100 words for snow—a common way of expressing how language affects the way we see the world. Whether or not that particular example is true, cultural linguists have long theorized that the words a particular group of people have at their disposal influences how they categorize the world, emphasizing some values or activities over others.

 

In other words, languages shape the way people think.


Via Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

An understanding of language can help you target international markets.

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Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's curator insight, March 26, 2014 4:30 PM

Research shows that a company's degree of social responsibility is affected by the language it uses to communicate.

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How To Sneeze In Ten Different Languages

How To Sneeze In Ten Different Languages | Language news | Scoop.it

Manchester-based artist James Champman illustrates how to sneeze in ten different languages. Previously he explored what various animals sound like in different languages.


Via Charles Tiayon, Chiara Zanone Translations
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Is any word untranslatable?

Is any word untranslatable? | Language news | Scoop.it
There are some fantastic words that would make welcome additions to English: who among us hasn't experienced tsundoku, asks Lucy Greaves

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The Importance of Translation

The Importance of Translation | Language news | Scoop.it
Illiteracy is a huge problem in development, but even where people are literate there's no guarantee that they are literate in English. The 54 states of Africa are home to more than 2,000 languages...

Via Chiara Zanone Translations
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Chiara Zanone Translations's curator insight, February 7, 2014 12:30 PM

When translation is very important!

Planet Veritas - Language News's curator insight, April 18, 2:33 PM

More fun facts! Planet Veritas likes this article....  language is so powerful... but in Africa - did you k now there were so many of them! @Planet Veritas - Language News

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How Do Animals Sound In Other Languages?

How Do Animals Sound In Other Languages? | Language news | Scoop.it
What does the pig say? In German, that is.
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

LOL

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Languages call for primary pupils

Languages call for primary pupils | Language news | Scoop.it
Primary school children in Wales should be taught foreign languages to boost the number studying them later, the National Centre for Languages says.
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

Let's practice what we preach!

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BBC - Newsbeat - Eddie Izzard: We're just lazy at foreign languages

BBC - Newsbeat - Eddie Izzard: We're just lazy at foreign languages | Language news | Scoop.it
The comedian says people who speak English are
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

Impressive!

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Firm that employed fake interpreter for deaf at Mandela memorial service has ‘vanished’

Firm that employed fake interpreter for deaf at Mandela memorial service has ‘vanished’ | Language news | Scoop.it
S. African official says the man came from “school for the deaf” but admits his English was inadequate.
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

More bad news from the Mandela memorial service interpreter fiasco.....His English was not good enough to interpret!

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Professional Translation Services and Interpreting | Veritas Veritas discuss the coffee culture; Do you speak coffee?

Professional Translation Services and Interpreting | Veritas Veritas discuss the coffee culture; Do you speak coffee? | Language news | Scoop.it
Veritas discuss the coffee culture; Do you speak coffee?
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

What do you think?  Do you find this new culture and its language fun? Easy? Silly? Confusing?    While I wait for your responses, I will just finish off my tall, skinny latte with cinnamon (no whip) in my special mug.  (Yeah – I have a special mug.  Don’t even get me started on my coffee mug ‘collection’!)

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WishPIKS's curator insight, May 8, 2014 1:12 AM

America has definitely been seduced by the coffee culture... Check out this cool article on the "Coffee Culture" in America at http://wishpiks.com/blog/the-coffee-bath/

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Mandela memorial interpreter says he has schizophrenia

Mandela memorial interpreter says he has schizophrenia | Language news | Scoop.it
Thamsanqa Jantjie, whose sign language skills have come under scrutiny, says he was hallucinating and hearing voices
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

This might explain a lot. The issue is indeed challenging and offers much food for thought. We're very interested in your opinion, please get in touch and leave your comments below.

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Planet Veritas - Language News's curator insight, December 12, 2013 5:46 AM

This might explain a lot. The issue is indeed challenging and offers much food for thought. We're very interested in your opinion, please get in touch and leave your comments below. 

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Interpreter at Mandela Service Said to Be an Imposter

Interpreter at Mandela Service Said to Be an Imposter | Language news | Scoop.it
Expressing outrage, South Africa’s deaf-advocacy group said the man responsible for providing interpretation at the memorial on Tuesday was a fake.
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

a lesson to us all!

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Professional Translation Services and Interpreting | Veritas Patent translation, why it is so important to get your patent accurately translated.

Professional Translation Services and Interpreting | Veritas Patent translation, why it is so important to get your patent accurately translated. | Language news | Scoop.it

Veritas discuss patents, their uses through history, how they have changed, and why it is so important to accurately translate your patent applications.

Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

Patent power, get your patent accurately translated.....

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The Importance of Translation

The Importance of Translation | Language news | Scoop.it
Illiteracy is a huge problem in development, but even where people are literate there's no guarantee that they are literate in English. The 54 states of Africa are home to more than 2,000 languages...

Via Chiara Zanone Translations, Planet Veritas - Language News
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

More fun facts! Planet Veritas likes this article....  language is so powerful... but in Africa - did you k now there were so many of them! @Planet Veritas - Language News

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Chiara Zanone Translations's curator insight, February 7, 2014 12:30 PM

When translation is very important!

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Robbery attempt foiled by poor German speaking skills

Robbery attempt foiled by poor German speaking skills | Language news | Scoop.it
A frustrated armed robber had to flee a Berlin supermarket empty-handed over his lack of knowledge of the German language.
The unidentified man entered the store in the city's Mitte district on Tuesday, placed a rucksack on the counter, produced a
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

A robber in Berlin fails to get what he wants as he fails to make himself understood...

Even criminals need language skills! 

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The Effect of Language on Different Cultures

Have you ever wondered why people apply for linguistics courses? Studying languages extensively is interesting as you get to learn the language in context, the forms and meaning. Language helps people to communicate in different forms such as symbolic, verbal or numeric. It is a very vital tool that helps express oneself in terms of feelings and ideas. Language has a positive effect on culture as it influences the way we learn, think and socialise.

Therefore, we can point out that language has helped in culture development. This is because language is used to pass down a culture's legacy from one generation to the next. Language is used to teach people of the different cultures - the traditions and values of other cultures, and ensure customs are not lost. This helps maintain a community's pride and identity distinctively while offering the community a sense of belonging. It is evident that language is an integral element of different cultures.

People from different cultures need translation from one language to another for them to understand what is being discussed. Language translation helps people of different cultures interact by the help of a linguist. A linguist has translating skills to help ease in the translation of a dialect in an oral or written form. Language generally conveys how we perceive things, and it is extremely significant in our day-to-day living as it encourages people to engage in community activities. It is difficult to socially interact without a language.

A linguist is also able to interpret a dialect speech of different cultures orally. Speech interpretation helps different cultures to develop social bonds and have mutual project coordination. There are other linguists who are skilled in multilingual with amazing fluency. Such strong skills are an asset as they promote effective communication, and, therefore, important to know more than two languages. They help transmit a specific message from the complexities of a language accurately. Language has helped give meaning to the things we use, our thoughts, opinions, and feelings.

Language being the soul of cultures or symbol of cultural diversity helps unite people of all cultures as it acts as a point of contention. Language is a medium that promotes a democratic culture and democratic transition process. A language is of great importance to cultures, and it can help build economic relationships, cultural ties and friendship between cultures.

A language whether interpreted or translated can change through modification, evolution and innovation due to exposure to other dialects. Advancing from one dialect to multilingual can help a person attain a competitive advantage. A linguistics class will definitely help you learn how language is effective. It will also help you understand cultures subtle nuances.


Via Thomas Kis-Major
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Thomas Kis-Major's curator insight, February 7, 2014 9:09 PM

By Nick Ross Founder & Commercial Director at The Language Club

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Is any word untranslatable?

Is any word untranslatable? | Language news | Scoop.it
There are some fantastic words that would make welcome additions to English: who among us hasn't experienced tsundoku, asks Lucy Greaves

Via Curri Barcelo
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Translators without Borders ups humanitarian aid in Africa

Translators without Borders ups humanitarian aid in Africa | Language news | Scoop.it

Greater access to vital healthcare information, disaster relief and training provided as the non-profit expands its global programmes on the continent.


Via Charles Tiayon
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

Isn't it amazing what TwB are doing in Africa?

Keep up the good work!

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Languages are in vogue in the fashion industry

Languages are in vogue in the fashion industry | Language news | Scoop.it
International brands and overseas supply chains make languages essential for a career in fashion
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

Learning languages is a complete advantage? Of course it is!

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Loyalists line up to learn cúpla focail at language classes in heart of east Belfast

Loyalists line up to learn cúpla focail at language classes in heart of east Belfast | Language news | Scoop.it
Classes run by sister-in-law of late PUP leader David Ervine at new language centre
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Michael Heim | The Times

Translator who brought to the English-speaking world the work of authors such as Anton Chekhov, Günter Grass and Milan Kundera
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

Goodbye to a well respected and accomplished translator.....

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Clearwater kindergartener's sign language concert goes viral

Clearwater kindergartener's sign language concert goes viral | Language news | Scoop.it
Lori Koch and her husband, Tom, took their seats in the front row for their kindergartener's Christmas concert. The Kochs, both deaf, positioned themselves near an interpreter.
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

This is very cute!!

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Patents: A guide to the key terms

Patents: A guide to the key terms | Language news | Scoop.it
A glossary of some of the most important terms used when describing patents and related organisations.
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Mandela memorial interpreter says he has schizophrenia

Mandela memorial interpreter says he has schizophrenia | Language news | Scoop.it
Thamsanqa Jantjie, whose sign language skills have come under scrutiny, says he was hallucinating and hearing voices
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

This might explain a lot. The issue is indeed challenging and offers much food for thought. We're very interested in your opinion, please get in touch and leave your comments below. 

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Planet Veritas - Language News's curator insight, December 12, 2013 5:50 AM

This might explain a lot. The issue is indeed challenging and offers much food for thought. We're very interested in your opinion, please get in touch and leave your comments below.

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Why don't French books sell abroad?

Why don't French books sell abroad? | Language news | Scoop.it
If the French have such a great literary culture, how come their books don't sell in the English-speaking world?
Planet Veritas - Language News's insight:

Why don't the French read their own literature? for a proudly nationalistic culture, this is surprising!

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