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Barbara McClintock, Genome Self-Repair and Cell Cognition: A Revolutionary Vision for the Future of Biology

Barbara McClintock, Genome Self-Repair and Cell Cognition: A Revolutionary Vision for the Future of Biology | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
In its early days, molecular biology promised to provide us with an explanation of life in terms of physics and chemistry.
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Metaglossia: The Translation World
News about translation, interpreting, intercultural communication, terminology and lexicography - as it happens
Curated by Charles Tiayon
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UN Careers - jobs in this network (Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.)

UN Careers -  jobs in this network (Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.) | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it

Vacancies in this network: Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.

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Camille Rowe-Pourcheresse, Robert Pattinson

Camille Rowe-Pourcheresse, Robert Pattinson | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Apprendre le français de façon sexy avec le mannequin Camille Rowe-Pourcheresse
Charles Tiayon's insight:

Le magazine britannique ID a eu l’idée de mettre en scène des mannequins de différentes nationalités prodiguant les basiques de leurs langues aux lecteurs. Camille Rowe-Pourcheresse, égérie Chloé, se charge du français.

Do you speak French ? Dans le style du "français pour les nuls", le magazine "ID" a pensé à une façon ludique de motiver ses lecteurs pour apprendre la langue de Molière. Avec sa série de vidéos postées en ligne, intitulée «Model Mother Tongue» (la langue maternelle des mannequins), le magazine britannique spécialisé dans l’information mode et culture, a demandé à des mannequins polonais, danois, russe, chinois ou encore français d’expliquer les basiques de leurs langues aux internautes, de façon décalée.

Leçon numéro 1 : le français, avec le top du moment, Camille Rowe-Pourcheresse. Le mannequin de 23 ans a fait chavirer le cœur de l’acteur américain Robert Pattinson dansla dernière campagne très sexy du parfum Dior Homme. C’est dire si la jeune femme, installée à New York, dégage une sensualité sans borne.

 

Glamour toujours

Pour le clip imaginé par "ID", Camille Rowe-Pourcheresse joue sur les clichés français avec délicatesse et humour. En sept phrases, censées être indispensables pour tout Frenchie qui se respecte, la demoiselle arrive à placer les mots macarons, croissants, fromage, et bien évidemment… vin rouge. Mais surtout, la jolie blonde hisse le français au rang des langues les plus romantiques, caractérisée par des auteurs phares comme Stendhal, Flaubert ou Simone de Beauvoir. 

Ainsi, quoi que disent, quoi que fassent les habitants de l’hexagone dans leur quotidien, ils restent glamour. Crise de nerfs, état fiévreux, café en terrasse ou conversations téléphoniques, le Français est toujours dans la séduction. Camille Rowe-Pourcheresse s’assure de vous en convaincre.

Les cours de polonais sont pour leur part dispensés par la jeune Ola Rudnicka, le danois par celle qui a conquis le cœur de tous les créateurs français, incarnant même la Parisienne typique dans une série mode imaginée par "Vogue Paris", Nadja Bender. Pour apprendre le mandarin, qui de mieux que l’égérie Estée Lauder, Liu Wen ou Tao Okamoto pour le japonais . Quant au russe, "ID" a pensé à l’angélique Nastya Sten. Il ne reste plus qu’à faire son choix.

Apprendre le polonais avec Ola Rudnicka:

 

Le danois avec Nadja Bender :

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Rosetta Stone firm left red faced after judge rules on Germany's yellow dictionaries - Telegraph

Rosetta Stone firm left red faced after judge rules on Germany's yellow dictionaries - Telegraph | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
The company behind the world-famous language course told to change the colour of its products because it is too similar to a German competitor
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The company behind the world-famous language course told to change the colour of its products because it is too similar to a German competitor
Rosetta Stone's software is based on the idea that languages can be taught by repetition without translation, using images, sound and video Photo: Alamy

By Justin Huggler in Berlin

3:18PM BST 19 Sep 2014

An American company which produces the world-famous Rosetta Stone language course has been told by a German court that it must repackage its yellow products because only a local rival has the right to use the colour.

The venerable German publishing house Langenscheidt – founded in 1865 and once a pioneer of self-study language courses – had sued Rosetta Stone, arguing that company's website and packaging was too similar to its well-known dictionaries.

The German firm's bosses said Rosetta Stone's use of a yellow colour scheme amounted to an infringement of its trade mark.

Founded by Gustav Langenscheidt, who decided to set up his own company after publishers turned down his radical new self-study French course, the company is famous for its bilingual dictionaries.

By contrast, Rosetta Stone's software is based on the idea that languages can be taught by repetition without translation, using images, sound and video.

The US company was set up by Allen Stoltzfus, who learnt German without any formal studies simply through immersion in the language's home country.

He established his course in an attempt to simulate his own experience.

Langenscheidt's dictionaries have been published in yellow since 1956, with a large blue L emblazoned on the front cover. Today it also offers the books as audio CDs, e-books and apps.

Germany's highest civil court, the Federal Court in Karlsruhe, upheld Langenscheidt's claim, saying there was a risk customers might confuse the two products.

Rosetta Stone will now have to find a new colour scheme for its software in Germany.

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Usage volume deserves approbation

Usage volume deserves approbation | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
I am a word nerd. Etymology fascinates me. I try not to use 50-cent words when a dime’s worth will do, but sometimes I can’t resist tossing in a word that might not be used in everyday conversation. I have learned the hard way to double-check anytime I venture into territory commonly occupied by the likes of George Will — the longtime conservative columnist who has the average reader reaching for a dictionary every few paragraphs. 
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Deaf woman refused a job interview at company for not speaking English

Deaf woman refused a job interview at company for not speaking English | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Miranda Reardon has now lodged a formal complaint with the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission after she felt disappointed with the way she was treated.
Charles Tiayon's insight:

A young deaf woman was refused a job interview at a Darwin catering company after a staff member turned her away because she couldn't 'speak English'.

Miranda Reardon has now lodged a formal complaint with the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission after she felt disappointed with the way she was treated. 

When she arrived at the office, she met with an interviewer named 'Angela' but was knocked back when Ms Reardon asked if she could write down what she was saying.

The 20-year-old told Daily Mail Australia that the company had invited her to an interview after receiving her CV but when she got there, she didn't get a chance to be interviewed.

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Miranda Reardon was refused a job interview at a Darwin catering company because she couldn't 'speak English'

'I introduced myself to Angela by writing on a piece of paper but she shook her head and said something,’ Ms Reardon said.

'I asked her to write down what she was saying. I even told her that the team and I can find ways to communicate with each other.

But the staff responded by writing: 'Staff need to be able to tell you what to do. No time to write notes.’

'I felt like an immigrant who can’t speak English. I am deaf but I didn't ask for it - to be discriminated,’ Ms Reardon said.

The staff responded by writing: 'Staff need to be able to tell you what to do. No time to write notes’

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The 20-year-old has now lodged a formal complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Commission after the way she was treated

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The interviewer told Ms Reardon: 'I need someone who can speak English to communicate with other staff'

'She didn't even ask me questions or give me any chance to be interviewed and I felt really upset so I left the office.

'This is blatant discrimination and I have never experienced anything like it in the past.’

Ms Reardon, who recently moved up from Melbourne with her partner said she has several years of experiences working in a fast paced kitchen, hospitality and food handling.

'I work in a busy inner Melbourne local café, cooking breakfast for customers every Saturday morning and we've all got on fine without communication issues. I even have a certificate in Hospitality II.

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Ms Reardon said that when hiring people, their abilities should be looked at, not their disability

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Ms Reardon, who recently moved up from Melbourne with her partner said she has several years of experiences working in a fast paced kitchen, hospitality and food handling

After hearing about a position that was vacant in the kitchen, she was invited to attend a formal interview in Woolner of Northern Territory after exchanging emails with the company.

'It’s difficult for deaf people to find a job even if they have applied for so many jobs and still get no answers.

'It’s ashamed that the company couldn't see my skills and knowledge because they refused to interview a deaf person or a non-English speaking people.

'It’s not about whether I can hear or speak but it’s about what I can do.’

Ms Reardon said the company sent her an email to apologise after the interview.

'She didn't mention my qualification or skills but she stated how communication between staff is so important – Her apology was not good enough and I haven’t replied.

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After hearing about a position that was vacant in the kitchen, she was invited to attend a formal interview in Woolner of Northern Territory after exchanging emails with the company

'They never mentioned what qualifications and skills the staff needed to be able to work there either.

'But what I don’t understand is, let’s say my skills and qualifications weren’t good enough – why did they approach me for an interview in the first place?’

'It’s disappointing to see it still happening today when it should not have happened at all.

Ms Reardon said that when hiring people, their abilities should be looked at, not their disability.

'I don’t think there is enough awareness of deafness or resources for deaf people in Darwin,' she said

JebFab Catering Services owner Mitchell Smart told NT News that Ms Reardon had stormed out of the interview, frustrated at the inability to communicate with the interviewer. He said she also did not have the necessary skills for the position.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2761924/Deaf-woman-knocked-job-interview-Darwin-catering-company-not-speaking-English.html#ixzz3DpsPhMVW 
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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Stage roles hone valuable life skills

Stage roles hone valuable life skills | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Experience in the arts provides essential life skills.
Charles Tiayon's insight:

I was 10 when I discovered theater.

A shy, quiet fifth-grade girl, I was intimidated but intrigued when my teacher announced auditions for the class play, “The Mysterious Fox of Fox Hollow.” No one expected me to try out, but I felt compelled to give it a try.

At the after-school auditions, I walked into the classroom trembling, took the mimeographed purple-printed page of dialogue, and ventured to the front of the room. And then I started speaking, and I killed it.

I don’t know where it came from. But in reading the Fox’s lines, I discovered something in myself that had been dormant. All of a sudden, I was outgoing and funny, and I lovedit. Imagine everyone’s surprise when the shy girl who never opened her mouth got cast in the title role. I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

The impact of that experience was long-lasting and life-changing. I discovered a love of performing that is just as passionate today. As a young person, I was excited to be a part of a fun and engaging activity. As an adult, I continue to find fulfillment with a creative outlet and a community of talented, imaginative friends.

And although I wouldn’t have considered it in my youth, my experience in the arts has provided me with a wealth of life skills that I use daily.

1.I have a voice. As an introvert, taking that first step to try acting was terrifying and momentous. Normally quiet and introspective, the realization that I could take on the personality of a character different from myself opened endless possibilities. I found I could engage with the world in new ways. I could use my oral communication skills to make people laugh, take them on a cathartic journey, or persuade them to a different point of view. The resulting boost of confidence was empowering.

2. Everyone’s contribution is important. In a theatrical production, everyone matters. The show can’t go on without lights, costumes or ticket sales. The person who builds the sets plays just as important a role as the person who plays the lead. This emphasis on collaboration and teamwork translates directly to everyday life. Communities thrive on people who work together for the success of a shared goal.

3.Commitment and follow-through. Participating in a performance means committing to a rehearsal and production schedule for weeks, or even months. Learning to dedicate yourself to something creative helps foster a sense of accomplishment. Following through on a commitment is a first step toward developing a strong work ethic. And when it is a labor of love, it doesn’t feel like work.

4.Receiving constructive criticism. Being part of a collaborative creative process means receiving feedback. It is a part of learning and building, a tool for improvement. People who learn to accept critiques and incorporate positive changes without taking offense have a valuable life skill. In a theatrical performance, the feedback from the audience is instantaneous — and almost always positive and appreciative.

5.Creative problem-solving. How do we create the illusion that we’re jumping from a speeding train? How do we engineer this dagger to make it appear that I’ve been stabbed on stage? How do we make people believe we are on a pirate ship in a raging storm using only strips of fabric and rope? Being able to think outside of the box is a skill honed in a theater production. Beyond that, creative thinkers are valuable assets to employers and the community.

Look for LaFortune in Melbourne Civic Theatre’s production of “Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays,” opening Oct. 10.


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Judge Weighs In on Redistricting Language

Judge Weighs In on Redistricting Language | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
In addition to voting for the major offices, voters this fall will decide on whether to approve what lawmakers *were calling an 'independent' redistricting commission. That commission would be tasked with drawing new district lines following the 2020 census. But this week, a judge struck down the word 'independent', saying the commission would not be that at all. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman explains.
Charles Tiayon's insight:

A state Supreme Court judge on Wednesday ruled that the wording of a constitutional amendment on this year's ballot will need to be changed.

The amendment would create a new commission to draw new legislative districts every ten years, a process currently done by legislators themselves.

And the judge decided that to describe the proposed process as an independent replacement is not accurate, saying the commission would still be subject to partisan influence.

"It's pretty clear this process is not independent. The Legislature still gets ultimate say over what the lines look like, they get to appoint the members, they get to draw their own lines if they decide to vote down the lines drawn by the commission. So it's misleading to have this word. It's certainly great the voters aren't going to be deceived going forward," said NYPIRG analyst Bill Mahoney.

The redistricting amendment is a product of a compromise from March 2012 between Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers. Cuomo approved legislative boundaries for the Senate and Assembly in exchange for the amendment, which supporters say overhauls the often corrupt and loaded process which frequently helps incumbents stay in office.

"If New Yorkers vote yes for proposal number one it will change and end the rigged process of redistricting that has defined our political system for decades and will finally help change the culture of corruption in Albany," said Dick Dadey of Citizens Union.

But the proposed change to the redistricting process has split good-government organizations. Citizens Union and the League of Women Voters say enshrining the changes in the constitution is important. NYPIRG and Common Cause disagree, saying it still vests too much power in the Legislature since they select the commission members and have to approve the lines. 

"No matter what happens, the Legislature could still vote down the lines and draw their own. They still get to appoint the vast majority of commissioners to this commission," said Mahoney.

But proponents of the amendment are urging voters to approve it, saying it provides the best possible solution to the problem. 

"Whether the word independent is used or not is immaterial because this amendment still creates a commission that is politically balanced, that will be charged with drawing lines that ban partisan redistricting and creates a fair and impartial redistricting process," said Dadey.

The state Board of Elections did not issue a statement in response to the ruling to change the ballot language and its lawyers are reviewing their options.

- See more at: http://binghamton.twcnews.com/content/politics/770213/judge-weighs-in-on-redistricting-language/#sthash.FRNuzxaA.dpuf

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Maxime Bernier «gazouillera» dans les deux langues

Maxime Bernier «gazouillera» dans les deux langues | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Contrairement à certains de ses collègues ministres, Maxime Bernier, nouveau venu dans la «twittosphère», entend «gazouiller» systématiquement dans les deux langues officielles dans le cadre de ses fonctions au Tourisme et à la Petite Entreprise.
Charles Tiayon's insight:

Contrairement à certains de ses collègues ministres, Maxime Bernier, nouveau venu dans la «twittosphère», entend «gazouiller» systématiquement dans les deux langues officielles dans le cadre de ses fonctions au Tourisme et à la Petite Entreprise.

Le commissaire aux langues officielles, Graham Fraser, mène présentement une enquête sur les comptes Twitter des ministres John Baird et Steven Blaney, dont les gazouillis font l’objet de plaintes.

M. Fraser aura à déterminer dans quelle mesure le compte Twitter des ministres représente le prolongement des ministères qu’ils chapeautent et qui sont assujettis à la Loi sur les langues officielles.

Enjeu global

«L’enjeu est plus global que juste un ministre spécifique», indique le porte-parole du commissaire, Nelson Kalil.

M. Bernier, qui a souligné la rentrée parlementaire à Ottawa lundi dernier en faisant son entrée sur Twitter, y va de sa propre réponse.

Il entend réserver ses messages à 140 caractères unilingues français à ses commettants de la Beauce.

Les députés ne sont pas assujettis à la Loi sur les langues officielles. Les gazouillis liés à son ministère seront pour leur part bilingues.

«Il y a une façon de gérer cela pour respecter la Loi sur les langues officielles», a indiqué M. Bernier, lorsque questionné par le Journal.

Attaques contre Couillard

Sur son compte Twitter, M. Bernier se décrit comme le député de Beauce et le «promoteur de la liberté et la responsabilité», mais ne fait pas mention de ses fonctions de ministre.

Au moment d’écrire ces lignes, hier, le ministre comptait 560 abonnés et 17 micromessages, dont quelques-uns en français attaquant le gouvernement Couillard et les partis de l’Assemblée nationale qui ont adopté une motion sur le «déséquilibre fiscal». «Encore du quémandage!» a écrit M. Bernier.

 

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La «Benipedia» sale del cajón

La «Benipedia» sale del cajón | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Benidorm recupera un diccionario enciclopédico sobre la ciudad encargado por el Consistorio y olvidado durante más de una década - La obra se difundirá en internet y busca fondos para su edición en papel
Charles Tiayon's insight:

Historia local. Corría el año 2000 cuando el Ayuntamiento de Benidorm, entonces gobernado por Pérez Devesa, encargó al profesor Pascual Almiñana un diccionario que recopilara todos los aspectos relacionados con la ciudad. Tras más de dos años de trabajo, el autor y sus colaboradores acabaron la obra. Ahora, más de una década después, por fin verá la luz.

Más de 600 páginas y cerca de mil entradas componen la versión benidormense de una obra que aspira, muy pronto, a convertirse en lo más parecido a una Wikipedia local. El Ayuntamiento de Benidorm se han propuesto desempolvar el «Diccionari de Benidorm», que recopila la historia local desde su fundación en 1325 hasta la actualidad. El libro fue encargado por el Consistorio al profesor Pascual Almiñana en el año 2000 pero, desde su finalización en 2003, ha dormido el sueño de los justos en un cajón.

La teniente alcalde Gema Amor y el autor de la obra presentaron ayer el proyecto para recuperar todo el trabajo realizado en aquellos años por el propio Almiñana y otros diez colaboradores, que trabajaron en distintos campos desde la «disciplina científica»: Rafael Alemany (Literatura), Eusebi Chiner (Medicina), Francisco Amillo (personajes históricos), Bárbara Alemany (frases populares), Bea Farach (cocina), Francisco Llorca Ibi (pesca), Ana Pont y Rosa Fuster (Biología), Josep Cano (música) y el fallecido Juanjo Chiner, que redactó todas las entradas relacionadas con la arquitectura. Mientras, Almiñana se encargó de la vertiente toponímica.

El primer paso para sacar del olvido este trabajo será difundirlo a través de internet, posiblemente entre los meses de mayo y junio, en colaboración con el departamento de Informática del IES Pere Maria, que será el encargado de reconvertir a formato digital los 600 folios de la obra, redactada en valenciano y que también se pretende traducir a otras lenguas, como el castellano o el inglés. Paralelamente, se está buscando financiación para que sea posible, también, su edición en papel.

El autor y algunos de los colaboradores reconocieron ayer que pensaban que este día «no iba a llegar nunca», ya que «desde 2003 hemos tocado todas las teclas habidas y por haber, pero no ha sido una realidad hasta ahora». Asimismo, Almiñana destacó que la redacción se inició «siendo edil de Cultura José Amor y ahora lo acabará de impulsar su hija, Gema Amor». La edil también afirmó que «al fin una obra tan importante para nuestro pueblo podrá ver la luz».

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English is sitting up and taking nourishment

English is sitting up and taking nourishment | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
It is always a good day when Kory Stamper finds an occasion to post at harmless drudgery , and yesterday she had a go at N.M. Gwynne, M.A. (Oxon.) .
Charles Tiayon's insight:

It is always a good day when Kory Stamper finds an occasion to post at harmless drudgery, and yesterday she had a go at N.M. Gwynne, M.A. (Oxon.)

Mr. Gwynne, who caught my attention recently, is a peever pur sang. What caught Ms. Stamper's attention was his ludicrous assertion, presented as a logical proof (!), that good grammar is indispensable to happiness. ("Good grammar," we are to understand, is that set of fossilized schoolroom dicta embraced by the peeververein.)

So Ms. Stamper has a look at ain't, disparaged  as subliterate, coarse, and vile by generations of schoolmarms, and finds this:

“ 'Ain’t' has been maligned for most of its existence, and yet a great dictionary notes, 'although widely disapproved as nonstandard and more common in the habitual speech of the less educated, ain’t … is flourishing in American English.'

"You know what else is flourishing in American English? The rest of American English. In spite of the wrong-headed 'ain’t,' a word that just about no one likes but everyone uses, we’ve still managed to communicate with one another beautifully. In fact, it’s almost as if people are able to use 'ain’t' and still think clearly, act rationally, do rightly, live happily, and otherwise verb adverbially in a generally positive way."

Then the coup de grace to Mr. Gwynne:

"That’s what makes Gwynne’s proof so ridiculous. There are people in the world who speak beautifully, whose powers of rhetoric and usage are keen, and yet who are nonetheless horrible people who wreak havoc in people’s lives. Yes, fine, Godwin’s Law invoked: I'm talking about Hitler. But we don’t even need to look that deep into the heart of grammatical darkness. We all know someone who is 100% orthodox in their grammatical opinions, spotless as a lamb, and whose life is still a shambles."

I am reminded of a passage in John McWhorter's The Power of Babel:

"Language change, to the extent that we can perceive it, appears to be decay. And sometimes it is, in the technical sense (erosion of sounds, dropping of endings). But in fact it concurrently entails building up (new sounds, grammaticalization of concrete words into new helping verbs, prefixes and suffixes) and plain old reshuffling (nickname, I have seen her). No scholar has yet encountered a forlorn culture where the language simply 'wore down' to the point that the people can no longer communicate beyond desperate barks (not even English, contrary to ever-popular belief). Language change is neither decay nor even evolution; rather, it is transformation--a term I have deliberately use in place of evolution, with its connotation of progress."  

Yesterday was the anniversary of Samuel Johnson's birth. It seems right to conclude with a bit of what he said in the preface to his great dictionary about the mutability of language:

"Those who have been persuaded to think well of my design will require that it should fix our language and put a stop to those alterations which time and chance have hitherto been suffered to make in it without opposition. With this consequence I will confess that I flattered myself for a while; but now begin to fear that I have indulged expectation which neither reason nor experience can justify. When we see men grow old and die at a certain time one after another, from century to century, we laugh at the elixir that promises to prolong life to a thousand years; and with equal justice may the lexicographer be derided, who being able to produce no example of a nation that has preserved their words and phrases from mutability, shall imagine that his dictionary can embalm his language and secure it from corruption and decay, that it is in his power to change sublunary nature, and clear the world at once from folly, vanity, and affectation."  

 



Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/bal-english-is-sitting-up-and-taking-nourishment-20140919,0,3118770.story#ixzz3Dpo8PCVG

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De truchement à trucmuche, et de l’importance du nombre

De truchement à trucmuche, et de l’importance du nombre | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it

J'aime bien repenser à l'entrée en matière du cours de Rémy dans la scène d'ouverture du Déclin de...

Charles Tiayon's insight:

Quand on parle de sports dans les ouvrages traduits par nos cousins, marquer un essai dans l’en-but semble tellement plus correct qu’un touché dans la zone des buts...

J’aime bien repenser à l’entrée en matière du cours de Rémy dans la scène d’ouverture du Déclin de l’empire américain « Il y a trois choses importantes en histoire. Premièrement, le nombre. Deuxièmement, le nombre. Troisièmement, le nombre. »Cette loi fondamentale, poursuit le prof, permet de prédire que les Noirs sud-africains seront forcément libres un jour (on est en 1986), et aussi que leurs cousins afro-américains ne le seront jamais.

 

Appliqué au domaine de la traduction littéraire, ça donne à peu près ceci : l’éditeur de la version française du Pic de Jack Kerouac peut écrire « traduit de l’américain » sur la page titre, mais on ne verra jamais personne se vanter de publier en anglais un livre« traduit du québécois ». Que l’idiome local forme, aux yeux des linguistes, une langue distincte ou pas, créolisée un peu, beaucoup ou passionnément, je ne vais pas faire semblant d’être capable de trancher ce vieux débat. La linguistique moderne est à la remorque de l’usager, de la rue, tandis que loin devant cavale la langue littéraire, et c’est cette dernière qui m’intéresse. Je sais une chose : quand il essaie de se mettre à vivre aussi fort dans les pages d’un livre que sur un trottoir, le français québécois est aussi différent de celui, prétendument international, qu’on parle et écrit à Paris que la langue des écrivains étasuniens l’est de celle de Shakespeare. La différence, c’est 310 millions de locuteurs américains contre 50 millions pour l’ancien maître. Et en français, 8 millions contre 66 millions. Importance du nombre. Rémy avait raison…

 

Quand je qualifie le Québec de colonie de l’édition et de la traduction, je n’émets pas un jugement de valeur, c’est un simple constat. Quant à l’amusante manie qui consiste à relever les travers des traductions hexagonales, mettons qu’il pourrait s’agir d’une douce forme de revanche : pas plus que la France n’est du genre à se gêner pour se gausser bruyamment de la manière dont les petits-cousins prononcent le mot beurre (« vous voulez dire les Arabes ? »), je ne rate aucune occasion de lui faire observer que les loriots, à ne pas confondre avec les orioles, n’existent pas au pays d’Audubon, ou de m’écrouler de rire quand je rencontre un rotengle (gardon rouge) dans un étang du Texas.

 

Autre écueil bien connu : les sports. Tout lecteur le moindrement aguerri de l’Amérique sportive sait que dans un match de football américain disputé dans un roman traduit chez Albin Michel, Bourgois ou l’Olivier, il risque de courir longtemps avant de trouver la zone des buts… Marquer un essai (plutôt qu’un touché) dans l’en-but est tellement plus correct. Ce qu’il faut bien se rentrer dans la tête, c’est que même quand il confond football et rugby, le traducteur français a raison. Rappelez-vous : il est 66 millions, et moi, je ne suis que 8 millions. Ces passeurs de mots ne se comportent pas autrement que les naturalistes des premières expéditions qui nommèrent pinsons et fauvettes les passereaux indigènes qui leur rappelaient ces espèces de l’Ancien Monde. Au-delà de la dérangeante étrangeté, toute entreprise de traduction ne consiste-t-elle pas à ramener l’inconnu au connu ?

 

La situation, remarquez, tend à s’améliorer depuis quelques années, du moins en ce qui concerne les noms de bestioles et la taxinomie en général. Merci, Internet.

 

Jurons et sacres

 

Deux autres écueils, tant qu’à y être, me semblent devoir être mentionnés : le vouvoiement déplacé, et les jurons. Voici deux cowboys occupés à se faire réchauffer une platée de bines sur un feu de ramilles de mesquite en buvant un café à décaper un cactus, et vous ne devinerez jamais : ils se vouvoient… J’exagère à peine.

 

Quant aux jurons, je reconnais qu’ils représentent pour la traduction un pari presque impossible : pas évident d’exporter notre vaisselle d’église dans des w.c. anglo-saxons ou un bordel français, et vice-versa. Mais bon yeux de vindienne de taboire, est-ce une raison pour ne pas essayer ? Dans Et quelquefois j’ai comme une grande idée, la récente traduction du chef-d’oeuvre de Ken Kesey (Monsieur Toussaint Louverture, 2013), la verdeur langagière criante de réalisme du vieux Henry Stamper passée au tordeur du bon parler français est à mourir de comique involontaire.

 

Comment dit-on Gawdamn (Goddamn) en français ? « Crénom ! » Etgoddammit ?« Crénom d’une pipe ! »Hell y devient — peut-être parce que le personnage est un bûcheron ? — « bon sang de bois ! ». Seigneur…

 

En comparaison, le sobre « maudit ! » que lâche à un moment donné un des personnages de Champion et Ooneemeetoo, la belle traduction du roman de Tomson Highway par Robert Dickson, a quelque chose de rafraîchissant.

 

Comment un petit éditeur de Sudbury, Prise de parole, a-t-il pu mettre la patte sur un tel chef-d’oeuvre (Kiss of the Fur Queen, 1998) au nez des grosses machines bien huilées d’outre-Atlantique ? Il doit y avoir là-dessous quelque histoire de tripeux que j’ignore. À cause du nombre, nous ne serons jamais une plaque tournante de la traduction. Ne reconduirons jamais cette position stratégique occupée jadis par le truchement, ce coureur des bois polyglotte mêlé aux nations du continent. Les traducteurs d’ici, subventions du Conseil des arts obligent, vont continuer de se limiter à traduire des auteurs canadiens. Un peu comme le sacro-saint mandat radio-canadien nous force à nous taper la météo de Saskatoon.

 

En attendant, tous les bons coups sont permis. Comme Daniel Poliquin traduisant le premier et le dernier roman de Kerouac. Les nouvelles de Thomas King (Une brève histoire des Indiens au Canada, Boréal, 2014), qui avec leur humour tordu et leur mélange de fantaisie et de fantastique assumés ne correspondent pas vraiment à la représentation parigote de l’indianité littéraire, sont aujourd’hui, chez Boréal, traduites par Lori Saint-Martin et Paul Gagné.

 

J’ouvre au hasard Pic, l’édition de 1987 traduite par Poliquin pour Québec-Amérique, et je lis ceci : « Là tu parles, ti-gars ! » Et plus loin : « M’as te dire une affaire… » Et je me retrouve, ici, là-bas, à l’étranger, dans ma langue natale.

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University programs help non-native English speakers learn in new ways : The Antelope

University programs help non-native English speakers learn in new ways : The Antelope | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it

To become an official undergraduate student at UNK, some international students go to the English Language Institute (ELI) to improve English usage to a certain level in order to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Shintaro Minami, a freshman from Tokyo, Japan, was in ELI last semester. She said she benefited in many ways. “I could focus on studying English at ELI because of the nice educators, and every class helped me to pass the TOEFL. I can use the skills I learned in ELI for UNK classes,” Minami said. “And also, I could make a lot of friends from many countries.”

The ELI program provides good opportunities for all students including Conversation Tables and Conversation Partners. International students can talk and meet with UNK students in these groups. Then everyone helps and everyone learns.

Diane Longo, ELI coordinator, said, “The ELI program was created and directed by Jerald Fox in the fall of 1997. Nineteen students were enrolled and the program’s goal was to improve reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in English.” ELI has about 50 students this semester from Brazil, China, Columbia, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
“I like my job,” Longo said. “Because everyone I work with seems very committed to helping young people and reaching the goal, and I like to meet and talk with international people. They are amazing!”

TOEFL has two testing formats that are TOEFL IBT and PBT. TOEFL IBT is an Internet-based test that measures all four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. A perfect score is a 120, and UNK requires a score of 61 or higher.

Photo by Akiho Someya
The ELI program has a conversation table once a week. During this time, international students can communicate with UNK undergraduate students who are native speakers.

TOEFL PBT is administered in a paper-based format measuring three skills of listening, reading and grammar. A perfect score is a 677, and UNK requires a score of 500 or above.

Though most of the students have taken English language classes for many years, when they get here, it is different and they need more practice. Students can take TOEFL three times, including the placement test when they are in ELI where they are divided into five different levels and take six different classes.

“The class needs to be small so educators can communicate with students very well. During this time, educators work with students and share their information,” Longo said. “Our duty is to help students to become undergraduate students, and of course help them learn English, not only writing and reading, but also speaking fluently and with good pronunciation.”

Photo by Akiho Someya
Students in ELI take a fun group picture during a break in classes. Students are able to meet other international students from all over the globe.

Charles Tiayon's insight:

To become an official undergraduate student at UNK, some international students go to the English Language Institute (ELI) to improve English usage to a certain level in order to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Shintaro Minami, a freshman from Tokyo, Japan, was in ELI last semester. She said she benefited in many ways. “I could focus on studying English at ELI because of the nice educators, and every class helped me to pass the TOEFL. I can use the skills I learned in ELI for UNK classes,” Minami said. “And also, I could make a lot of friends from many countries.”

The ELI program provides good opportunities for all students including Conversation Tables and Conversation Partners. International students can talk and meet with UNK students in these groups. Then everyone helps and everyone learns.

Diane Longo, ELI coordinator, said, “The ELI program was created and directed by Jerald Fox in the fall of 1997. Nineteen students were enrolled and the program’s goal was to improve reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in English.” ELI has about 50 students this semester from Brazil, China, Columbia, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
“I like my job,” Longo said. “Because everyone I work with seems very committed to helping young people and reaching the goal, and I like to meet and talk with international people. They are amazing!”

TOEFL has two testing formats that are TOEFL IBT and PBT. TOEFL IBT is an Internet-based test that measures all four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. A perfect score is a 120, and UNK requires a score of 61 or higher.

Photo by Akiho Someya
The ELI program has a conversation table once a week. During this time, international students can communicate with UNK undergraduate students who are native speakers.

TOEFL PBT is administered in a paper-based format measuring three skills of listening, reading and grammar. A perfect score is a 677, and UNK requires a score of 500 or above.

Though most of the students have taken English language classes for many years, when they get here, it is different and they need more practice. Students can take TOEFL three times, including the placement test when they are in ELI where they are divided into five different levels and take six different classes.

“The class needs to be small so educators can communicate with students very well. During this time, educators work with students and share their information,” Longo said. “Our duty is to help students to become undergraduate students, and of course help them learn English, not only writing and reading, but also speaking fluently and with good pronunciation.”

Photo by Akiho Someya
Students in ELI take a fun group picture during a break in classes. Students are able to meet other international students from all over the globe.

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In conversation: ‘Poems come to me in the form of a world’ - Brown Daily Herald

In conversation: ‘Poems come to me in the form of a world’ - Brown Daily Herald | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Pilar Fraile Amador's poetry, widely published in her native Spain, uses words to create and explore surreal spheres of personal and political identity.
Charles Tiayon's insight:

The poetry of Pilar Fraile Amador, widely published in her native Spain, uses words to create and explore surreal spheres of personal and political identity. In a bilingual recitation, Lizzie Davis ’15 will open the door to these worlds for English-speaking readers with her translations of Amador’s poetry collections, “Larva Seguida de Cerca” and “Close.” The reading, which will take place in the McCormack Family Theater at 7 p.m. Friday, is part of the Department of Literary Arts’ two-day festival, “Panic Cure: Poetry from Spain in the 21st Century.” Davis and Amador recently sat down with The Herald to discuss their parallel journeys of translation and creation.

 

Herald: Lizzie, what were your main concerns regarding the project?

Davis: My main concern was taking this beautiful, surreal universe created in Pilar’s poems and trying to transfer that so that a non-native speaker could have the experience of that text in English. A lot of it was in the details — tiny grammatical things. In the end, it came down to going on my nerve to recast this light in English that had been cast in Spanish.

 

Herald: And were there any specific places where you went to Pilar for advice?

Davis: I wasn’t in contact with Pilar while I was working on the project. I didn’t want to send her anything until I had something that I was excited about, so I waited until the end to send it to her. Then she gave me her comments. There were a lot.

Amador: Some of the language in the book is very specific, so it is very hard to translate. Some of the language I use belongs to a small region in Spain.

Davis: There was one word that was actually a water bug, but I had thought it was a shoemaker.

 

Herald: Pilar, what are the main themes of the poems in your collections?

Amador: The poems come to me in the form of a world. So for me, it’s kind of difficult because I see the poems from inside-out. But I will say that the main theme of “Larva” is identity — the construction and deconstruction of identity. And the main theme of “Close” would be like community — how do we gather together?

Davis: What drew me to “Larva” is the way it deals with the communication on a subconscious level that exists between human beings — this wellspring from which poetry and all of the arts drink. What I really got from the first section of “Larva” was that there is an individual memory and there is also a collective memory, and the way that those intermix can be very generative.

 

Herald: Pilar, how did you feel when you read the translations for the first time?

Amador: I feel that it’s very surprising the first time you read translations, because it’s like something that used to belong to you doesn’t belong to you anymore. But once you get used to that, it’s very beautiful because you can see how the meaning and the subconscious meaning can be translated into another world. It’s like, “whoa.”

Davis: I think that that was really hard for me to understand because I wanted to be as accurate as possible, but I think there’s something inherently subjective to translating where you’re having this visceral experience and you can’t really separate your own experience of the text from the translation.

 

Herald: Pilar, were there aspects of the poetry you were surprised to see emphasized in the translation?

Amador: This thing that showed up when I read Lizzie’s work was that the poems were becoming younger, lighter. I could see her youthfulness in the poems, and it’s very, very beautiful.

 

Herald: Lizzie, do you feel you developed your own tone in your translation?

Davis: The similarities between Pilar’s poetry and my own poetry made translating a lot of fun. We both move in nondelineated spaces. Her work is very image-driven. It has this multi-vocal timbre to it and it’s very disjointed. I could relate as a writer to what she was doing, but I really tried to keep from leaving a mark. I wanted to honor the beauty of her tone.

 

Herald: Pilar, when you were writing these poems did you have a specific readership in mind?

Amador: Not really. But I was thinking about restoring the things that went wrong in the past times of my country — some kind of poetic justice. I have always felt that there were two or three generations in Spain that were kind of lost to the civil war, so I always have these generations in mind. There are parts in the poems that may speak to those generations.

 

Herald: Lizzie, what was your process in translating?

Davis: My first impulse was to read the entire text. Then I went through and did rough translations so that I could get a deeper understanding. I found there was a line between maintaining the qualities of the original language and allowing those qualities to expand the language of translation. I tried to let the source text push the limits of English. But I wanted to make sure the poems really read as convincing poems on their own, so I thought a lot about recreating syntactical and stylistic elements seamlessly in English.

 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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Presentan poemario de Rosa Ausländer traducido por Teresa Ruiz Rosas | El Búho - Noticias Arequipa

Presentan poemario de Rosa Ausländer traducido por Teresa Ruiz Rosas | El Búho - Noticias Arequipa | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it

Este jueves 18 se presentó el poemario “Mi aliento se llama ahora” de la poeta judía Rose Ausländer en el auditorio del Instituto Goethe en Lima. La selección y traducción al español estuvo a cargo de la escritora arequipeña Teresa Ruiz Rosas y de su padre, el reconocido poeta José Ruiz Rosas. La presentación estuvo presidida por la poeta Julia Wong.

Rose Ausländer (Ucrania, 1901-1988) es una de las voces más destacadas de poesía en alemán del siglo XX. Exiliada por los sucesos de la primera Guerra Mundial, escribió más de veinte poemarios tales como El arco iris, entre otros. Sus anteriores poemarios no fueron nunca traducidos. En Alemania recibió muchos premios y la cruz del Mérito del País (1984).

“Mi aliento se llama ahora” es una antología que rescata pasajes de su vida como el tema de la persecución a los judíos de parte de los nazis, el exilio, los procesos de separación, el amor, así como el no poder escribir en el idioma alemán por considerarlo en la época como la “lengua del verdugo”. De otro lado, está la influencia de Paul Celan en su estilo literario y como parte del prólogo del libro.

Durante la mesa de presentación, Teresa Ruiz Rosas refirió que traducir literatura es un acto solitario y que demanda cierta fidelidad al texto original. Sin embargo, “la poesía de Ausländer conlleva más que una buena traducción pues es la filosofía y la vida las que se unen en este tratado poético y allí está la búsqueda de la esencia de la palabra”.

La novelista arequipeña agregó que aunque la poeta publicó de forma tardía sus textos, ella se definía como poeta comprometida con su sociedad y que buscaba crear un diálogo emocional con el lector a través de sus continuas lecturas filosóficas.

Para Julia Wong, la poeta Ausländer tiene el apellido más simbólico que haya podido recibir en lengua alemana pues este significa “lo extranjero”. Empero esta ironía del apellido se remonta al que ella adoptó el de su anterior esposo. Dice: “la voz, la capacidad de Rose denota la imagen como si el libro hubiese sido escrito por todas las mujeres del mundo”. Concluyó con el retrato filosófico que perdura la visión profunda de la poeta y su repercusión en la literatura moderna.

(Por Giuliana Catari )

Charles Tiayon's insight:

Este jueves 18 se presentó el poemario “Mi aliento se llama ahora” de la poeta judía Rose Ausländer en el auditorio del Instituto Goethe en Lima. La selección y traducción al español estuvo a cargo de la escritora arequipeña Teresa Ruiz Rosas y de su padre, el reconocido poeta José Ruiz Rosas. La presentación estuvo presidida por la poeta Julia Wong.

Rose Ausländer (Ucrania, 1901-1988) es una de las voces más destacadas de poesía en alemán del siglo XX. Exiliada por los sucesos de la primera Guerra Mundial, escribió más de veinte poemarios tales como El arco iris, entre otros. Sus anteriores poemarios no fueron nunca traducidos. En Alemania recibió muchos premios y la cruz del Mérito del País (1984).

“Mi aliento se llama ahora” es una antología que rescata pasajes de su vida como el tema de la persecución a los judíos de parte de los nazis, el exilio, los procesos de separación, el amor, así como el no poder escribir en el idioma alemán por considerarlo en la época como la “lengua del verdugo”. De otro lado, está la influencia de Paul Celan en su estilo literario y como parte del prólogo del libro.

Durante la mesa de presentación, Teresa Ruiz Rosas refirió que traducir literatura es un acto solitario y que demanda cierta fidelidad al texto original. Sin embargo, “la poesía de Ausländer conlleva más que una buena traducción pues es la filosofía y la vida las que se unen en este tratado poético y allí está la búsqueda de la esencia de la palabra”.

La novelista arequipeña agregó que aunque la poeta publicó de forma tardía sus textos, ella se definía como poeta comprometida con su sociedad y que buscaba crear un diálogo emocional con el lector a través de sus continuas lecturas filosóficas.

Para Julia Wong, la poeta Ausländer tiene el apellido más simbólico que haya podido recibir en lengua alemana pues este significa “lo extranjero”. Empero esta ironía del apellido se remonta al que ella adoptó el de su anterior esposo. Dice: “la voz, la capacidad de Rose denota la imagen como si el libro hubiese sido escrito por todas las mujeres del mundo”. Concluyó con el retrato filosófico que perdura la visión profunda de la poeta y su repercusión en la literatura moderna.

(Por Giuliana Catari )

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Common Writing Mistakes. Oh, How Common!

Common Writing Mistakes. Oh, How Common! | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
The great thing about writing is that you can play with language, syntax, tone of voice etc – but there are rules to follow in terms of spelling, punctuation, readability, fact checking. The most important thing about writing, aside from accuracy, is that it should communicate your message well. Here’s my guide to some of...
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The great thing about writing is that you can play with language, syntax, tone of voice etc – but there are rules to follow in terms of spelling, punctuation, readability, fact checking.The most important thing about writing, aside from accuracy, is that it should communicate your message well.Here’s my guide to some of the most common mistakes that writers make – in articles, sales proposals or on Facebook (where grammar is a law unto itself).Feel free to pile in and point out what you think is wrong with this article. Is there anything I could of included that I didn’t?Stop Capitalising Every Word In A SentenceDon’t be fooled. That headline is ALL in capitals because it’s the style of this website to have sub-headings in upper case.Thanks to the internet and the global media explosion, we now commonly read articles published in America. Consequently, we adopt Americanisms, which isn’t always a bad thing. Personally, I can’t wait to start referring to work colleagues as “y’all”.Picking up colloquialisms and words is one thing, but punctuation and grammar are a different thing altogether. The biggest mistake that Britons make is capitalising every word in a headline. That’s how they do it in the USA, but in Blighty we still have the rule that a headline should be structured like a normal sentence – capitalise the first word and proper nouns only.That brings me to another point. What’s with this habit people have of capitalising nouns randomly? People do it in emails, proposals, articles… Just random words given capital letters like they are a brand or a title of something. Here’s an example: “We teach Students the art of Doughnut Making”.Forget for a second that you would probably never come across that sentence in real life. Focus on the nouns. The words student, doughnut and making are not proper nouns. They are just words. Stop giving capital letters to everything For Pete’s Sake.Common Writing Mistakes. Oh, How Common! image petesplumbingCommon Writing Mistakes. Oh, How Common!Common words that are proper nounsSome common words should be capitalised because they are actually brand names. Jacuzzi, for example, is a trademark owned by the Jacuzzi company. If you refer to someone having one in their house, it had better be a Jacuzzi and not another brand of whirlpool bath.The Portakabin company once contacted The Big Breakfast on Channel 4 because the presenters kept referring to their “portakabin”. While it was a portable building, or a shed, it wasn’t one made by the Portakabin company. You can only call something a Portakabin if it is made by that company.Likewise Hoover. We can vacuum the carpet but we can’t Hoover it if we’re using a Dyson.Here’s a list of some trademark names that are used generically. Some can be used generically and some are still proper names, depending on the country (see ‘Fact checking’ below).Common Writing Mistakes. Oh, How Common! image vacuumcleanersCommon Writing Mistakes. Oh, How Common!SellotapeAspirinLinoleumThermosBiroFilofaxJet SkiMemory StickRollerbladeTarmacVelcroOn a side note, I get annoyed when I am in a restaurant or bar and I order a Coke, only to be given a Pepsi. They are not the same thing!!!How many times can you exclaim something?And there’s another thing. Multiple exclamation marks. Why? There is no grammatical rule for any more than one exclamation mark in a sentence. Not only that, they are over-used anyway. Many people add exclamation marks to the end of any sentence they think is important – as if no one will read it unless it has an exclamation mark at the end!PR people often do this when they write press releases. Using exclamation marks at the end of every sentence is a bit like those people on social media who use LOL in place of full stops. (“I said I would see him tomorrow LOL He said not if I see you first LOL We laughed PMSL LOL”)Punctuation in general is perhaps the one area of writing that everyone should understand but few people do.You know the saying that an apostrophe is the difference between “knowing your shit” and “knowing you’re shit”. The same can be said of commas. There is a big difference between saying “let’s eat, Granny” and “let’s eat Granny”.Commas seem to confuse people. Even top publications now have sub-editors who struggle to use commas properly. As a simple rule of thumb, think of a comma as a natural breathing point.They also signify the start and end of a clause within a longer sentence – often people put a comma at only one end of a clause. For example, “The fireman, who is tall, has a long hose.” That works because “who is tall” is a clause that can be removed without breaking the main sentence. “The fireman, who is tall has a long hose” is wrong. This comma usage guide from Skillswise is useful.What are you going jargon about?Many writers fail to explain acronyms or jargon – usually because they are so used to using those terms that they think everyone understands them. You might assume everyone knows what a KPI is or what purpose is served by a SWOT analysis, but not everyone does.A good editing rule followed by reputable publications is that acronyms should be spelled out the first time they are used. If you use jargon, make sure it is comprehensible to a lay person.Common Writing Mistakes. Oh, How Common! image business acronymsCommon Writing Mistakes. Oh, How Common!Fact checking – don’t write if it’s not rightWhat’s the point of writing a perfect article if the information is wrong? Whether it’s a celebrity spelling (Nicolas Cage has no h), a telephone number (have you called to test it?) or a country name (do you know the difference between Colombia and Columbia?), check spellings as well as facts.Do numbers add up? If you have a headline saying £15 million and the story says £14.6 million, which is correct? If you include facts, figures, proper nouns or any other information, make sure your facts are right before you publish.The internet is already full of made-up facts without you claiming that Sir Richard Attenborough played Tinky Winky just because you read it on Wikipedia.A thing is a thing. A group is also a thingPlurals. Now there’s a conundrum. “Tottenham Hotspur are a great football team”, or “Tottenham Hotspur is a great football team”? (No heckling at the back.)A single entity should not be a plural. A company, for example, is a thing, not several things. You say “the company is”, not “the company are”. This gets confusing because we get so used to talking about a group of people and thinking of a company or a football team as a group of people. A company is a single entity.While we’re talking about plurals…A woman is a single person. Women means several people. So many people mix up the two.Similar word mix ups are common, such as then instead of than; upmost instead of utmost, quite instead of quiet. Do you say tackful instead of tactful? How about affect and effect – which is the noun and which is the verb?I listed some common word mix ups in an earlier article, Remember your English, a pedant’s guide to writing.Spelling gets complicated when you have to think about whether your audience is English, American, Canadian or Australian. There are differences across all four for some words. Make sure you are using the right spelling and vocabulary for your intended reader.Punctuation also changes sometimes. For example, in traditional English (you know, the proper one), partial quotes are punctuated after the closing quotation mark. For example: He said the weather was “going to be bad”. In the US, the punctuation comes inside the quote – He said the weather was “going to be bad.”Colloquially speaking, you’re OK, end of, innitOne odd piece of syntax I see often, used by many people, is a mixture of between and from. For example, many people commonly write “Between 200 – 400″ which, spelled out, means “between 200 to 400″ – clearly not correct. You could write “between 200 and 400″ or “from 200 to 400″, or simply “200 – 400″.Colloquialisms are common in writing, which is fine if they make sense. Many people tend to write in a badly structured way, though, if they write as they talk. Phrasing you would use in conversation may not work in written communication.The biggest lesson to take away here is that colloquial writing often makes us unnecessarily verbose. Adding phrases such as “you know” and “sort of” is a waste of time. Some writers use phrasing such as, “The thing is that the weather was bad.” Why not just say the weather was bad?Another common colloquialism is to start a statement with “so” – “So I was walking to the pub…” – which is particularly bad if you tell a story where each new paragraph starts with “so”.If you start a sentence with also, you don’t need to use “as well” at the end. This is common in speech: “Also, I bought batteries, as well.”Another example of colloquialism in writing? “I have got” or “I’ve got”. This doesn’t make sense – you can have something or you can get something but you can’t have got something.This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Common Writing Mistakes. Oh, How Common!
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Writing Heals

Writing Heals | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Reblogging this from MIC: Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write By Rachel Grate  September 15, 2014 SHARE TWEET The benefits of writing go far beyond building up your vo...
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The benefits of writing go far beyond building up your vocabulary.

No matter the quality of your prose, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms. In a 2005 study on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a difference.

By writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events, participants were significantly more likely to have fewer illnesses and be less affected by trauma. Participants ultimately spent less time in the hospital, enjoyed lower blood pressure and had better liver functionality than their counterparts.

It turns out writing can make physical wounds heal faster as well. In 2013, New Zealand researchersmonitored the recovery of wounds from medically necessary biopsies on 49 healthy adults. The adults wrote about their thoughts and feelings for just 20 minutes, three days in a row, two weeks before the biopsy. Eleven days later, 76% of the group that wrote had fully healed. Fifty-eight percent of the control group had not recovered. The study concluded that writing about distressing events helped participants make sense of the events and reduce distress.

Even those who suffer from specific diseases can improve their health through writing. Studies have shown that people with asthma who write have fewer attacks than those who don’t; AIDSpatients who write have higher T-cell counts. Cancer patients who write have more optimistic perspectives and improved quality of life.

So what is it about writing that makes it so great for you?

James W. Pennebaker has been conducting research on writing to heal for years at the University of Texas at Austin. “When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experience improved health,” Pennebaker writes. “They go to the doctor less. They have changes in immune function.”

Why? Pennebaker believes this act of expressive writing allows people to take a step back and evaluate their lives. Instead of obsessing unhealthily over an event, they can focus on moving forward. By doing so, stress levels go down and health correspondingly goes up.

You don’t have to be a serious novelist or constantly reflecting on your life’s most traumatic moments to get these great benefits. Even blogging or journaling is enough to see results. One study found that bloggingmight trigger dopamine release, similar to the effect from running or listening to music.

From long-term health improvements to short-term benefits like sleeping better, it’s official: Writers are doing something right.

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Staying connected the old-fashioned way: Writing along with Trucker Buddy Dave

Staying connected the old-fashioned way: Writing along with Trucker Buddy Dave | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
The Times invites educators to submit articles highlighting programs and activities happening in schools. For more information, email newsroom@mywebtimes.com.
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The Times invites educators to submit articles highlighting programs and activities happening in schools. For more information, email newsroom@mywebtimes.com.

With today’s ever-changing technology and communication advancements, the old ways of keeping in touch are diminishing. Telephone calls are being taken over by text messages, face-to-face conversations are being replaced by social media and writing letters is rarely done anymore with the more convenient use of emailing. Although today’s methods are more convenient and faster, they also seem to lack that “personal, caring touch.” Fourth-grade teachers Bunny Cave and Josh Stevenson spoke of the importance of keeping up-to-date with today’s technology, but also expressed the importance of not losing touch with normal conversations and communication methods. Texting and emailing don’t require normal conversation and often consist of short, carefully-edited sentences and Internet slang/text message abbreviations that lack normal conversation and meaning. That is one reason Cave and Stevenson have been participating in Trucker Buddy International for the past six years.

Trucker Buddy International is a nonprofit organization that works along with classroom teachers to help educate students through a pen pal relationship. The organization was started in 1992. Students and professional truck drivers communicate through letters and postcards. Technology also plays a role in the communication process with the use of emails and webpages, but the main communication tool targets pen pal relationships and writing.

For the past five years, Dave Lippert has been communicating with Kimes Elementary School fourth-grade students, and this year he is back again. The current fourth-grade students have not met Dave yet, but they all received a care package from him full of school supplies. Each student received a ruler, protractor, markers, pencils, pencil boxes, paper, folders, Kleenex and a few other items. In response to their care packages, the students have sent their first letter to Dave including thank-you notes for their supplies. They also will communicate with him through emails. In the past he has sent emails with pictures showing the students different destinations and landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge. When he is in the Streator area, he visits the students in the classroom. Dave also has a website that allows the class to track him as he travels. Mrs. Cave integrates this information into her math curriculum. The students can interpret length of time to travel, gas cost, mileage, etc.

Trucker Buddy International‘s mission is to not only improve the image of the trucking industry, but to also help students enhance skills such as reading, writing, mathematics, social studies, history and geography through their pen pal experiences and relationships. Students have the opportunity to learn about many different places in the United States through their Trucker Buddies letters, pictures, and emails. Cave noted students in the past have really enjoyed this experience.

“It is exciting to see the students’ reactions when they hear from ‘Cowboy Dave,’ as he is known. He is one pen pal that keeps regular contact with the class and in the process the students get to work on their writing, reading and social studies skills, as well as their social skills.”

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Merriam Webster adds 'Fracking' to its Dictionary

Merriam Webster adds 'Fracking' to its Dictionary | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
?As the English language continues to change and evolve, dictionaries must keep up with additional words and meanings.
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As the English language continues to change and evolve, dictionaries must keep up with additional words and meanings.

This past week Merriam Webster announced several additions to the collegiate dictionary, such as hashtag and selfie. Also on that list is one that has a long history in North Dakota's oil fields.


It goes on every day in North Dakota's oil fields, now Miriam Webster dictionary has added the word fracking, which is an abbreviation of the term hydraulic fracturing, to its latest edition.

"It's essentially putting a straw through a rock injecting lots of high pressure and sand," says Ron Ness, President of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. "That sand after that water forces into that rock creating those micro seismic veins in the rock allowing the oil to run through the rock into the wellbore."

The latest edition of Merriam Webster lists the term fracking as dating back to 1953, but oil industry leaders say it's been happening in North Dakota for longer than that.

"We have been fracking wells in North Dakota really since the 40's, before we discovered oil, we discovered fracking these wells," according to Ness. 

Even if you're not in the energy industry the North Dakotans are very familiar with the term, and hear about the oil extraction technique on a daily or weekly basis in news reports.

"In this area it's been talked about for several years so I'm surprised it wasn't in there already," says Jesse Wiedrich, Bismarck resident.

Others had strong feelings about it. 

"I don't like the fracking I'm kind of a mother earth guy I think it's bad for mother our earth," says Edwin Hallgrison, Williston resident.

The environmental impact isn't the only discussion about the process. "The great debate in industry is if you spell fracking with a C or do you add the K?" says Ness. 

The dictionary decided to stick with the K. 

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Forum des langues : c'est ce samedi

Forum des langues : c'est ce samedi | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Le forum des langues est programmé de 10 heures à 18 heures, sous les couverts de Najac, ce samedi 20 septembre. De nombreuses langues et cultures seront présentes. Ainsi, il y aura Naoko Ensaka et Nahohito Itagaki (Japon), Adriana Meneses-Briones ...
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Le forum des langues est programmé de 10 heures à 18 heures, sous les couverts de Najac, ce samedi 20 septembre. De nombreuses langues et cultures seront présentes. Ainsi, il y aura Naoko Ensaka et Nahohito Itagaki (Japon), Adriana Meneses-Briones et Michel Canales-Mez, Sanghyun Choi, Iwon Yoon et Sue (Corée du Sud), Kiara Freitag et Julia Lüthgena, Annabel Friess, Anne, Yuta, Théo (Allemagne), Serge Itkine, Eva Lantceva et Elizaveta Liubimova (Russie), Charly Laloup, Pierre-Antoine Mondénière (France), Atcha Walou (Togo), Diane Gilliard (Suisse), Andrie (Espéranto), Sylvie Souyri (braille), Eléanor 0'Hanley (apprentissage de la langue anglaise), Bernard Farjounel (occitan), Didier Mirault (poésie française), Nathalie (Allemagne-Pologne), Eka (Géorgie), Danilo (Sicile), Oleg (Moldavie), André Bories (Corse-français ancien)...

Parmi les animations, il y aura de la dance, des chants, des dialogues, de la lecture, des mini-ateliers d'initiation à la communication non violente. Le matin, Bernard Farjounel racontera des histoires en occitan et André Bories parlera français ancien (proche de l'occitan). Et l'après-midi, il y aura un concert avec Pulcinella.

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UW researchers to update regional language survey

UW researchers to update regional language survey | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
UW-Madison researchers want your help to update their research into regional language characteristics here in Wisconsin.
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MADISON (WKOW) -- UW-Madison researchers want your help to update their research into regional language characteristics here in Wisconsin.

50 years ago, fieldworkers set out across the country to ask Americans questions and collect audio recordings of them speaking to hear the differences in the way people talk based on where they live. Findings were published in multiple volumes of the Dictionary of American Regional English in 2012.

Now, the researchers want to update their data so they're going back to 22 Wisconsin communities that participated in the original study. Chief editor Joan Houston Hall tells 27 News the goal is to see how and find out why languages evolve and change over the years.

"What we hope is to find out how language has changed over the last 50 years," Hall says. "It doesn't change in the same ways or at the same rates in all places, so what we want to find out is whether the regionalisms that we discovered 50 years ago still are holding firm in the places where they exist. I think that in many cases that'll be true."

One of the cities on the list is Jefferson. The community has been deeply rooted in its German heritage from the beginning. The town even holds an annual celebration of the culture. 

City council president Bill Brandel says many people end up living in Jefferson most their lives and so do their families. Years ago, Brandel remembers older people in the neighborhood speaking German and many picked up and maintained phrases and words from that culture.

Brandel tells 27 News in recent years, the city's Hispanic population has grown, which could someday also alter the language there.

"I would almost guarantee that there's not going to be the German influence there would have been," Brandel says. "I would guess that you're going to lose a lot of that German dialect and terms that were common growing up in Jefferson."

Hall says most words that are personal and people learn growing up will likely never leave an individual's vocabulary, but it's possible words that were only common in other parts of the country 50 years ago may show up more often here in Wisconsin.

The survey runs through the end of September. Researchers hope to get at least one response for each category in every city listed. Visit DARE's website to find out if you're in a community that's part of the survey.

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Molecular Lexicography: A Lexical Data Model for Human Language Technology | KamusiGOLD

Molecular Lexicography: A Lexical Data Model for Human Language Technology | KamusiGOLD | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it

Introduction: The Kamusi Project began as a bilingual online dictionary between Swahili 1 and English; «kamusi» is the Swahili word for «dictionary». In the effort to expand the project to additional African languages, it became evident that a multilingual dictionary would need a new data model to account for the difficulties of aligning concepts among languages. In turn, development of that model revealed new potentials for organizing monolingual data. We call the data model for fine-grained monolingual data linked multilingually at the concept level “molecular lexicography”. This method of organizing linguistic data will port to significant future applications for human language technologies, especially for the African languages on which Kamusi focuses many of its data development efforts. This paper explicates the data model, with the intent of making evident how our output can be exploited by other HLT projects.

The basic premises of the molecular model are:

  1. Each term 2 stands as a separate entity
  2. Terms are containers for a variety of discrete data elements
  3. Entities and their elements are joined in a matrix of relations

Aligning Concepts Across Languages: The starting point is the necessity of linking data multilingually at the level of the concept. Homonymy makes the “word” too large a unit for multilingual comparison; a word like «run» can have dozens of completely unrelated meanings. For example, knowing that Swahili «taa» translates to English «light» does not give enough information to extrapolate equivalents in other languages by matching to the English spelling cluster l-i-g-h-t. Only when we know that «taa» is an illuminating device can we confidently make a multilingual chain through known relationships; if we know that Rundi «itara», Hehe «tala», Gusii «oborabu», Tswana «tshuba», and Songhay «lanpa» are all translations of the English concept «light» as in a lamp, then we can posit that they are all translations of each other and of «taa».

taa = light = itara = tala = oborabu = -tshuba = lanpa

We can make a similar chain for the same languages surrounding the idea of «light» as low in weight:

-eupe = light = kitazize = -elu = see = tshetlha = haagante

By using a concept/spelling entity as our basic unit of analysis, we can build precise chains among any number of languages for any number of ideas, without getting tangled in happenstances of word shape.

Were languages to consist of neat binary equivalents between every idea, this would be the end of the story. However, languages do not map neatly, necessitating the first expansion of our data model (Benjamin 2014). Terms between languages can be linked in one of three ways: they are either parallel, similar, or an explanation in Language B of a concept that is unique to Language A. “Parallel” terms are easy; «rain» is likely to be water falling from the sky, the world around. “Similar” terms are more complicated; English «hand» and English «arm» are both “similar” to a single Swahili translation, «mkono», which is the part of the body from the shoulder to the fingertips. The “explanation” option is necessary because every language has culturally specific terms that need to be elucidated in a bilingual lexicon, such as the Swahili «kanga» fabric wrap worn by women for which no equivalent exists in European languages. For explanations, one language is marked as the explainer and one as the explainee, with the artificial term hidden from search in its own language.

Marking entries as “similar” is in itself too uninformative, so the data model now includes a “differentiation” field for explaining the difference between any two similar terms, e.g. “«Mkono» refers to the complete upper limb whereas «arm» is limited to the part from the shoulder to the wrist”. Even this is too restrictive, however; we also provide a field to produce the equivalent explanation in the opposite language, and fields for translating the differentiation into any other language.

With equivalency data in place, we are able to form more informative chains than indicated above. First, we have established a word map that shows the degrees of separation between entities; if a Hehe term is linked to one in Swahili, which is linked to one in English, which is linked to French, which is in turn linked to Songhay, then the Hehe is shown as a 4th degree relation to the Songhay. Equivalency adds the possibility of showing where the concept chain may break down, since similarity and explanations interrupt transitivity. With the word map showing degrees of separation and equivalence, it becomes possible to manually confirm or blacklist links that have been predicted by algorithm. Over time, this system will help sort instances such as the Bantu languages that share in parallel the Swahili concept beneath «mkono», and other languages that distinguish between «arm» and «hand», with such data being able to alert machine applications to zones of cohesion and zones of danger.

Basic Elements of Meaning and Function: Of course, to link a concept to other languages, we also need to know some essential details about the term. Our data model began simply, with “part of speech” (“POS”) and “definition”. However, “POS” reveals the need to account for elements such as plural forms and noun classes, while “definition” introduces the question of the language in which to write the definition. For the latter, we decree that “definition” is an explanation of a term in its own language; if the term is in Tswana, the “definition” field must be Tswana text. However, “definition translation” elements can be added for any language, so a Songhay “definition translation” could be added to the entry for a Tswana term. A field is also available to credit open sources from which definitions may have been borrowed. Further, multiple audio versions of the definition can be uploaded, a feature designed with predominantly oral languages in mind (Benjamin and Radetsky 2014); the audio will soon be able to be geo-tagged, and definition translations will also be able to have multiple and geo-tagged audio.

“Part of speech”, the basic indicator of how a term functions in a language, became the first point of monolingual expansion of the molecular model. Many parts of speech can have attributes, such as whether a verb is transitive or intransitive, or the class of a Bantu noun. These attributes vary based on POS and language. It is simple to set up attributes when configuring a language for the system, as long as someone can provide the information, by listing elements that can then be multiselected. However, word forms are much more complicated. For example, English verbs can have five variations that function differently (e.g., see, sees, saw, seeing, seen), Romance verbs can have dozens, and Bantu verbs can have hundreds of millions. Though linguists will rightly quibble, we label these variations “morphemes”. When the amount of morphemes is reasonable, they can be configured during language set-up, such as producing four input boxes for French nouns for the possible masculine/feminine, singular/plural forms. Bantu classes for adjective forms, sometimes with more than 20 morpheme slots, push the outer edge of reasonableness for this system; Romance verb conjugations will need a separate table structure that we have not yet implemented, and Bantu verbs can only be treated by parsing algorithms that are scripted for each language (with a parser already written for Swahili, though offline at the current writing). Terms can share a spelling set, so that repetitive data, such as conjugations for the French verb «faire» that has numerous senses, does not need to be input repeatedly; however, certain senses of a term might not share certain morphemes, so editors can adjust spelling correspondences manually.

Crucially, morphemes are treated as their own nodes, or sub-entities. This means that morphemes can be searched (eliminating problems in previous dictionaries about the location of word forms (Frawley, Hill and Munro 2002, pp. 3-5)) the problem of how to place word forms , and linked to and from any other entity. A search for «saw» will reveal every sense of the verb «see» as well as «saw», a tool for cutting wood. The appropriate senses of «bows» and «boughs» can be linked in sound sets, discussed below. With machine translation in mind, a specific sense of French feminine plural «invitées» can be linked to a specific sense of Spanish feminine plural «invitadas». These are the sorts of links that begin to shape the metaphor of molecular bonding. Importantly, morphemes can be assigned the elements of alternate spelling, audio and IPA pronunciation, tone spelling, alternate scripts, and separability that are discussed below.

Bridges Between Methods of Expression: The data model also needs to account for instances where a concept in one language maps to a different method of expression in another language. For example, the German verb «achtgeben» translates to English «be careful» and French «faire attention» - but neither of the latter are proper entries in their own language. Rather, monolingual dictionaries typically list English adjective «careful» and French noun «attention», and bilingual dictionaries somehow fudge the relationship 3. The Kamusi model introduces “bridges”, which are custom nodes that editors can establish when necessary, such as creating a bridge to «be careful» as an element of the entry for the appropriate sense of the adjective «careful». Bridges have POS, which means they can take POS attributes and morphemes of their own. They can also take audio and IPA pronunciations, tone spellings, alternate scripts, alternate spellings, separability, and geographic sightings. Bridges and their morphemes are searchable and linkable.

Ways of Writing: As mentioned, both lemmatic and variant forms of a term can have elements that enhance our knowledge of their sound, shape, or range. For the canonical form and morphemes and bridges, our data model allows for multiple spellings, which are searchable and can further contain audio and IPA pronunciations, tone spellings, alternate scripts, separability, and sightings. Tone spellings and alternate script options should only appear for languages that are configured to contain them. Alternate scripts are fields that must be provided throughout the data model, since a language with two or more writing systems will use those to write information in every part of the dictionary.

Ways of Saying: Pronunciation has been handled poorly by every dictionary ever (Bronstein 1986, Landau 2001 pp. 118-127). Our model intends to change that. There are three problems. First, for any but the smallest languages, pronunciations vary across its geographic range. For example, English has different accents not just between Australia and South Africa, but even between different parts of London. Second, pronunciations are typically given for canonical forms, but not for morphemes, although the pronunciation of «teach» gives no clue to the pronunciation of «taught». Third, systems to capture pronunciation in writing depend on an agreed understanding of the sounds the various symbols represent. IPA, the international phonetic alphabet, is an excellent academic standard that can be interpreted by machine applications, but is not known by most dictionary users. Kamusi has fields for multiple IPA pronunciations in association with each other field where a spelling is input, which will be able to be pinned to a map. More importantly, each spelling field can also be associated with multiple audio clips that users can upload. With forthcoming programming, participants will register the geographic location where they spent the bulk of their childhood4, and their audio contributions will be pinned to that place. 4 Such pronunciation data will be especially useful in future speech recognition and speech synthesis technologies.

Mapping Dialects: “Dialect” has also been poorly handled by previous dictionaries (Crystal 1986, Landau 2001, pp. 119-226). The essential problem is that nobody can say exactly what a dialect is – at what point are groups speaking different dialects versus pronouncing words differently and having some vocabulary variation, and at what point are two ways of speaking so different that they constitute different languages instead of different dialects? In our data model, a term can be labeled as belonging to one or more dialects if the larger language has been configured with a list of options. We plan what we propose will be a more relevant feature, however, “sightings”. Users will be able to pin locations where they know a given term to have been used, whether from their research or life experience. In this way, the nebulous category “dialect” can give way to data that shows the actual geographic range of each term.

Multiword expressions: MWEs have given lexicographers and human language technologists conniption fits since time immemorial (Sag, Baldwin and Bond 2001, Atkins and Rundell 2008, Rayson, et. al 2010). The Kamusi model introduces two new approaches to MWEs. First, when a lemma is composed of more than one word, an editor can select multiple headword options, e.g. «African fish eagle» can be listed under “eagle” and “fish eagle” as well as the full term, but not “African”, “fish”, or “African fish”. Second, MWEs can be marked as to whether and where they can be separated by other text, such as «drive | up the wall» where “drive” and “up” can be interposed with any number of other words. In the future, separability data can be run with corpus analysis to build sets of likely terms that could occur within a particular MWE. In the nearer term, machine translation can use the information to detect separated MWEs and recover their meaning, a feat that is not possible with today’s state of the art technology. Separability is an option for lemmas, morphemes, bridges, and alternate spellings.

Time and Language Evolution: Our model introduces several new features to the temporal information that can be associated with a term (Landau 2001, pp. 127-134). To begin with, a term can be linked to its “ancestor”, whether in its own language or a different or earlier language. In principle, historical languages can be treated within Kamusi exactly the same way as living languages, so links can be established to, for example, a specific concept/spelling in Old English. Second, a reciprocal relationship is established between an ancestor and its “spawn”, so maps can be built that show how terms are related historically. Third, we are planning “dating” fields that can indicate first and last known use in association with usage examples, though this will involve headaches adding bibliographic citation fields, so is currently back-burnered. Finally, our open text field for “etymology note” has the option to add translation fields for any language, such as a Wolof “etymology note translation” for the origins of a Pulaar term.

Precision Usage: Terms may belong to specialized vocabularies, such as the computer term «cache» temporary electronic storage; for the moment, users can select from a prepared list of possible terminologies, with future programming needed to allow users to propose new terminology labels. Domain information can improve technical writing and translations, for example prioritizing «rock» the stone substance over «rock» the music in the context of geology. For additional information about precise usage situations, we also have open text fields for “usage note”, “cultural note”, and “special note”. Each of these fields has options to be produced and be revised over time in any language, but only one note of one kind per language.

Reciprocal Bonds: Several kinds of reciprocating data exhibit different manners of molecular bonding. While the list is exhausting, it is not exhaustive, with more fields, such as holonym type, to be added in the future.

  1. Synonyms. 5 This is a critically important category, which has several special aspects (Benjamin 2014). First, people have a tendency to confuse synonyms and definitions. In Kamusi, a definition is an explanation, whereas a single word equivalent is listed as a synonym and linked to a specific concept/spelling entity. These synonyms become part of the word map of a concept, with degrees of separation to other terms in the same language and others; e.g., if «light» is linked to Swahili «taa», and «taa» is linked to «lamp», then «light» and «lamp» are shown as 2nd degree relationships until they are manually joined. Additionally, synonyms share a “differentiation” open text element that can be used to explain, for example, the difference between «boat» and «ship», and that field can be translated to any language.
  2. Antonyms. If «give» is the opposite of «take», then «take» is the opposite of «give». Here one can see the importance of linking between specific concept/spelling entities, lest «give» to emit a sound (give a shout) be paired against «take» to endure (take the pain).
  3. Meronyms and holonyms, a.k.a. parts and wholes. If «wing», «feather», and «beak» are parts of «bird», then «bird» is composed of the parts «wing», «feather», and «beak».
  4. Hyponyms and hypernyms, a.k.a. types and categories. If «eagle», «osprey», and «sparrow» are types of «bird», then the category «bird» is composed of types «eagle», «osprey», and «sparrow». Charting these sorts of ontological relationships is important for various text analysis technologies.
  5. Ancestors and Spawn. These fields show where a term came from, and what terms have descended from it. Therefore, the fields have language selectors, so we can follow the trail of Swahili «hidrojeni» back to English «hydrogen» back to French «hydrogène» back to its Greek roots.
  6. Family, such as «operator», «operationalizable», and «operating table». One or more entity with the same spelling can belong to a “family” set.
  7. Tags. This field enables participants to connect concepts that might not have evident linguistic or semantic relationships, such as joining «arson» with «wildfire» or «insurance». The relationship between tagger and taggee is not reciprocal - «wildfire» should not show «arson» by default. However, the tag from «arson» should appear on the «wildfire» display page as “tagged in”, and the link should be deleteable from the taggee entry.
  8. Scientific taxonomy. Flora and fauna can be classified with one or more universal taxonomic designation, such as «tomato» Solanum lycopersicum. These taxonomies can be used to discern when different languages are talking about the same natural entity, when one language has several names for the same thing, and when things are seen to be the same or different (e.g., if different mushrooms have different terms in a language, or are all considered as one). Taxonomy terms are language-independent, and all terms that share a  taxonomy can be linked on the word map.
  9. Homophones. Our model makes it possible to show which terms in a language sound alike despite different spellings, or sound different despite being spelled the same. Terms such as «wind» (wrap around), «wined», and «whined» (the latter two being morphemes that can linked) can be joined, while «wind» (blowing air) can be kept out of the pronunciation set. Future programming will refine the system geographically, e.g. «line» and «lion» are homophones in certain parts of the American south. Homophone data will have implications for speech recognition and speech synthesis technologies, including voice-to-voice translation.

Examples and Illustrations: Usage examples are one of the most potent ways of understanding the nuances of a term, including its meaning and how it functions grammatically. The Kamusi model builds on best practices (Landau 2001, pp. 207-211), and also introduces several improvements of “examples”. First, an unlimited number of examples can be included. Second, examples are strictly segregated for each concept/spelling entity. Third, those examples can each be credited to their source, with work planned to expand bibliographic citation options. Fourth, we will soon add a field to date the occurrence, allowing insight into when a term has gone in and out of use. Fifth, audio can be added, to the aid of the visually impaired and for languages that are predominantly oral. Sixth, usage examples can be translated to any language, providing learners with a path into complex sentences and producing real world sense-disambiguated parallel text for future translation technologies. Finally, because Kamusi is “living”, users can add examples from their daily reading; a forthcoming mobile app feature will make it simple to add examples one encounters with a few clicks on a mobile device.

Multiple web links can be included that point toward other sources of information about the designated concept. Web links will be shared with synonyms, but not translations. Multiple images (Landau 2001, pp. 143-47, Frawley, Hill and Munro, pp. 10-11) can also be uploaded to an entry. Future programming will share images across a translation/ synonym set, enable linking to images elsewhere on the web, enable geo-tagging of photographs, and make it simple to upload illustrative photos directly from our mobile app.

Putting Words in Order: Finally, the data must be organized, so that headword searches display all spelling matches in some logical order. Unlike many dictionaries that group together all the verb senses of a word, then all the nouns, etc., the Kamusi model arranges words based on concept relations. Therefore, one group of «light» includes the verb senses for lighting a fire and lighting a cigarette, as well as the nouns for matches and cigarette lighters, while another group includes lamps, streetlights, and the action of illuminating a room. These groups must be separated with a simple label, such as {light: fire} or {light: illumination}. All members of a group can be ranked, so that, for instance, the sense of match appears above that of cigarette lighter. Groups can themselves be ranked, so that lamps appear above fire. Furthermore, translations can be ranked; if one sense of Swahili «tembea» translates to both «stroll» and «walk», the latter can be ranked as higher priority. At this writing, previously functioning programming for grouping and ranking has not completed the transition from the monolingual model to the more complex multilingual system.

Conclusion: The model described in this paper is intended to enable the production of the full matrix of human linguistic expression across time and space. This is an insanely tall order, for which complete data will never be available. However, the structure is designed with the goal in mind. The framework makes it possible to describe and interrelate each concept in each language, connected as atoms within a molecule at the levels of grammatical function, meaning, place, shape, sound, time, and translation, as shown in the table below. Different elements can bond in different ways within and between languages – what we conceive of as molecules interacting – allowing for intricate data representations that would not otherwise be possible. The method of organizing and retrieving the data can have substantial uses for language learning, documentation, preservation, and revitalization, as well as for future technological developments in natural language processing. Much of the programming has already been implemented, with other elements on the task list. It is likely, of course, that the model is not as complete as it could be, so we welcome comments about what we have missed.

References:

Atkins, B.T, & Rundell M., The Oxford Guide to Practical Lexicography, Oxford, 2008.

Benjamin., M. Elephant Beer and Shinto Gates: Managing Similar Concepts in a Multilingual Database. 7th International Global WordNet Conference, Tartu, Estonia, 2014.

Bronstein, A, The History of Pronunciation in English Language Dictionaries, in The History of Lexicography, Reinhard Hartman, ed., John Benjamins, Philadelphia, pp 23-33, 1986.

Benjamin, M. and Radetzky, P. Small Languages, Big Data: Multilingual Computational Tools and Techniques for the Lexicography of Endangered Languages. 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 2014.

Crystal, D. 1986, The ideal dictionary, lexicographer and user. In R. Ilson (ed), Lexicography: an emerging international profession, Manchester University Press, 72-81.

Frawley, W., Hill, K., and Munro, P., Making Dictionaries: Preserving Indigenous Languages of the Americas. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2002.

Rayson, P., Piao, S., Sharoff, S., Evert, S. and Moirón, B., Multiword expressions: hard going or plain sailing? Language Resources and Evaluation, 44:1–5, 2010.

Sag, I., Baldwin, T., Bond, F., Copestake, A., & Dan, F., Multiword expressions: A pain in the neck for NLP. LinGO Working Paper No. 2001-03, Stanford University, CA, 2001.

Charles Tiayon's insight:

Introduction: The Kamusi Project began as a bilingual online dictionary between Swahili 1 and English; «kamusi» is the Swahili word for «dictionary». In the effort to expand the project to additional African languages, it became evident that a multilingual dictionary would need a new data model to account for the difficulties of aligning concepts among languages. In turn, development of that model revealed new potentials for organizing monolingual data. We call the data model for fine-grained monolingual data linked multilingually at the concept level “molecular lexicography”. This method of organizing linguistic data will port to significant future applications for human language technologies, especially for the African languages on which Kamusi focuses many of its data development efforts. This paper explicates the data model, with the intent of making evident how our output can be exploited by other HLT projects.

The basic premises of the molecular model are:

  1. Each term 2 stands as a separate entity
  2. Terms are containers for a variety of discrete data elements
  3. Entities and their elements are joined in a matrix of relations

Aligning Concepts Across Languages: The starting point is the necessity of linking data multilingually at the level of the concept. Homonymy makes the “word” too large a unit for multilingual comparison; a word like «run» can have dozens of completely unrelated meanings. For example, knowing that Swahili «taa» translates to English «light» does not give enough information to extrapolate equivalents in other languages by matching to the English spelling cluster l-i-g-h-t. Only when we know that «taa» is an illuminating device can we confidently make a multilingual chain through known relationships; if we know that Rundi «itara», Hehe «tala», Gusii «oborabu», Tswana «tshuba», and Songhay «lanpa» are all translations of the English concept «light» as in a lamp, then we can posit that they are all translations of each other and of «taa».

taa = light = itara = tala = oborabu = -tshuba = lanpa

We can make a similar chain for the same languages surrounding the idea of «light» as low in weight:

-eupe = light = kitazize = -elu = see = tshetlha = haagante

By using a concept/spelling entity as our basic unit of analysis, we can build precise chains among any number of languages for any number of ideas, without getting tangled in happenstances of word shape.

Were languages to consist of neat binary equivalents between every idea, this would be the end of the story. However, languages do not map neatly, necessitating the first expansion of our data model (Benjamin 2014). Terms between languages can be linked in one of three ways: they are either parallel, similar, or an explanation in Language B of a concept that is unique to Language A. “Parallel” terms are easy; «rain» is likely to be water falling from the sky, the world around. “Similar” terms are more complicated; English «hand» and English «arm» are both “similar” to a single Swahili translation, «mkono», which is the part of the body from the shoulder to the fingertips. The “explanation” option is necessary because every language has culturally specific terms that need to be elucidated in a bilingual lexicon, such as the Swahili «kanga» fabric wrap worn by women for which no equivalent exists in European languages. For explanations, one language is marked as the explainer and one as the explainee, with the artificial term hidden from search in its own language.

Marking entries as “similar” is in itself too uninformative, so the data model now includes a “differentiation” field for explaining the difference between any two similar terms, e.g. “«Mkono» refers to the complete upper limb whereas «arm» is limited to the part from the shoulder to the wrist”. Even this is too restrictive, however; we also provide a field to produce the equivalent explanation in the opposite language, and fields for translating the differentiation into any other language.

With equivalency data in place, we are able to form more informative chains than indicated above. First, we have established a word map that shows the degrees of separation between entities; if a Hehe term is linked to one in Swahili, which is linked to one in English, which is linked to French, which is in turn linked to Songhay, then the Hehe is shown as a 4th degree relation to the Songhay. Equivalency adds the possibility of showing where the concept chain may break down, since similarity and explanations interrupt transitivity. With the word map showing degrees of separation and equivalence, it becomes possible to manually confirm or blacklist links that have been predicted by algorithm. Over time, this system will help sort instances such as the Bantu languages that share in parallel the Swahili concept beneath «mkono», and other languages that distinguish between «arm» and «hand», with such data being able to alert machine applications to zones of cohesion and zones of danger.

Basic Elements of Meaning and Function: Of course, to link a concept to other languages, we also need to know some essential details about the term. Our data model began simply, with “part of speech” (“POS”) and “definition”. However, “POS” reveals the need to account for elements such as plural forms and noun classes, while “definition” introduces the question of the language in which to write the definition. For the latter, we decree that “definition” is an explanation of a term in its own language; if the term is in Tswana, the “definition” field must be Tswana text. However, “definition translation” elements can be added for any language, so a Songhay “definition translation” could be added to the entry for a Tswana term. A field is also available to credit open sources from which definitions may have been borrowed. Further, multiple audio versions of the definition can be uploaded, a feature designed with predominantly oral languages in mind (Benjamin and Radetsky 2014); the audio will soon be able to be geo-tagged, and definition translations will also be able to have multiple and geo-tagged audio.

“Part of speech”, the basic indicator of how a term functions in a language, became the first point of monolingual expansion of the molecular model. Many parts of speech can have attributes, such as whether a verb is transitive or intransitive, or the class of a Bantu noun. These attributes vary based on POS and language. It is simple to set up attributes when configuring a language for the system, as long as someone can provide the information, by listing elements that can then be multiselected. However, word forms are much more complicated. For example, English verbs can have five variations that function differently (e.g., see, sees, saw, seeing, seen), Romance verbs can have dozens, and Bantu verbs can have hundreds of millions. Though linguists will rightly quibble, we label these variations “morphemes”. When the amount of morphemes is reasonable, they can be configured during language set-up, such as producing four input boxes for French nouns for the possible masculine/feminine, singular/plural forms. Bantu classes for adjective forms, sometimes with more than 20 morpheme slots, push the outer edge of reasonableness for this system; Romance verb conjugations will need a separate table structure that we have not yet implemented, and Bantu verbs can only be treated by parsing algorithms that are scripted for each language (with a parser already written for Swahili, though offline at the current writing). Terms can share a spelling set, so that repetitive data, such as conjugations for the French verb «faire» that has numerous senses, does not need to be input repeatedly; however, certain senses of a term might not share certain morphemes, so editors can adjust spelling correspondences manually.

Crucially, morphemes are treated as their own nodes, or sub-entities. This means that morphemes can be searched (eliminating problems in previous dictionaries about the location of word forms (Frawley, Hill and Munro 2002, pp. 3-5)) the problem of how to place word forms , and linked to and from any other entity. A search for «saw» will reveal every sense of the verb «see» as well as «saw», a tool for cutting wood. The appropriate senses of «bows» and «boughs» can be linked in sound sets, discussed below. With machine translation in mind, a specific sense of French feminine plural «invitées» can be linked to a specific sense of Spanish feminine plural «invitadas». These are the sorts of links that begin to shape the metaphor of molecular bonding. Importantly, morphemes can be assigned the elements of alternate spelling, audio and IPA pronunciation, tone spelling, alternate scripts, and separability that are discussed below.

Bridges Between Methods of Expression: The data model also needs to account for instances where a concept in one language maps to a different method of expression in another language. For example, the German verb «achtgeben» translates to English «be careful» and French «faire attention» - but neither of the latter are proper entries in their own language. Rather, monolingual dictionaries typically list English adjective «careful» and French noun «attention», and bilingual dictionaries somehow fudge the relationship 3. The Kamusi model introduces “bridges”, which are custom nodes that editors can establish when necessary, such as creating a bridge to «be careful» as an element of the entry for the appropriate sense of the adjective «careful». Bridges have POS, which means they can take POS attributes and morphemes of their own. They can also take audio and IPA pronunciations, tone spellings, alternate scripts, alternate spellings, separability, and geographic sightings. Bridges and their morphemes are searchable and linkable.

Ways of Writing: As mentioned, both lemmatic and variant forms of a term can have elements that enhance our knowledge of their sound, shape, or range. For the canonical form and morphemes and bridges, our data model allows for multiple spellings, which are searchable and can further contain audio and IPA pronunciations, tone spellings, alternate scripts, separability, and sightings. Tone spellings and alternate script options should only appear for languages that are configured to contain them. Alternate scripts are fields that must be provided throughout the data model, since a language with two or more writing systems will use those to write information in every part of the dictionary.

Ways of Saying: Pronunciation has been handled poorly by every dictionary ever (Bronstein 1986, Landau 2001 pp. 118-127). Our model intends to change that. There are three problems. First, for any but the smallest languages, pronunciations vary across its geographic range. For example, English has different accents not just between Australia and South Africa, but even between different parts of London. Second, pronunciations are typically given for canonical forms, but not for morphemes, although the pronunciation of «teach» gives no clue to the pronunciation of «taught». Third, systems to capture pronunciation in writing depend on an agreed understanding of the sounds the various symbols represent. IPA, the international phonetic alphabet, is an excellent academic standard that can be interpreted by machine applications, but is not known by most dictionary users. Kamusi has fields for multiple IPA pronunciations in association with each other field where a spelling is input, which will be able to be pinned to a map. More importantly, each spelling field can also be associated with multiple audio clips that users can upload. With forthcoming programming, participants will register the geographic location where they spent the bulk of their childhood4, and their audio contributions will be pinned to that place. 4 Such pronunciation data will be especially useful in future speech recognition and speech synthesis technologies.

Mapping Dialects: “Dialect” has also been poorly handled by previous dictionaries (Crystal 1986, Landau 2001, pp. 119-226). The essential problem is that nobody can say exactly what a dialect is – at what point are groups speaking different dialects versus pronouncing words differently and having some vocabulary variation, and at what point are two ways of speaking so different that they constitute different languages instead of different dialects? In our data model, a term can be labeled as belonging to one or more dialects if the larger language has been configured with a list of options. We plan what we propose will be a more relevant feature, however, “sightings”. Users will be able to pin locations where they know a given term to have been used, whether from their research or life experience. In this way, the nebulous category “dialect” can give way to data that shows the actual geographic range of each term.

Multiword expressions: MWEs have given lexicographers and human language technologists conniption fits since time immemorial (Sag, Baldwin and Bond 2001, Atkins and Rundell 2008, Rayson, et. al 2010). The Kamusi model introduces two new approaches to MWEs. First, when a lemma is composed of more than one word, an editor can select multiple headword options, e.g. «African fish eagle» can be listed under “eagle” and “fish eagle” as well as the full term, but not “African”, “fish”, or “African fish”. Second, MWEs can be marked as to whether and where they can be separated by other text, such as «drive | up the wall» where “drive” and “up” can be interposed with any number of other words. In the future, separability data can be run with corpus analysis to build sets of likely terms that could occur within a particular MWE. In the nearer term, machine translation can use the information to detect separated MWEs and recover their meaning, a feat that is not possible with today’s state of the art technology. Separability is an option for lemmas, morphemes, bridges, and alternate spellings.

Time and Language Evolution: Our model introduces several new features to the temporal information that can be associated with a term (Landau 2001, pp. 127-134). To begin with, a term can be linked to its “ancestor”, whether in its own language or a different or earlier language. In principle, historical languages can be treated within Kamusi exactly the same way as living languages, so links can be established to, for example, a specific concept/spelling in Old English. Second, a reciprocal relationship is established between an ancestor and its “spawn”, so maps can be built that show how terms are related historically. Third, we are planning “dating” fields that can indicate first and last known use in association with usage examples, though this will involve headaches adding bibliographic citation fields, so is currently back-burnered. Finally, our open text field for “etymology note” has the option to add translation fields for any language, such as a Wolof “etymology note translation” for the origins of a Pulaar term.

Precision Usage: Terms may belong to specialized vocabularies, such as the computer term «cache» temporary electronic storage; for the moment, users can select from a prepared list of possible terminologies, with future programming needed to allow users to propose new terminology labels. Domain information can improve technical writing and translations, for example prioritizing «rock» the stone substance over «rock» the music in the context of geology. For additional information about precise usage situations, we also have open text fields for “usage note”, “cultural note”, and “special note”. Each of these fields has options to be produced and be revised over time in any language, but only one note of one kind per language.

Reciprocal Bonds: Several kinds of reciprocating data exhibit different manners of molecular bonding. While the list is exhausting, it is not exhaustive, with more fields, such as holonym type, to be added in the future.

  1. Synonyms. 5 This is a critically important category, which has several special aspects (Benjamin 2014). First, people have a tendency to confuse synonyms and definitions. In Kamusi, a definition is an explanation, whereas a single word equivalent is listed as a synonym and linked to a specific concept/spelling entity. These synonyms become part of the word map of a concept, with degrees of separation to other terms in the same language and others; e.g., if «light» is linked to Swahili «taa», and «taa» is linked to «lamp», then «light» and «lamp» are shown as 2nd degree relationships until they are manually joined. Additionally, synonyms share a “differentiation” open text element that can be used to explain, for example, the difference between «boat» and «ship», and that field can be translated to any language.
  2. Antonyms. If «give» is the opposite of «take», then «take» is the opposite of «give». Here one can see the importance of linking between specific concept/spelling entities, lest «give» to emit a sound (give a shout) be paired against «take» to endure (take the pain).
  3. Meronyms and holonyms, a.k.a. parts and wholes. If «wing», «feather», and «beak» are parts of «bird», then «bird» is composed of the parts «wing», «feather», and «beak».
  4. Hyponyms and hypernyms, a.k.a. types and categories. If «eagle», «osprey», and «sparrow» are types of «bird», then the category «bird» is composed of types «eagle», «osprey», and «sparrow». Charting these sorts of ontological relationships is important for various text analysis technologies.
  5. Ancestors and Spawn. These fields show where a term came from, and what terms have descended from it. Therefore, the fields have language selectors, so we can follow the trail of Swahili «hidrojeni» back to English «hydrogen» back to French «hydrogène» back to its Greek roots.
  6. Family, such as «operator», «operationalizable», and «operating table». One or more entity with the same spelling can belong to a “family” set.
  7. Tags. This field enables participants to connect concepts that might not have evident linguistic or semantic relationships, such as joining «arson» with «wildfire» or «insurance». The relationship between tagger and taggee is not reciprocal - «wildfire» should not show «arson» by default. However, the tag from «arson» should appear on the «wildfire» display page as “tagged in”, and the link should be deleteable from the taggee entry.
  8. Scientific taxonomy. Flora and fauna can be classified with one or more universal taxonomic designation, such as «tomato» Solanum lycopersicum. These taxonomies can be used to discern when different languages are talking about the same natural entity, when one language has several names for the same thing, and when things are seen to be the same or different (e.g., if different mushrooms have different terms in a language, or are all considered as one). Taxonomy terms are language-independent, and all terms that share a  taxonomy can be linked on the word map.
  9. Homophones. Our model makes it possible to show which terms in a language sound alike despite different spellings, or sound different despite being spelled the same. Terms such as «wind» (wrap around), «wined», and «whined» (the latter two being morphemes that can linked) can be joined, while «wind» (blowing air) can be kept out of the pronunciation set. Future programming will refine the system geographically, e.g. «line» and «lion» are homophones in certain parts of the American south. Homophone data will have implications for speech recognition and speech synthesis technologies, including voice-to-voice translation.

Examples and Illustrations: Usage examples are one of the most potent ways of understanding the nuances of a term, including its meaning and how it functions grammatically. The Kamusi model builds on best practices (Landau 2001, pp. 207-211), and also introduces several improvements of “examples”. First, an unlimited number of examples can be included. Second, examples are strictly segregated for each concept/spelling entity. Third, those examples can each be credited to their source, with work planned to expand bibliographic citation options. Fourth, we will soon add a field to date the occurrence, allowing insight into when a term has gone in and out of use. Fifth, audio can be added, to the aid of the visually impaired and for languages that are predominantly oral. Sixth, usage examples can be translated to any language, providing learners with a path into complex sentences and producing real world sense-disambiguated parallel text for future translation technologies. Finally, because Kamusi is “living”, users can add examples from their daily reading; a forthcoming mobile app feature will make it simple to add examples one encounters with a few clicks on a mobile device.

Multiple web links can be included that point toward other sources of information about the designated concept. Web links will be shared with synonyms, but not translations. Multiple images (Landau 2001, pp. 143-47, Frawley, Hill and Munro, pp. 10-11) can also be uploaded to an entry. Future programming will share images across a translation/ synonym set, enable linking to images elsewhere on the web, enable geo-tagging of photographs, and make it simple to upload illustrative photos directly from our mobile app.

Putting Words in Order: Finally, the data must be organized, so that headword searches display all spelling matches in some logical order. Unlike many dictionaries that group together all the verb senses of a word, then all the nouns, etc., the Kamusi model arranges words based on concept relations. Therefore, one group of «light» includes the verb senses for lighting a fire and lighting a cigarette, as well as the nouns for matches and cigarette lighters, while another group includes lamps, streetlights, and the action of illuminating a room. These groups must be separated with a simple label, such as {light: fire} or {light: illumination}. All members of a group can be ranked, so that, for instance, the sense of match appears above that of cigarette lighter. Groups can themselves be ranked, so that lamps appear above fire. Furthermore, translations can be ranked; if one sense of Swahili «tembea» translates to both «stroll» and «walk», the latter can be ranked as higher priority. At this writing, previously functioning programming for grouping and ranking has not completed the transition from the monolingual model to the more complex multilingual system.

Conclusion: The model described in this paper is intended to enable the production of the full matrix of human linguistic expression across time and space. This is an insanely tall order, for which complete data will never be available. However, the structure is designed with the goal in mind. The framework makes it possible to describe and interrelate each concept in each language, connected as atoms within a molecule at the levels of grammatical function, meaning, place, shape, sound, time, and translation, as shown in the table below. Different elements can bond in different ways within and between languages – what we conceive of as molecules interacting – allowing for intricate data representations that would not otherwise be possible. The method of organizing and retrieving the data can have substantial uses for language learning, documentation, preservation, and revitalization, as well as for future technological developments in natural language processing. Much of the programming has already been implemented, with other elements on the task list. It is likely, of course, that the model is not as complete as it could be, so we welcome comments about what we have missed.

References:

Atkins, B.T, & Rundell M., The Oxford Guide to Practical Lexicography, Oxford, 2008.

Benjamin., M. Elephant Beer and Shinto Gates: Managing Similar Concepts in a Multilingual Database. 7th International Global WordNet Conference, Tartu, Estonia, 2014.

Bronstein, A, The History of Pronunciation in English Language Dictionaries, in The History of Lexicography, Reinhard Hartman, ed., John Benjamins, Philadelphia, pp 23-33, 1986.

Benjamin, M. and Radetzky, P. Small Languages, Big Data: Multilingual Computational Tools and Techniques for the Lexicography of Endangered Languages. 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 2014.

Crystal, D. 1986, The ideal dictionary, lexicographer and user. In R. Ilson (ed), Lexicography: an emerging international profession, Manchester University Press, 72-81.

Frawley, W., Hill, K., and Munro, P., Making Dictionaries: Preserving Indigenous Languages of the Americas. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2002.

Rayson, P., Piao, S., Sharoff, S., Evert, S. and Moirón, B., Multiword expressions: hard going or plain sailing? Language Resources and Evaluation, 44:1–5, 2010.

Sag, I., Baldwin, T., Bond, F., Copestake, A., & Dan, F., Multiword expressions: A pain in the neck for NLP. LinGO Working Paper No. 2001-03, Stanford University, CA, 2001.

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Four Key Ingredients in the Recipe for Creativity

Four Key Ingredients in the Recipe for Creativity | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Everyone has untapped potential in some creative field. Yet some individuals -- Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs -- have far more of it than others. Apart from genes, there are at least three key environmental factors that af...
Charles Tiayon's insight:

Everyone has untapped potential in some creative field. Yet some individuals -- Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs -- have far more of it than others. Apart from genes, there are at least three key environmental factors that affect creative accomplishments.

Genes and Personality

A large number of fiction writers produce stories in English today, but it is doubtful that any of them can match the accomplishments of William Shakespeare. His plays have certainly stood the test of time and are more widely performed today than those of any other author. Shakespeare also contributed hundreds of new words to the English language, a feat unmatched by anyone else.

Scholars have puzzled for centuries over the causes of such unusual creativity, and conventional wisdom today suggests that there are at least four key ingredients. The first pillar of creativity is having the right genes.

Some people are born with greater prospects of being creative than others are, although the precise biological mechanisms remain murky. Like many other personality traits, creativity is genetically heritable, with genes accounting for a fifth of individual differences in twin studies.

In tests of creativity, a person scores high if they make a lot of unusual associations, by coming up with atypical uses for familiar objects, such as filing one's nails with a brick, or using it as a mallet. Such ideas are referred to as divergent thinking because they differ from more humdrum notions of what a brick is for.

Being intelligent enough to learn to read and write is essential for being a distinguished writer, and the same is true of mastering basic techniques in other arts. Intelligence (i.e., IQ) plays a surprisingly small part in creativity, however, as revealed in the Terman longitudinal study of intellectually gifted youth. These individuals grew up to be highly successful in education and got good jobs but were shockingly mediocre in the creativity department, producing neither books nor inventions. In addition to genes that somehow facilitate divergent thinking, there are no fewer than three critical environmental influences.

Three Environmental Pillars of Creativity

The second pillar of creativity is the childhood environment, and living in an affluent home is no advantage, as illustrated by the many distinguished writers who grew up in abject poverty, such as Dickens and James Joyce.

Creativity is enhanced by personal tragedies, such as the premature death of a parent -- events that are disruptive of education and can actually reduce intelligence. Children often develop a rich imaginative world as an escape from such tragedies. (Such stress also contributes to psychological problems, helping explain why creative people are so vulnerable to mental illness.)

The third pillar of creativity is political background. Creative people often find themselves outsiders, whether as members of ethnic or religious minorities, immigrants, or gay people. (Being gay in the realm of heterosexuals is like being an immigrant.) In the U.S. immigrants are seven times more likely to excel in creative pursuits than are people whose families have been here for generations.

In Shakespeare's case, his prominent family was caught up in a religious conflict exacerbated by changes in the religion of the reigning monarch and may have gone into hiding to escape the threat of summary execution. Being an outsider forces people to see the world differently from the mainstream, and that oblique perspective favors creative thinking.

The fourth pillar of creativity involves being at the right place at the right time. Renaissance Florence was a good place to live if you wanted to be a painter or sculptor, because the Medici family generously patronized these arts as a way of projecting their own power, thereby attracting ambitious artists. Moreover, the presence of successful artists meant that apprentices had a good opportunity to learn from the masters. Shakespeare's writing talent was also nurtured by joining a talented group of actor/writers, and he could not have written his plays had he remained in Stratford-on-Avon.

Although every person has some spark of creativity that they ought to cultivate, most of us are not going to set the world on fire with our creative products. Now we know why. That doesn't soften the blow to our pride, but it does provide us with four comforting excuses:

    • I don't have the genes for it.


    • My parents ruined my creativity by staying married and alive and failing to emigrate.



    • Alas, I am a member of a not-discriminated-against majority.


  • If only I had made it to Silicon Valley in the early 1980s!
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Votre « traducteur » wallon, c’était lui…

Votre « traducteur » wallon, c’était lui… | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Victor George a poussé hier la porte de la rédaction hutoise pour traduire en wallon votre «Une». Un passionné…
Charles Tiayon's insight:

Victor George a poussé hier la porte de la rédaction hutoise pour traduire en wallon votre «Une». Un passionné…

La «Une» d’aujourd’hui, elle est un peu aussi celle de Victor George. Sa mallette de dictionnaires sous le bras, cet habitant de Bois-et-Borsu a débarqué, hier soir, à la rédaction, pour traduire en wallon hutois tous les titres de ce matin. Il faut dire que l’homme, 77 ans, est né dans une famille où on ne parlait que wallon.«C’était ma langue maternelle et celle de tout le village. Il m’arrive encore bien souvent de penser en wallon, avant de penser en français…» Plutôt cocasse pour ce prof de… français qui a exercé pendant 40 ans.

Il est devenu un féru du wallon et l’a étudié, sous toutes ses coutures. Il aime parler le wallon, mais aussi l’écrire: des poèmes et des pièces de théâtre. C’est lui d’ailleurs qui, depuis douze ans, rédige les dialogues de la pièce de théâtre en wallon de Bois-et-Borsu, un événement qui cartonne au mois de janvier et février, avec 10 représentations, toutes affichant complet.

Aujourd’hui, Victor reste un fervent défenseur de la langue wallonne. «Je la parlais encore régulièrement avec ma maman et mes deux voisins, aujourd’hui décédés. Maintenant, je n’ai plus d’interlocuteurs. Mais je continue à parler régulièrement.»

Hier soir, pour «honorer» son wallon, il s’est appliqué dans son «devoir» de traduction. Et il espère que notre initiative en entraîne d’autres. «Il faudrait réaliser un dossier sur le wallon, son origine, son histoire, sa littérature. Le wallon ne sert pas juste à faire rire…» Et il craint pour son avenir. «C’est triste mais le wallon est aux soins intensifs…»

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Translating Emotions—'Lilting' Is a Debut Feature Film

Translating Emotions—'Lilting' Is a Debut Feature Film | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Watching a film that enlists an interpreter to translate most of the dialogue between its two main characters is a tall order for even the most accommodating audiences. But it is the hurdle of communication that propels the drama in director Hong Khaou's feature debut, "Lilting," about an uneasy bond between two strangers who share a common grief but not a common language.

British actor Ben Whishaw plays Richard, a young man mourning the sudden death of his boyfriend and reaching out to his deceased partner's mother, Junn, a Cambodian-Chinese woman living in London who doesn't speak English and had been dependent on her son for everything. "I wanted to examine how somebody like that would cope if her lifeline to the outside world was gone," Mr. Khaou says. Richard's arrival into Junn's life is complicated by the fact that the son, Kai, kept his sexuality hidden from his mother. "Lilting" opens Sept. 26 in New York ahead of a wider release next month.


Leila Wong and Ben Whishaw in 'Lilting' Strand Releasing
Much of the film's dialogue is filtered through the young translator that Richard hires to communicate with Junn, played by veteran Hong Kong actress Cheng Pei-pei, whose credits include "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." That narrative style was a risky dramatic device that had the potential to turn off audiences. "The fear was that it could slow a film down and become monotonous, because in effect you're conveying the information twice," Mr. Khaou says. But he found that the role of the translator helped him by adding awkward moments in the story, such as when the interpreter blurts out her own opinions amid the tensions between Richard and Junn, and by tempering scenes that could have come across as overly sentimental.

The film touches gently on gay themes, but Mr. Khaou says he "didn't want it to become a coming-out story, which we've seen a million times over." He also was determined to avoid the clichéd antics of meanings lost in translation, opting rather for an exploration of how words anchor beliefs.


Director Hong Khaou on set Strand Releasing
"We all know that language and communication can bridge differences and bring about understanding," Mr. Khaou says. "But I think equally it highlights differences so strong and so rooted that we can't forgive, and you have conflict arising out of that."

The interpreter also comes to the aid of an elderly British man who's courting Junn at the retirement home where they both live. But once the couple are able to understand each other, the romance fizzles amid arguments and illuminated misconceptions, as the translator walks the line between peacemaker and intruder.

At yet other points, the interpreter is mute, but Junn and Richard are able to reach each other through their common grief. Says Mr. Khaou, "We're very instinctive," says Mr. Khaou, "We can read emotion very well—it's a language we all are very good at understanding."

The story isn't autobiographical, says the director, but "a lot of it is very personal." Mr. Khaou, whose family is Cambodian-Chinese, was born in Phnom Penh in 1975. They fled Cambodia for Vietnam a few months later as Pol Pot came to power, and in 1983 the family settled in England. Like Junn, his mother speaks Cambodian, Mandarin and a few other Chinese dialects but never learned English. "I was resentful of the fact that she never assimilated," he says. "In my childhood I spent so much time translating for her."

"Lilting," which unfolds in a series of present-day scenes and flashbacks, began as a play written by Mr. Khaou more than a decade ago. The original title was "Lilting to the Past," but the name was shortened when producers didn't warm to it. "I think it is a beautiful word," he says, calling the title a poetic interpretation of the film's linguistic tones and rhythmic structure.


Peter Bowles and Pei-Pei Cheng in a scene from 'Lilting' Strand Releasing
The play was never produced and he put it away until an opportunity opened a few years ago to make a micro-budget
Charles Tiayon's insight:

Watching a film that enlists an interpreter to translate most of the dialogue between its two main characters is a tall order for even the most accommodating audiences. But it is the hurdle of communication that propels the drama in director Hong Khaou's feature debut, "Lilting," about an uneasy bond between two strangers who share a common grief but not a common language.

British actor Ben Whishaw plays Richard, a young man mourning the sudden death of his boyfriend and reaching out to his deceased partner's mother, Junn, a Cambodian-Chinese woman living in London who doesn't speak English and had been dependent on her son for everything. "I wanted to examine how somebody like that would cope if her lifeline to the outside world was gone," Mr. Khaou says. Richard's arrival into Junn's life is complicated by the fact that the son, Kai, kept his sexuality hidden from his mother. "Lilting" opens Sept. 26 in New York ahead of a wider release next month.

Leila Wong and Ben Whishaw in 'Lilting' Strand Releasing

Much of the film's dialogue is filtered through the young translator that Richard hires to communicate with Junn, played by veteran Hong Kong actress Cheng Pei-pei, whose credits include "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." That narrative style was a risky dramatic device that had the potential to turn off audiences. "The fear was that it could slow a film down and become monotonous, because in effect you're conveying the information twice," Mr. Khaou says. But he found that the role of the translator helped him by adding awkward moments in the story, such as when the interpreter blurts out her own opinions amid the tensions between Richard and Junn, and by tempering scenes that could have come across as overly sentimental.

The film touches gently on gay themes, but Mr. Khaou says he "didn't want it to become a coming-out story, which we've seen a million times over." He also was determined to avoid the clichéd antics of meanings lost in translation, opting rather for an exploration of how words anchor beliefs.

Director Hong Khaou on set Strand Releasing

"We all know that language and communication can bridge differences and bring about understanding," Mr. Khaou says. "But I think equally it highlights differences so strong and so rooted that we can't forgive, and you have conflict arising out of that."

The interpreter also comes to the aid of an elderly British man who's courting Junn at the retirement home where they both live. But once the couple are able to understand each other, the romance fizzles amid arguments and illuminated misconceptions, as the translator walks the line between peacemaker and intruder.

At yet other points, the interpreter is mute, but Junn and Richard are able to reach each other through their common grief. Says Mr. Khaou, "We're very instinctive," says Mr. Khaou, "We can read emotion very well—it's a language we all are very good at understanding."

The story isn't autobiographical, says the director, but "a lot of it is very personal." Mr. Khaou, whose family is Cambodian-Chinese, was born in Phnom Penh in 1975. They fled Cambodia for Vietnam a few months later as Pol Pot came to power, and in 1983 the family settled in England. Like Junn, his mother speaks Cambodian, Mandarin and a few other Chinese dialects but never learned English. "I was resentful of the fact that she never assimilated," he says. "In my childhood I spent so much time translating for her."

"Lilting," which unfolds in a series of present-day scenes and flashbacks, began as a play written by Mr. Khaou more than a decade ago. The original title was "Lilting to the Past," but the name was shortened when producers didn't warm to it. "I think it is a beautiful word," he says, calling the title a poetic interpretation of the film's linguistic tones and rhythmic structure.

Peter Bowles and Pei-Pei Cheng in a scene from 'Lilting' Strand Releasing

The play was never produced and he put it away until an opportunity opened a few years ago to make a micro-budget film (at £120,000, $195,000) through Film London Microwave, which supports first-time feature filmmakers. "Everybody was on minimum wage, and Ben did this for next to nothing," Mr. Khaou says.

Mr. Whishaw, whose roles include John Keats in Jane Campion's "Bright Star" and Q in the James Bond flick "Skyfall," says of joining the project, "I love the film because it had no commercial agenda at all," he says. "It was just about telling this quite delicate story, and I felt it was something that had this freshness and sincerity about it." Of the risk of little financial gain, he adds, "I just wanted to take that chance."

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Book review: England and Other Stories - Life & Style - NZ Herald News

Book review: England and Other Stories - Life & Style - NZ Herald News | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Yes, as the title says, there is a story called England in this collection, but you might say England is the only story here. England, the English and a certain Englishness. - New Zealand Herald
Charles Tiayon's insight:

Yes, as the title says, there is a story called England in this collection, but you might say England is the only story here. England, the English and a certain Englishness.

There's Charlie, the high-rise worker who - joke - went up in the world, all the way from Wapping to Blackheath, making his fortune working on the shining towers that transformed London's docks into Docklands.

There's Vangeli the barber, who snips and thinks about the thoughts going through the skull beneath his fingertips. "In a barber's they pay to stare at their own faces, and you see what goes on when they do."

There's Jimmy, whose story begins, irresistibly, "When I was a small boy we had a neighbour called Mr Wilkinson, who was a weirdo."

Twenty-five stories, some just a few pages, generally set in the approximately-now, with a few excursions into the past.

Mostly, they're about "ordinary" people, doing the things most of us do, and facing crises that are no less shattering, just because they happen to everyone.

Regret and the prospect of death feature strongly, but so do touches of sly humour.

The effect is like eavesdropping in a crowd, hearing a snatch of conversation, or one side of an argument, then moving on. These are not stories that come to a neat and tidy conclusion, with a clever ending and a capital-M message. Like life, in other words.

And Swift - author of the Booker Prize-winning Last Orders and the magical Waterland - is nothing if not a superb craftsman, able to slip more information into a sentence than many writers can jam into a page.

Perfect, then? Not quite. A couple of the stories from the distant past don't quite fit, but there's a bigger issue here. It's that Englishness thing. Throughout, the mood is of reticence, soldiering on, things unspoken, passions unexpressed, the depths beneath still waters. Are the English still like this? Maybe, but it often seems a very long way from the shouty, self-obsessed 21st century.

In fact, modernity is oddly absent. Hardly anyone uses a mobile phone, no one browses the web, there's no Twitter, no Facebook. In fact, there's very little about these stories that couldn't have been written decades earlier.

Perhaps that's the point - the more things change, etc - but it's hard to escape the feeling that Swift is writing about the England in which he came of age (he's 65) rather than today. He does it beautifully, but it still feels like another country.

England and Other Stories
by Graham Swift
(Simon & Schuster $37)

NZ Herald

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Reading in all forms will help youngsters

Reading in all forms will help youngsters | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it

"Emergent literacy skills" are skills that babies, toddlers, and preschoolers need to learn so that they are ready for reading and writing when they start school. These skills include vocabulary, book-handling skills, story-telling skills, scribbling and drawing, recognizing print and understanding what it is for, and singing and rhyming.

When you read with your child every day, you are helping your child to develop strong emergent literacy and language skills. It can also help teach them about story structure, sequencing, and rhyming.

How you read makes a difference too. Don't just read the words.

Pause a lot to notice what your child is interested in and to talk about the pictures and the story. Ask questions like; Who is in this story? What is the problem? What will happen next? Read the same story many times and talk about different things each time. Point out the words and the pictures. Make sound effects and funny voices.

Children can learn lots of new words from books. They also learn to listen in a way that TV and computer games can never teach. Remember too that you are a role model for your child; if you read and show that you care about reading, your child learns that reading is important.

Children who are read to are more likely to pick up books themselves and read for themselves. We want children to love books, so never force your child to read. Books with flaps and things to touch and move can be great for reluctant

readers. Reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for laying the foundation for literacy and learning. But rhymes, poems, songs, crayons, clay, painting, menus, and signs can play a role as well.

The key is for you to share these activities with your child and talk about them.

Read to your child! Talk to your child! Then read and talk some more! You will be setting your child up for success at school and in life.

If you are concerned about your child's speech and language development, call the Language Express Preschool Speech System at 1-888-503-8885/613-283-2742. A speechlanguage assessment can identify your child's strengths and needs, and can help you prepare your child for success in communicating, reading and writing. For more information, check out www.language-express.ca.

Language Express Preschool Speech and Language Services

Charles Tiayon's insight:

"Emergent literacy skills" are skills that babies, toddlers, and preschoolers need to learn so that they are ready for reading and writing when they start school. These skills include vocabulary, book-handling skills, story-telling skills, scribbling and drawing, recognizing print and understanding what it is for, and singing and rhyming.

When you read with your child every day, you are helping your child to develop strong emergent literacy and language skills. It can also help teach them about story structure, sequencing, and rhyming.

How you read makes a difference too. Don't just read the words.

Pause a lot to notice what your child is interested in and to talk about the pictures and the story. Ask questions like; Who is in this story? What is the problem? What will happen next? Read the same story many times and talk about different things each time. Point out the words and the pictures. Make sound effects and funny voices.

Children can learn lots of new words from books. They also learn to listen in a way that TV and computer games can never teach. Remember too that you are a role model for your child; if you read and show that you care about reading, your child learns that reading is important.

Children who are read to are more likely to pick up books themselves and read for themselves. We want children to love books, so never force your child to read. Books with flaps and things to touch and move can be great for reluctant

readers. Reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for laying the foundation for literacy and learning. But rhymes, poems, songs, crayons, clay, painting, menus, and signs can play a role as well.

The key is for you to share these activities with your child and talk about them.

Read to your child! Talk to your child! Then read and talk some more! You will be setting your child up for success at school and in life.

If you are concerned about your child's speech and language development, call the Language Express Preschool Speech System at 1-888-503-8885/613-283-2742. A speechlanguage assessment can identify your child's strengths and needs, and can help you prepare your child for success in communicating, reading and writing. For more information, check out www.language-express.ca.

Language Express Preschool Speech and Language Services

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