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An International Conference on 50 Years of Kiswahili as a Language of African Liberation, Unification and Renaissance

An International Conference on 50 Years of Kiswahili as a Language of African Liberation, Unification and Renaissance

To be hosted by the Institute of Kiswahili Studies
University of Dar es Salaam and ACALAN, Bamako.
Venue: University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Thursday 4th. to 6th. October 2012.

As we commemorate 50 years of Africa’s independence, we need to take into account the multitude of factors that contributed to UHURU which is the symbol of African liberation. Among these are the languages and especially Kiswahili that played an extraordinary role in uniting people in the anti-colonial struggle and the fight for Africa’s own independence. In a famous lecture he had delivered at Makerere University in November 1961, Shaaban Robert – the most prominent Kiswahili author of all time, had envisaged Kiswahili to be a very important unifying force for Africa. In that lecture, and indeed in his literary works such as his famous poem, “Kiswahili”, he had predicted that the language would gradually turn into a Pan-African means of communication. Later on, other African intellectuals, such as the Nobel prize winner Wole Soyinka, made similar calls to take Kiswahili on board as the main language of communication between and amongst the African peoples. It should also be borne in mind that the late Samora Machel as well as the current Tanzanian President Kikwete, are among those leaders who spearheaded this position in OAU and African Union respectively.

Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and, to some extent, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, had used Kiswahili in most of their campaigns for their countries’ independence. The role of Kiswahili as a unifying force and as a tool for fighting for the independence of Tanzania and Kenya is an indisputable fact. However, such role at Pan-African level has not been recognized and testified, in spite of the fact that the language went and continues to go beyond its immediate borders, and in the process, turning into a major Pan-African lingua franca.

Besides Kiswahili being used in various areas as a vehicle for Linguistic decolonisation, statehood and nation-building, it continues to be used as a language for African Renaissance. This new dimension comes in harmony with AU’s call for African Renaissance as a response to global challenges. Indeed ACALAN has called for material development of African societies, spiritual uplift and moral regeneration of African peoples and People of Africa in the Diaspora to that end. It is through this understanding that the Institute of Kiswahili Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam, in collaboration with the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), intend to host an International Conference to discuss and deliberate on the status and future of the Kiswahili language in Africa.

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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 |

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

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Chad Ian Lieberman From 6W Teaches Easy Search Engine Optimization Steps to Promote Your Company Website - Press Release - Digital Journal

New York City Internet Marketing Pioneer Chad Lieberman Explains How To Bring Organic Traffic to Your Website.

NEW YORK, NY, March 02, 2015 /24-7PressRelease/ -- There was excitement today as one of New York's best SEO companies, 6WSEO, announced the release of a free, publicly accessible lesson on the search engine optimization (SEO) steps a website owner should take in order to promote a website online effectively.
This lesson is part of the company's numerous free lessons series it releases to the public via its blog The company does this to educate its clients and prospects on effective use of SEO for online presence domination and brand recognition.
In a statement to the press, the lead SEO expert at 6WSEO said that this lesson was detailed enough to allow the reader, regardless of existing technical skills level, to effectively plan and execute an SEO campaign that will result in significant increase in rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
"We are teaching the public the exact same steps we take when they hire us to run an SEO campaign for their websites. We believe that transparency builds trust. We do not believe in hoarding information. Instead, we like sharing it so that our clients can trust us more with the more complex aspects of SEO for their websites as well as the minor SEO steps when they do not have time to do it themselves. They can use the information when they just need a professional touch to allow them to concentrate on what they know how to do best - running their business," said an excited Chad Lieberman.
With the current onslaught on websites by the leading search engine, Google, with its regular search algorithm updates, it is important to know how to do SEO right. This helps your website to avoid penalties so that it can get fast indexing and as a result, rise on the SERPs fast too.
About 6WSEO
6WSEO is a leading Search Engine Optimization agency based in New York. It is among the top 100 Search Engine Optimization Agencies in the United States that offers very cost effective SEO services and keyword research. It uses state-of-the-art research and SEO technologies and software. It works with the small, mid-sized and big business entities, which seek to get better online visibility. Its SEO packages are custom-made for each client to match given business needs. Among its services are On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, keyword research and free SEO training. Learn more about the company from its website
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Trying to change English's complex spelling is a waste of time

Trying to change English's complex spelling is a waste of time | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
My 11-year-old student sighs. How can the same letters make so many different sounds? We are looking at the letter combination “ough”, which can be read in seven different ways: “through”, “thorough”, “although”, “plough”, “thought”, “cough” and “rough”.

Certain movements around the English-speaking world think our spelling system is just too difficult. In the UK, the English Spelling Society has renewed calls for spelling reform. They want to change words with extraneous letters and make it easier to spell.

The society proposes spellings like “wensday”, “crum”, “cof”, “distres” and “milenium”. For some, including me, these suggestions produce a visceral reaction; others may see this as progress.

This isn’t the first time groups have sought to artificially alter the spelling of English, and it won’t be the last. But these attempts are counter-productive to improving the literacy skills of struggling students.

Is it really that hard?

As a speech-language pathologist, I help many young people who are yet to grasp expected literacy skills for their age. They are usually amazed that English spelling is this complicated.

English does have a complex spelling system (or orthography). In Australia, we have 44 unique sounds that make up words, but only 26 letters to represent them. To solve this imbalance, English spellers use “graphemes”, which include both single letters and letter combinations to represent these sounds. This helps us spell sounds like the “ch” in “choose”, “ng” in “king”, “ee” in “street” and the “ire” in “fire”.

This system is not perfect, however. Graphemes can be pronounced differently in multiple words, as in the “ough” example. One speech sound can also be spelt with multiple graphemes, like the vowel sound in “horse”, “haunt”, “court”, “caught” and “store”. English also has many irregularly spelt words that have to be learnt by sight, like “debt”, “know” and “yacht”.

Old-fashioned spelling rules further complicate things, rather than solve these problems. “I before e except after c” works for only a handful of words. It has so many exceptions (like the words “science”, “sufficient”, “seize”, “weird” or “vein”) it is a rule we could do without.

You can see why some students find it difficult! English’s spelling complexity does make it harder. The rate of dyslexia in countries like Italy is half of what it is in the US. Research suggests that this is because “decoding” English is much harder than in a language with a more consistent spelling system like Italian.

It is understandable why some people see that English’s spelling system is to blame for literacy difficulties. It is less clear how they think creating a whole new system will solve the problem.

Attempts to ‘fix’ the English spelling system

In the early 20th century, the US Simplified Spelling Board built upon the work of Noel Webster (of the Webster dictionaries) to bring about the now American spellings of words such as “jail”, “honor”, “center”, “analog” and “jewelry”.

The equivalent in the UK, the English Spelling Society, admits it has not achieved much since its founding in 1908, with the last spelling reform bill of 1953 failing to take off. Nevertheless, it is planning an international conference for spelling reformers this year, where they hope to get the ball rolling again.

Why ‘fixing’ the spelling system is a lost cause

Language is alive, in that it constantly evolves as humans use it to communicate. Hence it is highly social. Functionality and popularity are what determine acceptable spellings and additions to English.

Even in the last few years, English has changed dramatically. Today, we share something we just googled, by tweeting it to our friends, while our iPod is syncing. The teenagers of today are experiencing FOMO, so they totes save time by txting “lol thnx” and spend more time Facebook-stalking their besties.

New words and spellings creep into our language, and dictionaries just have to keep up. Change comes from how we use language, not how a group of concerned elders think we should be using it.

Language has the dispositions of a teenager; it always follows the crowd. So attempts to cosmetically alter our language through the spelling system are not only misguided, but also futile.

What about people who struggle?

Although more difficult for some, proficiency in English spelling is attainable. If you can read this sentence you have to agree. The challenge of supporting struggling students is not solved through spelling reform, but through educational reform.

Currently, many students, especially in Australia, do not benefit from evidence-based literacy teaching. Low literacy skills then place young people at significantly higher risk of unemployment, social exclusion, poor health and trouble with the law.

To improve literacy attainment, we should put our energy into ensuring that all students receive synthetic phonics (sound-based) instruction, which teaches the sound-letter patterns of English systematically. Trying to artificially change the spelling system to make it “easier” is simply a waste of time.

So when my students grumble about the problems with English spelling I remind them: spelling doesn’t come naturally; it requires hard work to learn. With appropriate support, the vast majority can learn English spelling – and as we use it, we all play a part in its (gradual) evolution.
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Reading boosts Junction - Vernon Morning Star

Reading boosts Junction - Vernon Morning Star | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
As part of Read Aloud Day, the Junction Literacy  Centre is inviting the public to listen to an array of readers at the Vernon library Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m.

“The event is intended to celebrate the joy of reading,” said Wendy Aasen, Junction Literacy Centre executive director.

Among those who will be reading are Richard Rolke, Morning Star senior reporter, Brian Martin, with Sun FM, storyteller Gabe Newman and authors John Lent and Laisha Rosnau.

The event will also wind-up the centre’s Loonies for Literacy campaign.

Pink piggy banks have been distributed around town and a large piggy bank will be at the library to collect toonies and loonies for literacy. Chocolate loonie cupcakes will also be available by donation.

All proceeds will directly support literacy programs and initiatives in the community.

Many of the Junction Literacy programs are designed to build solid reading skills in youth.

The popular One to One program matches students in Grades 1 to 3 with volunteers who spend 30 minutes reading individually with the child.

“Reading is fundamental to life, and we strive to assist parents and our community partners working to develop young readers, so that no one is left behind,” said Aasen.

If you cannot make it to the library event, the Junction Literacy Centre is encouraging businesses, organizations and clubs to host their own read aloud event and collect loonies for literacy.

Donations can made online, in person or mailed. See or call 250-275-3117 for more information.

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Irish techwizz teen creates free Irish language app

Irish techwizz teen creates free Irish language app | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
A teenage student from Dundalk, Co. Louth, has formally launched his free Irish language app,

Cormac Kinsella, age 14, unveiled his latest app at an event hosted by his school, Coláiste Lú, last Wednesday evening. Cormac has developed both an iOS & Android version of this App to run on smart phones, iPads and tablets.

The app allows users to search the National Terminology Database for Irish, (previously named In a presentation last Wednesday, Cormac explained how he developed the app which links directly to the database without requiring a web browser and without advertising links. The app makes use of the mobile version of the site reducing the number of keystrokes and delivering fast response times.

Cormac, a student in Irish language school Coláiste Lú, saw a gap in the market for a free Irish language app that would assist in Irish to English and English to Irish translations. The terminology database,, had been recommended to Cormac by Irish teachers but had yet to make an app available. Taking the initiative, Cormac developed, taking you to the mobile version of the site at the touch of a button.

Speaking at the launch on Wednesday night, Oliver Tully, Chairperson (Cathoirleach) of Louth County Council, congratulated Cormac expressing both his delight that Dundalk had such a budding technical entrepreneur and his amazement that someone so young had created such a technically proficient product.

Deirdre Uí Liathain, principal of Colaiste Lú, also congratulated Cormac, forecasting a glittering future for him in IT and told him how useful she finds the app, particularly as it accesses such a comprehensive dictionary resource and she also loves the app’s fast response time.

No more searching through the dictionary. Photo by Getty Images. is the National Terminology Database for Irish, developed by Fiontar, DCU in collaboration with The Terminology Committee (An Coiste Téarmaíochta), Foras na Gaeilge. The database contains over 338,000 terms, searchable under both Irish and English versions. Since a general dictionary is now available at, the site has recently changed its name from (hence to app name) to The web address for the National Terminology Database for Irish will change from to on 1 March 2015.

Cormac has stated that he would donate the App to the owners of the National Terminology Database if they so desired.

The young student is already a fully established app developer in Ireland. A regular attendee at the Drogheda Coder Dojo for the past 3 years, he has now developed and collaborated on several apps. He became the youngest app developer in Ireland in 2014, along with his friend Cian Martin-Bohan, when they launched OpenShare, the app that allows users to post across several social networks at the same time. The pair also worked to develop an app for the Digital Youth Council, the DYC HaveYourSay app, that allowed young Irish people to share their opinions with the council on STEM (science,, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Cormac was invited to be one of the 12 founder members of the Digital Youth Council of Ireland in 2014, part of a Europe-wide initiative whose objective is to encourage coding opportunities for all students and provide a platform for them to influence the National Digital Strategy. Ireland made history by becoming the first country in Europe to launch the Youth Council. has already been downloaded by 500+ Android phone users as well as a couple of hundred Apple customers.

The app is available at:

Google Play Store
Apple App Store
and at
Have you given the app a try? Leave us a review in the comments section.
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Google Translate: une traduction trop commerciale sur l’outil de traduction ?

Google Translate: une traduction trop commerciale sur l’outil de traduction ? | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Google Translate: une traduction trop commerciale sur l’outil de traduction ? 0

Voir une traduction erronée d’un mot ou d’une expression sur la plateforme de traduction, Google traduction, n’est plus surprenant. En effet, l’aspect participatif du traducteur en ligne du géant américain d’Internet permet aux internautes de détourner l’application à des fins parfois douteuses. Après que Google ait définitivement retiré les insultes homophobes de sa plate-forme de traduction, on découvre maintenant que Google traduction sert d’outil commercial pour certaines marques comme « Moncler ».

Doudoune traduite en anglais en Moncler

Sur la plate-forme de traduction de la marque de Mountain View, le mot français « Doudoune » est traduit dans la langue de Shakespeare en « Moncler ». Il s’agit de cette marque italienne spécialisée dans la confection de doudoune. Jusqu’à preuve du contraire, l’article vestimentaire est pourtant traduit en anglais par des mots comme « down jacket » ou « jacket ».

Une opération commerciale

Selon des analystes, il ne s’agirait pas cette fois d’une propagande ou d’une mauvaise farce d’internautes, mais bel et bien d’une opération commerciale en faveur de la marque italienne. Décidément, Google Traduction peut être décliné en de nombreuses versions. Chacun peut l’utiliser à sa façon.
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Traduire, c'est toujours réinventer

Traduire, c'est toujours réinventer | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Le lecteur est confronté au multilinguisme par le rassemblement, dans cet ouvrage, de préfaces et articles, en langues diverses, de la traduction du «Vocabulaire européen des philosophies».

Philosopher en langues: les intraduisibles en traduction
En 2004, Barbara Cassin présidait, grâce à cent cinquante autres personnes, à la réalisation d’un chef-d’œuvre, devenu indispensable à ceux qui veulent travailler en philosophie: le Dictionnaire des intraduisibles, dont le titre véritable était d’ailleurs Vocabulaire européen des philosophies. Quatre mille mots explorés, dans plus de quinze langues européennes (du basque à l’ukrainien, du portugais au suédois, pour suivre les axes géographiques). Plus de dix ans après, il est question d’extraire ce dictionnaire de la seule langue française.
Le grand souci de Barbara Cassin était et est toujours d’insister constamment sur un fait: on philosophe en langues. Et elle ajoute: «Comme on parle, comme on écrit et –c’est là le point– comme on pense». Ce qui aboutit à cette précision non moins essentielle: s’il est un universel, c’est la traduction. Tout ceci peut être justifié de multiples manières. Dans la présentation de ce livre –«L'énergie des intraduisibles»– elle renvoie à Jacques Derrida, qui a fait émerger la notion d'intraduisible dans Le monolinguisme de l'autre: «On ne parle jamais qu'une seule langue»/«On ne parle jamais une seule langue.» Elle cite également Jacques Lacan: «Une langue, entre autres, n'est rien de plus que l'intégrale des équivoques que son histoire y a laissé persister». Bien évidemment, ces propos, ainsi que ceux de Barbara Cassin impliquent de nombreuses autres considérations. Il n'en reste pas moins qu'ils ouvrent magnifiquement une nouvelle aventure.
Cette aventure est la suivante: certains collaborateurs de la première heure du Vocabulaire ont repris cet ouvrage à leur compte, dans leur langue ou dans l'une de leurs langues. Le dictionnaire de départ est traduit ou en cours de traduction, grâce à eux. L'enchaînement est rigoureux. La démarche est très conséquente avec la manière dont on y définit les intraduisibles. Disons-le autrement: les intraduisibles sont les symptômes de la différence des langues. Il ne s'agit pas de ce que l'on ne traduit pas, mais de ce que l'on ne cesse de (ne pas) traduire. Il faut par conséquent constamment ouvrir, déployer les équivoques, expliciter les difficultés. L'échange va même plus loin puisqu'il implique de décider aussi quel statut accorder à la langue française, langue d'accueil de la version princeps. Et Barbara Cassin de conclure: «Chaque traduction est, non pas un calque, mais une adaptation grosse de questions». Disons plus exactement, une réinvention, qui, c'est à souligner, ne passe pas par la traduction du dictionnaire en anglais, ou en globish, cette langue de service qui réduit les langues de culture au rang de dialectes! Rappelons cependant, afin qu'il n'y ait pas d'ambiguïtés, que le dictionnaire a bien bénéficié d'une traduction-réinvention, en anglais cette fois, qui joue, il est vrai, l'english contre le globish.
La première partie de l'ouvrage rassemble différentes préfaces, introductions ou avertissements accompagnant chaque transposition dans une «langue et culture singulière». Ces textes sont présentés dans leur ordre chronologique de parution. La seconde partie de l'ouvrage propose un échantillon d'articles nouveaux, souvent encore inédits pour nous, qui existent dans, par et pour une langue seulement (attendant d'être traduits à leur tour, en français). Ces textes-là sont proposés dans leur langue originelle et en traduction.
Mais terminons-en d'abord avec les problèmes généraux posés par ces exercices essentiels pour les échanges internationaux et l’ampleur de la pensée. Justement, Barbara Cassin engage encore une remarque à ce propos: toute l'entreprise ne coïncide-t-elle pas avec le jeu des nationalismes? «Comment dépassons-nous, comment contournons-nous peut-être l'encombrant problème du génie des langues et l'enracinement identitaire?» Non seulement la question se pose, mais elle est redoublée par le problème culturel du choix des entrées «nouvelles» (dans chacune des autres langues): décision des Ukrainiens de traduire le dictionnaire afin de mieux différencier la langue philosophique ukrainienne de la langue russe (encore l'éditent-ils aussi en russe à Kiev); enjeux multiples du travail sur «peuple», «loi», «Etat» à l'heure de la Charia en langue arabe; la traduction en brésilien posant, quant à elle, le problème des langues coloniales et postcoloniales, etc.
Petit intermède pour réfléchir: l’ouvrage, du moins son titre, en cours de traduction, a parfois perdu son adjectif «européen» (en américain, brésilien). Doit-on y voir une critique de l’universalisme occidental?
La préface du dictionnaire en ukrainien situe fort bien le point de départ de tout rapport à lui: non seulement l’édition princeps a montré que la philosophie n'est pas une activité mentale uniquement liée de manière extérieure à la langue, mais aussi qu’elle n’est pas davantage une activité liée à certaines langues élues. Bien évidemment, chaque langue donne à ses locuteurs des ressources pour philosopher. Mais alors, souligne Constantin Sigov, pourquoi ce dictionnaire est-il nommé «européen»? A quoi réfère cette unité philosophique européenne? L'auteur relève ainsi quelques défis majeurs de l'entreprise, parmi lesquels figure celui-ci: est-il possible de simplement traduire cet ouvrage? Rien ne peut s'accomplir si on se trompe sur la signification de «traduction», rien ne peut aboutir si on ne pense pas en termes d'adaptation, rien ne peut se déployer si on ne conçoit pas une réécriture de l'ensemble qui ne consiste évidemment pas en un simple ajustement. Le cas de la traduction des citations du dictionnaire princeps est tout à fait patent: traduira-t-on une citation d'un texte grec (Platon, Aristote, par exemple), présentée en version française, à partir du français, du texte original en grec, ou de la traduction habituelle du même texte dans la langue d'accueil, voire en retraduisant l'original, grec, en gardant à l'esprit les particularité de la version française dans laquelle la citation était avancée pour produire un certain effet?
Ali Benmakhlouf, pour la traduction du dictionnaire en arabe, après s'être félicité de l'ampleur du mouvement de traduction vers le monde arabophone, ces dernières années, rappelle l'importance des échanges philosophiques pour «ne pas se laisser guider par les idées préconçues, les doctrines idéologiques et autres illusions». Et il utilise la métaphore du «voyage» pour parler de la traduction. Mais il n'oublie pas de rappeler que la traduction fut aussi le moyen par lequel la langue et la culture arabes s'ouvrirent à d'autres cultures, sauf, pour un moment (jusqu'à Al Fârâbî, puis Averroès) à la langue et la philosophie grecques avec lesquelles les contacts sont passés indirectement par le syriaque. Il expose ensuite les difficultés de la traduction, mais sur ce plan, tous les participants à ce volume sont en accord. La traduction en anglo-américain donne lieu à un point de vue différent puisque l'auteure (Emily Apter) tente d'abord de relier le dictionnaire à d'autres ouvrages (de l'Encyclopédie de Diderot à Koselleck, en passant par Lalande), puis elle raconte l'aventure éditoriale du dictionnaire, avant de se pencher sur un autre point délicat: l'élaboration des bibliographies. Il fallait en effet revenir sur les traductions anglaises des textes philosophiques canoniques, et aux ouvrages anglophones de référence sur les concepts et les philosophes. A quoi s'ajoute une remarque sur le terme même de «philosophie». Ce qui est intéressant dans les propos tenus ici, c'est qu'ils tentent d'extraire très précisément le dictionnaire de son contexte français. L'examen de deux notions dans la langue allemande (Lust et dolmetschen, plaisir et traduire, ce qui n'est pas tout à fait exact, puisque le premier est plus proche de se soumettre à un penchant irrésistible et le second signifie littéralement germaniser, puisqu'il s'agit du terme employé par Luther pour parler de son travail de traduction de la Bible) conduit ensuite à une difficulté pour la traductrice, puisque le dictionnaire bat en brèche le nationalisme ontologique des théories allemandes du sujet, comme, par ailleurs, il critique la prédominance des traditions philosophiques anglo-analytiques.
Pour synthétiser les autres textes, signalons que la préface roumaine (Anca Vasiliu) s’ouvre sur une série d’attestations de l’ancienneté de la langue roumaine (langue latine, au demeurant). Si l’objectif paraît être de défendre, ou de récupérer l’épaisseur historique du vocabulaire philosophique roumain, l’article ouvre plus largement sur notre méconnaissance de la situation linguistique et scolastique dans le passé de cette région de l’Europe. La position est différente pour le portugais qui, d’emblée, oblige à souligner que les langues d’origine européenne ne sont pas limitées à l’Europe géographique (anglais, espagnol, portugais...). Les rédacteurs (Fernando Santoro et Luisa Buarque) insistent alors sur le fait que l’intraduisible n’est pas ce qui ne peut pas être traduit ou n’a pas été traduit, mais ce qui, en toute traduction, révèle la différence entre les langues et opère une transformation dans le concept philosophique lui-même. Le traducteur en hébreu (Adi Ophir) énonce un paradoxe d’emblée: en tant que forme de pensée et champ d’activité intellectuelle, la philosophie européenne n’a jamais pu s’enraciner dans la langue hébraïque, les échos de débats philosophiques étant absorbés par le discours rabbinique, et depuis l’époque hellénistique, la plupart des philosophes juifs n’ont pas écrit en hébreu (Philon, Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Buber, Levinas). Ce qui ne signifie pas que la pensée et le débat philosophique ne traversent pas le même milieu, et qu’une autre tradition ne soit instaurée à partir du XIIIe siècle autour de Maïmonide. Et l’auteur de poursuivre cette exploration largement, jusqu’à rendre compte de la manière dont l’hébreu israélien a adopté des pans entiers de la philosophie européenne. Mais simultanément, il soulève un autre problème incontournable, celui de la structure des langues et des formes difficilement compatibles: problème par exemple de la copule et des langues qui y renoncent;  problème de la négation… des problèmes qui sont plus importants encore que les seuls problèmes de vocabulaire.
La seconde partie de l’ouvrage, «Un géométral des différences», contribue à un autre exercice, celui de saisir les difficultés de traduction de tel ou tel terme, mais cette fois en retour sur la langue française. Cette partie puise dans les traductions du Vocabulaire des termes problématiques ou nouveau dans la langue d’arrivée, et nous donne à lire le texte original (arabe, hébreu, anglais, portugais, etc.) et sa traduction. Les termes choisis sont évidemment centraux à plus d’un titre: charia, multitude, sexe, intraduction, traduire, nature. Cet échantillon n’est pas extrait uniquement pour éblouir ou pour donner à lire des exercices virtuoses. Il est lié à des enjeux spécifiques.
Relevons uniquement quelques traits pour donner au lecteur le goût de s’emparer de cet ouvrage. Le premier mot proposé vient de la langue arabe. «Charia», y apprend-on, pose plus de problèmes qu’on ne le croit. On ne peut le traduire par «loi», puisqu’il signifie «voie» (montrée par Dieu). Il s’agit d’une parole inspirée et non d’un commandement positif. La mutation du terme en loi est due aux écoles juridiques, mais chacune l’interprète différemment. Cela signifie-t-il qu’il faut distinguer clairement la mission religieuse du prophète et son activité politique ou les confondre? Tel est le débat de la traduction de ce terme. Il rejoint alors celui qui concerne «califat», forme de gouvernement lié à la succession du prophète ou forme de commanderie indépendante? Et quelle relation penser entre les deux termes… où l’on retrouve Ibn Khaldûn, Al Fârâbî et Averroès. Par ailleurs, que signifie la référence à la charia en droit positif moderne? Pas grand-chose, finalement, puisque la charia n’est pas un ensemble de normes connues de tous. Il est donc nécessaire qu’une vision positive du droit musulman émerge, connectée plutôt à l’étatique qu’au religieux.
Autre terme qui nous revient donc en français: «Erev Rav», mélange, ou plus précisément dans la Bible, la populace, une masse non identifiée. L’auteur reconstitue la carrière passionnante de ce terme (Zohar, Kabbale, hébreu rabbinique,...). Le terme finit par signifier: menace, danger par rapport «au camp pur». Le terme est issu de la Bible hébraïque, là où il renvoie au moment originel de la fondation de la communauté au moment de la sortie d’Egypte. Il permet d’identifier qui est inclus, exclu, ou appartient à un supplément menaçant mais indéfinissable. Mélange seulement ou intrusion au sein de la communauté et qui la menace? Ce qui se traduit en termes modernes par la question de l’altérité et de l’étranger prosélyte. On voit bien l’importance de ce concept pour le sionisme religieux, et dans la réflexion contemporaine.
Autres termes donc: le genre, dans sa différence avec le sexe (Judith Butler). Mais signalons que l’auteure ne se borne pas à l’anglais, elle traverse plusieurs langues révélant à chaque fois des univers historiques singuliers. «Intraduction» que nous avons déjà mise en avant, nous jetant dans des questions de poétique portugaise.
Il n’est guère de conclusion à donner, au terme de cette lecture, l’importance de l’ensemble n’ayant pas besoin de preuves ou d’approbation mineure. Sinon à indiquer que l’entreprise gagne désormais le persan et le chinois, c’est-à-dire place cette aventure devant le problème des formes de pensée qui ne se reconnaissent pas nécessairement comme philosophiques. Voilà qui s’annonce passionnant.
Christian Ruby et Nonfiction
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La traduction comme lieu herméneutique

La traduction comme lieu herméneutique
Philologie et théâtre. Traduire, commenter, interpréter le théâtre antique en Europe (XVe-XVIIIe siècle), sous la direction de Véronique Lochert & Zoé Schweitzer, Amsterdam : Rodopi, coll. « Faux titre », 2012, 276 p., EAN 9789042035874.
De la singularité de l’herméneutique théâtrale
1Cet ouvrage permet d’aborder de front la manière spécifique dont la question herméneutique se pose pour le théâtre. D’un côté, cet art engage un travail herméneutique analogue à celui qui est développé par toute œuvre : il suppose les mêmes questionnements que ceux qui sont posés par une peinture ou une fiction en prose lorsqu’elles nous invitent à décrypter le sens d’un geste, d’une action, d’une rupture de tonalité ou d’un effet de style. Mais le propre du théâtre est sans doute l’incomplétude foncière du matériau textuel, en attente d’une actualisation que lui donneront le jeu de l’acteur et la mise en scène. Objet artistique lacunaire tant qu’elle n’est qu’à l’état de texte, la pièce écrite appelle une interprétation scénique — le terme n’est pas métaphorique, puisque la représentation engage des choix herméneutiques.
2Or les bornes chronologiques délimitées par Véronique Lochert et Zoé Schweitzer placent cette dimension au cœur de la réflexion. En effet, l’éventail temporel du volume couvre une période où la mise en scène en tant que telle n’existe pas encore1, mais où les questions de mise en scène deviennent un objet d’intérêt. Dès le xvie siècle, la dimension scénique, la théâtralité et le jeu de l’acteur constituent des objets de réflexion. La première modernité constitue donc un entre-deux, où ces enjeux sont abordés sans faire l’objet d’un traitement systématique ou professionnel. Ils relèvent encore davantage de la réflexion théorique que de la pratique spectaculaire proprement dite. Or les traductions du théâtre antique et leurs commentaires vont livrer un espace de formalisation privilégié à ces réflexions, puisque le texte ancien confronte son traducteur à la nécessité de penser les effets scéniques qu’il recèle et la manière de les restituer pour le récepteur moderne.
3Cette prise en charge des enjeux scéniques s’affirme précisément au xvie siècle, lorsque le théâtre antique est considéré à l’aune de sa spécificité générique et non plus seulement comme le support d’un apprentissage linguistique ou moral. Jusque là, les textes de théâtre, à l’instar d’autres textes antiques, sont envisagés indépendamment de leur genre, comme des vecteurs pédagogiques permettant l’enseignement du latin ou l’extraction de maximes morales isolées de leur contexte. Une mutation s’opère au xvie siècle. La concurrence que la traduction vient alors faire au commentaire philologique constitue à la fois un indice et un instrument du changement de statut du texte théâtral antique. Traduire en langue vernaculaire, c’est rendre accessible le texte, donner la possibilité de le jouer et de l’envisager en regard du théâtre contemporain, alors que le commentaire philologique, outre qu’il ne privilégie pas l’approche générique, maintient l’œuvre « dans son jus » et ne travaille pas à ce rapprochement avec l’imaginaire et les pratiques modernes.
Les métamorphoses du commentaire
4Le premier chapitre de l’ouvrage s’intéresse à la mutation des pratiques qui caractérisent la période, lorsque le commentaire philologique se voit concurrencé par des procédures herméneutiques plus labiles et ambiguës qui passent par le biais de la traduction. Ainsi, Jean-Frédéric Chevalier montre comment les premières traductions italiennes de Sénèque en langue vernaculaire (xve siècle) sont le lieu d’une transfiguration du texte antique, assorti de finalités spirituelles qui ne sont pas manifestes dans les commentaires paratextuels. Dans une traduction de l’Agamemnon (1497), les évocations païennes sont christianisées et le chant d’un chœur est amplifié de manière à délivrer un enseignement chrétien. Cet infléchissement notable accrédite l’idée d’une proximité entre Sénèque et Saint Paul et correspond donc à un choix herméneutique fort. Solveig Kristina Malatrait consacre son étude aux premières traductions allemandes de Térence (xvie siècle). Elle montre que les traductions qui sont souvent réduites à une entreprise pédagogique recèlent une visée esthétique. Même si les paratextes exhibent une approche didactique, ils comportent des indications de lecture visant à faire ressortir la théâtralité du texte et à restituer les effets liés à la représentation spectaculaire. Le commentaire de traduction renferme ainsi des fonctions multiples, dont la coexistence permet un glissement vers une appropriation générique de l’objet théâtral. Par la suite, V. Lochert s’attache à l’étude des gravures qui accompagnent les traductions des textes antiques (xvie‑xviie siècles). Ces documents insérés dans le dispositif éditorial encadrant la traduction constituent une médiation vers les pratiques scéniques : ils permettent la visualisation ou l’explication des possibles transcriptions concrètes du texte écrit. Cet usage performatif des images, intense dans les premières traductions, tend à s’amenuiser au fil du temps, lorsque le texte antique perd de son étrangeté au regard des modernes. Pour clore ce chapitre, Florence d’Artois s’interroge sur un cas exceptionnel dans le contexte espagnol : la traduction par González de Salas des Troyennes d’Eschyle (1633), adossée à un commentaire de la Poétique d’Aristote. Elle montre comment la traduction combine une approche philologique traditionnelle avec une adaptation aux exigences de la scène moderne faisant écho à la curiosité pour le théâtre moderne qui affleure discrètement dans le texte théorique antéposé. La traduction révèle la théâtralité du texte antique et le modernise tout à la fois, comment pour jeter un pont entre le Siècle d’Or espagnol et le corpus antique — l’entreprise s’avèrera vaine, tant il est vrai que dans les années 1630, le modèle irrégulier de la comedia a durablement évincé toute possibilité de théâtre néo-classique.
5Cette section offre plusieurs témoignages des modifications des pratiques philologiques vers des procédures plus herméneutiques associées à la traduction, qui prennent des formes différentes : réécriture du texte, commentaire paratextuel, insertion dans un dispositif éditorial composite où le texte traduit dialogue avec des images ou avec un écrit théorique. Après ce chapitre centré sur le moment de transition que constitue la période allant de la fin du xve au milieu du xviie siècle en Europe, l’ouvrage se concentre presque exclusivement2 sur l’aire française entre la deuxième partie du xviie et le xviiie siècle, pour s’intéresser dans un premier temps aux enjeux spécifiques soulevés par la traduction des comédies antiques.
Interpréter la comédie
6Florence de Caigny étudie la traduction des six comédies de Térence par Marolles (1659). Elle montre qu’il s’agit pour l’abbé de rendre Térence lisible pour un lecteur du xviie siècle, en éclairant les éléments culturels susceptibles d’être obscurs. Les explications prennent parfois une tournure plus technique, lorsque Marolles livre des propos sur la dramaturgie des pièces : remarques sur les personnages protatiques, sur les débuts in medias res, ou mise en évidence de la composition de l’intrigue. Les termes employés, tels que ceux de vraisemblance, bienséance, unités, trahissent un regard modelé par les critères contemporains, qui deviennent le pivot d’un dialogue avec les théoriciens de l’époque. Ariane Ferry, en s’attachant aux traductions de Plaute publiées par le même Marolles (1658), met également l’accent sur le dialogue que l’abbé mène, à travers les notes et les remarques de son édition, avec des autorités telles que La Mesnardière et d’Aubignac. Elle déploie la visée double de l’ouvrage qui, pour toucher le public mondain, donne un air galant aux traductions et à leurs commentaires, tout en s’inscrivant dans une perspective clairement érudite. Son édition bilingue comporte un apparat critique très développée, et engage notamment une réflexion sur les effets de connivence entre la fiction et son public qui l’amène à rectifier certains positions de d’Aubignac, sans toutefois le contester systématiquement.
7Pierre Letessier observe la manière dont Mme Dacier, par la division en actes qu’elle impose à ses traductions des comédies de Plaute (1683), leur prête un fonctionnement dramaturgique classique au prix d’un façonnage correspondant à une véritable position herméneutique. Redécoupant le texte, elle procède à une épuration de ses grossièretés et de ses archaïsmes qui constitue une authentique réécriture. Enfin Catherine Volpilhac-Auger s’intéresse aux traductions françaises d’Aristophane au xviiie siècle. Après une fin de xviie siècle où le poète grec attirait des critiques virulentes, le xviiie siècle perpétue sa réputation de grossièreté et d’obscénité, mais il lui consacre nettement plus de traductions. L’article montre que ces traductions portent les contradictions inhérentes à la tension entre la perception d’une étrangeté foncière du texte grec et le désir de le rendre malgré tout représentable pour les spectateurs du xviiie siècle.
8Les quatre études de ce deuxième chapitre reflètent une mise en perspective des Antiques au regard des critères esthétiques et moraux de la période classique. La troisième section, qui concerne les traductions de tragédies, reconsidère les questionnements sur l’étrangeté et l’absence de bienséances des textes antiques de manière plus aiguë encore.
Interpréter la tragédie
9L’étude de Tiphaine Karsenti sur les traductions françaises de l’Électre de Sophocle (xvie‑xviiie siècle) reflète l’évolution des présupposés esthétiques qui conditionnent la réception de l’effet théâtral. Tandis que Lazare de Baïf (1537) valorise la force de l’elocutio, André Dacier (1692) et Brumoy (1730) écrivent leur traduction sur fond de Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes et infléchissent le texte grec dans le sens de l’idéal classique. Ils comblent la distance entre le texte antique et le public contemporain afin de procurer à ce dernier un sentiment d’évidence face à la perfection dramatique du texte ancien. Tous deux usent donc de la traduction comme d’une arme polémique, mais si le premier est guidé par l’idéal illusionniste fondé sur la vraisemblance, le second défend une théâtralité reposant sur l’impression sensible, que permet notamment l’accent mis sur les sentiments. Cette évolution fait donc de la traduction la caisse d’enregistrement des mutations touchant le goût esthétique et les conceptions de la théâtralité.
10Marie Saint-Martin s’attache aux traductions les plus tardives de la même pièce (fin xviie‑xviiie siècles) pour y déceler une opposition grandissante au matricide, que trahit une réécriture de la pièce de Sophocle de plus en plus conditionnée par les bienséances. Elle montre que la dénaturation des caractères mis sur la scène se voit absorbée par les traductions qui parviennent à ériger la pièce en modèle pour la scène moderne. L’analyse des traductions anglaises, françaises et italiennes du Thyeste par Zoé Schweitzer témoigne encore de la confrontation des traducteurs à une violence extrême. Les traductions oscillent entre fidélité, censure et commentaires visant à accompagner un lecteur risquant d’être choqué par le texte antique. La réception est de toutes manières canalisée par une interprétation qui a tendance à édulcorer l’original.
11Ces exemples témoignent de l’effet herméneutique produit par la confrontation à une Antiquité dont l’assimilation requiert des procédures d’adaptation variées. La dernière partie revient sur les modes de gestion de cet écart esthétique et culturel.
Lectures de l’œuvre antique & théories du théâtre moderne
12Les deux premiers articles du chapitre abordent des reprises de pièces antiques dont la matière thématise l’enjeu herméneutique qui les structure ou le rapport d’imitation qui les fonde. Enrica Zanin étudie les traductions françaises et italiennes de l’Œdipe-Roi de Sophocle et de l’Œdipe de Sénèque pour montrer comment, écrivant une version moderne de la quête herméneutique du héros, les traducteurs expriment leur conception de l’interprétation et du rapport au vrai. Le type de prise de conscience qui s’opère au moment de la reconnaissance finale constitue le nœud logique où se dit le mode herméneutique privilégié : guidé par la grâce divine ou clarifié par un dispositif allégorique au tournant des xvie et xviie siècles (dell’Anguilara et Prévost), puis formulé en réponse à la crise de l’épistémè, à l’aune du rationalisme chez Corneille et d’une reconnaissance du caractère énigmatique du monde chez Tesauro. Jean-Yves Vialleton montre que les discours philologiques sur les pièces perdues d’Euripide éclairent la cohérence secrète de l’Examen d’Andromède par Corneille, et permet de considérer le livret de Phaéton de Quinault comme une reconstitution archéologique. Les pièces perdues de l’Antiquité apparaissent donc comme une source de création des genres modernes que sont la tragédie à machines et la tragédie lyrique. Les deux œuvres du xviie siècle, dont le sujet est l’imitation et le désir de remplacer une instance supérieure, thématisent le geste créatif dont elles sont issues.
13Les deux derniers articles abordent la question de la représentation. Lise Michel montre l’importance du commentaire scénique dans les Remarques de Dacier sur l’Œdipe de Sophocle (1692). Elle dévoile comment ces propos servent la position des Anciens, dans la mesure où ils permettent de restituer fidèlement l’original et de convaincre le lecteur de la supériorité de l’œuvre antique. Enfin, Laurence Marie analyse la place prise par le spectacle au sein des traductions françaises, anglaises et allemandes de Plaute et Térence parues au xviiie siècle. Elle analyse comment la comédie est alors considérée comme un modèle de théâtre visuel par les théoriciens. Les commentaires dramaturgiques qui accompagnent les traductions constituent des arguments en faveur d’une réforme du théâtre valorisant la représentation. À travers ces deux dernières études on voit comment les traductions deviennent une caisse de résonance et un outil en contexte polémique ou expérimental.
Temporalités de la traduction
14On perçoit donc ce qui fait l’intérêt et l’homogénéité de l’angle choisi pour ce volume collectif : l’objet — un théâtre perçu comme tel — et le moment — celui d’une attention nouvelle portée à la théâtralité — font de la traduction de ces œuvres le révélateur et le lieu de formulation oblique de préoccupations toutes contemporaines touchant notamment les limites de la mimèsis et de l’opsis. L’origine antique de ce théâtre le positionne également au cœur de la brûlante Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes, pour laquelle il pourra être instrumentalisé et devenir une arme polémique, susceptible de démontrer la supériorité des anciens ou, à l’inverse, la nécessité de les polir pour s’adapter aux mœurs et aux attentes esthétiques modernes. Cette résonance avec les débats contemporains fait des traductions un lieu de théorisation dont le volume prouve la fécondité et l’intérêt, qu’il s’agisse de l’article de M. Saint‑Martin sur la question des bienséances dans les traductions tardives d’Électre, celui de Z. Schweitzer sur les limites du représentable dans la, ou par exemple celui d’A. Ferry sur l’aparté et la métathéâtralité dans la comédie.
15En dépit de cette homogénéité, on sent que plusieurs logiques chronologiques sont à l’œuvre dans la période considérée : on note d’abord une part croissante au fil du temps pour les questions de transcription scénique. Elles se cristallisent pleinement dans l’article de Laurence Marie, qui montre que la traduction est au xviiie siècle le lieu d’une expérimentation nouvelle sur la théâtralité, bien plus nette et marquée qu’au siècle précédent. Par ailleurs, si l’altérité culturelle portée par les pièces antiques est d’emblée questionnée, c’est véritablement autour et en amont de la Querelle toute française des Anciens et des Modernes qu’elle se formule le plus clairement dans les traductions. Ceci explique la forte présence dans le volume des traductions de Marolles qui prendra part à la querelle en 1677, après ses traductions, et de celles des époux Dacier, contemporaines des débats. Il y a donc des moments plus fertiles ou plus polarisés sur certaines questions que d’autres, ce qui ne signifie pas que l’herméneutique induite par la traduction dans les périodes antérieures soit plus pauvre : mais elle est sans doute plus protéiforme au xvie et dans la première partie du xviie siècle.
Deux régimes herméneutiques : interprétation métatextuelle & interprétation masquée
16Un aspect qui semble également saillant à la lecture du volume est l’émergence de deux modalités herméneutiques distinctes : celle qui s’élabore dans les paratextes des traductions, et celle qui s’effectue dans les traductions proprement dites. Et il semble que la nature même du travail herméneutique diffère profondément selon les lieux de son élaboration. En somme, l’herméneutique révélée dans les paratextes rejoint la fonction fréquemment métatextuelle de ces marges3. D’ailleurs certains paratextes, tel le volumineux commentaire du traducteur allemand Hans Nythart, conjuguent commentaire général et propos sur le geste traducteur proprement dit. Le traducteur devient parfois presque un commentateur comme un autre, même si son travail de traduction semble lui avoir conféré une connaissance particulièrement intime du texte et l’avoir sensibilisé aux questions pratiques de mise en espace par exemple. Le cas de Marolles est exemplaire de ce double usage possible du discours préfaciel et des notes : si une part conséquente de ses prises de paroles concerne la manière dont il entend transmettre les comédies latines aux modernes, d’autres privilégient des réflexions poéticiennes modelées par des références aux théoriciens contemporains.
17Ce double investissement des marges de la traduction suggère que la position de traducteur octroie une vision particulièrement aiguë des enjeux portés par les textes et occasionne la production d’une herméneutique souvent liée à la mise en dialogue des époques et des esthétiques. Dans ce cas de figure, le traducteur utilise des modes d’énonciation proches de ceux mobilisés pour le commentaire philologique et détournés à des fins plus interprétatives qu’exégétiques. Toutefois, il ne faudrait pas croire que les paratextes constituent les seuls lieux de cette herméneutique du traducteur, puisque la traduction elle-même est porteuse d’une interprétation lorsque la traduction infléchit l’original. Il semble que ce soit l’apport le plus décisif de l’ouvrage. Rappelons le cas des traductions italiennes qui introduisent une perspective chrétienne dans les pièces de Sénèque, accréditant l’idée d’une correspondance entre le dramaturge et Paul (J.‑F. Chevalier). C. Volpilhac-Auger évoque également des traductions d’Aristophane qui réinterprètent les comédies comme des chroniques historiques. Le traducteur est alors un herméneute masqué, puisqu’il intervient sur le texte original sans nécessairement le dire, ou sans que ses modulations ne correspondent à ce qu’il dit faire dans sa préface et ses notes. Il existe en effet parfois un hiatus entre l’herméneutique de la traduction et l’herméneutique du traducteur, livrée dans les paratextes. Pensons à l’exemple de Linage livré par Z. Schweitzer : alors que la dédicace revendique un travail de clarification, les modifications lexicales opérées dans la traduction obéissent plutôt à une édulcoration de la violence d’Atrée. On peut également mentionner la traduction allemande dite « de Strasbourg » de Térence, dont le paratexte affiche une visée pédagogique (notamment par un index des enseignements moraux) mais dont la traduction est centrée sur l’effet esthétique, ou les traductions de Térence par Valentin Boltz, qui revendique une absolue fidélité à l’original dans sa préface, mais pratique l’expurgation à des fins morales dans sa traduction. Ces disparités attestent bien que l’herméneutique masquée de la traduction n’est pas toujours dicible, et obéit à des motivations plus secrètes que l’herméneutique explicite formulée par le traducteur.
18Il faut ainsi considérer les commentaires de traducteur qui, par leur portée herméneutique, concurrencent les pratiques philologiques. Mais il existe aussi une herméneutique moins aisément situable, plus labile et insaisissable, qui s’intrique dans le texte même, dont elle devient inséparable. La traduction constitue alors simultanément le texte et son interprétation. Il semble que ce deuxième cas de figure soit le plus passionnant, parce que le traducteur, herméneute masqué, en vient à concurrencer l’auteur. Il livre finalement une nouvelle œuvre : l’ajout de vers dans les traductions italiennes, l’atténuation de la dénaturation de la maternité dans les traductions d’Électre, ou l’ajout d’un monologue dans une traduction anglaise de Thyeste révèlent le travail d’une herméneutique créatrice, qui substitue un texte à un autre.
1  Voir par exemple Pierre Frantz et Mara Fazio (dir.), La Fabrique du théâtre. Avant la mise en scène, 1650-1880, Paris, Desjonquères, 2010

2  Si l’on excepte les articles de Zoé Schweitzer, Enrica Zanin et Laurence Marie.

3  Voir notamment le programme ANR « Les idées du théâtre » dirigé par Marc Vuillermoz, qui s’intéresse aux enjeux des préfaces théâtrales (

De la singularité de l’herméneutique théâtrale
Les métamorphoses du commentaire
Interpréter la comédie
Interpréter la tragédie
Lectures de l’œuvre antique & théories du théâtre moderne
Temporalités de la traduction
Deux régimes herméneutiques : interprétation métatextuelle & interprétation masquée
Herméneutique, Représentation, Scène, Théâtre, Traduction


Voir ses autres contributions

Courriel :

Anne Teulade, « La traduction comme lieu herméneutique », Acta fabula, vol. 16, n° 3, « L’interprétation, engagements, pratiques, idéologies », Mars 2015, URL :, page consultée le 02 mars 2015.
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DNA documents ancient mass migration

DNA documents ancient mass migration | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Genomes document ancient mass migration to Europe

Nomadic herders moved en masse into Europe from the steppe around 4,500 years ago
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DNA analysis has revealed evidence for a massive migration into the heartland of Europe 4,500 years ago.

Data from the genomes of 69 ancient individuals suggest that herders moved en masse from the continent's eastern periphery into Central Europe.

These migrants may be responsible for the expansion of Indo-European languages, which make up the majority of spoken tongues in Europe today.

An international team has published the research in the journal Nature.

Prof David Reich and colleagues extracted DNA from remains found at archaeological sites around the continent. They used a new DNA-enrichment technique that greatly reduces the amount of sequencing needed to obtain genome-wide data.

Their analyses show that 7,000-8,000 years ago, a closely related group of early farmers moved into Europe from the Near East, confirming the findings of previous studies.

The farmers were distinct from the indigenous hunter-gatherers they encountered as they spread around the continent. Eventually, the two groups mixed, so that by 5,000-6,000 years ago, the farmers' genetic signature had become melded with that of the indigenous Europeans.

But previous studies show that a two-way amalgam of farmers and hunters is not sufficient to capture the genetic complexity of modern Europeans. A third ancestral group must have been added to the melting pot more recently.

Prof Reich and colleagues have now identified a likely source area for this later diaspora. The Bronze Age Yamnaya pastoralists of southern Russia are a good fit for the missing third genetic component in Europeans.

The team analysed nine genomes from individuals belonging to this nomadic group, which buried their dead in mounds known as kurgans.

The scientists contend that a group similar to the Yamnaya moved into the European heartland after the invention of wheeled vehicles, contributing up to 50% of ancestry in some modern north Europeans. Southern Europeans on the whole appear to have been less affected by the expansion.

By 5,000-6,000 years ago, Europeans were a two-way mix of indigenous hunters and Near Eastern farmers
Even more intriguing is the possible link between this steppe expansion and the origins of Indo-European languages.

Most indigenous European tongues, from English to Russian and Spanish to Greek, belong to the Indo-European group. The classification is based on shared features of vocabulary and grammar.

Basque, spoken in south-west France and northern Spain, does not fit in this group, and may be the only surviving relic of an earlier group of languages once spoken more widely.

Two principal hypotheses have been put forward to explain the preponderance of Indo-European tongues in Europe today.

According to the "Anatolian hypothesis", Indo-European languages were spread by the first farmers from the Near East 7,000-8,000 years ago.

But the latest paper supports the "Steppe hypothesis", which proposes that early Indo-European speakers were Bronze Age farmers on the grasslands north of the Black and Caspian Seas.

"An open question for us is whether the languages spoken by these steppe migrants were just ancestral to a sub-set of Indo-European languages in Europe today - for example, Balti-Slavic and maybe Germanic - or the great majority of Indo-European languages spoken in Europe today," Prof Reich told BBC News.

But he added that Indo-European languages spoken in Iran and India had probably already diverged from those spoken by the Yamnaya before the nomads blazed a trail into Europe.
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Guiliana Rancic's son speaks in three languages

Guiliana Rancic's son speaks in three languages | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Guiliana Rancic's son speaks in three languages
Press Trust of India  |  Los Angeles  March 2, 2015 Last Updated at 08:22 IST
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'Fashion Police' co-host Guiliana Rancic's toddler Duke is learning to speak in Italian and Spanish besides English.

Guiliana's husband and Duke's father Bill Rancic said the two-and-a half-year-old kid can count up to 10 in Spanish, reported People magazine.

"He can count to 10 in Spanish, which is pretty awesome. And Giuliana's teaching him Italian. It's great! He's a sponge," Bill said.
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Why do we fight so hard to preserve endangered languages?

Why do we fight so hard to preserve endangered languages? | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Why do we fight so hard to preserve endangered languages?

James Harbeck
(Ikon Images/Corbis)
March 2, 2015
The Pitkern language is dying.

Pitkern is the language spoken on Pitcairn Island and Norfolk Island, in the South Pacific. It's spoken by only 500 people. Younger speakers are increasingly preferring English, and many of them are moving to New Zealand or other English-speaking places. Even the small Pitkern-language version of Wikipedia has been proposed for closure twice. But if the young people don't want to speak the language, what's the point, right? 

The point, as many linguists and others will tell you, is that losing a language is like losing a species. It's a kind of extinction. As the linguist James Crawford said, when languages die the world loses four big things: linguistic diversity, intellectual diversity, cultural diversity, and cultural identity.

There are organizations dedicated to preventing this. The National Geographic Society has created an Enduring Voices Project in collaboration with the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages to help preserve languages, which it sees as preserving culture, ancient knowledge, ways of doing things, and ways of thinking. Many endangered languages have no written form, and with their loss we lose folklore, stories, the views and understandings of countless generations of humans. We also lose knowledge about plants, animals, ecosystems, and geography. Even with the ones that have a written form, if the speakers die out, no one thinks about the world in just that way anymore, dividing it up into those names and categories. Preserving languages is like preserving nature. No one could possibly object to it. Could they?

But some people do sometimes. This includes some of the speakers of the endangered languages themselves. Some speakers see their language as limiting: if they or their children are to be successful, they need to know the language of education, of science, of business, so they can talk to other people and gain the vast stores of knowledge available. How can major languages be insufficient when there's so much knowledge recorded in them? Can't you just take your local knowledge and translate it into English or Spanish? 

Even noted linguists aren't always on the language preservation bandwagon. Peter Ladefoged, one of the great names in modern linguistics, once pointed out that in some countries tribalism is a threat to national peace and unity, and pushing preservation of local languages over a national language aids and abets this schism. Is avoiding the death of languages worth causing the death of people? What's more, resources are finite, and sometimes you have to choose which languages to focus on or all of them may be lost. 

Another prominent linguist, Salikoko Mufwene, reminded linguists more recently that all languages change all the time, and language death and language birth are not separate things. Linguists fight people who want to pin English to an ideal version from one time and place, so how can they pin any other language down in the same way? A language is not an animal, after all. It is not even a species of animal. It is in constant variation. Each person speaks different varieties at different times, and a given person may speak several languages. 

Beyond that, some of the justifications given for preserving languages go against principles most linguists hold to be true. Language shapes the way its speakers see the world? Knowledge is untranslatably encoded in a language? These ideas are, shall we say, controversial.

In any event, if speakers no longer want to speak a language, who are we to tell them that they are wrong? It's their language, not ours, and it's paternalistic of us to expect them to do as we wish just to satisfy our need for authentic cultures to fill the pages of magazines. We may be well justified in wanting to preserve the language for future generations; members of a culture that has lost its language sometimes feel the loss sharply, and may even seek to regain the knowledge. But it's still theirs to keep or lose, not ours. And if they don't want their culture to become our museum piece, that's their right.

But if the speakers don't resist having the language recorded, we can still preserve it. Languages have been brought back from "death" — the Celtic languages Cornish and Manx are often given as examples, with fewer than two dozen new native speakers but hundreds of second-language speakers. It's not quite a linguistic Jurassic Park, but it's more than nothing. And Hebrew, which was no one's home language for a long time, is now the first language of millions of people thanks to a successful revival.

Not all languages have an existing literature, however, and certainly not one like Hebrew has. And linguists aren't available in unlimited supply to travel the world and put together dictionaries and lexicons and record oral histories. That's where things such as a language-specific version of Wikipedia come in.

Which brings us back to Pitkern.

Pitkern is slowly dying, and some people even want to get rid of the small Pitkern-language version of Wikipedia. Some of the reasons to kill the Pitkern Wikipedia are the same as reasons for fighting to keep the language alive: it's mostly spoken, without much literature; it's losing speakers to a surrounding dominant English culture. Anyway, it looks a lot like a dialect of English with some Tahitian influence. 

Oh, yeah. That's the other thing. Pitkern (also called Norfuk) is a creole, a mix of English and Tahitian, and it's been around for just about 200 years. 

Have you heard of the Mutiny on the Bounty? In 1789, a group of sailors on the ship Bounty, led by Fletcher Christian, mutinied against Captain William Bligh. This actually happened, not just in movies. Some of the mutineers, along with some Tahitians, settled on Pitcairn Island; in 1856, some of their descendants took over an abandoned penal colony on Norfolk Island (3,900 miles to the west), and the rest remained on Pitcairn. The two languages blended into something that still has a lot of resemblance to English.

Or, as the Pitkern article on Pitcairn Island puts it, "T' ofishol laenghwij f' ai Pitkern Ailen es Pitkern. Pitkern (tuu Norfuk) es a'langgwidc tat es spokn i' Norfuk ailen tuu. Es a' miks a' oel Inglish en Tahityan laenghwij, wi' Inglish maeken mor enfluens." Read that out loud and it will sound very much like, "The official language of the Pitcairn Islands is Pitkern. Pitkern (also Norfuk) is a language that is spoken in Norfolk Island too. It's a mix of old English and Tahitian language, with English making more influence."

Do you feel the same about Pitkern now? Why or why not? 

The Pitkern language doesn't preserve knowledge from time immemorial, true. But it does have two centuries of cultural history behind it. It may look a lot like a respelled version of English, but it's not actually identical, and it's an expression of a different perspective, a mark of a distinctive culture. And it's interesting linguistic data. 

Besides, many endangered languages are similar to other languages, sometimes as similar to a non-endangered language as Pitkern is to English. That's often one reason they're endangered: It's so easy for their speakers to switch to the more dominant local language.

And a creole is still a real language. One of the threatened languages National Geographic highlights is Mednyj Aleut, a creole formed from contact between Aleut and Russian. Being a creole doesn't make a language better or worse. It just means it has mixed origins. 

Beyond that, even if you think it's just a dialect, dialects are interesting too. People in some cities are very proud of their local version of English, with its particular accent and special words. Linguists get a lot of very interesting data from them.

So what do we do with Pitkern?

Even if they're mostly not helping much, no one from Pitcairn or Norfolk is keeping anyone else from preserving the language. And Wikipedia is free. If it's not too resource-consuming to preserve it, and if there are people who want to preserve it, why not?
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Found in translation | The Christian Century

Found in translation | The Christian Century | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
George Steiner, in a learned article on translation and herme­neutics, once asserted, “The translator invades, extracts, and brings home.” He recognizes that translation is not simply rendering a passage from one language into another, but is a matter of shaping and determining the world into which the reader enters. In this remarkable volume of translation, Everett Fox of Clark University has done all that Steiner proposes. He has invaded our common assumptions about the Bible, extracted accents and cadences, and brought the text home to us in fresh and compelling ways.

The volume is a continuation of Fox’s prodigious project of translation known as The Schocken Bible. He has already completed the five books of the Torah, and in this volume takes up the “former Prophets” of the Hebrew canon that in Christian parlance are dubbed historical books. Along with fresh translation, Fox offers succinct notes of commentary that are well informed by current scholarship and consistently take a commonsense balanced position.

Fox clearly lays out his intention for the translation. A century ago Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig rendered the Hebrew Bible into German. Their aim was to attend to the sounds of the text for oral reading, so that the German would be informed by the cadences of the Hebrew text. Fox stands in that tradition. Indeed, his teacher at Brandeis, Nahum Glatzer, was a graduate assistant to Rosenzweig in the last days of the latter’s life, so there is a self-conscious continuity from Buber and Rosenzweig to the present work. More than that, Buber’s famous attention to the dialogic is reflected in this translation, for Fox understands that translation is not a once-and-for-all accomplishment, but an ongoing dialogic enterprise between text and reader. Fox explains: “To what is on the printed page you will have to add your own voice and your own struggles. . . . that mandate of entering into the spirit of the text as a part of the dialogue is still very much the point of translating the Bible.”

Keeping a close eye on particular performances of the text, Fox writes that he is “constantly seduced by the earthiness and directness of biblical Hebrew.” That earthiness and directness are evident in his translation. Thus his work will provide a lively script for the performance of the text in Jewish and Christian communities of faith. As we know from good music, every performance is a new translation, and that is certainly what Fox intends in this work.

Fox weaves his way carefully between an assumption of historicity (with frequent notes of historical parallels) and recognition that the text is a “prototype” or “paradigm” that serves later generations that rely on the legitimating authority of “old tradition” for contemporary identity and faith. Fox does not press the issue of historicity, but the alert reader will see that he intends much more than simple historicity. Indeed, he judges that what we have is “metahistory,” or “history with an attitude.”

In the book of Joshua, Fox recognizes that at face value the text reports on a “genocide” in which Israel seeks to obliterate the resident population. But he sees beyond that and observes that the text is designed to serve as a legacy for later generations of displaced people. While the land, in Deuteronomic perspective, is given conditionally, the text, in its precision, serves as something of a real estate deed for subsequent generations.

One is struck by the spacing of the text. The normally margin-to-margin prose text is broken up so that the appearance of the page suggests poetry designed for oral reading. Also, Fox has a keen ear for pattern and repetition. Thus, in Joshua 21:13–19, we get pasture land 14 times, in a regular cadence. Fox likely would note that 14 is twice the perfect seven. In 22:30–34 we get children repeatedly, with a mix of children of Israel and children of x (various specific tribes). The lines serve as a patterned performance that is missed in most translations.

Fox avers that in the book of Judges violence is voiced in the service of political and religious themes. The book raises for him the question, Why does the God of Israel still stand by this people? The answer is in the divine promise that leads to the ongoing “resiliency of Israel.” But that end is accomplished by vigorous poetic imagination. In the encounter of Eglon and Ehud (chapter 3), Fox notes that the narrative is laden with subtle sexual allusion, a way to minimize a powerful enemy. In 3:22, with the murder of Eglon, Fox translates, “the feces came out.” The NRSV translates “the dirt came out” and notes that the Hebrew is “uncertain.” Of course, our attention will be focused on the Song of Deborah in Judges 5, which Fox likens to the much memorized “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Longfellow, a piece of lore remote from historicity. Fox ponders the imagery of the death of Sisera at the hands of Jael, whom he describes as a “nurturing mother, potential or actual lover, and finally, of course, gruesome killer.” The final word of verse 27, which NRSV has as dead, he offers as ravished.

In the books of Samuel, Fox explores the character of David, who is both “in control and out of control.” He pays particular attention to the body parts—heart and head—that not only characterize the specific characters, but also suggest the “inherent sickness of the Israelite body politic.”  Thus, as Barbara Green has proposed, the personal narratives function as parables for the narrative of Israel as well. Fox notes the multiple ways in which heart is used as a key word, though it is usually rendered in common usage in ways that hide its pervasiveness.

Fox offers a translation of the oral exchanges between Eli and Samuel and between Samuel and the elders of Beth­le­hem in Hemingway-like terseness. The procession of the sons of Jesse before Samuel is vivid in ways that will make oral performance striking. In 1 Samuel 17:23 the usual characterization of Goliath as “champion” is here rendered as “the Man of the Space-Between”—a phrase that is faithful to the text.

In the books of Kings, Fox takes Solomon as a paradigmatic embodiment of Israel; both king and Israel are “the glorious and the regrettable.” Fox notes that in 1 Kings 10 the Hebrew letter shin, the first letter of “Solomon,” is used frequently, suggesting that the queen is “overwhelmed by King Shelomo and his accomplishments.” The rapid-fire ex­change between Bathsheba and Adoni­jah (1 Kings 2) is opportunity for more terse dialogue. In the contest at Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18), Fox translates the usual “limp along with two different opinions” as “hop on two branches.” He translates the euphemism of “turned aside” in 18:27 with a much more daring figure of “doing his business.”  He concludes his account of Kings with the judgment that Israel is left “in a kind of limbo”: “In any event, with the end of the book, Israel embarks on centuries of control by others or other forces (Bab­ylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans) which would lead ultimately to both a wider exile and the creation of the Hebrew Bible in its final form.” This judgment readily links “exile” and “final form.”

This book of translation is an im­mense accomplishment and a huge gift for those who care about the performance of scripture in community. The work of translation is slow and hard, and Fox is to be celebrated for his singular achievement. Engagement with this book will require readers to ready themselves for work that is slow and hard. The gains of such an effort will be immense and specific, but it will allow for no skimming or summary. The work is sound by sound and word by word. It is the sound of faith that is knowing, empowering, ironic, and summoning.
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Millions share new Chinese character

Millions share new Chinese character | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
A new word is taking the internet by storm in China - but no one knows quite what it means.

The character "duang" is so new that it does not even exist in the Chinese dictionary. But it has already spread like wildfire online in China, appearing more than 8 million times on China's micro-blogging site Weibo, where it spawned a top-trending hashtag that drew 312,000 discussions among 15,000 users. On China's biggest online search engine Baidu, it has been looked up almost 600,000 times. It's been noticed in the West too, with Foreign Policy seeing it as a "break the internet" viral meme - like a certain Kim Kardashian image, or a certain multicoloured dress.

But what does it mean?

"Everyone's duang-ing and I still don't know what it means! Looks like it's back to school for me," said Weibo user Weileiweito.

Another user asked: "Have you duang-ed today? My mind is full of duang duang duang."

"To duang or not to duang, that is the question," wrote user BaiKut automan.

"Duang" seems to be an example of onomatopoeia, a word that phonetically imitates a sound. It all seems to have started with Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan, who in 2004 was featured in a shampoo commercial where he said famously defended his sleek, black hair using the rhythmical-sounding "duang". The word resurfaced again recently after Chan posted it on his Weibo page. Thousands of users then began to flood Chan's Weibo page with comments, coining the word in reference to his infamous shampoo appearance.

The word appears to have many different meanings, and there's no perfect translation, but you could use it as an adjective to give emphasis to the word that follows it. A kitten might be "duang cute", for example. Or you might be "very duang confused" by this blog.

For readers of Chinese characters, the Jackie Chan theme is also apparent from the quirky way in which the word is written: a combination of Chan's Mandarin names.

Reporting by Heather Chen and Mukul Devichand

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Dubbing Starts for Mammootty-Nayanthara Starrer 'Bhaskar The Rascal'

Dubbing Starts for Mammootty-Nayanthara Starrer 'Bhaskar The Rascal' | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
t looks like Mammootty and Nayanathara are gearing up for their next release "Bhaskar the Rascal" directed by hit maker Siddhiqque. The latest we hear is that the team has now entered the dubbing session of the movie in Kochi.

Mammootty in "Bhaskar The Rascal"Facebook/ Bhaskar the Rascal
Sources say that the "Bhaskar The Rascal' team has completed the shooting for almost 66 days and has only nine days of shooting left, which means the audience will get a chance to catch a glimpse of the movie soon.

Reports suggest that "Bhaskar The Rascal" will hit screens in April, in which case it might lock horns with Mohanlal-Manju Warrier movie "Ennum Eppozhum".

"Bhaskar the Rascal" is Siddique's third project with Mammootty after a 10-year gap. They had earlier worked together for "Hitler" (1996) and "Chronic Bachelor" (2003), which were big successes at the Kerala box office.

Nayanthara had earlier acted with Mammootty in "Thaskara Veeran" and "Rappakal". As per reports, the actress is yet to join the sets of the film as she is busy with her Tamil project. Nayanthara has previously worked with Siddhque for his movie "Body Guard" starring Dileep. The actress' last Malayalam movie was Shyamaprasad's psychological drama "Elektra".

"Bhaskar The Rascal" is touted as a typical Siddique movie with elements of comedy, dance and music. The director's last movie was "Ladies and Gentleman" (2013), starring Mohanlal and Krish J Sathar, which received poor reviews from audience and critics. 

Mammmootty is currently basking in the success of his latest flick "Fireman", directed by Deepu Karunakaran. The film will also star Nyla Usha and Unni Mukundan.

"Bhaskar the Rascal" is being produced by Anto Joseph. The movie will also have star cast of Isha Talwar, Harishree Ashokan, Kalabhavan Shajon, Janardhanan, Sanusha and Renji Panicker. 
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Yahoo turns 20 with spree of acquisitions - Telegraph

Yahoo turns 20 with spree of acquisitions - Telegraph | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
It is the search engine that showed the web’s first mainstream users where to find what they needed. This month Yahoo! turns 20. Yet so much has changed in those two decades. The current chief executive, Marissa Mayer, made her name at a company – Google – that didn’t even exist when Yahoo was founded.
At its height, Yahoo! – exclamation mark and all – was the single dominant platform on the web, applying the semi-manual Yellow Pages model rather than crawling the internet looking for respected links and automatically building an enormous index. As the web expanded, the approach rapidly became obviously unsustainable: Google stole Yahoo’s crown and the company subsided into being an enormous advertising platform that, even while profitable, limped along on its users’ mixture of inertia and nostalgia. It was hamstrung by its very success, with workers famously paid more than their peers for doing less. As one company insider says: “It was great while it lasted, but we all know it couldn’t. We were the BlackBerry of the web.’
Today, Marissa Mayer is engaged in a turnaround programme that is as controversial as it has been difficult, changing what was previously a search engine into a giant of Silicon Valley acquisitions. More products have been launched in 18 months than in the previous five years. The team working on mobile phones and tablets has grown from a paltry 50 to more than 550.
Mayer famously banned working from home to encourage her staff to come to the office and collaborate in building an exciting, reinvigorated Yahoo. While hardly welcomed at the time, it was accepted as staff realised that a better product was being built, and that it was Mayer’s way or possibly the end of Yahoo altogether.
Now, however, a system of staff appraisals that is seen as divisive, forcing managers to declare that a certain percentage of employees are not up to scratch, has proved far more controversial. Mayer’s fans argue it simply shows her total commitment to turning around a company through a combination of increased focus on mobile phones and tablets, new apps such as the 'News Digest’ and microblogging app tumblr. It remains to be seen whether this will truly achieve the results shareholders have hoped for. In her regular all-hands meetings, Mayer has been besieged by negative questions. The usually dazzling, confident chief executive has been forced on to the defensive.
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Founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo, two Stanford students, in January 1994 as 'Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web’, the company stared life as a manually compiled guide. Changing its name to Yahoo in March of the same year, the plan was simply to provide a decent guide to a growing resource. Although the word “Yahoo” is best known from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, in fact it was also an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”, so-called because Yang and Filo hoped office workers would see it as a logically organised guide. By 1998, it was the most popular homepage on the internet. Shares approached $120. However they dropped down to just $8.11 when the dotcom bubble burst.
But the real nadir came in 2008 when Yahoo rejected a $44bn takeover offer from Microsoft, only to find its market cap halving over the next three years. Jerry Yang was replaced as chief executive by Carol Bartz in 2009, then by Scott Thompson in 2012 – his tenure lasted just four months and, in a potent symbol of all that was wrong with Yahoo, he took home more than £5m. Social networking and the rise of mobile phones and apps had apparently been totally missed by a company many now simply wrote off.
That, however, was until the announcement that Yahoo had poached Mayer from Google.

The turnaround in enthusiasm and goodwill was instant; the purchase of Tumblr and British news app Summly seemed to show that this was a company back in business. By mid-2013 its sites were outperforming Google’s.
Under Mayer, Yahoo has persisted where many thought it would simply disappear. But many insiders feel it has yet to fully redefine itself. Is it a news aggregator, a portal, a destination in itself, or simply an advertising platform?
No-one yet knows and that appears to include Mayer. “She’s assembling a new jigsaw that is almost like working at a start-up again,” another insider said. “It’s just that not all start-ups survive.”
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‘Lost volume’ of Anthony Trollope’s The Duke’s Children reinstated for new edition

‘Lost volume’ of Anthony Trollope’s The Duke’s Children reinstated for new edition | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
A crime against literature is due to be reversed, with a new edition of Anthony Trollope’s The Duke’s Children set to reinstate 65,000 words cut from the novel on its publication in 1880.

Researchers led by professor Steven Amarnick have worked for a decade on the original manuscript of Trollope’s sixth and final Palliser novel, which is held in Yale University’s Beinecke library. After painstakingly picking out the author’s scrawl from among a forest of crossings-out, they have discovered that Trollope’s excisions from the text amount to almost a quarter of the original, removing a whole volume from what was envisaged as a four-volume novel.

Now a complete, unabridged text is set to be published for the first time by the Folio Society to mark 200 years since the birth of a writer who once thundered, when asked to shorten Barchester Towers, that “no consideration should induce me to cut out a third of my work”. The Duke’s Children sees former prime minister of England and the Duke of Omnium Plantagenet Palliser widowed, and struggling to adapt to life without his wife and to support his three adult children.

“It’s quite extraordinary the different cumulative effect it has, on the richness of the text and the subtlety of the characters,” said Joe Whitlock Blundell at the Folio Society. “When I first read The Duke’s Children 30 years ago, it all seemed to be focused on the Duke’s reactions. But in the restored version, the characters of the children come through far more sympathetically.”

Amarnick writes in a commentary to the new edition that the “thousands of cuts did tremendous damage” to the work. Although Trollope did not delete any of his 80 chapters, he removed consecutive paragraphs in some places; in others, he cut sentences, phrases and words, even replacing a word with one which was slightly shorter on some occasions.

“The restored version has many more humorous touches and also has a darker edge,” writes Amarnick, adding that “the cuts diminish all his characters – often softening some of their harder edges”.

“I hadn’t realised until looking in both versions how much ironic commentary Trollope often reserved for the ends of his chapters,” said Whitlock Blundell. “He found that one of the easiest places to make cuts because it didn’t interrupt the flow, but it means lots of ironic commentary was missing – and he’s all about the irony.”

Whitlock Blundell speculates that Trollope “would have been incandescent” over being asked to make the cuts; the precise reason for them is “lost to posterity”, says the Folio Society, but “is likely to have been a demand from his publishers on the grounds of economy”.


“There is no concrete evidence for who exactly forced him to make the cuts, though it seems probable that it was Charles Dickens Jr who requested a shorter book for serial publication,” said Whitlock Blundell. “As for his reluctance, there can be no doubt about it. He was very sensitive to any requests to cut his work, and wrote in his autobiography, ‘I am at a loss to know how such a task could be performed. I could burn the MS, no doubt, and write another book on the same story; but how two words out of every six are to be withdrawn from a written novel, I cannot conceive’.”

Trollope expert Dr Margaret Markwick, of Exeter University, believes Trollope would have been delighted to see his original work restored. “The major issue is clearly the speculation on what Trollope thought of being asked to cut his novel by a quarter, when he had spoken so unequivocally about the impossibility of cutting Barchester Towers,” she said. “And yet, here he is, doing an almost seamless job on The Duke’s Children.”

Markwick said that at the time Trollope had been “stung” by the “very poor reviews” of his preceding Palliser novel, The Prime Minister, was in “poor health” and in a “much different frame of mind when he was asked this time round to reduce his text”.

“Ever-sensitive to the criticisms of The Prime Minister, and ever the pragmatist, he set about cutting his text with considerable thought and skill, working on it for two months in 1878. That he took such care over the cuts makes me think he did it with good grace. That it should now come out in its original form I think would delight him,” she said.

The unabridged version of The Duke’s Children is being published this month in a limited edition, priced at £195, by the Folio Society, with an introduction by the novelist Joanna Trollope, a fifth generation niece to the author. The publisher hopes eventually that a mass-market version of the restored text will be released, which it expects will become the standard version of the novel.
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Langues nationales: le Conseil fédéral n'entrera pas en action avant le mois de juin

Langues nationales: le Conseil fédéral n'entrera pas en action avant le mois de juin | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Le Conseil fédéral ne prendra aucune décision avant le mois de juin dans l'épineux dossier de l'enseignement des langues.
Le Conseil fédéral ne bougera pas avant le mois de juin dans le dossier de l'enseignement des langues. Il attend le bilan qui sera alors présenté lors de la séance des directeurs cantonaux de l'instruction publique, a répété lundi le conseiller fédéral Alain Berset devant le Conseil des Etats.
La votation de dimanche prochain dans le canton de Nidwald, qui pourrait repousser à l'apprentissage du français à l'école secondaire, ne change rien au plan de route du gouvernement. Celui-ci ne souhaite pas agir de manière précipitée et il doit se garder de se substituer aux compétences des cantons, a insisté le ministre de la culture.
Le Conseil fédéral soutient les cantons dans leurs efforts d'harmonisation, en se basant sur le mandat constitutionnel et sur la stratégie d'enseignement des langues de 2004, a relevé Alain Berset. Celle-ci prévoit l'enseignement d'une deuxième langue nationale au niveau primaire.
Si les citoyens de Nidwald acceptent dimanche de retarder l'apprentissage d'une deuxième langue nationale, ils remettraient en question les efforts d'harmonisation. "Si on constate que l'harmonisation a partiellement échoué, il faudrait approfondir la discussion", a dit M. Berset.

Source: ATS
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China to compile polylingual dictionary on Buddhist manuscripts - Xinhua |

China to compile polylingual dictionary on Buddhist manuscripts - Xinhua | | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
China to compile polylingual dictionary on Buddhist manuscripts   2015-03-02 15:31:10
BEIJING, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scholars will start to compile a four-language dictionary this year on palm-leaf manuscripts of Buddhist sutras and valuable ancient records, a Tibetan scholar and national political advisor told Xinhua Monday.

To push forward research and study on palm-leaf manuscripts, a Sanskrit-Tibetan-Chinese-English dictionary was needed, said Drongbu Tseringdorje, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Palm-leaf manuscripts are mostly written in Sanskrit, and they feature ancient records of culture, philosophy, history and the sciences in South and Central Asia.

Tibet has numerous, important palm-leaf manuscripts. A central government survey on palm-leaf manuscripts in the region began in 2006, confirming nearly 60,000 pages dating back over 1,000 years.

Researchers are preparing for the second round of the survey, according to Drongbu Tseringdorje, who is also head of China's first and only research institute specializing in palm-leaf manuscripts.

As for the dictionary, Drongbu Tseringdorje said research institutes and universities in Beijing will be contacted after this year's national legislative session.
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As implicações jurídicas dos contratos assinados no Brasil em língua estrangeira

As implicações jurídicas dos contratos assinados no Brasil em língua estrangeira | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
As implicações jurídicas dos contratos assinados no Brasil em língua estrangeira
Gabriela Meinert Vitniski*

Com a expansão das relações internacionais e a crescente instalação de empresas multinacionais em território brasileiro, a materialização das relações firmadas entre estas e pessoa físicas ou jurídicas nacionais podem implicar questões controversas.

Não é incomum que a empresa estrangeira padronize contratos de aquisição de bens e prestação de serviços na linguagem da origem da matriz internacional, ou ainda na língua inglesa que é a linguagem universal.

Alguns aspectos devem ser levados em consideração pela empresa nacional antes de firmar o negócio jurídico. Analisa-se que, de fato, dificilmente para estabelecer atividade em território brasileiro a empresa internacional prescinda de registro formal em órgãos brasileiros. Portanto, grande parte das empresas multinacionais atuantes no Brasil possuem contrato social, registro de CNPJ, além dos demais registros requisitados para desenvolvimento de suas atividades.

Dessa forma, em contrato firmado entre empresas, a legislação aplicada será a nacional, vejamos o que diz a Lei de Introdução às Normas do Direito Brasileiro (Redação dada pela Lei nº 12.376, de 2010): “Art. 9º. Para qualificar e reger as obrigações, aplicar-se-á a lei do país em que se constituírem”.

Então, independentemente do idioma do instrumento contratual, a legislação aplicada será necessariamente a brasileira.

Sobre o tema preceitua o Código Civil (Lei no 10.406, de 10 de janeiro de 2002): “Art. 224. Os documentos redigidos em língua estrangeira serão traduzidos para o português para ter efeitos legais no País. ”

Ainda, a Lei que dispõe sobre os Registros Públicos (Lei nº 6.015, de 31 de dezembro de 1973), assim prevê: “Art. 149. Os títulos, documentos e papéis escritos em língua estrangeira, uma vez adotados os caracteres comuns, poderão ser registrados no original, para o efeito da sua conservação ou perpetuidade. Para produzirem efeitos legais no País e para valerem contra terceiros, deverão, entretanto, ser vertidos em vernáculo e registrada a tradução, o que, também, se observará em relação às procurações lavradas em língua estrangeira.

Parágrafo único. Para o registro resumido, os títulos, documentos ou papéis em língua estrangeira, deverão ser sempre traduzidos”.       

 Vejamos que um dos requisitos da produção de efeitos pelo instrumento é a tradução. Importa frisar que tal tradução deve ser necessariamente efetuada por tradutor juramentado, com reconhecimento oficial de sua habilitação, conforme o Art. 157 do Código de Processo Civil (Lei no 5.869, de 11 de janeiro de 1973), vejamos: “Art. 157. Só poderá ser junto aos autos documento redigido em língua estrangeira, quando acompanhado de versão em vernáculo, firmada por tradutor juramentado”.

Salienta que a tradução juramentada, de acordo com entendimento mais recente do Superior Tribunal de Justiça, no julgamento do Recurso Especial nº 1.227.053, deve ser completa a fim de instruir a ação.

Concluímos que, não há justificativa plausível para a concordância com a assinatura de instrumento contratual em linguagem estrangeira, uma vez que a relação jurídica dar-se-á em território brasileiro, a legislação que regerá os termos do negócio será a brasileira, e para análise do instrumento pelo poder judiciário brasileiro é imprescindível a tradução juramentada para a língua portuguesa.

Recomenda-se, portanto, que todos os contratos firmados entre empresas multinacionais e nacionais, para execução em território brasileiro, sejam firmados em português. Alternativamente propõe-se que o instrumento seja minuciosamente redigido no padrão bicolunado, de compreensão ampla, e assinado por ambas as partes.


* Gabriela Meinert Vitniski é advogada graduada no curso de Direito pela Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense (UNESC), pós-graduanda em Direito Civil e Empresarial pela Damásio Educacional e da área de Direito Empresarialdo escritório Giovani Duarte Oliveira Advogados Associados.
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L'Oiseau vert : le merveilleux fait main

L'Oiseau vert : le merveilleux fait main | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
L'Oiseau vert : le merveilleux fait main
Par Armelle Héliot le 2 mars 2015 12h34 | Réactions (0)

Laurent Pelly met en scène la pièce de Carlo Gozzi. Il est moins joué que Goldoni qui fut son rival à Venise. Le monde de Gozzi est féérique et ironique. Très difficile à représenter.

Dans la nuit bleutée du théâtre, des oranges tournoient autour d’un homme qui occupe l’exact centre d’un vaste plan que l’on ne distingue pas complètement. Laurent ­Pelly installe immédiatement la magie dans la représentation de L’Oiseau vert de Carlo Gozzi et souligne que la pièce, créée en janvier 1765, est une suite de L’Amour des trois oranges qui la précède de quatre années. On connaît mieux cette dernière par l’opéra que composa Prokofiev d’après des souvenirs de ­Gozzi. Pelly a d’ailleurs monté l’ouvrage. Mais en découvrant L’Oiseau vert, on pense aussi au Roi nu d’Andersen dans l’adaptation de Schwartz que mit en scène le codirecteur du Théâtre national de Toulouse.
Ci-dessus Marilu Marini et Emmanuel Daumas : mère féroce et fils mélancolique !
Polo Garat Odessa

Comment faire avec cette « fable philosophique » dans laquelle, comme le dit Pantalon, « Tout peut arriver, tout peut arriver ». Et en effet : des pommes chantent, de l’eau danse, des jumeaux pauvres sont métamorphosés en un instant, un palais apparaît parce qu’ils ont jeté une pierre magique, des statues parlent et deviennent humaines, une femme croupit sous un évier, etc.

À l’heure de la sophistication de la vidéo, tout cela pourrait être simple. Mais Laurent Pelly a préféré des moyens plus anciens et c’est l’un des charmes du spectacle, tout y est « fait main », si l’on peut dire, par la grâce d’une dizaine de techniciens vêtus de noir que l’on aperçoit sur les côtés, manipulant les poulies pour que le sol bouge et que surgissent lumières et cadres, statues, espaces. L’essentiel de la scénographie imaginée, comme les costumes, par Laurent Pelly lui-même, est une grande nappe qui dégringole de haut, bordée d’ampoules et qui ne cesse de se métamorphoser.

Si la pièce est une féerie, elle ne cesse de se moquer de ce genre même et charrie une critique de la philosophie. L’autre difficulté tient au texte qui passe d’un style à un autre. De ce point de vue, la nouvelle traduction d’Agathe Mélinand est très importante.
Photographie Polo Garat Odessa

Reste le jeu. La troupe est unie et de haute qualité avec, au centre, l’extraordinaire méchante reine incarnée par Marilu Marini, femme araignée digne de Louise Bourgeois à la terrible voix grinçante. Elle a ourdi la mort des jumeaux (Jeanne Piponnier et Thomas Condemine) et la déchéance de leur mère (Fabienne Rocaboy). Mais ils ont été sauvés par Pantalon (Eddy Letexier) et recueillis par le charcutier Truffaldin (Georges Bigot) et sa femme (Nanou Garcia). Leur père, Tartaglia (Emmanuel Daumas) se désespère tandis que vont apparaître les statues philosophes (Régis Lux, Alexandra Castellon) qui savent bien que Brighella (Pierre Aussedat) est un imposteur. L’Oiseau vert (Mounir Margoum) sauvera tout le monde…

Il y a plusieurs strates de lecture, plusieurs strates de jeu. La traduction et la mise en scène les font bien sentir. il est évidemment beaucoup plus difficile, dans l'interprétation, de jouer sur plusieurs tableaux. La fantaisie farcesque domine, ainsi que l'a sans doute principalement souhaité le metteur en scène : il faut y aller !

On n'en est qu'au tout début des représentations : les interprètes, tous si personnels et doués, ne doivent pas craindre (on pense notamment aux jumeaux) la sincérité. Il ne faut pas prendre de distance avec le personnage. Même si on doit le jouer un peu comme une "figure", sinon un pantin ! Il faut de la sincérité et ainsi on sera plus ému qu'on ne l'est pour le moment. On regarde, on admire, on rit, on est époustouflé. Manque le supplément qui est comme l'huile dans les rouages d'une machinerie sophistiquée, l'émotion simple ! Mais on sait que tout est en place pour cela ! 

Théâtre national de Toulouse, jusqu’au 21 mars. Tél. : 05 34 45 05 05. Puis en tournée à Albi, Grenoble, Rennes, Montpellier, Caen. La traduction et un dossier documentaire sont publiés par L’Avant-scène théâtre (12 €).
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Guiliana Rancic’s son speaks in three languages

Guiliana Rancic’s son speaks in three languages | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Fashion Police’ co-host Guiliana Rancic’s toddler Duke is learning to speak in Italian and Spanish besides English.
Guiliana’s husband and Duke’s father Bill Rancic said the two-and-a half-year-old kid can count up to 10 in Spanish, reported People magazine.
“He can count to 10 in Spanish, which is pretty awesome. And Giuliana’s teaching him Italian. It’s great! He’s a sponge,” Bill said.
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Zimbabwe: How Music Influences Language

Zimbabwe: How Music Influences Language | Metaglossia: The Translation World |

By Fred Zindi
Over the years there has been a significant change in the way we speak compared to how our ancestors spoke. It does not matter in what language one is speaking, language changes over time.

To give an example, during the last three centuries, the vocabulary of English has displayed the characteristic marks of a living tongue -- words have become obsolete, words have altered in meaning, words have been created. In addition, many words have been borrowed, and the borrowing has been worldwide.

It is sometimes hard to determine if a word is really obsolete, for it may linger in obscurity and then suddenly emerge.

If one was to borrow the language used in William Shakespeare's plays of long ago and tried to use the same language today, very few people would understand what they are on about. There are plenty of examples. For instance "to thieve" ,which means "to steal" found in Old English, then for long unrecorded, reappears in the seventeenth century.

Language also changes very subtly whenever speakers come into contact with each other. No two individuals speak identically: people from different geographical places such as Masvingo, Manicaland or Matabeleland clearly speak differently, but even within the same small community there are variations according to a speaker's age, gender, ethnicity and social and educational background.

Through our interactions with these different speakers, we encounter new words, expressions and pronunciations and integrate them into our own speech.

Even if your family has lived in the same area for generations, you can probably identify a number of differences between the language you use and the way your grandparents speak. Every successive generation makes its own small contribution to language change and when sufficient time has elapsed the impact of these changes becomes more obvious. All languages change over time, and vary from place to place.

They may change as a result of social or political pressures, such as invasion, colonisation and immigration. New vocabulary is required for the latest inventions, such as cellphones (nharembozha), domestic appliances and industrial equipment. But a language can also change by less obvious means.

For instance, a radio or TV presenter who is imitated by young listeners could have a big influence on how these listeners end up speaking.

I was listening to the Zim dancehall Overdrive session on Star FM radio station last Saturday night. The presenter was Simbarashe Maphosa aka DJ Templeman, "The Godfather". I could not follow every word he said because he was trying to sound like a Jamaican and was imitating patois but not every word came out right.

The Jamaican language is entertaining. However, it is actually quite difficult to acquire the accent of a Jamaican. Unless you have lived in Jamaica for many years, and even then, speaking patois fluently is not guaranteed. But with a little practice, you will be able to have at least a basic understanding of Jamaican patois.

Although the official language of Jamaica is standard English, many Jamaicans also speak patois which is a separate dialect/language. Jamaican patois (also known as "patwa", "patwah" or "Jamaican Creole") is the language that is used by most Jamaicans in casual everyday conversations while standard English is normally reserved for professional environments. In patwa, words like "I run" become "mi run", "they run" becomes "dem run", and "many bananas" becomes "nuff bananas".

On one of my trips to Jamaica in the early 1990s, I bumped into Neville Garrick who was once Bob Marley's graphic artiste.

I tried to speak to him in my own version of patwa. He suddenly burst out laughing, "Fred, is why you speaking like dat man? You cyann't speak our raatid language even if you try. You haffe born with it. I know you can speak good English. So is why you insulting us by mimicking a language unna understand?"

I was embarrassed and vowed never to try that again.

A special group of Jamaicans calling themselves the Rastafarians have gone a step further by developing a form of slang within patois.

Words such as Jah for God, "feeling irie" for "feeling good", "overstand" for "understand", "wattagwaan?" meaning "what is going on or what's up?", "you is too tief man" meaning "you are a big thief" and "downpressor man" for "oppressor" come into play.

Jamaican patois has many borrowed words from many different languages, for example, English, Spanish and some West African languages. However, the pronunciations of these words are very similar to Jamaican English. One thing to keep in mind as you learn Jamaican patois is that it is not a strict, rule-oriented language.

Some words can be pronounced and spelled differently but still mean the same thing (e.g. both "pickney" and "pickeney" translates to "child"). The important thing is whether or not what you are saying can be understood. My advice to DJ Templeman is to ask him to conduct a study which will determine whether listeners to his show do "overstand" what he is saying. After the results, he can decide whether to continue broadcasting in that accent or not.

Well, the Jamaicans are not the only ones when it comes to language innovation.

The musicians in Zimbabwe have also come up with extensive Shona vocabulary.

Going back in time I first heard the word "jambanja" from Marko Sibanda when he sang "Jambanja Pahotera". This word has now been included in the Shona dictionary, "Dura Manzwi Guru ReChiShona".

I also came across "Gundamusaira" for the first time when Newman Chipeni sang that tune.

A few years later the urban groovers came up with "Chimoko Chidanger", meaning "a beautiful woman".

Over the years other words have come up.

Recently I was listening to Winky D's collaboration song with Soul Jah Love called "Magafa".

I phoned up Jonathan Banda, Winky D's manager, to explain to me what that meant. He said it was something to do with legendary stories.

He went on to describe how music had "disinvented" the Shona language.

Up to now I am not sure I understand what Winky D means when he calls us "MaNinja".

In the excitement brought to us by his music, we all accept without giving it much thought that we are "MaNinja".

If you thought you had heard enough of the language used by "mahwindi" on urban transport kombis such as "simbi yamudhara" (meaning "beautiful woman'), then wait until you hear what Zim dancehall has come up with.

I looked at some of the Shona words that have been brought to life by Zim dancehall artistes.

When I first met Soul Jah Love, he called me "Chibaba" and I did not immediately embrace that kind of gesture because in my understanding of Shona, anything that began with the pre-fix "chi" was not in good taste. A few weeks later, as Soul Jah Love became increasingly popular, the word "chibaba-baba" became a popular ditty in Zim dancehall circles.

Other words which have been popularised by Zim dancehall artistes include "mumero" meaning "sell-out". This one is found in Killer T's and Kinnah's songs. "Mbokoimboko" and "matsaga" (useless people) are words found in the likes of Seh Calaz's songs.

When Zim dancehall artistes refer to "mangoma", they are talking about music in general. When they say "ndakamuwachisa" they mean "I showed him up". "Mabhanditi" are the equivalent of the Jamaican "rude boys" also known as bandits in Jamaican dancehall.

"Aka-sticker" is a word used by Zim dancehall artistes and fans when they refer to someone who is drunk usually after taking "bronco" or other drugs.

Some meaningless slogans such as "Ah Ah hi hi" by Tocky Vibes,"Popopo" from Killer T, "Hauite Hauite" from the likes of Ricky Fire and Legend Elly and "Mawayawaya" from Shinsoman have also come up from Zim dancehall artistes.

These words have been adapted wholesale by Zim dancehall fans. Sooner or later they are going to become part of our everyday language.

Already we have started calling ourselves "chibaba" and "chimama" without feeling offended. The role of music in shaping our language cannot be ignored. Time will tell!
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Indian-American a capella group takes aim at stereotypes

Indian-American a capella group takes aim at stereotypes | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Clad in traditional Indian garbs, Spartan Sur, MSU’s premier South Asian fusion a cappella group, performed at Kellogg Center with a laughter-filled performance which mocked Indian-American stereotypes through song, dance and skits.

Performing in front of a rambunctious crowd, Spartan Sur combined contemporary Bollywood music with popular English songs such as R. Kelly’s “Ignition Remix.”

Members of Spartan Sur consider themselves to be South Asian fusion because of their combinations of English songs with songs in Hindi, the official language of India.

Singing in these two languages is what sets Spartan Sur apart from other a cappella groups on campus, said human biology junior Anchit Menawat.

“That’s our dynamic ... that we sing in multiple languages and try to bring them together, try to fuse the cultures together because a lot of us are Indian-American and we grew up in America,” Menawat said. “We grew up with the mix of both cultures, and we just try to bring that mix to the stage.”

By Kennedy Thatch / The State News
Spanish senior Sarah Greer performs for the last time with Spartan Sur Feb 28, 2015, during the Spartan Sur winter concert at the Kellogg Center. The concert poked fun at Indian American stereotypes through skits and song. Kennedy Thatch/The State News

By Kennedy Thatch / The State News
Supply chain management sophomore Esha Joshi the lead Feb 29, 2015, at the Spartan Sur winter concert at The Kellogg Center. The group addressed Indian American stereotypes through skits and song. Kennedy Thatch/The State News.
World politics senior and Spartan Sur Vice President Charumati Ganesh said the group sings in both languages because Hindi is the language spoken in Bollywood movies.

Menawat added Bollywood movies are typically predictable love stories.

“There’s like a cliche among our generation where Bollywood movies have a very fixed type of story line,” Menawat said.

Despite the title of the concert, “Not Another Bollywood Movie,” Spartan Sur satirically paid homage to Bollywood movies by playing out the stereotypes on stage.

“In our case, it was her dad wanted her to marry someone else,” Menawat said. “Then, you know there’s lots of drama and tension, and then in the end they end up together. So really it was another Bollywood movie, but we just did a play on words.”

Neuroscience senior Joseph Aquino agreed.

“The name of the concert is sort of like a parody off of a Bollywood movie, and also like playing off of the “Not Another Teen Movie,” things like that,” Aquino said. “It’s really exactly like it, but just poking fun the whole time.”

Spartan Sur portrayed many stereotypes of being an Indian-American during their performance.

These stereotypes ranged from strict parents with thick Indian accents trying to push traditional methods onto their children, to Indian parents urging their first-generation children to study for the Medical College Admission Test.

There are other stereotypes specific to Bollywood movies that Spartan Sur depicted.

"(Our show) has a lot of parodies like very overbearing parents, (or a) classic love story between a guy and a girl that want to get together but can’t,” Aquino said.

Spartan Sur is also in the midst of producing an EP. To read more about their efforts, go to
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Half of PNG languages risk extinction soon

Half of PNG languages risk extinction soon | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
One of Papua New Guinea's foremost linguists says about half of the country's 800 languages are at risk of becoming extinct in the near future.
Dr Sakarepe Kamene, who is the head of languages at the University of PNG and one of the country's longest-serving academics, says the government is not placing enough value and priority into protecting the languages.
He says increasing western influence is threatening the survival of languages, as learning English and western culture is seen as more desirable than tradition.
Dr Kamene says he fears nothing will be done until it's too late.
"These languages capture all kinds of information. So if we don't look after them, they will go and they'll [take] all this information with them, like geneaological information, historical information, traditional lifestyle information and all sorts of lifestyle information. So that's the concern."
Dr Sakarepe Kamene says Papua New Guineans are undermining their own culture and languages, and he'd like to see such things added to the school system.
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Most native tongues of the West are all but lost

Most native tongues of the West are all but lost | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
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Most native tongues of the West are all but lost

A map shows where just over 60 languages remain spoken around the region.

Jeremy Miller March 2, 2015 From the print edition

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Last February, 103-year-old Hazel Simpson of Port Angeles, Washington, died. This was notable not only because of her age, but because she was the last Native speaker of Klallam, the language of the S’Klallam Tribe of the Olympic Peninsula.

The S’Klallams have worked hard over the last decade to revitalize their language, publishing a dictionary and starting a program to teach Klallam as a second language to schoolchildren on the Elwha Reservation. But something irreplaceable died along with Simpson, the last living person to learn Klallam at home and speak it as a primary language.

Like endangered species, languages are dying across the planet. By one estimate, one language vanishes every 14 days. At this rate, according to language researchers from the University of Hawaii, between half and 90 percent of the world’s 7,000 distinct languages will disappear by the end of the century –– a higher rate than the loss of the planet’s biodiversity. Of the 176 known languages once spoken in the U.S., 52 are thought to be dormant or extinct.

Languages die for complex reasons. But research suggests a combination of imperialism, economic development and mass urbanization, all of which tend to favor dominant national languages, such as English, Spanish, Mandarin and French. A recent study by an international group found a striking connection between economic growth and the disappearance of indigenous languages.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 370,000 Native-language speakers live in the United States, approximately 250,000 of them in the West. Of the roughly 70 Native languages still spoken in the region, Navajo is by far the healthiest, with more than 170,000 speakers.

Many languages, however, are down to their last speakers. Northern Paiute is one of dozens of Western tongues classified as “critically endangered.” Northern Paiute, also known as Paviotso, belongs to the Uto-Aztecan family of languages, once spoken by dozens of tribes from southern Mexico to Oregon.

Today, there are only three surviving native Paviotso speakers, all of whom live in Bridgeport, California, on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Maziar Toosarvandani, a linguist from University of California, Santa Cruz, is working with these last speakers — two of them in their 90s — to build an online dictionary and a compendium of tribal stories. 

Such efforts have proven invaluable. Toosarvandani points to the case of the Oklahoma-based Miami Tribe, where a scholar reconstructed the phonetics and grammar of this dormant language using 200 years of anthropological records. Today, the language is being taught to local schoolchildren through the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. “There are examples of languages that have been extremely endangered or dormant, and that have been revitalized,” Toosarvandani said. “It’s possible. But you’ve got to have the documents to do it.”

A student copies Lakota words during a class at the Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Brian Leddy
The Endangered Languages Project, an ambitious partnership between Google and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, not only collects troves of information about the world’s threatened languages but plots them on an interactive online map.

These initiatives will not preserve threatened tongues. The hope, however, remains that linguistic information can be saved in a sort of time capsule, awaiting future rebirth.

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Child’s Second Language: Advantage, Distraction?

Child’s Second Language: Advantage, Distraction? | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
You decide to teach your child one or two foreign languages and one day you find him coming over to you, shouting “Mummy! Awez miel on my yogurt!”(I want honey on my yogurt; mixing Arabic, French and English).

You panic and think to yourself, “What have I done!”  Well, don’t take it all too seriously, because it could turn out that you have done them one of the greatest favors in their entire life.

How Many Languages Can a Child Use at the Same Time?

It is easy to imagine that your child’s brain is an empty vessel which is ready to take in whatever it comes across. And so when it comes to language acquisition, there is not a certain limit to your child’s learning capacity.

In Singapore, many children go to school at age three, already speaking three languages because switching between two or three languages in daily life is the norm for Singaporean community. Many of these children are also still required to learn more languages at school.

Beth Walton writes in USA TODAY, “when children start learning languages at birth, they have the capacity to learn many languages at once without getting confused — because, as the brain develops, so does the ability to separate one language from another.” (“More Children Learn More than One Language”).

The phrase “learning language at birth” might feel like an insult to the readers’ intelligence, because it is common knowledge that you start learning foreign languages at elementary school, maybe even later.

However, what you are about to read next might take you by surprise.

When is Your Child Ready to Learn a New Language?

Well let’s first acknowledge that exposing an early teen to a foreign language won’t enable them to speak the language exactly like a native speaker in the vast majority of cases.

Linguists as well as a body of research have supported a February 1996 Newsweek article’s claim that "a child taught a second language after the age of ten or so is unlikely ever to speak it like a native."

This might not be entirely correct, because many of us have seen some exceptions to this rule.

Nevertheless, if you want to guarantee native speaker ability, it is advisable to start exposing your children to foreign languages as early in their lives as possible; as early as when all you think they can do is babble and coo!

Research has proven that a child is ready to learn a second language since their early months!

Studies have also proven that the earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language the greater the chances are that this child will master both his native and second languages. Of course, this mastery depends on whether the child is exposed to both or more languages simultaneously and on a regular basis. So how does that happen?

How Do Children Learn a Second Language?

Studies have shown that there are generally two main ways in which children may learn a second language: simultaneously or sequentially (McLaughlin et al., 1995; Tabors, 2008).

Linda C. Halgunseth, Coordinator of the Office of Applied Research at the National Association for the Education of Young Children in the United States says that children under the age of three who are exposed to two languages together are called Simultaneous learners. (“How Children Learn a Second Language”).

But in fact, whether your children start absorbing the language before the age of six months or after seems to be a crucial factor in their language preferences and acceptance at least during the first years.

Halgunseth says that before simultaneous learners reach their sixth month of age, they learn both languages in a similar manner and do not favor one over the other.

This means that babies are the best candidates to learn foreign languages and speak them like a native.

One research study shows that “4- and 6-month old infants can discriminate languages (English from French) just from viewing silently presented articulations” even if they are being raised in a monolingual household (Weikum et al., 2007).

Halgunseth adds that at six months of age, babies start to detect aural differences between languages and may possibly begin to prefer the language they are more exposed to. This is due to the fact that between 6 and 12 months, infants can actually "hear" the particular sounds of all languages spoken and that makes them better than adults at noticing the differences between the sounds of non-native languages. However, they lose this ability by the age of 12 months. (“Recognition of Sounds”).

As for Sequential learners, they include children who have already become familiar with a particular language and are then introduced to or taught a second language.

Sequential learners are the most common language learners in most environments as they could be of any age and as Halgunseth maintains their language learning process could be affected by the child’s character or motivation.

What About Confusion?

It is quite normal for a youngster to mix up and get a little confused when using different languages. But usually, children will come to know which is by ages two or three and everything naturally falls into place.

Generally, by the age of seven, children are able to handle languages to which they are regularly exposed and can speak them effortlessly (“Multiple Languages and Your Child’s Brain”).

Some parents may worry that a second language may interfere with their child’s first language ability. But, according to Kathleen Marcos of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics, learning a different language can boost a child’s first language ability. Structure and vocabulary of other languages can help a child learn more about their mother tongue (“Why, How and When Should My Child Learn a Second Language?”)

Also, parents whose mother tongue is different than that of the society they live in may worry about their children’s language abilities. They may face the issue of their child trying to cope with a society that speaks a different language. So instead of worrying, what should parents actually do to help their children manage and make use of the situation they are in?

How to Help Your Child Manage a Bilingual Situation?

First, you should obviously stop worrying. If your family speaks a minority language in a society, you may be looking into raising a bilingual child.

You might consider using the ‘one-parent-one-language’ method. But, unless your child has serious trouble communicating, this method is not the only means to your end.

Your best option is to speak your minority language to your child and let them learn the majority language straight from the society. (“Bilingual and Multilingual Children: A Different Perspective”). This way, you won’t have to worry about your child losing competency in any of the two languages.

More generally, according to many studies (Espinosa, 2008; Kuhl, 2004; Kuhl et al., 2006; Tabors, 2008), Halgunseth advises that parents must be careful to provide their babies before the age of six months with similar exposure to both languages; or else, children may start dropping words of the language they do not hear as much. She adds that “Dual language development requires the conscious effort, reinforcement, and support of parents, teachers, and family members.”

Let’s say you are trying to help your daughter master a second language she is learning at school. Jeff Ropelato from says that you cannot do it properly unless you are actively involved yourself.

Learning the language along with your child can help motivate her. Moreover, enriching the learning process with fun outings to music or dance festivals from countries that speak the target language and playing videos and TV programs is always a good idea (“When Should a Child Learn Another Language?”).

One study also shows that parents should make sure that their child’s language learning environment is a nurturing environment, be it school, kindergarten or home (Tabors, 2008).

What Are the Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language Anyway?

Well, if your child is being properly exposed to the target language they are learning, there are many benefits that may come out of that.

According to Marcos and François Thibauta pioneer in foreign languages for babies and children and author of Professor Toto, an award-winning home-based foreign-language curriculum for parents and children, some benefits are that children learning a second language do better on standardized tests, become better problem solvers and are more welcoming to diversity.

In addition, infants who are simultaneous language learners enjoy cognitive benefits such as having greater neural activity and denser brain tissue in the areas responsible for memory attention and language. (Bialystok 2001, Mechelli et al., 2004, Kovelman, Baker, and Petitto, 2006).

If you want your child to master one or two foreign languages, you should regularly expose them to the language as early as possible.

Learning a second language should come as naturally as learning their mother tongue. Even if you missed the opportunity of teaching your child a language before they are ten years old, not to worry; learning a second language is always a plus point at any age.

And always remember that your child may not be able to make it alone; your constant support is crucial to their dual language development and their ability to speak both languages like a pro!

USA Today
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