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XeroxVoice: How To Keep Your Brand From Being Lost in Translation

XeroxVoice: How To Keep Your Brand From Being Lost in Translation | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Done right, a centralized translation operation can help you improve customer intimacy in every language and dialect your customers use. And it can help your business grow.
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Metaglossia: The Translation World
News about translation, interpreting, intercultural communication, terminology and lexicography - as it happens
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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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Sending Emails Your Customers Want…In Another Language

Sending Emails Your Customers Want…In Another Language | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Creating emails that are brimming with compelling content and engaging visuals is essential to a successful email marketing campaign. But what happens when the person reading your emails can’t understand what you’re trying to say?

When you write emails using unicode characters (a character set that allows you to write foreign characters, symbols and emoticons), it becomes a whole lot easier to create messages that all of your customers and prospects can understand.

Taking the time to send emails in your subscribers’ native language(s) shows that you value your subscribers, which then gives them a reason to trust you more than ever before. And as it becomes possible for you to connect and clearly communicate with new audiences, you can continue growing your email list and developing long-lasting relationships with your customers.

Removing the Language Barrier
Have a target customer base that’s fluent in another language? Or do you have subscribers from all over the world? Not only does unicode allow you to communicate easily with your supporters, it also opens up the opportunity to create personalized experiences with your brand.

Here are three ways you can use unicode to better connect with your subscribers:

1. Send segmented messages.

If you have subscribers from various countries, you can make it easier for them to read your emails by sending targeted emails in their native language(s). When they can read your message with ease, it’ll create a more positive experience for your customers and prospects.

Removing language barriers between you and your subscribers also eliminates the possibility of miscommunication. Instead of leaving your subscribers to translate your message on their own, they’re able to understand your message immediately. And when your audience has a clear understanding of the value your products/services will bring to them, they’ll be in a better position to make a purchase.

Pro Tip: Add international keyboards (if you haven’t already) to your computer so you can easily create new email messages in different languages.
2. Personalize your emails.

It’s frustrating when you want to send a personalized email to your subscribers, only to discover that a character in their name isn’t supported and consequently, doesn’t display correctly. And if you can’t do this for every single subscriber, it becomes difficult to do it at all.

Fortunately, AWeber sign up forms use UTF-8 (the character encoding system that stores and displays unicode characters properly). So when one of your website visitors who has a symbol or accent in her name (or other personal information) signs up to receive your emails, it will be stored accurately in your email list.

With that information, you can send personalized emails with custom fields (such as “First Name”) with confidence.

Pro Tip: Add “First Name” custom fields to your subject lines and/or within your email messages to grab your subscribers’ attention and create a more individualized experience.
3. Attract the right audience.

Already know that your target audience primarily speaks a specific language? Emails that are written in your subscribers’ native language can be a huge selling point for garnering interest in your email list.

In addition to creating broadcasts and follow ups, you can also change the customizable sections of your confirmation message to a language your subscribers will easily understand.

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure what language your subscribers prefer, consider surveying them before making the change. This can reveal whether or not it’s better to send segmented emails with different languages instead.
A Note Before You Send
While most email clients support unicode (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook), not all do. As a result, the characters you use might not display properly for subscribers that use certain email services, such as AOL, so keep this in mind before sending emails with foreign characters.

You should consider testing your opens and click rates to determine the impact it has on the performance of your emails.

Finally, keep in mind that you can’t copy and paste foreign characters from an outside service like Microsoft Word. Your content must be created within the email to ensure language support.

Getting Started
Sending emails to subscribers in their native languages is a simple way to improve the communication between you and your customers and create a enjoyable brand experience.

If you have any questions about sending international emails, don’t hesitate to reach out to an AWeber email marketing expert.

Ready to start sending messages in other languages? Log in to your AWeber account or sign up for a free 30-day trial today!
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Gcina Mhlophe Shares Her Excitement About Mother Language Initiatives in South Africa (Podcast)

Gcina Mhlophe Shares Her Excitement About Mother Language Initiatives in South Africa (Podcast) | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Gcina Mhlophe, one of the icons featured in Adrian Steirn’s 21 Icons project and book, spoke to Otherwise on SAfm about International Mother Language Day.
Mhlophe says the importance of mother language is not to be underestimated and explains the effect of mastering their mother tongue first has on children:
“If they have got their mother tongue down, and they are able to communicate with a sense of confidence and a sense of their own identity and they no who they are. Then when they approach their next language, their approach is on top of something solid, like having a foundation.”
The storytelling activist says she is so chuffed with the fact that South Africans are slowly but surely starting to embrace the importance of mother languages and shares more on some of the various initiatives in this regard. She also points out where we are still lacking and calls on people to practice and promote their own mother languages so that children can better understand their value.
Listen to the podcast (the interview starts at 28:24):
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Reading the writing of others is probably a terrible idea

Reading the writing of others is probably a terrible idea | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
I see the way others’ prose flows onto a page and I’m swept away into their world by their eloquence as a writer.

Then I read my own writing and I cringe.

Why does everyone’s voice sound so much better, clearer than mine?

All of the writers I know have such beautiful voices with overwhelming command of the English language as a whole.

Not to mention notoriously clean copy.

Then we come back to my attempts to astonish and awe the world of the written, while normally falling flat on my prosaic face.

Where others possesses a poetic flare, my writing feels rigid.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think it in poetic terms.

Grandiose thoughts of master wordsmith genius don’t flow through my mind easily.

It is the universal problem of perfection in the head and mediocrity in the body.

Unfortunately for me, “mind over matter” is more of a lofty ideal than anything else.

It seems like most human beings are victims of great intellects and feeble flesh.

After making a really awkward statement, I always wish that I could show people how it sounded in my head.

I’m sure most of us feel that way.

If we could articulate ourselves directly from mind to mind, we could be quicker to communicate for better or for worse.

Things would certainly make more sense too, or at least most people would make more sense.

We could gain a better understanding of the hidden meanings and intentions behind the words instead of being caught in our own limited personal contexts of what those words mean.

But alas, the ability to communicate mind to mind is nothing but the dream/nightmare of science fiction authors.

So it is that we must learn to communicate on the crude symbolic terms that writing provides.

Instead, interpretation is the only means by which we can discern the thoughts of others.

Which is unfortunate for me, considering the fact that what exits my mind is often a childish-sounding, distorted mess displaying what feels like a mere fraction of the beauty within.

At least that’s how I perceive it from my limited perspective.

In fact, I’ve had many people compliment my writing ability. And each time I’m confused because they usually mention a piece of writing I rushed through or wasn’t satisfied with.

Very rarely does something I pour my whole heart and soul into get the praise it deserves.

In fact, after exhausting all my creative energy into something I think worthy of the Pulitzer Prize, I often find it is the thing people never seem to notice.

What others consider a person’s “best work” is not always the number one pick of that person.

Let’s talk for a minute about how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle hated the Sherlock Holmes character and was more invested in a character most people today hardly remember.

The interaction between author and reader is an endlessly fascinating discussion.

A discussion that deserves treatment in a literature class and not in a column expressing my self-pity.

I digress.

What I think this all comes down to is the idea that being a “good” writer may not be as important as simply finding joy in writing.

More often than not, “good” or even “great” writers don’t care as much about recognition as simply trying to improve themselves and to serve their audiences.

Some truly great writers don’t even remotely care about their audience, but in journalism that’s hard to do.

My ultimate goal is to make you feel something. To inspire you to better thought and action.

The trick is that I can only do that as me.

Only I am myself. As a result only I am capable of saying things in the way only I can.

To translate: Everyone is unique and has special individual insights to offer the world.

It’s embracing that fact, and then building on it through persistent self-improvement that someone becomes a “great” writer.

Ascending into adulthood, I find more and more that success isn’t measured in rapid output or mere quantity.

It is the quality of the work borne of an unwavering commitment to our purpose despite painful character-building experience that separates the “great” from the mediocre.

Character-building experiences that are built day by day, little by little, mistake after mistake until the day comes when you don’t feel any better about yourself, but those around you notice immense improvement.

It’s not the easy way, but I’ve learned the hard way that there is no easy way to self-improvement in pretty much every field.

So when it comes to writing, maybe I need more practice, patience and perseverance.

Or maybe I just need to develop mind-speech.

I wonder which is easier.

Right now the answer feels like mind-speech.

Caleb Despain is a reporter for the Standard Journal and can be reached at
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Avoid These 20 English Words When in Other Countries

Avoid These 20 English Words When in Other Countries | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
If you travel abroad frequently for work, or if you have an e-commerce store with customers from all over the world, it’s worth noting that there are a number of English words that, phonetically, don’t work in other countries and can lead to double entendre or unintended offence territory. Here are 20 of them to help you ensure that your communication isn’t lost in translation.

See also:  9 Words or Phrases Millennials Should Avoid Using in the Workplace

Preservative. Avoid asking about preservatives in France; you’ll probably be met with strange looks. It means ‘condom’ in France.

Pick. If you’re visiting Norway, don’t use the word ‘pick’. Your Norwegian colleague is unlikely to be impressed - it means ‘dick’ over there.

Fitter. Does your business specialise in fitness products? Be mindful that in Norway, the word ‘fitte’ refers to a woman’s genitals.

Peach. Going to Turkey? Avoid asking for a peach in the supermarket or anywhere else for that matter. It means ‘bastard’ in Turkish.

Gift. ‘Never look a gift horse in the mouth’, we’re told; perhaps more so in Germany where the word means ‘poison’.

Latte. In Germany, latte doesn’t mean the frothy, milky concoction you get from your local Starbucks. It means ‘erect penis’ in some German quarters.

Salsa. Out for a Mexican in Korea? It’s probably best not to ask for salsa: it means ‘diarrhoea’ in Korean.

Speed. Try not to talk about speed when in the company of others in Sweden. It means ‘fart’.

Bump.  If you’ve had the misfortune of a bump on your car, note that the word ‘bump’ in Swedish means ‘dump’.

Speed bump.  Put the above two words together and you have the phrase ‘speed bump’, which in Swedish means fart dump.

Kiss. If you ask your Swedish host or hostess for a kiss, they might very well direct you to the toilets. In Swedish, the word means ‘pee’.

Pay Day. If you’re in Portugal, refrain from singing with happiness that it’s ‘pay day’. No one will be impressed. In Portuguese it means “I farted”.

Exquisite. Extend a compliment to your Portuguese host by describing something belonging to them as ‘exquisite’ and you might be met with askance looks: ‘esquisito’ in Portuguese means ‘weird’.

Cookie. If you’re visiting Hungary, whether on business or for pleasure, avoid asking for a cookie. It means ‘small penis’ in Hungarian.

Jerry. It’s perhaps a little late for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but if you’re in Japan, avoid using the word – it means ‘diarrhoea’ over there.

Bra. Do you sell luxury underwear? Whilst you and I might initially understand the word to mean a garment that covers the breasts, if you’re in France your French colleagues might think you’re selling arms. Literally.

Tremendous. Refrain from boasting about the tremendous prices you offer your clients. In this country, ‘tremendo’ is the word for ‘terrible’.

Bill.  Asking for the bill might raise a few guffaws in the Netherlands: ‘bil’ means ‘buttocks’ there.

Lager. It might confuse your Dutch colleagues if you were to ask for a ‘lager’ when having a few drinks with them after work. Lager means ‘storage’ in Dutch.

Cool.  The word cool is too close for comfort to the Spanish word 'culo'; a crude term for 'bum'. Best avoided. 


See also: How to Take Advantage of Your Native Language Working in a Foreign Country

That some words can be misinterpreted not only has relevance for those who frequently go abroad on business,  but as Tictail point out, also for online businesses where ‘borderless’ transactions take place. So if you’ve often wondered why your “exquisite Madagascan chocolates” fly like hotcakes everywhere in the world except Brazil and Portugal, perhaps you now have the answer: weird, dodgy chocolates just won’t sell.

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Ancient European Samples Point to Steppe Herder Migration with Potential Language Implications

Ancient European Samples Point to Steppe Herder Migration with Potential Language Implications | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
By sequencing SNPs in 69 ancient individuals, researchers genetically re-created European population patterns stretching back thousands of years.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – An ancient DNA study published online today in Nature suggests that large-scale human migration by steppe herders from Eastern Europe may have introduced Indo-European languages to other parts of Europe through interactions with other groups across the continent.

Investigators from the US, Australia, and elsewhere used an enrichment approach known as in-solution hybridization — coupled with deep sequencing of nearly 395,000 targeted SNPs — to assess multiple libraries made using samples from 69 individuals who lived in Europe an estimated 3,000 to 8,000 years ago.

Together with available data for more than two-dozen previously sequenced 25 ancient individuals, polymorphisms patterns present in the newly sequenced samples offered a peek at past population movement and mixing in Europe. The samples spanned groups as diverse as hunter-gatherers present as far back as about 43,000-years-ago to farmers in the Early Neolithic and Middle Neolithic period, and individuals from the Late Neolithic, Late Copper, Bronze, and Iron Ages.

For instance, the team determined that early farmers — belonging to groups that were related to one another — made their way from the Mediterranean to Spain and on to Germany and Hungary roughly 7,000 to 8,000 years ago, taking on more local hunter-gatherer ancestry over the few thousand years that followed.

In Russia, meanwhile, they saw signs that hunter-gatherers shared ancestry with the 24,000 year old Mal'ta individual from Siberia sequenced in 2013.

"Against this background of differentiated European hunter-gatherers and homogeneous early farmers, multiple population turnovers transpired in all parts of Europe included in our study," senior author David Reich, a genetics researcher affiliated with Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute, and colleagues wrote.

In particular, their results suggest that the Eastern hunter-gather group appears to have mixed with populations from the Near East/Caucusus to form the so-called Yamnaya steppe herder population.

The steppe herder group, in turn, seems to have come into contact with populations in Western Europe around 4,500 years ago: ancient individuals from the Corded Ware culture in Central Europe had close genetic ties to the Yamnaya, though the steppe ancestry was absent in samples from Early or Middle Neolithic farmers.

The influence of that migration and ancestry seems to have been pronounced, long lasting, and entwined with the spread of Indo-European language, the team noted.

The Yamnaya steppe ancestry "persisted in all sampled central Europeans until at least [around] 3,000 years ago, and is ubiquitous in present-day Europeans," the study's authors wrote. "These results provide support for a steppe origin of at least some of the Indo-European languages of Europe."

"[T]he location of the proto-Indo-European homeland that … gave rise to the Indo-European languages of Asia, as well as the Indo-European languages of southeastern Europe, cannot be determined from the data reported here," they cautioned. "Studying the mixture of the Yamnaya themselves, and understanding the genetic relationships among a broader set of ancient and present-day Indo-European speakers, may lead to new insight about the shared homeland."

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Research links creativity with inability to filter irrelevant sensory information

Research links creativity with inability to filter irrelevant sensory information | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
The literary great Marcel Proust wore ear-stoppers because he was unable to filter out irrelevant noise—and lined his bedroom with cork to attenuate sound.

Now new Northwestern University research suggests why the inability to shut out competing sensory information while focusing on the creative project at hand might have been so acute for geniuses such as Proust, Franz Kafka, Charles Darwin, Anton Chekhov and many others.
The Northwestern research provides the first physiological evidence that real-world creativity may be associated with a reduced ability to filter "irrelevant" sensory information.
The research suggests that some people are more affected by the daily bombardment of sensory information—or have "leakier" sensory filters.
"Leaky" sensory gating, the propensity to filter out "irrelevant" sensory information, happens early, and involuntarily, in brain processing and may help people integrate ideas that are outside of the focus of attention, leading to creativity in the real world, said Darya Zabelina, lead author of the study, calling the finding "impressive."
The researchers investigated specific neural markers of a very early form of attention, namely sensory gating, indexed by P50 ERP, the neurophysiological response that occurs 50 ms (milliseconds) after stimulus onset, and how it relates to two measures of creativity: divergent thinking and real-world creative achievement. 
In the study, approximately 100 participants reported their achievements in creative domains via Creative Achievement Questionnaire, as well as performed a test of divergent thinking, generally considered to be a laboratory test of creative cognition. On this test participants were asked to provide as many answers as they could to several unlikely scenarios, within a limited amount of time. The number and the novelty of participants' responses comprised the divergent thinking score. As a result, the researchers had two different measures of creativity: a number of peoples' real-world creative achievements and a laboratory measure of divergent thinking.
Divergent thinking tests are timed laboratory measures of creative cognition, in which participants produce numerous responses within a limited time. In the study, divergent thinking correlated with academic test scores and selective sensory gating—an increased ability to filter compared to lower divergent thinkers. 
In direct contrast, real-world creative achievement was associated with leaky sensory processing—or a reduced ability to screen or inhibit stimuli from conscious awareness. This shows that these creativity measures are sensitive to different forms of sensory gating. Divergent thinking does contribute to creativity, but appears to be separate from the process of creative thinking that is associated with the leaky sensory filter.
The study suggests that creative people with "leaky" sensory gating may have a propensity to deploy attention over a wider focus or a larger range of stimuli. 
"If funneled in the right direction, these sensitivities can make life more rich and meaningful, giving experiences more subtlety," said Zabelina, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at Northwestern.
But the downsides to such sensory distraction have been well noted by some of the world's most creative thinkers.  
One of the most influential novelists of the 20th century, Kafka once said, "I need solitude for my writing; not 'like a hermit'—that wouldn't be enough—but like a dead man." Darwin, Chekhov and Johan Goethe also strongly lamented the distracting nature of noise.
The study cannot yet determine whether reduced sensory gating is a stable trait, or if creative achievers can modulate their sensory processing depending on task demands.
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Bombshell from UNESCO International Mother Tongue Day: ‘Igbo in Diaspora are keener on reviving their language than the ones at home’

Bombshell from UNESCO International Mother Tongue Day: ‘Igbo in Diaspora are keener on reviving their language than the ones at home’ 0

That was the keen observation of William Eleje-Abili, an authoritative researcher in Igbo language whose Mkpanaka Okowa-Okwu Igbo (A Handbook of Igbo Glossary): The English-Igbo Dictionary, published by University of Lagos Press and Bookshop Ltd, is making waves in many Igbo quarters.

“You will be surprised that those that live outside the Igbo states treasure the Igbo language more than those that live inside,” Eleje-Abili said, in a chat with Education Review during the recent marking of UNESCO International Mother Tongue Day, on Saturday, February 21. “I have a friend in Canada. He said he is paying an Igbo teacher to teach his children because the farther away you move from your people, the more concerned you are in your ability to tell your children where you come from so that they don’t get lost. But you see people in Igbo villages speaking English as something trendy while they see Igbo-speaking as something primordial, something that doesn’t show you as somebody that is sophisticated. So these notions must be addressed. A lot of people don’t know that language and people are coterminous. Hausa is not just a people; it is a linguistic group. Even in the Bible, especially in the Book of Daniel, you will see the Bible saying, ‘every people, nations and tongues.’ So, language is an attribute of statehood or nationhood. If you remove language from peoplehood, there is nothing left.”

Eleje-Abili, a graduate of Geography from University of Jos, a Master degree holder in International Law and Diplomacy, from University of Lagos, besides some courses he did in Warsaw, Poland, said that the idea to write the book came to him in 2012 at the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, when one of the speakers, at a launch of his book, mentioned that UNESCO has said that Igbo language will become extinct by 2025. That made him to begin to think of what to do to stem what he perceived to be an ominous cloud of extinction gathering fast on Igbo language.

“That was my primary motive of writing this book, to rescue the dying Igbo language because, over the years, many lexicons have gotten extinct from Igbo language as a result of disuse. By its nature, Igbo language mixes fluidly with English Language so people don’t pause to reflect on what they are saying. If you listen to Igbo people talking, 60 per cent of what they are saying is in English. And Igbo people are not proud to speak their language. If you are talking with a Yoruba man and another Yoruba man comes in, without being conscious of it, they switch over to Yoruba language. But if you enter an office and see an Igbo man and say, Ndeewo, (Hi/Well done), sir, he would reply, ‘Good morning. What can I do for you?’ But if you speak Yoruba to a Yoruba man, he would immediately feel at home. He would respond in Yoruba and you would begin to talk. So, these are some of the factors that have contributed to Igbo language attrition and atrophy. It is gradually resulting in the extinction of the language. And, if we lose our language, we will lose our identity as a people; we will lose our culture, our civilization and we will lose our history. Being a civil servant, I was doing this as a hobby but when I came across that piece of information, I decided to make it a more coordinated and passionate work.”

The book that contains 3,500 translated English words (done that way, he said, because ‘we are already used to speaking English, it is easy to find what you are looking for. If we do it Igbo-English when many Igbos don’t even know how to speak Igbo somebody would not know what to look for’), plus supplementary encyclopaedic information, has received good commendations from well-meaning individuals and bodies such as Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), the think tank of Nigerian education, established in 1988, to among other briefs, identify “language problems for the purpose of carrying out research into such problems and finding solutions thereto.”

“This is a star-book, a collector’s item,” Barr. Debe Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the first son of the late Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, wrote as part of the book’s blurb. “William Eleje-Abili in this revolutionary work captured the meaning of English words in precise Igbo terms….the work is reader-friendly,” Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, the immediate past President/Chief Executive Officer of Neimeth International Pharmaceutical Plc, added.

“On behalf of OHANAZE NDIGBO, I commend you for this thoughtful project,” Gary Enwo-Igariwey, President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, noted in his own remarks. “You can count on our support.” “I commend you for your wonderful book,” Dr. Frances Ngozi Chukwukere, Director-General, Igbo Language Development Centre, Owerri, said. “Your dedication to increasing the database of Igbo language development is showcased in this work.” “Having read through your work, I am delighted that it will equally assist to make Igbo language to be on the same pedestal with English and other world-acclaimed languages,” Prof. Chigozie B. Nnabuihe, Senior Lecturer in Igbo Studies, researcher, translator and consultant, at University of Lagos, remarked.

Good words. But Eleje-Abili believes that if he is supported financially, by way of research grants from big-time telecommunication players like GLO, MTN, ETISALAT or international donor agencies and Igbo states governments, he could turn the work into an audio-visual product, so that interested Igbo language learners can listen, not only to the sound of the words, but also watch actions performed with them “With proper funding, I can do it,” he told Education Review. “So, I need funding. I need relevant agencies to come and help me.” He has already taken it to the Test Development department of West African Examinations Council (WAEC), to see if they can include it in their school prospectus for WASCCE and GCE and to some Igbo states like Ebonyi and Imo. They verbally recommended it for teaching Igbo in junior and senior secondary schools. “So, the book now can scale through on its face-value.”
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Aussie scientists closer to unravelliing language mysteries

Aussie scientists closer to unravelliing language mysteries | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Australian scientists have slipped another piece into the puzzle about human language development, and it suggests that some three billion of us may have more in common than we think.

By Karen Ashford
3 MAR 2015 - 8:28 PM  UPDATED YESTERDAY 11:11 PM
(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

Australian scientists have slipped another piece into the puzzle about human language development, and it suggests that some three billion of us may have more in common than we think.

Analysis of ancient DNA has shed light on migration patterns, helping researchers trace the origins of some of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

Karen Ashford has the story.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

The Indo-European family of languages is complex and extensive.

But precisely how such different sounding languages as English, Spanish and Hindi came to be related has been a point of contention since the 1800s.

Now, Dr Wolfgang Haak from the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA at Adelaide University thinks he and his team may have uncovered a clue - the start of the agricultural era.

"Languages spread easier with a substantial number of people carrying it. Linguists have always argued that the best candidate for the spread of an early Indo-European language must have been based on a substantial population movement. If we look back in the past then there used to be only one predominate candidate that stood out that could not be ignored and that was the expansion of farmers. So people formed the farming language dispersal hypothesis."

Dr Haak specialises in unravelling the oldest secrets of the fundamental human building blocks, DNA, with a particular focus on central Europe.

So, what's a geneticist able to tell us about the origins of how we speak?

After all, language is learned, not genetically imprinted.

Dr Haak thinks by studying genetic sources, he can map population movements and likely language spread.

He's exploring his theory by testing the bones of old farmers, who muscled in on traditional hunter gatherers and had a profound impact on genetic makeup across Europe.

"Expanding farmer communities from the new areas that arrive in Europe around 7,500 years ago and when I say Europe I mean central Europe, where we have a different type of ancestry, a different signal coming in that is unique across all farmers whether we look in Spain or in Germany or Hungary or even in Scandinavia, they all look very similar, which tells us they must have come from a similar geographic origin. If there's a signal strong enough then it is very likely that it must have carried a common language was well."

But he says the big news that's just been published in the prestigious journal Nature is the discovery of a second major movement of people on the verge of the early Bronze Age, about 3,000 years after that first wave.

He thinks this discovery has brought scientists a step closer to pinpointing the very genesis of modern language, and the answer appears to go back to a step of a different kind -- the Russian steppes.

"We see a very strong signal coming from the Eurasian steppes. Genes will always be silent on the type of language that people in the past spoke, but what we see and how we can contribute is that we see particular population turnovers. In our case the second one towards the late Neolithic at the verge of the Bronze Age was unexpectedly big, so we're seeing an influx from the steppe up to three quarters of the ancestry of central Europeans 5,000 years ago comes from the steppe and that is a massive proportion that makes it very likely that it was not only the genes that came from the east, but probably language as well."

Dr Haak says the theory is further supported by common elements in vocabularies, such as similar terms for inventions that were critical to farming like the wheel, the cart, and the domestication of horses.

"It is only plausible to assume that once they share a certain economy, certain markets, social stratification or a social system, then it is only reasonable to assume that it would have had originally the same language before they split up into smaller regions."

It's a theory Dr Haak thinks should give people pause for thought before they criticise on the basis of race or go to war over territory - maybe we're more closely related than we think.

"Why is it relevant? We have three billion speakers in the world speaking one of the 445 languages or dialects that can be summarised under Indo-European. English is one of these, but that also comprises a lot of Hindu Urdu speakers in India, for example. Persian is Indo European, and all the Romance languages - maybe it can all be traced back to a number of mobile steppe cattle herders 5,000 years ago. The nicest feature at the moment, in the current political atmosphere that we see in Europe in particular, is that we are all a nice blend of everything. The genetic makeup was set a long time ago and came from different areas of the world. So, we are all more or less immigrants. And that's for me the most important story - no one can put a claim on any particular country or any particular area - this is all a mixed up mess."

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Barberá se defiende: 'La palabra 'caloret' existe en el diccionario'

Barberá se defiende: 'La palabra 'caloret' existe en el diccionario' | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Barberá se defiende: 'La palabra 'caloret' existe en el diccionario'
La alcaldesa de Valencia asegura que alguien 'se ha pasado de listo' con las críticas por su valenciano

Considera que la polémica es 'exagerada y desproporcionada' pero dice que los valencianos en Fallas 'son socarrones'

EUROPA PRESSValencia Actualizado: 03/03/2015 18:46 horas
La alcaldesa de Valencia, Rita Barberá, ha defendido este martes que la palabra 'caloret' que usó durante su intervención en la Crida, con la que arrancan los actos falleros, existe y ha instado a acudir a diccionarios y algunos textos legales para verlo. Asimismo, ha considerado "exagerada y desproporcionada" la polémica surgida tras su discurso.

"'Caloret' existe. La palabra es que existe. Si vais al diccionario y determinados textos legales 'caloret' existe. Así que no sé también quién se ha pasado de listo", ha indicado la primera edil respecto al uso que hizo de este término.

La responsable municipal se ha referido a este asunto tras visitar la remodelación del Polideportivo de La Rambleta, preguntada por la opinión que le merece que alguien haya registrado la marca 'caloret'. "No tengo ni idea del tema ése. Alguien me dice por ahí que los derechos los tengo yo y ése es un tema del que si se ocupa alguien se ocupará mi familia. Yo no me ocupo de nada de eso", ha expuesto.

Así, Rita Barberá ha agregado que no tiene "ni idea" de ese asunto y ha pedido que no se le haga "ningún caso" porque no ha entrado en ese debate. "No me hagan ningún caso en el tema ese porque no hemos entrado a debatir el tema ése", ha aseverado.

Por otro lado, respecto a la polémica abierta por el uso de 'caloret' ha declarado que le parece "exagerada y desproporcionada". No obstante, ha señalado que "es evidente es que en fallas los valencianos son así, socarrones" y que "le sacamos punta a todo"
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Eleccions despartamentalas e occitan : Gèrs

Eleccions despartamentalas e occitan : Gèrs | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Les assemblées départementales et l’occitan : le Gers.

Hôtel du département 81 route de Pessan BP 20569 32022 Auch Cedex 9
Le cadre :

Budget  : 58 500 € (dont 40 000 € d’aides aux associations)

Il existe aussi des actions transversales spécifiques.

Une chargée de mission : Marie-Françoise Rivail

Onglet : Culture et Langue occitane dans la section Culture et Patrimoine

Les actions principales :

- actions en faveur du bilinguisme précoce : conception d’outils (lexique-imagier, film-documentaire, kamishibais en occitan, réalisation d’un 2ème CD de chants et comptines) et constitution de 10 mallettes pédagogiques …

 – initiation dans les écoles primaires du département, sur la base d’un cofinancement à parité entre le Conseil général et la commune ou communauté de communes concernée.

- développement de l’usage de la langue maternelle dans la relation d’aide à la personne en direction des résidents en maison de retraite, personnes âgées à domicile, malades d’Alzheimer : réflexion sur un programme d’action suite à plusieurs actions expérimentales dans les domaines de l’animation et de la formation du personnel soignant.

-réalisation d’une semaine d’animations : « l’occitan lenga de uei » à l’occasion de la Journée Européenne des Langues.

- élaboration et diffusion d’un dépliant comportant une carte du département avec les noms de communes en occitan, ainsi que diverses notions de toponymie. La commission Toponymie intervient auprès des communes et communautés de communes, en matière d’aide à la traduction de noms de lieux-dits, de rues, de monuments en occitan, de botanique, etc.

 En chantier :

mise en œuvre d’un projet européen Erasmus axé sur l’éducation des jeunes aux langues régionales.

Ce projet, dénommé GO TO the FUTURE (Gaelic Occitan TOgether For language Users Through United Roots and Experiences), a été élaboré en partenariat avec le collège François de Belleforest de Samatan et l’Association pour la Culture Populaire en Pays Gascon. Il a pour objectif de partager avec d’autres pays européens des expériences sur le plan éducatif et d’échanger sur des stratégies de sauvegarde et de valorisation des patrimoines linguistique et culturel. Le choix a été fait de travailler sur deux langues inscrites dans des aires géographiques distinctes et héritières d’origines linguistiques différentes : l’occitan et le gaélique. Les pays partenaires sont l’Ecosse et l’Irlande.

Le projet, dont la mise en œuvre est programmée sur 3 années, a obtenu un accord de financement de l’Union Européenne à hauteur de 260 565 €, qui seront répartis entre les 7 structures partenaires des 3 pays participants.

Lo Benaset avec l’aide de Vicenta Sanchez

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Langue arabe: La réforme qui s’impose Par Abdelali BENAMOUR -

Langue arabe: La réforme qui s’impose Par Abdelali BENAMOUR - | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Abdelali BENAMOUR,Professeur des universités
LE statut de la langue arabe est une question vitale dans la panoplie des réformes indispensables du système éducatif, réformes qui, au-delà de cette question fondamentale, concernent les valeurs de base, les choix pédagogiques liés à la qualité, l’orientation-sélection, l’encadrement, l’organisation et le financement.
En fait la question de la langue est déterminante parce qu’elle sous-entend non seulement l’identité et la culture profonde du Marocain, mais également le moyen privilégié d’enseignement, de communication et de travail.
Partons donc de cette vision et objectifs par rapport à la langue arabe. Evidemment j’entends par là la langue arabe classique qui est en vigueur officiellement au Maroc. Tout serait bien, si justement, toutes ces dimensions ne soulevaient pas beaucoup de questionnements. En effet, l’arabe comme seule valeur identitaire et culturelle est une orientation remise en cause par nos compatriotes amazighs qui réclament à juste titre le même statut pour la langue amazigh. Rappelons que la Constitution leur a donné raison. De même, une certaine tendance minoritaire déclare que c’est l’arabe parlé qui constitue réellement, en tant que langue maternelle, la véritable langue identitaire  du Marocain et devrait, à ce titre, devenir notre langue d’enseignement, de communication et de travail. Par, ailleurs, beaucoup de linguistes considèrent qu’en tout état de cause, l’arabe classique pose des problèmes ayant trait à son positionnement comme langue vivante, et ce par rapport à son indispensable simplification, son ouverture sur les sciences, les apports des langues parlées (darija et amazigh) et des langues étrangères. A toutes ces visions, la réponse des inconditionnels d’une langue arabe classique pure et généralisée, rétorquent que l’histoire démontre que l’arabe classique a pendant de longues siècles constitué une langue de sciences et d’ouverture et que si on peut admettre la langue amazigh comme seconde langue d’identité et de culture et une certaine ouverture sur son apprentissage ainsi que sur l’apprentissage des langues étrangères, une place centrale doit être réservée à la langue arabe classique sans la travestir  alors qu’elle est la langue du Coran.
Nous  voilà donc avec trois débats majeurs. Le premier oppose les positions orthodoxes favorables à l’arabe classique et celles, un peu fantaisistes, il faut le reconnaître,  qui veulent instaurer la primauté  de l’arabe parlé ; nous avons par ailleurs les thèses divergentes  concernant la place des langues étrangères et enfin les débats concernant les positionnements respectifs des langues arabe et amazigh.
Je voudrais exprimer mon avis par rapport à ces problématiques et je commence le débat par « langue arabe classique-darija ». A ce propos, je voudrais partir personnellement d’un axiome qui me semble évident pour un pays de culture  fondamentalement arabo-musulmane même si l’identité amazigh fait partie de nous-mêmes et que les cultures andalouses et africaines nous imprégnèrent fortement : c’est que la langue arabe classique rénovée doit devenir notre langue d’identité, d’enseignement, de communication et de travail; je parle bien de « langue rénovée » et de « langue en devenir », ce qui signifie que pour atteindre ce résultat, il faut l’enrichir, la simplifier et assurer son ouverture sur les apports de la science, des langues parlées (darija et amazigh) et des langues étrangères. Ceci implique la mise en œuvre d’une académie des langues qui réfléchit sur ces questions en relation peut-être avec une instance équivalente à mettre sur pied au niveau du monde arabe. Autrement dit, il s’agit de développer la langue arabe comme on le fait pour toutes les langues vivantes. Partant de cette vision des choses, nous constatons qu’autant l’option pour la « darija » est une vision hasardeuse aussi bien en termes linguistiques qu’identitaires, autant la langue arabe classique a besoin « d’être imprégnée» positionnement par nos langues parlées.
Concernant la question de la langue amazigh, je pense qu’on doit être réaliste et lever un certain nombre de confusions. Précisons d’abord que la constitution est claire et qu’elle met en évidence la culture amazigh et accorde le statut de langue officielle à l’amazigh après la langue arabe. Je pense que la Constitution est allée dans le sens historique des choses dans la mesure où bien qu’ethniquement, il n’y a ni arabe de pure souche ni amazigh de pure ascendance en raison des multiples métissages, il y a à coté de la culture arabo-musulmane qui constitue la toile de fond de notre société, une culture amazigh réelle, mais assez mal valorisée alors qu’elle peut apporter beaucoup de choses à la Communauté ; il suffit par exemple de se promener dans un souk à prédominance amazigh comme je l’ai fait dernièrement à Ifrane, pour prendre conscience de ce que représentent les classes populaires et moyennes dans cette région comme modèle de comportement civique et pacifique. Ceci dit, un certain nombre de remarques s’imposent ; en premier lieu, force est de constater que dans le vécu réel des gens, la langue arabe s’impose ; en second lieu, et en toute sincérité, je pense que nous avons au Maroc trois langues amazigh « tamazight », « tachalhit » et « tarifit » ; de ce fait, vouloir en faire une langue unifiée est à mon avis une erreur dans la mesure où nous sommes en train de créer une langue classique « amazigh » éloignée des langues maternelles parlées et tombe dans le même écueil qu’on vit au niveau de la distanciation entre arabe dialectal et arabe classique; de ce fait, je pense qu’il vaut mieux préserver les trois langues d’identité et de culture et recourir par ailleurs à l’alphabet arabe au lieu du « tifinakh » pour des considérations de proximité culturelle, mais également par pragmatisme. Il m’est en fait difficile de comprendre que de grands pays comme l’Iran, le Pakistan, l’Afghanistan et bien d’autres utilisent l’alphabet arabe alors que chez nous, pays de culture arabo-amazigh, on a introduit le tifinakh.
Nous arrivons enfin à la troisième problématique ayant trait à la question de la langue. En effet,  au-delà de la question des langues nationales, il importe de s’ouvrir sur les langues étrangères en tant que langues de fonctionnalité ; mais comme une langue s’apprend mieux en étant une langue d’enseignement au lieu d’être uniquement une langue enseignée, il serait judicieux d’adopter une certaine dose de bilinguisme « arabe-anglais », « arabe-français, et « arabe-espagnol »et introduire les langues non choisies dans le bilinguisme comme troisième et quatrième langue à enseigner ; cette multiplicité de bilinguisme assure plus d’ouverture mais également un rôle central à la langue arabe. De plus, on devrait laisser la dynamique sociale jouer en faveur de telle ou telle langue préférée comme deuxième choix après la langue arabe. Dés lors, dans un système organisationnel décentralisé, on pourrait laisser le choix aux différentes institutions le bilinguisme à adopter.
En conclusion, il me semble que cette vision des choses concilie la primauté à accorder à la langue arabe classique rénovée avec l’ouverture identitaire sur les langues amazighes et la fonctionnalité pragmatique des langues étrangères.
Les pistes de la Charte
Une autre remarque a trait à la manière de passer à la mise en œuvre de la langue amazigh comme langue officielle ; soyons pragmatique ; je pense que la Charte Nationale pour l’Education et la Formation a quelque part suggéré quelques voies de solution en préconisant de réserver une part appréciable des programmes de l’enseignement scolaire au choix des régions. Ceci est d’autant plus important que le Maroc est en train de réfléchir sur une réforme régionale profonde. On doit donc méditer sur cette ouverture et l’amplifier pour introduire et développer intelligemment et nécessairement les langues « amazigh », et pas seulement dans les régions à prédominance amazigh ; de plus, on peut faire beaucoup de choses au niveau de l’Université pour développer notre culture amazigh. Quant à la problématique de la communication, il faut être réaliste; c’est avec le temps et la pratique que les choses se régleront dans le sens où va la dynamique sociale. Celle-ci est souvent plus importante que le droit lui-même.
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Facebook invents an intelligence test for machines - tech - 03 March 2015 - New Scientist

Facebook invents an intelligence test for machines - tech - 03 March 2015 - New Scientist | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
John is in the playground. Bob is in the office. Where is John? If you know the answer, you're either a human, or software taking its first steps towards full artificial intelligence. Researchers at Facebook's AI lab in New York say an exam of simple questions like this could help in designing machines that think like people.

Computing pioneer Alan Turing famously set his own test for AI, in which a human tries to sort other humans from machines by conversing with both. However, this approach has a downside.

"The Turing test requires us to teach the machine skills that are not actually useful for us," says Matthew Richardson, an AI researcher at Microsoft. For example, to pass the test an AI must learn to lie about its true nature and pretend not to know facts a human wouldn't.

These skills are no use to Facebook, which is looking for more sophisticated ways to filter your news feed. "People have a limited amount of time to spend on Facebook, so we have to curate that somehow," says Yann LeCun, Facebook's director of AI research. "For that you need to understand content and you need to understand people."

AI plays 20 questions

In the longer term, Facebook also wants to create a digital assistant that can handle a real dialogue with humans, unlike the scripted conversations possible with the likes of Apple's Siri.

Similar goals are driving AI researchers everywhere to develop more comprehensive exams to challenge their machines. Facebook itself has created 20 tasks, which get progressively harder – the example at the top of this article is of the easiest type. The team says any potential AI must pass all of them if it is ever to develop true intelligence.

Each task involves short descriptions followed by some questions, a bit like a reading comprehension quiz. Harder examples include figuring out whether one object could fit inside another, or why a person might act a certain way. "We wanted tasks that any human who can read can answer," says Facebook's Jason Weston, who led the research.

Having a range of questions challenges the AI in different ways, meaning systems that have a single strength fall short.

The Facebook team used its exam to test a number of learning algorithms, and found that none managed full marks. The best performance was by a variant of a neural network with access to an external memory, an approach that Google's AI subsidiary DeepMind is also investigating. But even this fell down on tasks like counting objects in a question or spatial reasoning.

Richardson has also developed a test of AI reading comprehension, called MCTest. But the questions in MCTest are written by hand, whereas Facebook's are automatically generated.

The details for Facebook's tasks are plucked from a simulation of a simple world, a little like an old-school text adventure, where characters move around and pick up objects. Weston says this is key to keeping questions fresh for repeated testing and learning.

But such testing has its problems, says Peter Clark of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle, because the AI doesn't need to understand what real-world objects the words relate to. "You can substitute a dummy word like 'foobar' for 'cake' and still be able to answer the question," he says. His own approach, Aristo, attempts to quiz AI with questions taken from school science exams.

Whatever the best approach, it's clear that tech companies like Facebook and Microsoft are betting big on human-level AI. Should we be worried? Recently the likes of Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and even Bill Gates have warned that AI researchers must tread carefully.

LeCun acknowledges people's fears, but says that the research is still at an early stage, and is conducted in the open. "All machines are still very dumb and we are still very much in control," he says. "It's not like some company is going to come out with the solution to AI all of a sudden and we're going to have super-intelligent machines running around the internet."

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Ocky, mugachino and youngie make the dictionary

Ocky, mugachino and youngie make the dictionary | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
YOU probably won't hear the Queen using them, but "ocky", "plonko", "lamington drive" and "mugachino" have the Oxford Dictionary's tick of approval.

They are just a few of the 500 new entries added to the largest ever quarterly update of Australian English in Oxford Dictionaries' free online dictionary.

The update was part of a collaborative project with the Australian National Dictionary Centre to increase the dictionary's online coverage.

Oxford Dictionaries editorial director Judy Pearsall said English was a "truly global language, with many different varieties and nuances based on the local culture and life". "Australian English has an amazingly rich seam of vocabulary, and in this latest update we have boosted the coverage by adding more than 500 Australianisms, with words from subjects as wide-ranging as business and education, sport and leisure, farming, food and drink, the weather, and the landscape,'' Ms Pearsall said.

The additions prove Australians and New Zealanders use more abbreviations and diminutive words than any other English speakers.

New entries for words with an -ie or -y suffix include littley (a young child), mushie (a mushroom), ocky (an octopus), saltie (a saltwater crocodile), scratchie (a scratch card), shornie (a newly shorn sheep), trammie (a tram driver or conductor), wettie (a wetsuit), and youngie (a young person).

The -o suffix also appears frequently, in words such as milko (a milkman), Nasho (a person undergoing compulsory military training under the National Service Act), plonko (an alcoholic), and sarvo (this afternoon).

Associate Professor in Creative Writing Dr Gary Crew said language had always been "an evolutionary tool".

"We change as we need it, we no longer use though and thus anymore as in the King James version of the Bible."

The word Dr Crew would like to see incorporated into the dictionary is "worser".

"There should be a word that says that is worser than that," he said.

New words heard at the university include "prolly" for probably.

"It's kind of cute," Dr Crew said.

But one new word that "worries" him and puts his teeth on edge is "congradulate", with many choosing to replace the "t" with a "d".

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Google team proposes way to rank search results by their accuracy

Google team proposes way to rank search results by their accuracy | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
The internet, we know all too well, is a cesspool of rumour and chicanery.

But in a research paper published by Google in February - and reported over the weekend by New Scientist - that could, at least hypothetically, change. A team of computer scientists at Google has proposed a way to rank search results not by how popular web pages are, but by their factual accuracy.

To be really clear, this is 100 per cent theoretical: It's a research paper, not a product announcement. Still, the possibility that a search engine could effectively evaluate truth, traditionally an exclusively human domain, promises a fundamental change.

It's not too difficult for computers to determine whether a given statement is true or false. To evaluate a stated fact, you only need two things: the fact and a reference work to compare it to. Google already has the beginnings of that reference work, in the form of its Knowledge Graph - the thing that displays "August 15, 1990" when you search "Jennifer Lawrence birthday", or "American" when you search "Obama nationality".

Google culls those details largely from services such as Freebase, Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook; a separate, internal research database, called Knowledge Vault, can also automatically extract facts from the text on web pages.

Whichever database is used, Google structures these facts as "knowledge triples": subject, relationship, attribute. For instance: Jennifer Lawrence, birthday, August 15 1990.

To check if a fact is accurate, all Google has to do is reference it against the knowledge triples in its giant internal database, and to check whether a website is accurate, Google would just look at all the site's knowledge triples and see how many don't agree with its established body of facts.

The distant suggestion, these researchers write, is that Google's version of the truth would iterate over time. At some point, perhaps even Google's hotly debated and much-studied ranking algorithm could begin including accuracy among the factors it uses to choose the search results you see.

That could be a major event: In one trial with a random sampling of pages, researchers found that only 20 of 85 factually correct sites were ranked highly under Google's current scheme. A switch could, theoretically, put better and more reliable information in the path of the millions of people who use Google.

In that regard, it could have implications not only for search engine optimisation - but for civil society and media literacy.

It's worth noting that the Barack Obama nationality example comes straight from the Google report, which would seem to imply that the technology's creators envision it as a tool against stubborn misconceptions and conspiracy theories.

"How do you correct people's misconceptions?" Matt Stempeck, the guy behind LazyTruth, asked New Scientist recently. "People get very defensive. (But) if they're searching for the answer on Google they might be in a much more receptive state."

Just three weeks ago, Google began displaying physician-vetted health information directly in search results, consulting with the Mayo Clinic "for accuracy".

It's unclear exactly what Google plans to do with this new technology, if anything at all. But it would certainly give new meaning to the phrase "let me Google that for you".

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Google working on an internet truth teller
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New research on ancient DNA provides clues about European languages

For centuries, scholars have attempted to trace the origins of the Indo-European tongues. This group involves more than 400 different tongues, the largest language group on Earth. It includes languages as diverse as Hindi, Russian, Gaelic, Persian, English, Spanish, German, and Greek.

Scholars agree that the languages originated with migration into Europe but are divided on which group of migrants brought the roots of modern language and from where.

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The two significant hypothesis are the “Antonlian hypothesis” and the “steppe hypothesis”. The Antolian school holds that following the dawn of agriculture, farmers in search of land moved north from what is now Turkey and brought the language origins with them between 8,000 and 9,500 years ago. The competing steppe hypothesis holds that it was herders from the Eurasian steppe that brought the languages between 5 to 6,000 years ago.

Now, new research using the genomes of 94 ancient Eurasians has provided new clues about who came to Europe when and what they might have brought with them.

One of the arguments of the Antonlian hypothesis has been that the migration from the Steppe wasn’t significant enough to be responsible for language. That is the first point disproved by the new analysis.

“These results challenge the theory that all Indo-European languages in Europe today owe their origin to the arrival of the first farmers from Anatolia more than eight thousand years ago,” said David Reich in a statement.

Reich is a professor of genetics at HMS, associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and senior author of the new study, published online in the March 2 edition of the journal Nature. A previous version of the study appeared in in February.

“It’s like a detective story. We’re seeing the aftermath of what happened in Europe thousands of years ago. We have clues that these different people were linguistically and genetically related. It’s difficult to figure out how unless we go back to ancient DNA. It’s very contested because there’s no hard evidence. They didn’t write,” said Iosif Lazaridis, a postdoctoral researcher in the Reich lab and co-first author of the paper.

In total, dozens of researchers from around the world contributed to the study by producing genome data from 69 Europeans who lived between 3,000 and 8,000 years ago.

The team targeted and amplified 400,000 potentially relevant variants in the genetics of those 69 subjects and then combined it with 25 previously published human genomes from the same time period.

“We isolated parts of the genome that are most informative about history and sequenced only those. The ability to collect whole-genome data from dozens of individuals at once in this way reflects a sea change in ancient DNA studies,” said Reich.

The first thing they examined was evidence related to the arrival of the first farmers in Spain and Germany.

“The pottery they made looked very different, and some archaeologists have suggested that they were unrelated to each other and came from two separate migration waves. But the genetic data disprove this,” said Reich.

“The first farmers, whether from Hungary, Germany or Spain, are genetically almost identical: They are from the same origin,” said Wolfgang Haak, the paper’s other co-first author.

The researchers also found evidence that early European hunter-gatherers didn’t disappear with the arrival of the farmers. In fact, according to the genetic evidence, the early Europeans saw a resurgence 5,000 to 6,000 years ago.

About 4,500 years ago the team reports another new arrival. A group of ancient humans called the Corded Ware make a genetic appearance in what is now Germany at that time.

These people shared cultural similarities with a group called the Yamnaya, 1,600 miles away in what is now Russia. Until now however there wasn’t genetic evidence of the groups being related. According to the new research, fully three-quarters of the Corded Ware DNA came from the Yamnaya.

“People have either doubted the steppe influenced the Corded Ware population or said perhaps there was limited gene flow, perhaps from a small number of people. Our data show the Corded Ware population actually has most of its ancestry from the steppe,” said Lazaridis.

The researchers believe that the massive migration of these people had a substantial influence on language in Europe.

“it seems likely that the steppe migrants contributed at least some of the Indo-European languages to the area,” said Haak.

The Yamana people also turned out to be the bearers of some long sought after DNA. Modern Europeans are known to be the genetic decedents of ancient hunter-gatherers, immigrant farmers and a previously unknown “Ancient North Eurasian”. That known group has now been identified as the Yamnaya.

“When we first looked at the new data, it was a Eureka moment. Starting around 4,500 years ago, every individual in the Corded Ware and subsequent cultures contained this eastern ancestry, but none had it before that time,” said Lazaridis.

Of course the results cannot conclusively say where Indo-European languages originated. However, by knowing who came from where and when they arrived researchers on all sides of the debate can begin to create better informed hypotheses.

The next step for the team is to examine how ancient immigrants to Europe are related to groups in other parts of the world.

“The priority now is to carry out similar ancient DNA studies to understand how the people of Europe 3,000 to 6,000 years ago were linked with those in Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran and India,” where Indo-European languages are also spoken,” said Reich.

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Killing our creative instincts

Killing our creative instincts | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Killing our creative instincts
Standardized tests are limiting a student's creative abilities.
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Sophomore physiology and neurobiology major
Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 1:15 am
By Max An/The Diamondback
Recently, public education in the U.S. has placed an increased emphasis on common-core programs. With today’s “Common Core,” certain math, science and humanities courses have been grouped into a basic curriculum, with each student’s proficiency judged by his or her performance on a wide array of standardized tests.
And yet this new norm by which students are either right or wrong in their answers is a system that has too many faults, especially in its categorization and quantification.
With increased emphasis on math and science and with increased pressure on students to get jobs in the STEM fields (which have growing job markets), the death of creativity is nigh, though it shouldn’t be.
The notion that ideas and answers must be either right or wrong places limits on students who, in turn, are punished for thinking outside the box or for taking risks.
With teachers and parents indirectly pushing students to choose science- and math-related careers, public-school funding for performance arts has dried up the past couple of decades. While this has a blatant detrimental effect on the development of artists and performers, the ascension of standardized tests, too, is killing creativity in other fields.
The truth is that creativity is not something that solely resides in arts, as it is so often incorrectly depicted.
Creativity is inherent in almost every branch of knowledge. It is the fire that helps forge innovation and improvement, and indeed creativity is also an integral part of math and science. Creativity is what drives continual improvement and arguably is essential for success in all manners of life.
How else could we enjoy our current technological boom? How else did we evolve from landlocked and seafaring individuals (up until the hot air balloon’s invention in 1783) to beings on the verge of exploring Mars, a planet nearly 140 million miles away from us? Creativity and the freedom of exploration that comes with it also nurture successful businesses and drive economic improvement.
While certain fields understandably require a stricter polarity of correct and incorrect answers, it’s important to allow students to explore answers without fear of being punished for their creative endeavors.
How else could we improve on today’s understandings? Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and the rise of standardized testing as a pillar of general education is too fundamentally detrimental.
The Common Core’s emphasis on standardized testing limits our ability to comprehend and question, and students consequentially focus less on the material they are studying but more on the tests they are taking and strategies for taking those tests.
Every day and every minute that passes, we face new problems with rising wealth and education gaps, environmental destruction and the increasing exhaustion of our already declining nonrenewable resources. By limiting creativity in our public school system, we are only hurting ourselves in the long run.
Max An is a sophomore physiology and neurobiology major. He can be reached at
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ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, 4 MARCH 2015 — A collaborative research effort between the University of Adelaide and Harvard Medical School in Boston has yielded a Eureka moment in revealing the spread of the Indo-European mother language through Europe.

Historical linguists have long known that hundreds of languages ranging from English, Spanish, Russian and Hindi fall on the same family tree, but the reasons why have been a source of contention.

Dr Wolfgang Haak, from the University of Adelaide's Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD), is co-first author of the study published today in the journal Nature.

He said that at least some of the Indo-European languages spoken in Europe were likely the result of a massive migration from eastern Russia around 4500 years ago.

"This new study is the biggest of its kind so far and has helped to improve our understanding of the linguistic impact of Stone Age migration," Dr Haak said.

The team from ACAD used genome-scale data from more than 90 ancient skeletons found around Europe, ranging from 3000 to 8000 years old. Using the data, the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA was able to trace their origins in partnership with Harvard Medical School.

"These results challenge the other popular theory that all Indo-European languages in Europe today owe their origin to the arrival of the first farmers from Anatolia more than 8000 years ago," said the leader of the study, Professor David Reich of Harvard Medical School.

Evidence pointed to two major population replacements in Europe during the Stone Age. The first was the arrival of Europe's first farmers, who spread from Anatolia, an area encompassing much of modern-day Turkey.

"Their genetic profiles show remarkable similarity despite vast geographic distances and differences in material culture. Whether from Hungary, Germany or Spain, the first farmers are genetically almost identical and must have come from the same origin," says ACAD Director Professor Alan Cooper, co-author on the study.

There was a resurgence in hunter-gatherer ancestry, which spread back through the agricultural populations of Europe around 5000 to 6000 years ago.

Stone cist burial of a young female from the Rothenschirmbach site,
associated with the Late Neolithic Bell Beaker culture,
Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.
Photo copyright: LDA Sachsen-Anhalt.

The second major turnover, and most surprising, involves a third ancestry component. Originating from the east, this DNA appears in every Central European sample after 4500 years ago.

"We had a bit of an inkling from the mitochondrial studies we did two years ago that were published in Science," says Dr Haak, "but that was only based in mitochondrial data, maternal lineages only, so it's only one side of the story."

"Now when we read the whole story, with additional samples from other geographic locations, with much better resolution using specifically selected SNP markers [an SNP, pronounced 'snip', is a DNA sequence variation commonly occurring in a population], we saw this later input was much, much bigger than we expected, which definitely lends weight to that secondary, more recent migration out of the Russian Steppe."

The prolific "Corded Ware" Culture from Central Europe, named after their distinctive pottery, owe up to 75% of their ancestry with the so called Yamnaya people, cattle herders of the eastern steppe.

"That's enough to tell us that there's definitely a directionality going from east to west and we know where it's coming from. This large migration almost certainly had lasting effects on the languages people spoke," Dr Haak said.

This data lines up well with linguistic research that suggested a more recent spread of Indo-European, due to common words for wheeled-vehicles only being in use since around 5000 years ago.

"The Corded Ware Culture also have links in their material culture, so similarities in pots and everyday items that link them to cultures further in the east."

The next step of their research will be filling the gaps in migration routes around Europe, as well as further east where Indo-European languages are spoken.

"Particularly if we want to nail this hypothesis and put a geographical homeland somewhere in the steppes in Ukraine or Southern Russia, then we would assume that whatever was brought by these people would also be found in other populations that today speak an Indo-European language," Dr Haak said.

"That is equally likely for people further in the East, if you go to Iran or India. Currently we've only focused on Europe, but that equally applies to those regions as well. Now we have to look at both ancient and modern day Indian populations."

ACAD prepared the majority of the ancient skeletons for the study, building genomic libraries that were then enriched from a particular set of SNPs. Harvard Medical School took the data and analysed the results.

Finding useable DNA data from skeletons can be a challenge, though conditions vary - a well preserved 30,000 year old individual can hold useable information, while a poorly preserved 2,000 year old skeleton can be fairly useless for the purpose of DNA samples.

"It's okay in temperate climates such as Europe and Russia for example. It gets rarer, the further south you go, where the preservation is not very favourable. If you go to sub-tropical and tropical, the turnover of any biological material is a couple of weeks," Dr Haak said.

"Certainly with the advent of farming, we have way more permanent settlements and they come with accompanying graveyards and burial sites. They're much easier to spot than the open field camps that hunter-gatherers and foragers had. There's a bias in the amount of material, but by and large there's a substantial number of dead people around."


The Meaning of Human Existence Hardcover 
by Edward O. Wilson
Hardcover: 208 pages
Liveright: 1st edition (October 2014)
ISBN-10: 0871401002
ISBN-13: 978-0871401007

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Traffic pollution tied to slower cognition in schoolchildren

Traffic pollution tied to slower cognition in schoolchildren | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Children who attend school in heavy traffic areas may show slower cognitive development and lower memory test scores, Spanish researchers have found.

About 21,000 premature deaths are attributed to air pollution in Canada each year, according to the Canadian Medical Association. The detrimental effects of air pollution on cardiovascular health and on the lungs are well documented and now researchers are looking at its effects on the brain.

Car exhaust contains pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide. Authorities are recommending that schools be kept a safer distance from traffic emissions. (Yvon Theriault/CBC)

To that end, Dr. Jordi Sunyer and his colleagues from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona measured three aspects of memory and attentiveness in more than 2,700 primary school children every three months over 12 months.

"What was surprising for us is among our children, we see very robust, consistent effects," Sunyer said Tuesday from Rome.

The associations between slower cognitive development and higher levels of air pollutants remained after the researchers took factors such as parents’ education, commuting time, smoking in the home and green spaces at school into account.

The researchers measured air pollutants from traffic twice, in the school courtyard and inside the classroom for schools with high and low traffic-related air pollution. Pollutants from burning fossil fuels, carbon, nitrogen dioxide and ultrafine particles were measured.

Sunyer called on politicians to understand and act on how air pollution can be harmful to the developing brains of children, given that one of the cognitive measures studied — superior working memory — is a good predictor of learning achievement.

Important implications

The findings have important implications for Canadian children, said environmental health Prof. Ryan Allen of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. His research team has found more than one-third of public elementary schools in Canadian cities are located within 200 metres of a highway or major road, a distance where he said traffic-related air pollutants are significantly elevated.

"The best long-term strategy is to reduce the amount of pollution that is produced in the first place," Allen said in an email. "We should also take environmental pollution into account when selecting sites for new schools. For example, legislation in California prevents the construction of new schools within 150 metres of a freeway." 

B.C.'s Environment Ministry suggests placing facilities such as schools and hospitals a similar distance from busy roads, Allen said.

For existing schools, Allen suggested locating playgrounds as far from traffic as possible, moving air intakes for ventilation systems away from traffic and using enhanced air filtration.

While Canadian cities generally have good air quality, a 2013 commentary published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal estimated 54 per cent of the population live in areas with high exposure. 

Areas of highest air pollution in Canada are in the corridor between Windsor and Quebec City, as well as Calgary and Vancouver, said Prof. Daniel Rainham, who holds the chair in sustainability and environmental health at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Like Sunyer, Rainham would like to see more children walk to school, adults walk to work and more rides on public transit to mitigate the traffic problem. 

The study was funded by the European Research Council. 
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Strict Systolic Blood Pressure Control Might Impact Cognition In Medical Research Interviews and News

In spite of the high prevalence of high blood pressure (HBP) and cognitive impairment in old age, their relationship is still controversial. While several (but not all) studies have identified high blood pressure as a risk factor for incident cognitive impairment, evidence regarding the prognostic role of blood pressure in cognitively impaired older subjects is scarce and inconsistent. To our knowledge, no longitudinal study has been published up to now regarding Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) in subjects with cognitive impairment. Moreover recent European and American guidelines on HBP leave decisions on antihypertensive therapy of frail elderly patients to the treating physician and do not provide treatment targets for cognitively impaired patients.

In the present cohort study of subjects with dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) low values of day-time systolic blood pressure measured with ABPM were associated with greater progression of cognitive decline after a median 9-month follow-up. This association was limited to subjects treated with anti-hypertensive drugs and was independent of age, vascular comorbidity and baseline cognitive level, holding significant both in dementia and in Mild Cognitive Impairment subgroups. A similar trend of association was observed for office systolic blood pressure, although this was weaker and did not reach statistical significance in all analyses.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Mossello: Antihypertensive treatment with strict control of SBP (<130 mmHg) in older outpatients with Mild Cognitive Impairment and dementia might negatively affect cognition in the short-term. Taking into account cardiovascular protective effect in the long term, daytime SPB of 130-145 mmHg might be the most appropriate therapeutic target in this population according to available data. ABPM can be useful to make appropriate decisions regarding antihypertensive treatment in cognitively impaired subjects with mildly elevated SBP values.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Mossello: Longitudinal ABPM studies of larger samples with longer follow-up time are needed to confirm possible negative effects of excessive blood pressure lowering in cognitively impaired older subjects and to evaluate the long-term prognostic effects of blood pressure values in older subjects with cognitive impairment. Randomized controlled trials would be welcome in order to assess risks and benefits of antihypertensive treatment with different targets in this peculiar population.


Mossello E, Pieraccioli M, Nesti N, et al. Effects of Low Blood Pressure in Cognitively Impaired Elderly Patients Treated With Antihypertensive Drugs. JAMA Intern Med. Published online March 02, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8164. Interview with: Dr. Enrico Mossello (2015). Strict Systolic Blood Pressure Control Might Impact Cognition In Elderly 
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Noraktrad atenderá las necesidades lingüísticas de Endesa -

Noraktrad atenderá las necesidades lingüísticas de Endesa - | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Endesa ha confiado en Noraktrad, empresa especializada en la prestación de servicios lingüísticos, todas las necesidades relacionadas con la traducción de sus textos del español al inglés y al francés y de estas dos lenguas al castellano que puedan surgir a lo largo del año 2015.

Endesa, ha decidido adjudicar el concurso convocado para la realización de traducciones (denominado NCA 101402771) a Noraktrad, la compañía más representativa del Grupo Norak.

El acuerdo abarca todo tipo de traducciones, tanto simples como juradas, y las diferentes combinaciones que puedan surgir al respecto, en su paso del español al inglés y al francés y viceversa. De esta forma, Noraktrad deberá desarrollar las traducciones de documentos de muy diversa índole: notas de prensa, documentos administrativos, páginas web, textos jurídicos o informes económicos, entre otros. El contrato tiene validez de un año, aunque en el mismo se contempla una posible prórroga de otros dos años, y su ámbito de actuación abarca a todas las empresas que conforman Endesa.

Endesa es la empresa líder del sector eléctrico español y el segundo operador en el mercado eléctrico portugués. Endesa cuenta con más de 10 mil empleados y presta servicio a 12,6 millones de clientes. Desde el primer trimestre de 2009, Endesa forma parte del Grupo Enel, una compañía multinacional del sector de la energía y un operador integrado líder en los mercados mundiales de electricidad y gas, focalizado en los mercados de Europa y Latinoamérica. El Grupo realiza operaciones en 32 países de 4 continentes, gestiona la generación de energía de más de 95 GW de capacidad instalada neta y distribuye electricidad y gas a través de una red que se extiende alrededor de 1,9 millones de kilómetros.

La calidad es una de las prioridades de Noraktrad, que ha desarrollado su propio sistema basado en la comunicación constante con el cliente. El trabajo de la empresa de servicios lingüísticos ha sido certificado por las normas TÜV Rheinland UNE-EN ISO 9001:2008 y UNE-EN 15038:2006 que velan por la calidad del trabajo y establece las máximas exigencias en cuanto a protección de datos y confidencialidad.

Tras más de veinte años de trayectoria, Noraktrad se ha consolidado como una de las principales empresas de prestación de servicios lingüísticos tales como traducción, interpretación y localización. Destaca su especialización en temas jurídicos, patentes y marcas, innovaciones tecnológicas y científicas y textos de alta tecnología. Los servicios que prestará al Grupo Endesa no sólo certifican estos datos, sino que se suman a la confianza que ya le reconocen a Norak otros muchos clientes, entre los que se encuentra el Comité Interinstitucional de Traducción e Interpretación de la Unión Europea.
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Lawyers for Filipina on death row: Her translator was just a student

Lawyers for Filipina on death row: Her translator was just a student | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Only Tagalog’

"The defendant does not speak English and Indonesian. She can only use Tagalog, but she was not provided a competent interpreter," lawyer Agus Salim told the court, according to

The interpreter provided was a student and did not have a license from the Association of Indonesian Translators, he added.

Veloso, who comes from a poor family in Bulacan, north of Manila, only finished high school. She was in Malaysia supposedly to work as a domestic helper, but her would-be employer failed to meet her, the court heard on Tuesday. With two children back home, she agreed to an offer by foreigners to bring two suitcases to Indonesia.

She was only supposed to bring the two suitcases with her on board the April 25, 2010, AirAsia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Yogyakarta, and someone was supposed to pick her up at the airport and get the package from her.

But that last part never happened, because she was arrested before exiting the airport. Concealed inside the suitcases were packs of heroin wrapped in aluminum foil estimated to have a street value of IDR6.5 billion at the time (about $50,000 today).

Veloso maintains she did not know the suitcases contained heroin, according to local news outlet Radar Jogja. But subsequent appeals have failed and, in January, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo rejected her clemency request along with all others from drug convicts as part of his new administration’s harsh stance on the death penalty.

‘No correlation’

Prosecutors did not agree with Veloso’s lawyer, however. Any objection to the translator should have been filed at the beginning of the first trial, prosecutor S Anggraeni said.

“The translator was also sworn in,” he added, according to Okezone. “There are no rules about the interpreter having to meet certain qualifications.”

There was also no correlation between the status of the translator and the substance of the trial, he said, arguing that this meant Veloso’s lawyers failed to present new evidence – the requirement for a case review to be granted.

The trial will resume on Wednesday, with Veloso’s camp expected to present witnesses to bolster her case.

Indonesia's Attorney General has previously stated that Veloso was included in the next batch of 10 drug convicts to face the firing squad – the only woman and the convict who has spent the shortest time on death row in the list.

However, Philippines Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the execution had been "deferred because of the judicial review we requested." (READ: PH seeks case review of Filipina on Indonesia's death row)

During a state visit to the Philippines on February 9, Jokowi and Philippines President Benigno Aquino III signed 4 agreements, including one to combat illegal drug-trafficking. Contrary to previous reports, Charge d'Affairs Roberto G. Manalo of the Philippine Embassy said Aquino brought up Veloso's case with Jokowi during the visit.

Jokowi has issued a blanket rejection of all clemency requests from drug convicts on death row, citing Indonesia's drug emergency, despite mounting international pressure and calls for him to consider each case on its own merit. –
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Réforme du système éducatif L’arabe langue mère et les autres Par le Pr. Mustapha SEHIMI -

Réforme du système éducatif L’arabe langue mère et les autres Par le Pr. Mustapha SEHIMI - | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Dans les prochaines semaines, nul doute que l’on va de nouveau replonger dans un débat à forte charge
Mustapha Sehimi est professeur de droit, politologue et avocat au barreau de Casablancaculturelle et politique: celui de la réforme du système éducatif national et des langues d’enseignement.
Une question qui n’a jamais été neutre: tant s’en faut. Pourquoi ? Parce qu’elle n’est que l’expression linguistique d’enjeux de statut social, de position hégémonique et pour tout dire de pouvoir.
Voici un an et demi, l’on se souvient que la Fondation Zakoura Education de Nabil Ayouche avait lancé un gros pavé lors de son colloque des 4-5 octobre 2013. Ce publicitaire, agitateur d’idées, avait proposé l’introduction de la darija comme langue d’enseignement. Il avait expliqué que les enfants seraient alors accueillis dans leur langue maternelle 1’arabe littéral étant trop difficile à  apprendre et à maîtriser; que cela permettrait à terme d’éradiquer l’analphabétisme; et qu’une telle réorientation linguistique ne pourrait qu’assurer une meilleure employabilité ainsi qu’une insertion avantageuse dans le monde du travail. La présence à ces assises de deux conseillers du Roi, Fouad Ali El Himma et Omar Azziman, ne pouvait qu’être interprétée par les uns et les autres comme un encouragement donné par le Méchouar à une proposition aussi novatrice. D’où des réactions diverses dans le camp conservateur. Telle celle d’un député PJD, Moqri Abouzayad dénonçant, sans autre forme de procès, «un complot colonialiste visant à détruire les fondements de la nation et notre enseignement et qui a pour principal cible 1’ islam».
Telle encore celle d’un ancien ministre istiqlalien, M’Hamed Khalifa, saisissant même le Roi dans une lettre pour reprendre le même procès de «colonisation linguistique».
Il faut dire que six semaines auparavant, dans son discours du 20 août, le Souverain avait instamment invité à un examen de conscience collectif du système éducatif tant pour en évaluer les réalisations accomplies que pour en identifier les faiblesses et les dysfonctionnements.
Après la nomination des 92 membres du nouveau Conseil Supérieur de l’Education, de la Formation et de la Recherche scientifique (CSEFRS) le 16 juillet dernier, cette instance constitutionnelle (art.168) présidée par Omar Azziman s’est démultipliée en six commissions. Elle a tenu sa 5ème  session les 28-29 janvier dernier en même temps qu’un comité ad hoc chargé de la finalisation du rapport général sur la situation actuelle et les axes de réforme. C’est précisément compte tenu de cet agenda que le Chef du gouvernement a tenu à réagir pour préciser les positions de son parti, notamment pour ce qui est des langues d’enseignement, et ce lors de la conférence politique mensuelle des membres du secrétariat général du PJD, voici une dizaine de jours. La place des deux langues officielles- arabe et amazigh- dans l’enseignement était débattue. C’est une «ligne» qui a été fixée, sans aucune concession: le refus de la darija parmi les langues d’enseignement. Le texte publié observe que le diagnostic de la situation linguistique n’est pas lié au choix de la langue d’enseignement dans le système d’apprentissage; il explique qu’il faut plutôt imputer à cet égard les politiques mises en œuvre dans le système éducatif-cursus de formation, ressources humaines, gouvernance,… C’est pourquoi l’option en faveur de la darija n’est pas à ses yeux une solution conséquente; elle ne viserait pratiquement qu’à “encercler” les deux langues nationales officielles et à ouvrir le champ à l’hégémonie des langues étrangères”.Lors de la dernière conférence politique mensuelle des membres du secrétariat général du PJD, Abdelilah Benkirane a insisté sur la nécessité de protéger et de consolider la langue arabe tout en annonçant que les textes relatifs au Conseil national des langues et à la loi organique sur l’amazighité devaient être préparés et actés d’ici la fin de cette année. Il a aussi précisé que les partisans de la darija étaient des «personnes étrangères aux enjeux éducatifs». Enfin, il a considéré que «leurs manœuvres menacent la stabilité du pays»
Allant plus loin, Abdelilah Benkirane a insisté sur la nécessité de protéger et de consolider la langue arabe tout en annonçant que les textes relatifs au Conseil national des langues et à la loi organique sur l’amazighité devaient être préparés et actés d’ici la fin de cette année. Il a aussi précisé que les partisans de la darija étaient des «personnes étrangères aux enjeux éducatifs». Enfin, il a considéré que «leurs manœuvres menacent la stabilité du pays».
Quelle politique linguistique alors? Le PJD appelle à la mise au point de nouveaux termes de référence pour bien appréhender le cadrage et la gouvernance des langues d’apprentissage. Quelles ressources humaines?
Quelle offre scolaire et universitaire? Quel planning pour l’insertion des langues nationales-surtout pour l’amazigh-et étrangères? Quelle planification des ressources humaines sur la base des orientations des axes stratégiques? Le PJD se préoccupe également de transcender la seule question de la langue arabe comme moyen de communication et d’acquisition du savoir. Il réclame ainsi qu’on l’élargisse en l’insérant dans le crédo majeur de l’identité nationale et de son référentiel civilisationnel. C’est là une difficulté de belle taille que le CSEFRS doit surmonter dans les prochaines semaines lors de la présentation des principes stratégiques de la réforme. Mais ce Conseil aura également à accompagner toutes les déclinaisons sectorielles de cette nouvelle vision. De quoi raviver un débat de fond sur une réforme complexe, délicate et sensible qui n’échappera peut-être pas à des surenchères électoralistes et populistes.
Projet de société et clivages
Qui veut quoi? Darija ou pas comme langue d’enseignement? Le PJD, par la voix d’Abdelilah Benkirane, s’y oppose. Mais qu’en est-il des trois composantes de sa majorité? Le RNI, pour l’heure, ne s’explique  pas vraiment sur ce point mais il est connu qu’il y serait favorable. Le MP, lui, ne se prononce pas estimant que tout doit être fait en priorité pour élargir le champ de l’amazigh dans le système éducatif, cette langue ayant été enfin érigée en langue officielle. Le PPS a accordé depuis longtemps un intérêt particulier à l’amazigh mais il plaide aussi pour l’introduction de la darija, la langue quotidienne d’usage du peuple.
A regarder du côté de l’opposition, une distinction doit être faite entre deux attitudes bien éloignées. La première est celle du parti de l’istiqlal. Hier comme aujourd’hui, il est partisan de la primauté de l’arabe-jusqu’à la Constitution de juillet 2011, il était même pour l’hégémonie voire l’exclusivisme de cette langue. Cela tient à son socle historique et culturel de légitimité: celui de l’arabité et de l’Islam. Il s’est employé à fructifier ce capital par rapport à des partis qui, pour lui, ne procèdent pas du substrat de la nation mais seulement de parcours électoraux variables de faible teneur identitaire. Quant à la seconde position, elle a trait à l’USFP, au PAM et à l’UC. Cette dernière formation de Mohamed Abied est discrète sur cette question à la différence des deux autres de Driss Lachgar (USFP) et Mustapha Bakkoury (PAM) se réclamant du pôle de la modernité et de l’ouverture. Cohésion de la majorité? Ce n’est pas certain. De l’opposition? Voire. Le débat national va sans doute quitter les controverses actuelles sur les réformes et leurs incidences économiques ou sociales pour déborder sur l’appréhension des valeurs.
Quel projet de société en fonction de la machinerie du système éducatif à l’ordre du jour? Et, sur cette base-là, quelle vision de l’école de demain? De quoi perturber les positionnements et les clivages actuels, surtout dans un climat déjà tellement crispé et électoral !
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Oxford University Press to sponsor literacy conference in SA

Oxford University Press to sponsor literacy conference in SA | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Oxford University Press to sponsor literacy conference in SA

The Oxford University Press (OUP) will sponsor the ninth Pan African Literacy for All and the 10th Reading Association of South Africa (RASA) literary conference in South Africa’s Cape Town in September.
by Staff Reporter
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In a statement, OUP said the conference would run under the theme “Imagination and Literacy: Theory and Practice.”

The summit, to be held from 2-5 September, will bring together teachers, writers, librarians, researchers, academics, publishers, parents and children and local and international development workers to showcase research, practice and innovative literacy strategies.

The first three days will include talks, academic papers, and workshops on classroom practice, while the fourth and final day will be open to the public and is aimed to involve the community through events and displays that include stalls, installations and practical sessions around the theme of igniting imagination.

OUP has lined up keynote speakers that include International Literacy Association Director Marcie Craig Post, South African activist and storyteller Gcina Mhlophe, research professors Barbara Comber (Australia), Viv Edwards (UK) and Kieran Egan (Canada), as well as principal of the St Mary’s Junior School in Waverley, Johannesburg, Desiree Hugo.

OUP is sponsoring the event as part of its commitment to education in Africa, where its publications are distributed.

“We believe that reading takes you places. It’s the building block for all other learning, so it is an honour for Oxford to keep the conversation going. This conference will help to unlock the power of imagination through literacy; making a difference to education across the African continent,” said Lieze Kotze, the OUP regional director for Africa.

Read the statement: “Pan-African Literacy for All conferences are important literacy events in Africa, providing a platform for literacy professionals and researchers to interface with policy makers in government and the donor community.”

They have taken place every two years since 1999 in countries that include Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda.

This year’s event will be run in association with the International Literacy Association (ILA) and the International Development Committee-Africa (IDC-A).

It will be organised by RASA which is a leading South African literacy organisation which regularly organises conferences that draw together most of the South African experts on literacy.

Karin Murris, the RASA/Pan-African 2015 Literacy Conference Committee chair, said the conference would provide theoretical and practical ideas needed for teaching.
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Where did Europe get its languages? Scientists uncover new evidence.

Where did Europe get its languages? Scientists uncover new evidence. | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
An analysis of DNA from ancient Europeans points to a mass migration from the Eurasian steppe into Europe beginning some 4,500 years ago.
By Claire Felter, Staff Writer MARCH 3, 2015
Vincent Kessler/Reuters/View Caption
Beginning some 4,500 years ago, herders living in the temperate grasslands north of the Black and Caspian Seas began moving westward into Europe. The mass migration continued for about 15 centuries, and with it came horses, wheeled vehicles, and a new kind of language.

This, at least, is the hypothesis supported by an analysis of ancient DNA, published Monday in the journal Nature. By examining the entire genomes of 69 Europeans who lived between 8,000  and 3,000 years ago, a team of international researchers has pinpointed the effects of a large-scale movement of people with Near East ancestry into central Europe.Their language, say the researchers, might be the source of some of the Indo-European languages spoken throughout Europe today. 

With more than three billion speakers, the Indo-European family, which includes English, Latin and its descendants, Sanskrit and its descendants, the Slavic languages, the Celtic languages, Russian, Greek, Farsi, Kurdish, Pashto, and hundreds of others, is the world's largest family of languages. Almost all of the languages of contemporary Europe, with the notable exceptions of Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian, are part of this family.

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But where did Indo-European come from, and how did it wind up in Europe? Most historical linguists fall into one of two camps. Adherents to the Anatolian Hypothesis contend that the family of languages arrived in Europe from Anatolia – the peninsula that makes up what is today the Asian part of Turkey – about 8,500 years ago. Supporters of the Anatolian Hypothesis say that any major language replacements after that time would have likely required major migrations, but that migrations to Europe after the Early Neolithic period could not have made a major impact since the population was thought to already be quite large.

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Alternatively, those who support the Steppe Hypothesis believe that the early speakers of Indo-European languages were pastoralists residing in parts of the Eurasian steppe, a region stretching from Ukraine to Mongolia, and that their languages arrived in Europe less than 6,000 years ago, following the diffusion of innovations like the chariot. 

Material artifacts are of little help in settling the debate, because no examples of Indo-European languages appear in the historical record earlier than 4,000 years ago. And there are no known artifacts that unambiguously point to a large-scale migration into Europe during the late Neolithic period.

"One of the weaknesses of the steppe [hypothesis] was that people doubted that there were any migrations from the steppe into the rest of Europe," study co-author Iosif Lazaridis told the Monitor.

Dr. Lazaridis and his colleagues set out to better map out the movements of a number of ancient populations across Europe and parts of Asia. Scientists already had evidence indicating that, about 6,000 years ago, farmers who arrived in Europe mixed with hunter-gatherers who had already been living in the region for a few thousand years. And in Russia, a different group of hunter-gatherers is thought to have mixed with a population that was related to those in the Near East and had moved into the steppe. This mixture produced a pastoralist people known as the Yamnaya.

Lazaridis's team was able to determine that, about 4,500 years ago, these groups came into contact thanks to a large-scale migration of people with Yamnaya DNA from Russia into Central Europe. These migrants from the steppe, it turns out, provided nearly 75 percent of the ancestry of central Europeans.

"This is the kind of massive migration that, because of its great size, it's very plausible that it introduced some new languages into Europe," says Lazaridis.

The Steppe Hypothesis has found further support from a team of linguists at the University of California, Berkeley, whose work is set to appear later this month in the journal Language. Borrowing techniques from evolutionary biology, the linguists examined both modern languages and their ancient and medieval ancestors, analyzing the changes as well as the rates of change between the older languages and their descendants. The results showed a root age for these languages in line with the Steppe Hypothesis.

"We deduce how long ago their common ancestor existed, given how different the languages are from each other today," co-author and UC Berkeley graduate student Will Chang told the Monitor in an email.

But in the report co-authored by Lazaridis, the data doesn't provide evidence indicating migration from the steppe necessarily led to the formation of all European languages, or Asian languages spoken in places like present-day India and Iran. The study's authors cautioned in particular that their data is silent on the origins of the Indo-European languages of southeastern Europe.

"In order to solve the problem of the homeland of Proto-Indo-Europeans, we have to solve that there were migrations out of the steppe into Europe, which we did in this study," says Lazaridis. "But we also must show how it is tied to other places."

And the tools are getting better to show those ties: using a new DNA enrichment technique, the team was able to target the human DNA in ancient samples and avoid the unuseful DNA, like that of bacteria. So while genetics may not be considered the ideal branch of science for studying language origins, DNA analysis has its benefits, according to Lazaridis.

"Ancient DNA is a very powerful tool, but it can't really tell you whether a particular people spoke a particular language," says Lazaridis. "But we can advance the question by showing that some migrations did take place and to quantify when they took place."
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CBS renews 'Judge Judy' through 2020; Chinese version of 'Saturday Night Live' in development; more - Entertainment news links

CBS renews 'Judge Judy' through 2020; Chinese version of 'Saturday Night Live' in development; more - Entertainment news links | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Here's some of what's happening today in entertainment headlines: Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke are re-teaming in a remake of 'The Magnificent Seven.'; and more.

CBS has renewed the contract Judy Sheindlin's long-running show 'Judge Judy' through 2020.
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The verdict is in: 'Judge Judy' fans, rejoice! CBS has renewed the syndicated program through 2020.  Judy Sheindlin's current contract keeps the show on air until 2017. The new contract includes her new show 'Hot Bench' which has taken daytime TV by storm.

Banking on a (fast fading) trend: Now you - yes you - can buy your own Left Shark onesie! The novelty item is available through Katy Perry's website, and for $129 you can botch choreographed dance moves too!

The mega ratings machine that is Shonda Rimes is at work on another pilot for ABC, this one titled 'The Catch,' set to star Mirelle Enos and based on a book by  Kate Atkinson. Oddly, Atkinson fans are confused since there is currently no book with a similar title or plotline., the Chinese Internet portal, has purchased the format rights to create their own version of 'Saturday Night Live.' The project is the result of a development deal between Sohu and Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video Entertainment.

Britney Spears' Clump of Hair Extensions Falls Out on Stage

Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke are re-teaming with their 'Training Day' director Anton Fuqua, in a remake of 'The Magnificent Seven.' The film will also star Chris Pratt and Haley Bennett .

Wardrobe malfunction: During a recent Vegas performance, Britney Spears loses a section of her hair extensions. Unaware of the mishap, she doesn't miss a beat.
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