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Vacancies in this network: Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.
Keywords, phrases and topics are at the heart of search engine marketing. In a sense, words are the backbone of the Internet because without them, websites wouldn’t likely exist. Every website is built on “keywords” and topics.
Hence, the need for keyword tools for research.
Picking key phrases and topics for your website and even social media profiles is therefore of utmost importance. However, you have to understand how this is all changing with the advent of semantic and conversational search.
Before the Internet, we relied heavily on libraries, books, newspapers, TV news, and the Yellow Pages for information about companies. The search engines changed all of that by indexing a large portion of human knowledge and they are getting smarter at understanding the meaning of what users are searching for.
Let’s look back at the various keyword tools that were developed to help us select the right words and topics for our websites, in order to make our content stand out amongst the vast online ocean.
The First Popular Keyword Research Tool
I spoke with some of the most successful marketers online, who have been utilizing various keyword tools way before they were cool.
John McDougall, who was a former client and founder of authoritymarketing.com and McDougall Interactive, who has been doing search engine marketing since the 1990s, walked me through some of the early keyword research tools:
The first popular keyword tool that I can remember is Wordtracker. Back in the day, we gave it a real workout and put it to daily use. Then we switched to Keyword Discovery and my first employee John Maher loved it because he could save folders for each client when doing keyword research.
Eventually clients started to complain that they felt the numbers were inaccurate and we looked into the way they were compiling data. It turned out that Wordtracker relied on metacrawler.com and dogpile.com to get their data and then did some math to estimate search volumes. It wasn’t until we started doing Yahoo! paid search and later picking keywords with the Google keyword tool that we realized we preferred data directly from the search engines. I do still have a soft spot in my heart for Wordtracker for being a pioneer.
Wordtracker Website Snippet, Circa 2000
The first keyword tools weren’t all that accurate during the early days, but they gave marketers a way to select keywords that people were actually searching on, rather than just using any miscellaneous words about their company, products, and services.
I then asked John to illustrate some of the additional keyword tools that have been developed over the years and here’s what he provided:
It’s always interesting to see what Google provides themselves beyond the Adwords Keyword Tool. Google Trends can tell you whether a keyword is gaining in popularity or falling out of favor over time. The Google Contextual Targeting Tool inside AdWords, via the drop down menu on the Reporting and Tools tab, finds related terms and groups them into ad groups. This helps eliminate irrelevant terms. And anyone with a Google Webmaster Tools verified site can view how often their site has shown up for a limited amount of keywords.
Bing has their own keyword tool as well. But if you want to find related terms which help with semantic search, try tools that play on Google Autocomplete keywords. UberSuggest uses Google Autocomplete keywords to generate ideas and KeywordTool.io is a recent favorite that uses Google’s autocomplete to show over 750 long-tail keywords for any query.
Je ne veux pas rester sans rien dire du massacre évité (?) du grec et du latin, ni du massacre perpétré contre les sculptures monumentales assyriennes. Evidemment, vouloir supprimer l'enseignement du grec et du latin c'est plus grave que de détruire des monuments de pierre, quels qu'ils soient. Tuer les "Humanités" c'est produire de l'obscurantisme, c'est tuer la vie par la racine. Que seraient les monuments de pierre, les statues, les icones sans la parole qui les irigue, sans la langue, support de toute évolution possible. L'évolution ne supporte pas le mépris d'elle-même.
Il n'y a pas de langue morte* — seulement des langues anciennes —, quand personne ne l'utilise elle devient langue inconnue. La langue doit en permanence être traduite, trahie, transformée dans le trajet d'un être à l'autre. Faute de quoi elle devient lettre morte. La lettre n'est qu'un morceau de chose, un bâton, un témoin que l'on se passe.
Il n'y a pas que les fondamentalistes du Coran ou de la Bible qui idolâtrent les langues de bois, ou de fer car ces choses sont des armes très efficaces. Dernièrement encore, des armes de fer et de feu s'en sont pris aux armes de pierre des rois antiques. Les jeunes incultes qui abattent ainsi les fossiles géants de l'Assyrie croient détruire avec la pierre le message qui est à l'intérieur. Ils visent le symbole. Et, de juste, ils n'atteignent que le symbole — la représentation. Ils ne détruisent rien que de la matière. Ils sont strictement matérialistes, contrairement à ce qu'ils pensent d'eux-mêmes. Parce qu'ils n'ont pas étudié les langues du passé, les langues dans leur évolution, ni le monde dans son évolution, ils en restent à la chose morte, à la lettre, à l'immobile. Ainsi éduqués (si l'on peut dire) ils se sont privés de vie. La vie se rebelle en eux, la vie fait violence. Mais il n'ont mis que la mort au-devant d'eux.
* sauf la langue de bœuf, que j'adorais, mais qui est morte pour moi ! je suis passé au vert.
The questions of whether or not to run multiple Twitter accounts tugs at most business owners’ minds at one time or another. Should we have one for customer service and another for product news? A personal account and a business account?
And while the obvious answer to the question is dependent on whether that business has the time and resources to manage multiple Twitter accounts effectively, there are some common scenarios that could warrant a second handle.
1. Customer service.
One of the most common reasons that businesses create multiple business accounts is to have a separate, dedicated customer service handle.
This eliminates the headache of having to monitor a single Twitter account for both customer service related tweets and other tweets (like incoming requests for interviews), and it helps customers identify where they should send their comments and complaints.
A dedicated customer service account also ensures that all of the branding activity you do on your main account – such as tweeting promotions, crowdsourced images of your product or running a contest – is not watered down by tweets to customers about product returns or what stores your product is available in.
Of course, if you do manage a separate customer service account, you need to make sure that it is actively being monitored. Many businesses choose to include the hours of operation in the customer service account bio, so that customers know how quickly they can expect a response.
2. A personal touch.
Depending on your brand strategy, it might be a good idea to have a separate Twitter account for you and one for your business.
The CEO of a large company, for instance, will often have his or her own Twitter handle. This allows the CEO to post personal thoughts, opinions and content, and it keeps the main Twitter handle well branded and on message.
Smaller businesses, however, sometime integrate the business brand with the personal brand of the owner. In this case, it might be best to keep the two personas tied together, since the brand is built on the owner’s personality.
3. Multiple products or brands.
Larger companies will often break out their various business units, products or brands into distinct Twitter accounts.
This works especially well when they are connecting to different audience segments. If one company owns a laundry detergent brand and a men’s bodywash brand, for instance, it doesn’t make much sense to tweet the same content to those two distinct audiences.
4. Regional tweeting.
Similar to reason #3, businesses may also want to have multiple Twitter accounts if they operate in different areas of the world.
If tweeting to audiences that speak different languages, multiple Twitter accounts makes sense – it can be distracting to see two or three languages coming from an account. And if there are cultural difference or if a company offers different versions of their product to different reasons, breaking out their Twitter presence by region or area is also a good idea.
5. Niche tweeting.
Lastly, if you find your Twitter account sending out tweets on vastly different topics, you might want to consider creating a second account.
It can be difficult to build a following if you’re tweeting about recipes, motorcycles, video games and cupcakes. Although these might all be your interests, they probably are not shared by the majority of Twitter users out there. By creating a separate account and tweeting more focused topics on each, you will find it easier to build connections.
(Multiple screen image via Shutterstock)
Draperstown native and bestselling author Christina McKenna has just published her third novel in the Tailorstown trilogy.
“The Godforsaken Daughter” is being talked about on both sides of the Atlantic and seems certain to match the huge success of her first, “The Misremembered Man”, and its follow-up, “The Disenchanted Widow.”
Christina’s story is one of triumph after much rejection. “If at first you don’t succeed,” she says, “just keep going. Never give up!”
That attitude is certainly borne out in the story of her steady climb to the top of Amazon’s literary charts both in the USA and UK, with sales heading towards the one-million mark.
Her novels have been translated into seven languages to date, and garnered over 5,000 customer reviews on Amazon — more than any other living Irish writer.
In America she is frequently credited with writing “literary page-turners” and compared to the like of Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Anne Tyler and Joyce Carol Oates.
Her inspiration is rooted in the soil of her childhood. She grew up on a farm near the village of Draperstown, “peopled by a troupe of weird, wonderful and often eccentric characters.”
Composites of those characters are what drive the narrative of her novels.
“When I sit down at the keyboard I see those people from my childhood who used to visit the family home.
“My dear mother was always in attendance with the tea and I hear their voices ringing down the years: the banter, the gossip, the laughs; that great sense of community and caring that existed back then, the hardships they suffered and the tremendous resilience of spirit they showed, that’s what I write about.”
Christina will be launching the novel on Thursday, 2 April, at the Bridewell Library, Magherafelt, 7.30pm.
“The Godforsaken Daughter”, published by Lake Union Publishing, U.S.A, is now available in bookshops and at Amazon.co.uk. Price £9.99. Sheehy’s of Cookstown stock all Christina’s books.
Castledawson community mourns death of popular businessman Robert Hueston
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Seeing as my last post on foreign language films was surprisingly well-received, I thought I'd write another one. This time the focus is on the romance genre, which is undoubtedly a favorite of mine. It's a genre that translates well into other languages, as it is, after all, a universal language. I have seen countless romantic foreign language films over the years but these are the ones that, for whatever reason, stuck with me the most. Once again, subtitles are EVERYTHING. Watch these films in their original language and you might just pick up a romantic foreign word or two to impress your significant other with.
1. Germany: What a Man
The name Matthias Schweighöfer has, over the past few years, become almost synonymous with the German romantic comedy genre. I'm always down for a good German rom-com, so if you're looking for a cute, light and hilarious film to watch this weekend, I recommend you give this one a go. What a Man (2011) is about Alex, a 30-year-old man, who is cheated on by his girlfriend. In search for answers as to why his relationship failed, he moves in with his friend Nele. Now, name one film where this kind of situation do not lead to love and other disasters. Call it predictable, call it cliché, call it whatever you want to call it but don't tell me this film won't put a smile on you face, because it will. As a person who generally is not the biggest fan of German humor I can promise you, What a Man will make you laugh. Out loud. Bonus points for the great soundtrack.
2. South Korea: A Millionaire's First Love
I first discovered all that East Asia had to offer in 2005 and I've been hooked ever since. South Korean films are definitely sadder, more dramatic, and, here and there, over the top, but all the more addictive. That said, these films also often revolve around sickness, as does A Millionaire's First Love (2006). I chose this one because it's one of the first Korean movies I saw. It's romantic, it's a little cheesy and it'll have you trying to hold back the tears. Hyun Bin stars as the stereotypical rich kid, who transfers to a new school in a small town, and it is here that he meets Choi Eun-hwan. They don't hit it off but ultimately start to bond, to then fall in love. Eun-hwan's illness puts the 'drama' in 'romantic drama' and soon both are fighting for a life together. This definitely won't be the best Korean movie you will ever watch but it is a cute and uplifting film.
3. The Netherlands: Alles Is Liefde
Here is one thing you need to know about Dutch cinema: there is big love for ensemble films. In fact, most commercially successful Dutch films are just that. Alles Is Liefde (2007) is my favorite Dutch movie of all time. Foreigners might find the film a little strange at first because it centers around Sinterklaas, a traditional Dutch phenomenon you could compare to Santa Claus. Hence, the comparison to Love Actually is often made. The film's plot is difficult to describe, and so a mere sentence or two won't do it justice. Set around Sinterklaas, it follows the lives of a handful of people; families, couples and individuals, during the eventful days leading up to the big occasion they're trying to save. Starring household name Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones), this feel good film is utterly heartwarming, fun and the perfect introduction to Dutch humor!
4. Taiwan: Hear Me
This is a special one because there is hardly any talking in this film. Hear Me (2009) is about Tian-Kuo, a delivery boy, who falls for Yang Yang, a young girl taking care of her hearing-impaired older sister. Tian-Kuo and Yang Yang communicate using sign language throughout most of the movie, resulting in an interesting relationship between the two and an ending you do not see coming. Some might dislike the slow pace of the film, I loved it for that exact reason. Hear Me is more than a stereotypical love story, as it beautifully portrays a slice of Taiwanese life through sign language. Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, Tian-Kuo's parents luckily also provide a healthy dose of hilarity. I have to admit, I am not the biggest fan of the plot twist towards the end but it does not make this touching movie any less worthwhile to watch.
5. Japan: I Just Wanna Hug You
I know, I know - this title does absolutely nothing for the film. In fact, it might even discourage you to watch it, and so I urge you not to judge this film by its name. I have included this one because it's the most recent Japanese film I've seen and I liked it. I Just Wanna Hug You (2014) is about Masaki, a taxi driver, who falls in love with Tsukasa, a young wheelchair-bound girl. I told you, Asia produces some killer romantic dramas. I have been a fan of Nishikido Ryo ever since Ichi Rittoru No Namida (2005) because he is always so convincing as the caring good guy. Similar to Hear Me, I Just Wanna Hug You follows a simple storyline and shines in its simplicity. Masaki and Tsukasa are adorable together and manage to deal with the challenges life throws at them. Make sure you've got some Kleenex nearby because there is a chance you might need some
WINNIPEG, March 27, 2015 /CNW/ – Today, the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, announced a new investment of $2.3 million to expand and improve access to quality health services in both English and French across Canada. This includes $100,000 to the Féderation des parents du Manitoba to support the vitality of French linguistic minority communities in the province.
The new funding of $2.3 million will support six community-based health initiatives that will be carried out in partnership with local and regional health authorities to increase access to health services in English and French across Canada. It will also expand the supply of bilingual health service providers and increase the availability and points of services for patients to receive care in the official language of their choice. Removing language barriers will ensure safer, higher quality care for people living in official language minority communities.
The Féderation des parents du Manitoba project will increase access to health programs and services in French for francophone children aged 0 to 6 years and their families. The project will contribute to healthy early-childhood development among Francophone children in the province, and enhance the vitality of French linguistic minority communities of Manitoba.
Today’s investment follows the $112.9 million for 14 initiatives across the country previously announced by the federal government to improve patient access to essential health services in French and English minority communities. Investing in official languages is part of the Government of Canada’s $1.1 billion Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013–2018: Education, Immigration, Communities aimed at enhancing the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities.
Through Health Canada’s Official Languages Health Contribution Program, the Government of Canada funds innovative approaches to improving access to health services for official language minority communities and increasing the use of both official languages when providing health services across Canada.
Since 2008, Health Canada’s investments through the Roadmap have created over 100 educational programs in universities and colleges across the country, and led to the addition of over 9,000 bilingual health professionals practicing in communities of greatest need.
There are over one million English-speaking residents of Quebec, and over a million French-speaking Canadians outside of Quebec, which represents 6% of the Canadian population combined.
New Brunswick has the highest concentration of official language minorities in Canada (31.9%), followed by Quebec (13.5%) and Ontario (4.3%).
“Our Government has a vision and an ambitious plan to ensure that all Canadians benefit from our two official languages, especially through the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages. English and French are an integral part of our history and our identity, and official-language minority communities contribute to the vitality of Canadian society. Our Government is adopting the means to take concrete action in areas that Canadians consider important, as we are doing today when it comes to the subject of access to health services.”
The Honourable Shelly Glover
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
“Access to necessary health services is a concern for every Canadian. That is why our Government is acting to remove the barriers certain communities may face to accessing quality care in the official language of their choice. Today’s investment further strengthens Canada’s healthcare system by increasing the number of bilingual providers and giving patients easier and better access to the care they need, in their local communities. Together with key partners and stakeholders, we are working so that Canadians, no matter where they live, can use our two official languages when accessing health services across the country.”
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health
“The Fédération des parents du Manitoba is happy to sponsor the project of the Coalition francophone de la petite enfance du Manitoba. This project will improve the active offer of French-language health services, contributing to healthy early childhood development for French speakers in Manitoba. Thanks to the funds granted by Health Canada, we are collaborating with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Southern Health-Santé Sud to identify and implement durable strategies for ensuring active offer. Family doctors, midwives, public health nurses and nurse practitioners play an important role by identifying French speakers during pregnancy and childbirth and directing them toward the programs and services available in French – particularly those offered through the Centres de la petite enfance et de la famille.”
Josée Chabot, Executive Director
Fédération des parents du Manitoba
Considering traditions, language and ceremony have been passed down for many generations in many tribes, there is a lot to learn in the way of culture. To young people today, there may be a bit of a disconnect in terms of learning about the traditions of our ancestors—or maybe they don’t have a clear idea of how to go about learning traditional ways.
In an attempt to help bridge this gap, here are 10 ways young people (or anyone wanting to learn more about their own tribe) can go about learning, connecting and practicing the ways of their own Indian culture.
Start Learning Your language
The first step to bridging the gap between young people and their ancestors is by speaking the language that was spoken by their tribe before the arrival of settlers. English is considered to be one of the least expressive languages and native languages have a depth of meaning that can serve as a true connection to your heritage.
Start a Native Group or Club at School
This is not as hard as it seems, but going to your school’s office and asking if you can have permission to meet once a week after school or during lunch is the first step to meeting other Native students. In such a group, you can invite elders to speak, share stories and even learn about other tribes. Use your imagination.
Speak to a Tribal Official
By meeting with a tribal chief, chairman, president or tribal council member, you can learn about how your tribe deals with day-to-day business. You can learn about the importance of politics, or how your tribe deals with handling of the issues, needs, problems and assets of your people. Perhaps you can learn ways to contribute or volunteer.
Visit With an Elder
Never underestimate the incredible power of a conversation with an elder. Ask questions and take the time to listen with an open heart. Ask them to tell you stories and/or ask them about the traditions of your tribe. By showing interest you are stepping up as a young warrior.
Cherokee Elder Joe Fourkiller shares some stories from his childhood. (Cherokee Nation)
RELATED: Video: Cherokee Elder Joe Fourkiller Recalls His Childhood
Share Your Culture
Even if you are not fully informed about your own culture and traditions, offering to share your culture with another group or school will influence you to ask questions and learn more about yourself. You would be creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Meet With the Tribal Historian
Some tribes have a tribal historian on staff whose job it is to ensure that tribal history, culture and traditions will continue to be shared with the generations to come. Meet with them, ask them questions—and if you start a club or group at school—ask them to visit with the group. If you don’t have a historian, ask around and find a knowledgeable elder, they often enjoy sharing stories.
Join a Social Media Group
There are a number of groups on social media focused on Native culture. You could even create a group focused on learning about your tribe’s culture. Invite elders to join and swap knowledge. While you show an elder how to use Facebook, Google+, Twitter or other forms of social media, the elders can teach you about your culture—another win-win for bridging the generation gap.
Make a YouTube Video
Much like when you are preparing to talk to a class—when preparing to put something on YouTube—you have to learn in order to share a message. Here is another way to learn and create at the same time while sharing the message with others. Use lessons taught by your elders to create the video.
Learn About Shared History
A lot can be learned from not just your tribe’s history, but how your tribe and ancestors were seen by other tribes. Again, ask questions and take time to listen and learn.
Ask to Take Part In Ceremony
If it is appropriate ask an elder, or the right person in your tribe, if you can take part in an upcoming ceremony. Every tribe is a bit different in the approach, so this is a great opportunity to learn about practicing the traditions and ceremonies of your ancestors.
Do have additional ideas? Reach out to ICTMN correspondent Vincent Schilling on Twitter.
On the eve of the Independence Day, Bangalee volunteers contributed around seven lakh Bangla words and phrases to Google Translate breaking a record. The target was to add 4 lakh words in Google Translate, a free online translation service. But Bangladesh has crossed the target and set a new world record by adding seven lakh Bangla words in Google Translate, said concerned sources. State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak said, ‘The Language Movement in 1952 and the War of Liberation in 1971 under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman helped us to get a state and his daughter and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership has helped us to get this achievement’. With this, the total number of Bangla words and phrases contributed to Google Translate reached around 17 lakh in just last 55 days since February 1, Jabed Sultan Pias, community manager of Google Developer Group (GDG) Bangla said. This record is one of evidences of the feelings of young generation to Bengali language and the country, he said. The words were included with the joint initiatives of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) division and Google Developer’s Group-Bangla (GDG-Bangla). Major work stations were in the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) premises in Agargaon of the city. Other than that, IT society of Dhaka University (DU) arranged work stations in the TSC and Shahid Meenar premises. Alongside students of different universities of the country, Bangla speaking people across the world joined the initiates. Bengali was previously in the 2nd position of the Translate site’s archive, Spanish being the first, according to a news agency.
Investment in technology; workforce expansion, and tender presentation is paying off for the Victorian Interpreting & Translating Service, a state government business enterprise with more than 30 years' experience as a specialist language services provider.
Last financial year was its busiest ever, with a new contract to provide services to Victoria's Departments of Health, Human Services, Education and Early Childhood Development and Victoria Police and retention of a significant contract to provide services to VicRoads.
VITS competes for contracts with private sector language service providers and, in his annual report, chief executive George Bisas said on-site interpreting, telephone interpreting and translations services all recorded their highest levels of demand.
By June last year, VITS had serviced 59 per cent more on-site jobs than in the previous financial year and increased its number of interpreter-connected calls by 33 per cent.
As well as state government departments and agencies, clients include local councils, energy and utility companies and law firms.
Core staff includes managers, administrative staff and booking officers. VITS' panel of more than 2000 interpreters and translators are self-employed contractors. They are fluent in around 140 languages and almost all have gained professional accreditation or recognition from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).
Zsuzsanna Lesko-Flach, contractor management co-ordinator, says when new languages emerge in Victoria's culturally and linguistically diverse community, VITS seeks and recruits people from those language groups to join its team.
"NAATI cannot test every language but it provides recognition to people who speak new and emerging languages and have proficiency in English. It can sometimes be difficult to find someone who speaks English and a new community language and we use various channels to locate them." When someone suitable is found — and this can sometimes take months — references must be checked to ensure they can interpret to a professional standard.
Interpreters come from varied backgrounds. Some have studied interpreting and translating either in their country of origin or once they have arrived in Australia. Others have gained their skills less formally. VITS encourages them to undertake further education and training and they can apply to Victoria's Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenships for scholarships.
"It is not just about message transfer, it is also about how you can work with people from different backgrounds. Interpreters work to the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) codes of ethics and conduct. It is their role to provide accurate interpretation and not to explain or provide guidance during the conversation," says Lesko-Flach.
She grew up in Hungary, where she studied English, international relations and education, and worked on a European Commission- funded exchange program for young tradespeople. She spent five years working with Microsoft's training department in Ireland and then as a recruitment specialist and resource manager with multinational translation company Welocalize.
When she and her partner decided to move to Australia, she researched companies that were likely to use her skills. When she contacted VITS she discovered they were recruiting for the position she now holds.
The story Government: Translation services essential for business first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.
Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor
March 26, 2015
Filed under News
Those who become proficient in a second language typically produce higher scores and have greater cognitive development, a sense of cultural pluralism and an improved self-concept, according to The Global Language Project website.
However, being bilingual and having language proficiency are different.
Stephen Canfield, the chair of the foreign languages department, said those who are bilingual are usually comfortable and have an ease of switching back and forth between two languages, while having proficiency is being highly skilled in a language.
Aside from English, Chinese is the most used language in 2015; English is also one of the primary languages for business and science, Canfield said.
Canfield said having language proficiency is like having any other skill, and through learning a new language, it is possible to know about other cultures.
He said it is also a primary skill to get certain jobs.
One of the advantages to being proficient in a foreign language is the ability to be an interpreter, which is someone who not only translates verbatim what someone says, but also through actions.
Canfield said the government is the largest employer of foreign language speakers with up to 1,500 positions open for those who are language specific. Those within the military, Peace Corps, FBI and even Border Patrol hire those who know more languages.
Canfield, who knows French and Latin, said sometimes those who are proficient in languages will get a call from someone in the court house asking to help with interpretation, which he has done.
Nationally, enrollment in languages other than English have been increasing. Spanish and French have increased by 5 percent, Arabic by 46 percent, Korean by 19 percent and many more since 2006, according to the Modern Language Association 2010 press release.
“We want students to get at least to intermediate high if they don’t do study abroad, if they do study abroad, they need advanced low,” Canfield said.
Canfield is talking about the 2012 language proficiently guidelines from the American Council on the teaching of foreign languages, which ranges from novice low to distinguished.
However, because of Eastern’s declining enrollment, courses in Chinese, Russian and Italian have not been taught at the university. Canfield said not having those courses has been a way to cut back on costs because of not being able to have the proper instructors for these courses.
Roberto Hodge can be reached 581-2812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
My teacher’s idea was that it didn’t really matter how we (my classmates and I) pronounced English words so long as we knew how to spell them correctly. PHOTO | FILE
When the problem of writing ‘Am’ instead of ‘I’m’ started appearing in our writing, I thought it was a passing fad until I received a letter from the Ministry of Education, approximately five years ago, in which a senior officer started his letter to me with the words, ‘Am writing to request you…’
Over the last 10 years, I have been able to establish year after year with diagnostic tests for beginners in my speech classes that a significant number of new entrants to our university programmes neither make nor hear (in other people’s speech) the vowel distinctions in word-pairs such as ‘bit/beat’, ‘pen/pain’, ‘rod/road’, ‘pull/pool’, and ‘law/low’.
By OKOTH OKOMBO
More by this Author
My Standard-Six English teacher (name withheld) was a very practical man, just like the Kisii University student who told me to stop bothering Kenyan English language speakers about matters of pronunciation.
My teacher’s idea was that it didn’t really matter how we (my classmates and I) pronounced English words so long as we knew how to spell them correctly.
“When you write ‘sould’ (should),” he would tell us, “make sure that you place the letter ‘h’ immediately after ‘s’.” Equipped with that piece of wisdom, we always spelled the word ‘should’ correctly in spite of our deviant pronunciation habits.
I really respect such practical people, but my Standard Seven English teacher, Mr Sospeter Ndhune, a proud alumnus of the then Kabianga Teachers’ Training College, who also happened to be the headmaster of our school, could not stomach the idea that we could leave his school, Kaswanga DEB (District Education Board) Primary and Intermediate School, in those days the pride of Rusinga Island, and proceed to a secondary school still saying things like ‘sould’ (should), ‘sall’ (shall), ‘fis’ (fish), and many more of such oddities, testimonies of the freedom of expression that we had enjoyed before our encounter with the headmaster in the capacity of a class teacher.
Mr Ndhune’s first line of action was to put us through the ordeal of reciting his most popular tongue-twister: “She sells sea shells at the sea shore.”
The stakes were high for us. Apart from the imminent danger of missing lunch if we couldn’t master the tongue-twister, there was the nastier option of having to deal with Mr Ndhune’s other twister, a brownish plant called ‘omen’ in Dholuo, that grew by twisting up the stem and branches of a bigger plant, usually a euphorbia tree in the neighbourhood of our school.
His philosophy of education was that, if a lesson could not be drilled into pupils’ heads through their ears, it had to be drilled in through their back sides, which is where ‘omen’ came in handy for Mr Ndhune during his pronunciation drills.
I am aware of the controversies surrounding Mr Ndhune’s approach to the teaching not only of the English language, but also of other subjects, especially mathematics, which usually created more opportunity for the use of ‘omen’.
The only thing I am sure of is that it worked in our situation.
That is why I think of Mr Ndhune when I see people starting their letters by writing things such as ‘Am writing to find out from you...,’ without realising that ‘am’ is a verb, a form of the verb ‘to be’, which means that such a sentence does not have a subject preceding the verb. The story of this deviant expression is quite interesting to me.
Somewhere in our national history, Kenyans started pronouncing ‘I’m’, the short form of ‘I am’, comparable to ‘you’re’, ‘he’s’, ‘we’re et cetera, as ‘am’.
It did not take a long time before expressions like ‘I’m writing’ became ‘Am writing’ because of this mix-up in pronunciation. In a sense, it was an understandable development arising from the fact that similar distinctions in pairs such as ‘let/late’, ‘cot/coat’, ‘pepper/paper’ et cetera were fast disappearing in the spoken English of most Kenyans.
When the problem of writing ‘Am’ instead of ‘I’m’ started appearing in our writing, I thought it was a passing fad until I received a letter from the Ministry of Education, approximately five years ago, in which a senior officer started his letter to me with the words, ‘Am writing to request you…’
I discussed it with some of my speech students and expressed the hope that the problem would disappear. As we all know today, it did not disappear. More and more people picked it up and today, it looks like the normal practice in our written, let alone spoken, English.
By the look of things, the problem is getting bigger and bigger. By some kind of analogy, writers have begun using expressions such as ‘would like’, ‘had asked’ et cetera as short forms instead of ‘I would like’, ‘I had asked’ and other similar expressions whose conventional short forms, for example, ‘I’d like’, ‘I’d asked’ et cetera, are fast disappearing in our speech and writing.
Those, like the Kisii University student, who believe that pronunciation is not important, should at least have the compromising attitude of my Standard Six teacher and insist on making a clear distinction between speech and writing.
The point is that speech is supported by many contextual features. Thus, for example, when students come out of an examination room marvelling at the difficult ‘pepper’, we understand that they are talking about a ‘paper’ because it is unlikely that they would have dealt with ‘pepper’ in an examination room.
Unfortunately, writing reduces the number of contextual features that guide receivers of our written messages.
Moreover, the delayed response-time in writing and the usual distance between the writer and the reader do not allow us to quickly seek clarification by asking ‘What do you mean?’ as we often do in oral communication.
The support we get from context in speech or writing deals with only one problem in our communication, that of intelligibility, i.e. how well we are understood by our listeners or readers.
That leaves out the question of acceptability, that is, the impression we make in the mind of our listener or reader in terms of whether or not we are good enough for them to take seriously.
When our speech or writing has glaring deviant forms, it passes a negative unspoken message about us even if our intended message has been received.
The reader or listener may get the impression that we are poorly educated, not properly socialised, and/or culturally unexposed.
All such considerations may not prevent us from being understood, but they reduce our acceptability in the eyes of the listener or reader, with the consequence that the listener or reader may reject what we have said because of their negative attitude towards us.
No doubt such negative attitudes affect our opportunities in life.
This means that the way we speak or write may reduce or increase our chances of success in our pursuits in life whether such pursuits do or do not have a direct relationship with language.
As the American essayist Norman Cousins famously said: “The first purpose of education is to enable a person to speak clearly and confidently.”
Speaking clearly and confidently requires a good command of the various components of a language, including its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Those who believe that writing is more important than speech, in whatever interpretation of that claim, must remember that weaknesses in speech get reflected in our writing.
Thus, for example, Kenyans who write such incorrect expressions as “This issues...,” “Guests took their sits,” and “They resulted to a life of little luxury” do so because in their speech they no longer make the difference between ‘this’ and ‘these’, ‘sit’ and ‘seat’, and ‘result’ and ‘resort’.
Over the last 10 years, I have been able to establish year after year with diagnostic tests for beginners in my speech classes that a significant number of new entrants to our university programmes neither make nor hear (in other people’s speech) the vowel distinctions in word-pairs such as ‘bit/beat’, ‘pen/pain’, ‘rod/road’, ‘pull/pool’, and ‘law/low’.
If this becomes a major defining characteristic of Kenyan English, then we must prepare ourselves for the shock of being asked to speak slowly when we operate on international platforms as we heard again and again in some of the exchanges that took place when our lawyers participated in the ICC proceedings.
Having too many homophones (words that sound alike) in your speech is like having too many bumps on your road. You cannot drive at a comfortable speed.
Barbie Parker is a rock star sign language interpreter. When a guitarist starts a riff, Parker plays air guitar. When the drummer starts pounding, she claps to the beat. Her body moves to the rhythm of the songs as she signs lyrics with the same attitude as the musicians, from Bob Dylan to Lady Gaga.
When Parker’s audience — those who are deaf and hard of hearing — see her interpretations for the first time, they often say “Now I understand why people like music.” As an interpreter, Parker gives the deaf community an opportunity to appreciate an experience that for so long was only accessible to those who could hear.
Quality interpreting enables a deaf audience to experience and participate in public events usually only accessible for hearing individuals. But poor interpreting can alienate viewers, and create even bigger gaps in communication.
Sign language interpreter Barbie Parker performs Breaks€ by the Black Keys at Lalapalooza in 2010. Interpretations by Parker and her team at LotuSIGN give the deaf community access to music in a completely new way. “Some of the things that we hear from people who haven’t seen our type of interpretation are, ‘Wow, you made metal music look like metal,’ or ‘I didn’€™t understand music until I saw this.'” Video by YouTube user bubbakja
When deaf viewers watched Nelson Mandela’s memorial last week and realized the sign language interpreter was making gestures that were little more than gibberish, they were outraged. Word of the botched event spread throughout the deaf community over social media networks. Thamsanqa Jantjie, the infamous “fake interpreter” had stolen a moment in history from those who could not hear.
“The fact that there is someone willing to pose as an interpreter is horrendous,” Melanie Metzger, an interpreter practitioner, said in a phone interview with PBS NewsHour. “The international deaf community is losing out the opportunity to participate in this historic event.”
In a joint statement released Thursday, the World Federation of the Deaf and the World Association for Sign Language Interpreters did not sugar-coat. They said that Jantjie “did not know (South African Sign Language) or any sign language at all.”
The task of interpreting the numerous speakers at Mandela’s memorial service would have been a challenge for even the most skilled sign language interpreter.
Sign languages vary from country to country, with more than 200 used worldwide. While most use the hands, face and space around the body for grammatical purposes, the vocabulary, grammar and syntax will depend upon how deaf people in a specific region have historically communicated. The historical roots for spoken languages are not necessarily the same for a country’s sign language. For example, Metzger said that American Sign Language has more in common with French Sign Language than with British Sign Language, even though British and American English, when spoken, are more or less the same.
But the ability to sign is only one of the many skills needed to be considered a competent interpreter. Metzger, a professor and chair of the interpretation department at Gallaudet University, said the challenge of interpretation lies in learning how the mind takes in one language, reformulates it, and simultaneously expresses the meaning into another language. Within seconds, a qualified interpreter conveys both what is said and how a speaker says it.
“It is very cognitively tasking,” Metzger said.
A sign language interpreter must be aware of how his or her surroundings can affect their interpretation. The space around their body can be critical to express the meaning of a speech. Sign language interpreters even have to be careful about how they dress. Metzger said that interpreters should wear solid-color clothing that contrasts with their skin color, so that their hands can be easily seen.
And the style of interpretation can radically change based on the event and audience. Parker signed in a completely different manner for President Obama’s inaugural address at the National Mall in Washington compared to how she performed at a Jack White concert at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago.
“The dress is different, the affect, the way we will sign is different,” Parker said as she described how she and her team at LotuSIGN approach public ceremonies, such as the 57th Inauguration in January. “It may seem more animated, but it will also be more reserved because of the nature of the event … We stand tall. The gestures are larger, more crisp, almost more majestic and impactful.”
Before an interpretation, Parker will prepare as much as possible, by reviewing any texts provided, watching YouTube videos of the speaker to study their rhetoric and style of delivery and to understand their perspective on issues. Being a good sign language interpreter heavily depends on being equally literate in a spoken language as a sign language. And not any interpreter can provide services for every signer. Parker, for instance, specializes in interpreting American English into American Sign Language.
The job of an interpreter is to be a cultural mediator, to preserve the spirit and content of the hearing speaker’s words.“It is never about the interpreter,” Parker said, “it is always about the speaker and the client.”
Watch Independent Television News report on Jantjie to see some of the signs he made during speeches by South African President Jacob Zuma and U.S. President Barack Obama. Video by ITN
Unlike Parker, who has been praised for the effectiveness of her interpretations, Jantjie has stood out for his inability to communicate to deaf audiences. The Deaf Federation of South Africa had already filed complaints with the governing African National Congress Party about Jantjie’s incorrect interpretations at other events, including ones where President Jacob Zuma had spoken, The Associated Press reported. Bruno Druchen, the federation’s national director, said that the ANC never responded to their formal complaint, which recommended that Jantjie complete a five-year course in interpretation.
Parker was adamant that interpreters should only take on jobs that they know they can interpret with proper knowledge of the content and the event and can maintain complete neutrality. “Certification can document competence,” Parker said, “but the most important thing for interpretation is commitment to the deaf culture and to only interpret where you think you are qualified.”
When the affect, the gestures or the style of movement don’t match that of a speaker, deaf people can tell. Larry Gray, who is deaf and an assistant professor of American Sign Language & Interpretation at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Md., explained that humor, or lack thereof, is often an early sign that a deaf community is lost in interpretation. He wrote in an email to PBS NewsHour, “Oftentimes, if Deaf people notice that hearing people in the audience are laughing because the speaker makes a joke or says something funny, and we’re not laughing, then we know that something is wrong.”
While neither Parker, Metzger or Gray have first-hand knowledge of the situation involving Jantjie, the event brought up serious issues that many deaf communities face in the U.S. and around the world. For Parker, the lack of equal access to knowledge for deaf people is still a consistent problem and cause for concern. “People who don’t have a voice are oppressed by people in power.”
Gray did not want to minimize the oppressive experiences of deaf people, but similar to almost all professions, there are interpreters, he noted, who become complacent or do not proactively try to improve their interpreting skills. Then, there are those who he says are “grossly incompetent.”
“In the case of the Mandela’s memorial service, because the imposter accepted an assignment he was not qualified nor competent to fulfill,” Gray wrote, “in this extreme situation, I would classify (this as) oppression.”
Parker said that the unfortunate circumstances that led to the misinterpretation at the Mandela memorial could have been easily avoided if members of the deaf community had been included in the vetting process for an interpreter.
“Deaf people should have been involved especially for events of this magnitude,” Gray wrote, in agreement with Parker. “In addition, there are additional resources such as Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and World Federation of the Deaf.”
“I believe that education and collaboration are necessary. For example, those who hire interpreters, but do not know or understand the process and impact, would generally say, ‘Do you know sign language?’ and hire upon confirmation. It is more than knowing sign language.”
The South African government has yet to say who was responsible for hiring Jantjie, but Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile formally apologized to the deaf community on Friday for any offense suffered as a result of Jantjie’s flawed interpretations.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—As advocates for elders and people with disabilities anticipate President Obama’s choice of a new Social Security Commissioner, a group of us from the Strengthening Social Security Coalition presented our recommendations at a briefing on Capitol Hill last week calling for changes to improve the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) ability to serve large numbers of the program’s most vulnerable beneficiaries. That includes lower-income individuals, especially immigrants and those from ethnic groups.
The Social Security Coalition includes over 320 national and state organizations representing more than 50 million Americans. Our “Transition Report for a New Social Security Commissioner” covers a range of concerns from the agency’s overloaded staff to SSA’s need for enhanced research on retirement and disability.
Almost 2 Million Elders
One factor underlying all of these issues in our increasingly diverse population is the need for greater access to assistance for individuals with limited English proficiency. The organization I direct, the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC), whose staff helped coauthor the new report, has shown, that those struggling to understand English face serious obstacles in learning about and gaining access to government programs, such as Social Security.
The 2010 U.S. Census contains some startling statistics related to the number of older adults who are not proficient in English. More than one in seven (14.2 percent) of our nation’s 43 million adults 65-plus speak a language other than English at home. Among them, almost 2 million elders are considered Limited English Proficient (LEP), a term the federal government has standardized to refer to those who speak English less than “very well.”
The new report, developed with a range of organizations, such as the National Women’s Law Center, the Diverse Elders Coalition and Latinos for Secure Retirement, states, “It is essential that SSA communicate with individuals in a language in which they are proficient and that up-to-date informational material on benefits be provided in a variety of different languages.”
Among those applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—people requesting a small boost in their benefits because they have extremely low-incomes, a third seek this additional income support based on old age. Previous analysis by SSA showed that almost four in 10 of those older adults asked the agency to receive assistance in a language other than English.
Early Language-Access Leader
Previously, SSA was an early leader in language access among federal government agencies. For example, after SSA installed point-of-entry kiosks in its local field offices some years ago, advocates pointed out that they were generally working in English only. SSA instructed local offices to make them available in several of the most commonly spoken languages.
In fact, SSA has a very good policy of providing interpreters. It requires its offices to provide an interpreter at no charge on request and prohibits the use of children as interpreters. And the agency requires the same policy for state agencies performing disability determinations (DDSs).
However, as our report states, “At present, implementation is spotty, with advocates reporting that in many SSA offices LEP individuals are still asked to bring their own interpreters.”
Simply put, it is crucial that SSA communicate with individuals in a language they understand. And it needs to do more to ensure that its offices apply these regulations uniformly.
That means the administration needs to require more resources for training SSA personnel on the interpreter policy—including the additional time necessary to interview an individual with an interpreter.
The report also calls on the new commissioner, when appointed, to implement a systems change to fully implement SSA’s interpreter policy. Currently, SSA asks people for their language preference when they apply for benefits. But if the person doesn’t answer or the reply isn’t clear, the program defaults to English. SSA needs to eliminate the English default option.
In addition, SSA has increasingly come to rely on the use of telephone interpreter services as a primary means of serving LEP individuals. Although these are useful for simpler requests, telephone interpreter services should not be permitted for handling more complex matters and certainly not for administrative hearings or conferences.
The report recommends, “The best and most economical means of serving LEP individuals is through the use of bilingual SSA employees.” We believe that before picking up the telephone to call a general interpreters’ service, agency offices should look for an interpretation-trained SSA employee, someone who knows the program, is more apt to be more sensitive to the person’s needs and understands the confidentiality requirements.
Serving Immigrant Communities
As we concluded in the report, “The new commissioner needs to make a concerted effort, as hiring opportunities arise, to hire more bilingual staff for assignment to field offices,” particularly where there is a high level of language access needs, such as newer immigrant communities.
Currently, SSA provides its notices in English. And it offers only some, but not all, in Spanish. The agency provides none of its notices in any other language. To address this, SSA needs to provide all notices in Spanish and in other major languages spoken by recipients of its programs. It also needs to do a better job of identifying the language spoken by each of the people it serves.
Even though SSA has a number of publications on its program benefits in 16 different languages, these are only available online and are no longer stocked in local Social Security offices. A majority of people over age 65, especially those with low-incomes and those with limited English proficient, still do not have consistent Internet access—in any language—including African-American households.
Clearly, SSA policy needs to be rethought and informational publications should be made available to those who visit local Social Security offices.
The ability for all those who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits to understand their benefits and their rights is essential. With the appointment of a new Social Security commissioner, NSCLC and other advocates believe these and other fixes can and should happen.
Paul Nathanson directs the National Senior Citizens Law Center. He co-chairs the Strengthening Social Security Coalition’s Adequacy of Benefits Committee and NSCLC staff contributed to new report.
The U.S. Department of Justices says that it has closed its review of the Hawaii Judiciary’s Language Access Program “following the department’s successful provision of technical assistance to the Hawaii Judiciary.”
That’s according to a press release issued Tuesday.
The DOJ had received complaints about the court system’s provision of language services to what are known as “limited English proficient” or LEP individuals in state court proceedings and operations.
Allegations were made regarding violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires recipients of federal financial assistance such as courts “to provide competent language services free of charge to LEP individuals in court proceedings and operations.”
A Hilo courtroom.
PF Bentley/Civil Beat
It’s estimated that almost 13 percent of Hawaii’s population have limited English proficiency.
“I commend the Hawaii Judiciary for its proactive efforts to provide all communities with equal access to justice regardless of the language they speak,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “The results we are seeing in Hawaii are a testament to what collaboration and cooperation can achieve. Hawaii knows its work is not done, and we welcome the opportunity to continue to provide assistance whenever needed.”
The judiciary’s accomplishments include:
Issuing policy stating that all LEP individuals are to be provided “competent court interpretation free of charge in court proceedings, and that language services would also be provided for other court operations.”
Implementing an awareness campaign “to increase the public’s knowledge on how to access the court’s language services, including the creation of multilingual outreach materials in hard copy and on the web.”
Creating a language assistance complaint system.
Of the many battles Ukraine and Russia are fighting, an argument about whether to call the $3 billion Kiev owes Moscow at the end of this year “official” or “private” debt may seem insignificant.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (R) talks with with Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
In fact, says Anders Åslund, a Russia expert and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the verbal skirmish highlights a fundamental problem: Ukraine needs far more cash than Western countries have currently promised to keep the conflict-ridden economy afloat.
“It’s under-funded,” said Mr. Åslund. Even though the International Monetary Fund and other creditors just boosted their emergency bailout financing, Mr. Åslund said he expects Europe and the U.S. will have to contribute at least another $10 billion.
Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov on Friday declared the $3 billion in eurobonds “official” debt. Ukraine’s finance minister, Natalie Jaresko, has said it could be classified as privately-held debt and included as part of a restructuring Kiev is negotiating. She says it’s unclear exactly who holds that debt and if the Russian government has sold some of its holdings.
If the debt is deemed “official” by the IMF, it could nix future payouts from the fund’s $17.5 billion emergency bailout. If Ukraine defaults on the Russian debt when it comes due in December, then IMF rules would technically prevent the fund from lending any more to Kiev.
The classification also could complicate Kiev’s debt restructuring. The IMF is requiring Ukraine to secure $15 billion in debt relief, including $5 billion this year, before it hands out any more emergency cash. Russia, calling the Ukraine debt it holds official, indicated it won’t include the $3 billion debt as part of the restructuring. That would require private creditors to bear a bigger share of the debt-relief burden, which could scupper the restructuring’s chances.
The IMF itself has yet to sort it out. IMF spokesman William Murray early Thursday said “that’s official debt” in response to reporters’ questions. Then, late Thursday evening, Mr. Murray said in an emailed statement, “No determination has been made by the Fund as to the status of this claim.”
Mr. Åslund said officials within the fund are divided themselves, with legal counsel backing the debt held by Russia’s sovereign wealth fund as official and others saying it should be considered private.
It wouldn’t be the first time the fund has used technical arguments to avoid violating its policy against lending into arrears — financing countries that have past-due obligations to government creditors. The IMF categorized overdue obligations owed by Ukraine’s Naftogaz to Moscow as corporate debt even though the energy supplier is 100% state-owned and propped up by Kiev’s budget.
In this case, it’s likely that the IMF, like Ukraine’s Western creditors, is waiting to see how things play out. U.S. and European officials want to see whether restructuring talks are successful and how well Kiev lives up to promises to overhaul its economy and root out corruption before giving the country more cash.
“There is a chance that a majority of IMF shareholders might vote to flex the rules in this case about lending into arrears on official credits, when in this case the form of the credits extended is in dispute,” said Timothy Ash, an emerging-markets analyst at Standard Bank.
Meanwhile, Kiev is trying to prove the fund and other creditors aren’t throwing good money after bad. Mr. Åslund, an outspoken critic of Ukraine’s deeply-rooted corruption, said Kiev’s latest appointment of a top prosecutor is a “major, major” step forward for Kiev.
Orkney Islands Council is to receive £28,000 from the Scottish Government to support language learning.
Five local councils in the Highlands and Islands have been allocated £529,000 of £7.2 million announced by the Scottish Government.
The money can be invested in “local priorities:, which the Government says can include training for primary teachers, strategic planning and development or employing more language assistants.
In 2011, the Scottish Government made a commitment to introduce the model over two Parliaments – by 2020 – so every primary school pupil will start learning a second language in primary one and a third language at the latest in primary five.
This will bring Scotland into line with many other European countries where learning a second language starts in early primary school and learning three languages is common.
Sweden is already well known for its incredible gender equality and now, those who have been pushing for gender neutrality have got their wish. The Swedish language now has a gender-neutral pronoun, “hen.”
Back in July 2014, TheLocal.se reported that the Swedish Academy agreed to add “hen” to the new edition of the dictionary Svenska Akademiens ordlista, which will be published in April. The AFP reported again this week that “hen” will officially be added to the dictionary as one of 13,000 new words.
“For those who use the pronoun, it’s obviously a strength that it is now in the dictionary,” dictionary editor Sture Berg told the AFP.
“Hen” will join the other pronouns - “han” (he) and “hon” (she). There has actually been attempts to get it widely used dating back to the 1960s, but that didn’t work out. It was revived in the 2000s, as the transgender community in Sweden began using it.
As The Independent points out, the English language could use a “han.” It would certainly be helpful for anyone who doesn’t like using “it” to describe a person.
The Swedish Academy’s new dictionary hits stores on April 15.
By Chioma Gabriel
Stomach infrastructure, a new vocabulary quietly crept into our political dictionary in this dispensation.
The vocabulary crept into Nigeria's political lexicon after the Ekiti governorship election when voters were given gifts of bags of rice and other foodstuffs to vote in certain directions. Distributing foodstuff during campaigns in Nigeria did not start with the Ekiti election. It has been happening in many parts of the country but it was heightened during the Ekiti election.
Politicians have started handing over to Nigerians, the dividends of democracy in cash. The naira is becoming worthless and ordinary citizens are parading dollar notes, courtesy of politicians.
Nigeria appears to be sliding down to the dark days in roller skates. Men are beginning to live by appetite alone and nowadays, men celebrate being given fish to eat, as against being taught how to fish. Advocates of stomach infrastructure believe that government cannot be investing heavily on infrastructure when the stomach is empty. To them, both development and stomach upgrade could be done side by side.
After losing to Fayose with a wide margin in the last Ekiti gubernatorial election, the All Progressives Congress candidate and former Ekiti state governor, Kayode Fayemi accused Fayose of dwelling mostly on stomach infrastructure instead of focusing on infrastructural development and other people-oriented- programmes.
An Ekiti State University student displaying a bag of rice he got from Ayo Fayose
Political parties usually mobilize their members to sell their standard-bearers to the electorates and it is not an easy task to organize several meetings or mobilize people to attend their rallies/campaigns. The easiest way to gather these crowds for these events is through stomach infrastructure. Use what you have to get what you want appears to be the cache.
Hence during religious festivals and campaigns, politicians personally go about the city distributing bags of rice, chicken and physical cash.
During and after the last gubernatorial election in Ekiti state, the current governor, Ayodele Fayose personally distributed goodies to Ekiti people. Fayemi did same too.
Fayose reportedly distributed about 80,000 chickens, 100,000 bags of rice and cash gifts to the people of Ekiti State under the stomach infrastructure progamme of his administration for the last Christmas celebration.
The national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Tinubu also personally distributed stomach infrastructure to Lagos residents during the yuletide.
After Asiwaju Tinubu distributed his own funded by his NGO, it was perceived to have political undertones and the then PDP Secretary in Ekiti state, Dr Tope Aluko accused him of copying Fayose's stomach infrastructure initiative. According to Aluko,
"Tinubu distributed 2,000 bags of rice, vegetable oil, sugar and little cash to people from various parts of Lagos State. They abused us for providing immediate succour for our people. They described stomach infrastructure as an insult to Ekiti people. They said it does not add value to the people; that it diminishes their self-esteem, self-worth and that it denigrates what politics ought to be about. "However, their party leader in Lagos has adopted the same concept of stomach infrastructure by personally sharing food items to people. After condemning the concept, isn't it rather too late that the APC people are just realising that poverty should be addressed by providing immediate succour?
"Poverty is poverty; it knows no religion and it has no tribal mark; and it affects everyone."
Dr Aluko further said that the Fayose-led government would never shy away from the people's welfare.
"Fayose will continue to run peoples government. He will continue to identify with the masses by putting food on their tables. Most importantly, Fayose will provide gainful employment for the youths and assist traders with soft loans so that they can feed themselves,"he said.
Many serving political office holders would reveal that every day of the week, from dawn to dusk, their political supporters, constituents and allies besiege their homes and offices for one support or the other. These people are not meeting their political representatives to advocate for bills to be passed on their communities need, but for their own personal needs. They demand for payment of school fees of their children, funds to help them pay their house rent, support towards the new bride they are about to take, assistance towards the funerals they need to organize and other mundane and personal requests.
I am often amazed by the English language and occasionally write about the strange twists and turns that we can find.
Words that are spelled the same but mean different things; words that are spelled differently but are pronounced the same; words that themselves have completely unrelated meanings.
There are other oddities like parking on the driveway and driving on the parkway.
Great writers are wordsmiths, fine tuning their work with exactly the right words and the right time. Me? I’m no wordsmith; I’m a word-tinkerer, often turning to a dictionary when I need help. I consider the dictionary editors to be my friends.
It’s amazing just how many times I can’t think of the right word or don’t even know what it should be. I guess that’s not unusual. I’ve read that experts say that there are more than one million words in the English language and the average educated person knows about 30,000.
Many of those one million, of course, are technical or related to a specific field.
But many, it seems, are almost useless.
There are big words used to impress. Pompous words, I guess, you’d call them.
Initialization and termination for start and end, for instance. Obfuscate for just what the big words do: make something unclear.
But other words are obscure, almost lost through history or lack of use. Today, in this column I’m more interested in those words that I never even heard of but have the simplest of meanings.
Here’s a little story, I’d like to pass along.
The bibliopole was adust and in megrims and feeling inutile. He wasn’t losel or lurdan or even pusillanimous, but he is caduceus despite lucubrating and being operose. He had perspicaciously bifurcated his business hoisting a braw gonfallon. However inchoate he faced animadversions for his recondite and superannuated modality. Had he niggled and avoided emendations to meliorate? Now, his business faces abscission and he will either begin medicancy or rusticate transportine to some dorp. If that happens, the kith and the quidnune will wonder what happened to his quondam business.
Yes, folks, it’s all English and filled with words that I never knew.
It says: The book seller was gloomy and in low spirits and feeling useless. He wasn’t worthless or lazy or even lacking in courage or resolution, but he is destined to fail despite working laboriously and being busy. He had carefully started his business hoisting an excellent banner. However, early he faced severe criticism for his obscure and obsolete style. Had he spent excessive time on inconsequential details (trifled) and avoided changes to make improvements? Now his business faces sudden termination and he will either begin begging or go to the country across the bridge to some hamlet. The friends and acquaintances and the gossips and busybodies will wonder what happened to his former business.
As I reached out to my friends in the dictionary world for this exercise, I discovered many other odd words which were new to me but represented words or phrases that were familiar to me.
Here’s a small sampling.
Sternutation is the act of sneezing.
Scrannel means thin or slight. Or squeaky or unmelodious.
Oppilate is the act of stopping up or obstructing.
Potation is the act of drinking. (I’m not going drinking, dear, I’m going potating.)
Labefaction is a shaking or weakening or a downfall.
A giglet is a giddy, playful girl.
A hobbledehoy is an awkward or clumsy youth.
Fillip is to strike with the nail of a finger snapped from the end of the thumb. (So, there really is a name for that.)
Foofaraw is a fuss or disturbance about very little.
A kickshaw is something showy but without much value.
There are many more, but I choose to abscission this column with the hopes that you won’t find it a foofaraw or a kickshaw.
L'Académie suédoise a annoncé mardi que "Hen", le pronom personnel neutre, ni masculin, ni féminin, allait définitivement faire son entrée dans le nouveau dictionnaire à paraître au mois d'avril.
Très avancée sur la question de l'égalité homme/femme et des genres, la Suède vient de nouveau de marquer une nouvelle étape dans sa volonté de ne plus faire du sexe des individus ce qui les définie. Comme dans tous les pays, la langue suédoise connait des évolutions qui oblige son dictionnaire à s'adapter à de nouveaux termes. Mardi, l'Académie a donc annoncé l'entrée de 13 000 mots dans l'édition à paraître le mois prochain. Parmi eux, le pronom personnel "Hen" qui ne désigne ni un homme, ni une femme mais pas non plus un objet, juste un individu neutre. Un troisième genre, en somme.
S'il est seulement officiellement reconnu aujourd'hui, le terme "Hen" est loin d'être nouveau. Il a en effet créé dans les années 60, en plein mouvement féministe, alors que le pronom masculin, un peu comme en français, était employé d'office lorsque le sexe de la personne était inconnu. Au fil des années, son usage était devenu de plus en plus rare mais alors que le débat sur le genre a été relancé dans les années 2000, il a fait son grand retour dans les bouches des Suédois mais aussi dans les médias, la littérature, les écoles et les textes officiels. "Pour ceux qui utilisent le pronom c'est évidemment une force qu'il entre dans le dictionnaire", s'est réjoui auprès de l'AFP Sture Berg, l'un des rédacteurs du dictionnaire.
Si l'expression "troisième genre" est souvent employée pour désigner les personnes transgenre, comme en Inde ou en Australie, "Hen" n'est pas réservé qu'à cette catégorie de la population. Il peut être utilisé pour évoquer quelqu'un dont on ignore le sexe ou bien si l'on estime que ce détail n'a pas d'importance.
Le pays de Pop, l'enfant sans sexe
Alors que la France était en plein faux débat sur la théorie du genre, la Suède a souvent été citée comme exemple pour ses enseignements visant à briser les stéréotypes autour des deux sexes, dès l'école, à l'initiative du gouvernement depuis la fin des années 90. Dans certains établissements expérimentaux, le "Hen" prévaut et les garçons comme les filles peuvent porter des jupes, des robes ou des pantalons, comme ils le souhaitent. Ces méthodes avaient d'ailleurs alimenté les rumeurs autour des ABCD de l'égalité, instaurés par le ministère de l'Education.
A cette époque, une histoire singulière avait également fait la Une de nombreux médias, celle de Pop, un enfant que les parents ont décidé d'élever "sans sexe". "Nous voulons que Pop grandisse librement, et non dans un moule d'un genre spécifique, avaient-ils alors expliqué au quotidien Svenska Dagbladet. C'est cruel de mettre au monde un enfant avec un timbre bleu ou rose sur le front. Aussi longtemps que le genre de Pop restera neutre, il ne sera pas influencé par la façon dont les gens traitent les garçons ou les filles."
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The Dictionary of Regional American English
The Dictionary of Regional American English (DARE) is 60,000-entry online dictionary that offers definitions, variant spellings, word origins, and variant pronunciations—but also shows where a word is used and lists synonyms for the same term from across the country. Easily cross-reference entries, locate linguistic trends on a map and more.
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Documentaries, educational videos, interviews, speeches, and newsreels in a collection with more than 48,200 video clips and 2,700 full-length videos.
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Mangaluru: Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala on Friday stressed the need for translation of southern regional language literary works, including Kannada, into Hindi so as to spread the rich literary heritage of these languages across the country.
He was speaking at the inauguration of southern and south western regional official language convention here. While Hindi unites the country, regional languages strengthen respective regions, he maintained. Congratulating the Union government for making continuing efforts to spread Hindi across the country, Mr. Vala noted that it did not mean the government is against regional languages. A healthy combination of the both would make strong India, he maintained.
A nation should have one flag, one emblem, one anthem and one language, Hindi perfectly fits as the national language, Mr. Vala said.
On the occasion, several Central government departments, organisations and employees were felicitated for their effort to spread Hindi in their official call.
Après avoir officialisé un système d'identification biométrique, Microsoft annonce le débarquement de Windows 10 dans 190 pays traduit en 111 langues.
D'après un article publié sur le blog de l’entreprise, le nouveau système d’exploitation sera disponible dans quelques mois sur desktop et terminaux mobiles avec son lot de nouveautés. Disponible via une mise à jour de Windows 7 et 8. Windows 10 sera accessible avec des mises à jour gratuites et traduit en cent onze langues. Sur le plan technique, les prouesses de Windows 10 seront réformées pour permettre un fonctionnement sur les ordinateurs les plus basiques. L'assistant vocal Cortana, déjà disponible sur les Windows Phones, sera désormais pris en compte pour les ordinateurs.
Un système d’authentification par empreinte digitale, reconnaissance faciale ou de l’iris, baptisé «Windows Hello», sont parmi les nouvelles fonctionnalités que compte ce nouveau bijou Microsoft. Par ailleurs, Windows 10 permettra de naviguer d’une application à une autre mais aussi de gérer plusieurs bureaux.
Pour faciliter le déploiement de Windows 10 sur les machines, Microsoft met l’accent sur différentes collaborations avec Lenovo, une marque de fabrique chinoise d’ordinateurs, de téléphones, stations de travail, serveurs informatiques et télévisions connectées, ou la société de sécurité internet Qihu 360.
Selon le site 20 minutes.fr, l’éditeur Tercent qui compte 800 millions d'utilisateurs en Chine collaborera aussi avec Microsoft pour les aider à assurer la compatibilité de leur application avec Windows 10.
Durly Émilia Gankama
Légendes et crédits photo :
Windows 10, le nouveau bijou de Microsoft
London’s diversity is what makes it one of the greatest cities in the world.
Geographer Oliver O’Brien has taken data from the census to produce this amazing map, showing London’s most popular 2nd languages according to tube station.
24 languages from across the world are represented in multiple colours, giving a fascinating insight into the capital’s geography.
The most popular 2nd language is Bengali, spoken by large communities in the East End, with serious competition from Turkish in the North East.
Portuguese rules in Willesden, French can be heard around Old Street and Urdu’s popular down in Tooting, while Chinese pops up several times, from Charing Cross to Lewisham.
For more information on the project, click here.
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Fiel a su fama de país pionero en igualdad de género, Suecia incorporará un pronombre personal neutro a su diccionario oficial. Además de utilizar el pronombre masculino han (él) y el femenino hon (ella), ahora los suecos también podrán usar hen, que no tiene género. La palabra fue introducida por el movimiento feminista hace algunas décadas y sirve para referirse a una persona sin necesidad de especificar si es hombre o mujer, ya sea por ser éste un dato que se desconoce o porque saberlo es simplemente irrelevante. Hen también se puede utilizar para hablar de las personas transexuales o aquellas que no se identifican con ninguno de los dos géneros.
El cambio es una de las principales novedades que incluye la última edición del SAOL, el diccionario de referencia de la lengua sueca. La obra, que saldrá publicada el próximo 15 de abril, es revisada cada 10 años por un equipo especializado de la Academia Sueca, el mismo organismo que cada año se encarga de entregar el premio Nobel de Literatura.Tras varios años de encendidas discusiones, el reconocimiento oficial de este pronombre supone una victoria para las feministas.
Inspiradas en el pronombre neutro hän, que existe desde hace siglos en la vecina Finlandia, las primeras en proponer su incorporación al vocabulario sueco fueron las asociaciones de mujeres. Corrían los años sesenta y lo sugerían como alternativa al predominio del pronombre masculino en situaciones que hacen referencia a hombres y mujeres por igual. Para sus defensoras, la fórmula neutra era una manera sencilla de promover la igualdad, evitando al mismo tiempo otras soluciones más engorrosas, como el uso de la expresión "él o ella" cuando no se sabe si el sujeto del que se habla es un hombre o una mujer.
Su difusión, sin embargo, nunca acabó de despegar y el término permaneció ligado a los círculos feministas, hasta que, con el inicio del nuevo milenio, la comunidad transexual lo volvió a apadrinar. En estos últimos años, ha ido divulgándose cada vez más en la sociedad, hasta el punto de que, en la actualidad, "aparece al menos una vez al día en los periódicos más importantes, en carteles de publicidad, libros de texto, blogs y foros de internet. Lo utilizan políticos, profesores de escuelas y universidades. Ha habido algún caso incluso en el ámbito de la Justicia. Pero, sobre todo, son los jóvenes los que más rápidamente lo están incorporando a su vocabulario", explica la especialista Karin Milles, de la Universidad de Södertörn. Su amplia generalización es de hecho lo que ha llevado a la Academia Sueca a incluirlo en su diccionario.