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Vacancies in this network: Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.
My octogenarian friend Mr Thomas, who would sooner part with his money than his library, had a strange dream. You might call it an intellectual dream. A creative one, even. It was exam time and a question paper to test English was being distributed. He was seated at his desk.
One of the questions presented the first six lines of a sonnet and the exercise for the student was as follows: write your own sonnet about this same theme but in such a way as to remind everyone of its origin. In your composition you were not free use even a single word from the given lines.
The second question was even more challenging. The printed passage showed a conversation between two illiterates. The exercise was to rewrite the passage in the language of educated people, while retaining the raw zing and punch of the original. One had to find ways to retain the uneducated, uncouth voices of the given passage.
Now does this remind anyone of the struggle a translator faces when she has to translocate jasmine from Coimbatore to Scotland? Even if it survived the shock of the transportation and looked the same, would it retain its heady fragrance? If it lost something would it gain something else? Perhaps size?
Fear not. I'm not going to write about opening paragraphs or hidden themes or even about how difficult it is to convey the unsaid. What I wish to share is how editors waterboard translators and their friends to arrive at the titles of Indian language works in English. I don’t know about others but I often get a hollow feeling before a project report is even prepared. “A working title would be….” is my way of stepping out of the orbit of an Earth-bound comet headed my way.
Scooping up a title like Danapani from Oriya (Gopinath Mohanty,1955 / Macmillans,1995) and carrying it carefully across a bog of different meanings waiting to suck you into failure is my first story for my readers. Bikram Das the translator and I had several discussions on snail-mail in the early nineties, encouraged by Manoj Das.
The original title of the novel is a colloquial Oriya phrase which literally means grain and water. The poignant phrase therefore implies one’s struggle: dana and pani standing for survival. The novel is about Balidatta, a young and ambitious clerk who claws and climbs his way up the ladder.
The setting is life in a small town and how the office of a private firm in it is run. It is about enduring corporate hierarchy and petty colleagues, about cringing and pleasing oppressive bosses even if it means collecting pig’s manure for their gardens or encouraging one’s wife to be accessible to influential men in the same company. Balidatta’s wife, Sarojini, changes from a modest housewife into a sophisticated outgoing society woman who uses her charms ruthlessly. The couple learn to succeed but lose their love for each other. So we titled the English translation The Survivor.
Pandavapuram (Malayalam) by Sethu? Vasaveshwaram (Tamil) by Krithika? Imaginary place-names, both, so we left them alone. Subarnalata (Bengali) by Ashapurna Debi? The name of the protagonist, so we left it untouched. Gendethimma (Kannada) by SriKishna Alanahalli? Likewise.
Jhini-Jhini Bini Chadariya
Then came Jhini-Jhini Bini Chadariya (1986), a Hindi novel about the weavers of Banaras by Abdul Bismillah, translated by Rashmi Govind for Macmillan in 1996. The phrase is from a poem by Kabir Das, and uses the metaphor of the loom and the process of weaving to represent the mystery of life.
A passage from the chapter 16 is full of music.
Mateen stopped for a while and began again. Khuta-khut…khuta-khut…khuta-khut…khuta-khut…the sound emanated from the loom. Softly at first, then in a rising crescendo, beginning on a low note, rising gently, finally reaching the highest note. Like a tabla player, who first taps the tabla to adjust its tautness, then tries it out for tone and finally begins the accompaniment to the song, so too, the cadence of music and design emerging from the texture of the sari fused with the consciousness of the artist till it vanished altogether.
Standing amidst the roar of traffic in Old Delhi, Jai Ratan insisted that we fit the word song into the title to match the music of the loom. So we arrived at The Song of the Loom.
We turn to Mahidhara Ramamohanarao’s Kollayigattitheynemi (Telugu, 1964), which became Swarajyam (translator: Mohan Prasad, 2012, OUP). The original title is a line from a famous song about Gandhiji, which can be translated to read, “What if he wore only a loincloth?” (1921) which was sung in full in a film called Malapilla (1938). Swept up by the strong wind of the freedom movement, the English title seemed wobbly.
So Mohan Prasad and I cast about for an alternative. Luckily the heroine’s name was Swarajyam, and the novel,with the struggle for Independence as its backdrop, was set in a part of Andhra which Gandhiji had actually visited; so when Mohan very respectfully asked Sri Mahidhara if we could change the title, he agreed.
Sarah Joseph’s Othappu (2003 / English translation 2009, OUP) was one of the most complicated title-translations I ever handled. The word is the colloquial equivalent for uthappu, a word peculiar to the Malayalam (Catholic) Bible and literally means to falter or stumble. Expanded, it means to lead someone astray.
The novel is about an ex-nun and a priest who is defrocked. Sarah Joseph subverts the traditional notion of othappu into a movement that leads the way to a new and humane vision. So the novel is both a scandal as well as a narration of a scandal.
Wrestling with ideas and equivalents, the translator Valson Thampu and I came up with a dozen suggestions, all of which were turned down by Jancy James, who wrote the introduction. Finally Sarah asked, “Can you think of something that includes the word scent?” Thus, The Scent of the Other Side.
Another wall was Asprushyaru (1992) by Vaidehi translated from Kannada by Susheela Punitha (OUP, 2012) as Vasudeva’s Family. The word actually means untouchable, but Vaidehi had a different take on the problem, based on touch and un-touch. To the question “Who is untouchable?” the book replies, “Everyone!”
How did the translator came up with the transcreation of the title? By pointing out that despite the inter- and intra-caste bitterness in the village, the head of the household (Vasudevaraya) strives to integrate his family and create the notion of vasudaiva kutumbukam (the world is one family) at home.
Between 2005 and 2011, I nursemaided a translation that Rukun Advani had commissioned Dilip Chitre to do but which, for various reasons, had withered on the vine. It was of Vishnu Bhatt Godse’s Mazha Pravas, written 27 years after the 1857 uprising but published only in 1907, which marked the golden jubilee of the mutiny.
Bhalchandra Nemade urged me to find a new translator for the 19th century Marathi classic because “every year that passes without a translation of this work is a loss for the community,” he wrote in an email.When Priya Adarkar tooks Dilip’s place and, halfway through, invited Shanta Gokhale to help her finish the project, there began a discussion on how best to translate the title.
It sounded simple enough: Mazha Pravas. My Journey. But perhaps not so simple. What sort of journey? It was part travelogue, part history, part autobiography. In 2011, HarperCollins had published an abridged version of the work translated by Mrinal Pande, titled 1857,The True Story. A year later Godse’s great-great-grand-daughter Sukhmini Roy published her translation through Rohan Prakashan, titled Travails of 1857.
My translators and I felt we had to say something more. So we used a descriptive Adventures of a Brahmin Priest: My Travels in the 1857 Rebellion. Because it was indeed about how the travels of a priest turned into an adventure, a patchwork of pujas, court patronage and miraculous escapes from fierce battles.
I’ll step back 15 years and close with one of the most poignant works I ever edited. In 1999-2000, Vanamala Vishwanatha and I worked for nearly a year on a very short novel titled Chandragiri Theeradalli (Kannada,1984) by Sara Aboobacker. An actual event, detailed in her autobiography, which gave the author the material for the novel – which is about illiteracy, patriarchy and a woman’s terrible suffering and loss – was appended to the novel.
The title could easily have been On the Banks of the Chandragiri, smoothly reflecting its Kannada source, but it sounded too literary and did not carry the political punch of the work. A dramatic alternative could have been Talaaq, given its startling and true thematic relevance. After many discussions between the author, the translator and myself, and to avoid controversies while staying close to the nuances of the novel, we arrived at Breaking Ties.
And so we go on, material, meaning and method jostling for creative space continuously as we copy, alter, transcend, borrow, decant and adapt to offer title signposts which, we hope, will attract browsers in a bookshop or on a screen, leading them into different word worlds.
Mini Krishnan edits a programme of literary translations for Oxford University Press, India.
We welcome your comments at email@example.com.
Bengali classic Deshe Bideshe , which provides an insight into Afghanistan’s history and politics, has now been published in a new English translation titled In a Land Far from Home .
First penned by Syed Mujtaba Ali in 1948, the memoir is the only published eyewitness account of that tumultuous period by a non-Afghan.
The travelogue chronicles with a keen eye and a wicked sense of humour, Mr. Ali’s days in Kabul, a journey from Peshawar to the Khyber Pass, narrated through a colourful cast of characters drawn from varied socio-political backgrounds. — PTI
Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones in a shift that’s expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.
The revised formula, scheduled to be released Tuesday, will favor websites that Google defines as “mobile-friendly.” Websites that don’t fit the description will be demoted in Google’s search results on smartphones while those meeting the criteria will be more likely to appear at the top of the rankings — a prized position that can translate into more visitors and money.
Although Google’s new formula won’t affect searches on desktop and laptop computers, it will have a huge influence on how and where people spend their money, given that more people are relying on their smartphones to compare products in stores and look for restaurants. That’s why Google’s new rating system is being billed by some search experts as “Mobile-geddon.”
“Some sites are going to be in for a big surprise when they find a drastic change in the amount of people visiting them from mobile devices,” said Itai Sadan, CEO of website-building service Duda.
It’s probably the most significant change that Google Inc. has ever made to its mobile search rankings, according to Matt McGee, editor-in-chief for Search Engine Land, a trade publication that follows every tweak that the company makes to its closely guarded algorithms.
Here are a few things to know about what’s happening and why Google is doing it.
Making mobile friends
To stay in Google’s good graces, websites must be designed so they load quickly on mobile devices. Content must also be easily accessible by scrolling up and down — without having to also swipe to the left or right. It also helps if all buttons for making purchases or taking other actions on the website can be easily seen and touched on smaller screens.
If a website has been designed only with PC users in mind, the graphics take longer to load on smartphones and the columns of text don’t all fit on the smaller screens, to the aggravation of someone trying to read it.
Google has been urging websites to cater to mobile device for years, mainly because that is where people are increasingly searching for information.
The number of mobile searches in the U.S. is rising by about 5 percent while inquiries on PCs are dipping slightly, according to research firm comScore Inc. In the final three months of last year, 29 percent of all U.S. search requests — about 18.5 billion — were made on mobile devices, comScore estimated. Google processes the bulk of searches — two-thirds in the U.S. and even more in many other countries.
• • •
Bracing for change
To minimize complaints, the company disclosed its plans nearly two months ago. It also created a step-by-step guide and a tool to test compliance with the new standards.
Google has faced uproar over past changes to its search formula. Two of the bigger revisions, done in 2011 and 2012, focused on an attempt to weed out misleading websites and other digital rubbish. Although that goal sounds reasonable, many websites still complained that Google’s changes unfairly demoted them in the rankings, making their content more difficult to find.
• • •
Still caught off guard
While most major merchants and big companies already have websites likely to meet Google’s mobile standard, the new formula threatens to hurt millions of small businesses that haven’t had the money or incentive to adapt their sites for smartphones.
“A lot of small sites haven’t really had a reason to be mobile friendly until now, and it’s not going to be easy for them to make the changes,” McGee said.
• • •
Burying helpful content
Google’s search formula weighs a variety of factors to determine the rankings of its results. One of the most important considerations has always been whether a site contains the most pertinent information sought by a search request.
But new pecking order in Google’s mobile search may relegate some sites to the back pages of the search results, even if their content is more relevant to a search request than other sites that happen to be easier to access on smartphones.
That will be an unfortunate consequence, but also justifiable because a person might not even bother to look at sites that take a long time to open or difficult to read on mobile devices, Gartner analyst Whit Andrews said.
“Availability is part of relevancy,” Andrews said. “A lot of people aren’t going to think something is relevant if they can’t get it to appear on their iPhone.”
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.
ABU DHABI // Residents are divided about whether Arabic culture in the country is being eroded, but stress the need to preserve the mother tongue of the nation.
Half of those polled feel that more needs to be done to preserve the culture, while half disagree or are unsure.
Emiratis are more likely (61 per cent) to notice the loss of the Arabic culture.
Hassan Mohammed Al Najjar believes a knowledge of Arab culture and heritage is diminishing.
“It is the new generation. Some people are too busy to implement the Arab heritage in their working life,” says the 30-year-old Emirati.
“In my opinion, it starts from the family. The younger generation should copy their grandfathers to protect our heritage.”
The younger generation are going “more mainstream”, says Mr Al Najjar.
“But that doesn’t mean we should follow the new trend and forget our past.”
Mohammed Khammas, an Emirati and the chief executive of Al Ahli Holding Group, says he does not think Arabic culture is being eroded. However, he believes more needs to be done to protect the language.
“We are losing the Arabic language slowly in our daily utilisation,” he says. “There are so many different nationalities and English is a common language.
“We have lost the attachment to the Arabic language and this needs to be tackled. In public schools there is focus on the Arabic language but not so much in private schools.”
Mr Khammas says that Al Ahli Publishing and Distribution is introducing popular international comic books like Marvel’s Ironman, Spider-Man, Hulk and The Avengers in Arabic.
“Through the popular comics translated into Arabic, we want to ensure that young Arabs will be able to connect to the pop-culture phenomena in a language of their own,” he says.
The National’s poll also found almost half of residents believe the UAE is heavily influenced by the West.
Mr Khammas says that influence should be looked upon as a positive.
“We have learnt to embrace people from different cultures,” he says. “Whether or not one follows Emirati traditions or to what extent a person follows them is their own choice.
“Indians and Emiratis have many similarities, and Asians are the most infused group here. I believe we need to open up more to people from the West and they to us.”
Dr Jane Bristol-Rhys reiterates the importance of Emirati children knowing their mother tongue.
“I think Arabic language is not being lost but is just being badly taught in the schools.”
She says Arabic culture, and specifically Emirati culture, is not eroding but changing.
“There are some people who don’t want any change. Yes there are western influences but that is true for most of the countries. My students are very proud to be Emirati.”
Those who believe Arabic culture is being eroded suggest that Emiratis and Arab expatriates need to practise their culture more to preserve it, run awareness programmes and promote Arabic culture through festivals.
Sumaya Al Breiki, a 23-year old Emirati, agrees there is a western influence in the UAE but says this is not necessarily a bad thing.
“We like it,” says the Abu Dhabi student. “This is a changing culture, but the change is for the better. It is important to remember some traditions, but not all.
“For one, I think everyone should have more freedom. Families should trust girls more and let them go out by themselves. We live in a safe country.”
The survey questioned 627 men and 429 women.
“While enjoyed by many, the UAE’s multicultural environment is heavily influenced by western civilisation, bringing with it the erosion of Arabic culture,” says Alaeddine Ghazouani of YouGov. “Unsurprisingly, Emiratis are more likely to think that Arabic culture is being eroded, but expatriates, too, agree on the challenges facing the Arabic culture in the UAE.”
A survey, commissioned by The National and carried out by YouGov, polled 1,056 Emiratis and expatriates on social integration in the UAE. Results showed that respondents believed expatriates had an obligation to gain a basic knowledge of Arabic culture and Islamic influence before relocating to the UAE. The survey showed that UAE residents are willing to mix with different nationalities however differences become apparent at the workplace where salary disparities exist depending on an employees nationality.
Most people recognize that the immigrants who are most likely to succeed in Canada are those who master either of the country’s official languages. A host of studies back up this conclusion.
But opinions range all over about how best to help newcomers take on the hard task of becoming fluent in English or French.
Should stricter language requirements be expected before immigrants are even approved entry to Canada?
Should language standards also be higher in Canada itself, including for roughly 300,000 foreign students?
Should government-sponsored second-language classes be free, or are there more effective ways to motivate?
Before facing these questions, however, we need to recognize it’s only “most” people who agree the immigrants most likely to integrate are those adept in English or French.
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Many people in Canada don’t think it’s important for immigrants to learn either language. They argue newcomers must be offered services in their mother tongue. Or they don’t believe immigrants, or anyone, should be expected to venture beyond their ethno-cultural group.
Albert Lo, head of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, said Canadians “don’t talk enough” about the importance of learning one of the country’s two official languages.
The 2011 census discovered more than one in five Canadians speak a language other than English or French at home. In Metro Vancouver, the portion of residents who don’t speak an official language at home rises to one of three. Most common are Chinese, Punjabi and Tagalog.
It’s been difficult, however, for demographers to determine the total number of such Canadians who cannot speak either French or English; even though the problem is believed most acute among seniors, stay-at-homes and those functioning in the underground economy.
Nevertheless, an internal 2012 Immigration report showed a rising proportion of people in Canada, 600,000, do not speak English or French even on the job.
And 400,000 of these admit they cannot carry on a conversation in either official language.
Albert Lo, head of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, said Canadians “don’t talk enough” about the importance of learning one of the country’s two official languages.
Based in Metro Vancouver, Lo is aware many new immigrants, particularly from East Asia, “simply don’t know” the country’s two official languages are English and French.
Some newcomers believe “Canada is a free country and therefore they can do what they want” and that includes not bothering to learn either English or French, said Lo, whose organization operates with a $24-million endowment.
Simon Fraser University’s Samir Gandesha appreciates the way Canada has become a multicultural society.
“(But) there are many on the left who, while perhaps not supporting segregation of communities, think that it is oppressive to encourage new Canadians to learn English. They insist on translation services, et cetera,” said Gandesha, director of SFU’s Institute for the Humanities.
“However, if you think about it for a minute, and you imagine a young woman from India whose marriage has been arranged by an Indo-Canadian man, if she doesn’t speak English or not very well, she may be terribly isolated, especially if she is being mistreated by her family and community. Regrettably this happens a lot.”
In contrast to those who argue that favouring English or French in Canada creates a “status hierarchy,” people on the front lines of language research believe it’s a no-brainer that the most economically and emotionally well-adjusted immigrants are those who learn the language of their chosen country.
An Immigration Canada report said newcomers who cannot work in English or French struggle with one-third lower earnings than other Canadians.
Another study by Montreal’s Institute for Research on Public Policy followed 25 Canadian Chinese and Slavic immigrants over seven years and discovered those who spoke Mandarin made “no significant progress” in learning English, while the Slavs excelled.
The researchers chalked up the problems of the Mandarin-speaking immigrants to the way they remained in language enclaves. Unlike the Slavs, they were too nervous or unwilling to engage in “small talk” with Canadians outside their language enclave.
Despite such clear conclusions, resistance remains strong to learning English or French.
Sikh community leader Balwant Sanghera is among those who worry many immigrants from India are now coming to Metro Vancouver and socializing, working and worshipping without learning English.
Waeel Lameen and Rupa Manabala say when they arrived in Metro Vancouver they initially felt more career and social pressure to learn Punjabi than English. They were able to learn English and thrive.
The Vancouver Sun recently interviewed two new immigrants to Metro Vancouver, Waeel Lameen and Rupa Manabala, who said, when they arrived, they felt far more career and social pressure to learn Punjabi than English.
Immigration researcher Ruud Koopmans, of the Free University of Amsterdam, has found that integration is slower in officially multicultural societies. Migrants to countries such as Canada end up with “reduced aptitudes in the national language,” Koopmans said, adding it reduces their willingness to pay taxes for universal social services.
With more than 100,000 foreign students studying in B.C., former University of B.C. president Stephen Toope acknowledged there are language tensions on Canadian campuses, where foreign students are becoming teaching assistants and often struggling to communicate.
People who immigrate to Canada as young children do well in education, however. While such children might speak an immigrant language at home, studies by Garnett Picot and Feng Hou, of the University of Victoria, have shown on average they score higher marks than homegrown students by the time they apply for university.
It’s generally immigrants who arrive in Canada after their teenage years who struggle most with language. That’s why the federal government recently began expecting most immigrants under age 65 to have modest proficiency in English or French. The age used to be 55.
Metro’s Vancouver’s Stephen Kaufmann, who operates an online language-learning centre called LingQ, cautions that most immigrants are only expected to show proficiency up to so-called “level four,” which he calls “very, very low.”
Language skills are the biggest indicator of success “for all Canadians, but especially for immigrants,” said Kaufmann, who has served in Canada’s diplomatic corps in East Asia.
When Kaufmann surveyed one of his classes of 16 Chinese immigrants about their perceived barriers to integration into Canada, the number-one problem they cited was they “didn’t realize how good their language abilities had to be.”
Kaufmann worries many immigrants are not sufficiently motivated to learn English or French. Part of the problem, he said, could be that most of the ESL courses offered by government-funded immigrant-support organizations in Canada are free.
“Language learning is about motivation and time spent with the new language,” he said. “It’s not about putting people in classrooms.” Kaufmann maintains motivation could be increased either by requiring more immigrants to pay for language programs; or by paying them to learn a language and monitoring their performance.
Hellen Phelan, who arrived in Vancouver from Mainland China 13 years ago, also believes motivation is key. She says newcomers to Canada have to get over their understandable “resistance to change” and find the determination to learn English or French.
Even though Phelan notes some immigrants expect services to be available in their mother tongue, the financial accounts manager said coming to Canada requires more than just enjoying the benefits of its educational institutions, “clean air” and “a bit more civilized culture.”
It can be uncomfortable to learn a new language, Phelen said. “But you have to get outside your own circles. You can’t be shy. You have to ask questions. You never know. You could get some new ideas.”
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WESTERLY — Margo Douglas spent part of her senior year teaching second-graders at State Street Elementary School basic sign language.
The 17-year-old Westerly High School student showed the youngsters how to sign the alphabet and colors because, she said, it’s a lost language.
“I always thought sign language was interesting,” Douglas said. “It’s a form of communication that’s so cool.”
Douglas is part of a small group of students at WHS who make up the American Sign Language Club. Its goal is to learn and teach the language while educating the district’s students and community members on the Deaf culture.
“There’s a misconception out there,” said Amanda Murphy, a co-adviser of the ASL Club. Murphy knows sign language and has a background in Deaf Studies from Boston University. “Many people see deafness as a disability, but it’s a cultural identity.”
Murphy has helped provide a foundation for the club — one that started two years ago from a senior project, struggled to keep members last year, but has gone through a resurgence this year.
The club also has a powerful advocate: freshman Thomas Chouinard, who has been deaf since birth.
“He provides a new cultural aspect to our student body,” Murphy said. “When Thomas came, students were seeing him sign and it sparked a general interest. He helped start the club up again. He said, ‘Let’s do this.’”
Chouinard, 16, chose to attend WHS rather than the Rhode Island School for the Deaf in Providence.
“I wanted to go to Westerly High School because I just wanted a public school education and experience,” he said, using Murphy as his interpreter one afternoon last week.
During the school day, he has an interpreter for his classes.
“I also wanted to see if there’s an interest in hearing people in American Sign Language. It’s about spreading a message,” he said.
Last Wednesday, Chouinard led a handful of members of the ASL Club in a game. The club meets weekly and learns sign language through mini-lessons.
Douglas said, “I knew nothing, no signs, at the beginning of the school year. I watched YouTube and other videos. I also relied on the ASL Club. I’ve learned so much.”
The club, whose purpose is to have fun and learn a new language, offers a variety of activities including vocabulary building and fluency.
“I saw that Thomas was on my bus, and I thought, ‘I need to know how to communicate with him,’” Rhiannon Martin, 15, a sophomore, said of the reason she joined the ASL Club. “A school is like a community. It’s a lot easier to communicate when you speak the same language.”
Murphy said the club, which draws anywhere from five to 10 members a week, is getting the word out about ASL through its Twitter account and posts about the Deaf culture. The club also attended the district’s annual International Night.
“I always admired people who knew sign language,” freshman Kayla Kennedy, 14, said. “The club has given me the opportunity to branch out in the Deaf community and submerge myself into the language.”
And slowly, more and more of their peers are learning American Sign Language. Throughout the day, every day, Chouinard said, students ask him how to sign words like “hi,” “thank you,” and “snow.”
“WHS is warm and accepting of Deaf people,” he said. “I’m comfortable here and there’s no judging. People try to gesture and communicate with me and that makes it comfortable.”
Smartphone app for translation from English to Luganda, Swahili, Langi..
Mr Awici's app which is free to users, hoping to grow user numbers and earn from Google adverts. PHOTO BY RACHEAL AJWANG
By Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi
Posted Sunday, April 19 2015 at 01:00
Safarini Translator works with Android and iPhone and, the app developer Ambrose Awici hopes, will soon be available to those using Windows phones. He also hopes to add other East African languages in due course.
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Smartphone app for translation from English to Luganda, Swahili, Langi..
The Baganda call it ente enkazi; it is called ng’ombe in Swahili; dyang in Lango; and ng’ombe or makia in Kikuyu.
All these options are just a few taps away on your smart phone if you want to know how a cow is called in those four East African languages, courtesy of a new mobile phone app developed by a Ugandan based in Norway. The app is called Safarini Translator.
On a phone powered by Android, one only needs to log on to Play Store and download the app. With moderate Internet speed, it should take at most five minutes to download. The app is 4.3mb.
“Cow” is just one of the 8,000 words that the app translates to the four languages. But, as the app developer, Mr Ambrose Awici, admits, the app is still very much a work in progress.
This is the case partly because the English language is very broad and keeps growing, adopting words all the time. According to the Global Language Monitor, there were an estimated 1,025,109 words in the English language as of January 1, 2014.
So whereas Mr Awici intends to keep adding new words to the app, his cardinal objective is to capture the most important words in order to facilitate functional use of the languages involved and not necessarily to create language experts.
Having studied computer engineering at Kyambogo University, Mr Awici moved to Norway eight years ago, where he did a two-year course in 3D Animation.
He has since married and settled there and hopes to be elected full councillor later this year. He is currently deputy councillor in a locality just outside Oslo.
Married to a non-Ugandan, Mr Awici knows a bit about the need for one’s partner to be able to easily look up words in their partner’s language. “It can help you surprise your partner in a good way,” he says.
He hopes that the app will also help children of East Africans who live in the Diaspora to learn their mother tongues, in addition to tourists, expatriates and other foreigners who for some reason or other may take interest in East African languages.
“The children in the Diaspora need this app because if you don’t bring them the language on the phone or tablet, they won’t look for a book (to learn it),” Mr Awici says, “After all, books are phasing out.”
Safarini Translator works with Android and iPhone and, Mr Awici hopes, will soon be available to those using Windows phones. He also hopes to add other East African languages in due course, subject to the project being able to make money.
Mr Awici started out with what he thought were the 5,000 most commonly used words in the English language, but the number of words rose to more than 8,000 when the different tenses of some of the original 5,000 words were catered for.
He worked with translators of the different languages and used dictionaries where they were available, like in the case of Kikuyu, to come up with translations which were as close as possible to the English word in question. For the case of the Langi, he got help from the Lango Language Board.
The only hitch, he says, is financing. Mr Awici recently started an IT company, Neshorn Technologies AS, under which he has developed the app. He has to pool his own resources to finance the development of the app, he says, with the help of friends.
ENDANGERED LANGUAGES IN NEW YORK CITY AND BEYOND
January 29 – April 19, 2015
There are nine different words for the color blue in the Spanish Maya dictionary, but just three Spanish translations, leaving six [blue] butterflies that can be seen only by the Maya, proving that when a language dies six butterflies disappear from the consciousness of the earth.
Opening on January 29th at the City Lore Gallery on the Lower East Side, the new exhibition, Mother Tongues: Endangered Languages in NYC and Beyond, explores NYC as a living language lab where there are more spoken and endangered languages than anywhere else in the world.
The way we speak defines who we are. Whether we speak with a New York City accent or an accent from the country where we were born, or in another language, we contribute to the symphony of linguistic diversity that defines New York City. By the end of this century, over half of the world’s languages will be lost. It has been estimated that over 800 languages are spoken in New York, and 100 are endangered. With the loss of a language comes a loss of culture, a way of thinking and a way of life. This exhibit explores endangered languages spoken in New York, and offers a call to action to conserve linguistic diversity in this global city and around the world.
Mother Tongues offers audiences a unique opportunity to meet and learn about New York City’s remarkably diverse linguistic communities. Here visitors can engage with the Language Laboratory and Meet a Speaker—interactive mixed media booths that showcase individual speakers of endangered languages. From the decline of the New York accent to the wealth of history and tradition behind a single, resonant word, Mother Tonguestakes us on a journey through the endangered linguistic diversity of New York City and the world.
In big cities, and indeed in language border regions, it is particularly common for people to use more than one language in a single statement in their everyday lives. What significance does this have in specific cases? And is such multilingual practice really as “chaotic” as people often assume? Or is not linguistic mixing in fact a quite “normal” phenomenon?
Multilingualism is expressed in a very wide variety of ways in everyday life: sometimes speakers switch back and forth between their languages, sometimes they mix them. The use of the official national language or of a lingua franca such as English plays a particularly important role. For most speakers, these are foreign languages they have mastered to a greater or lesser extent, often interspersed with elements from other languages: essentially, in other words, they are “hybrid contact varieties”.
Whether a speaker in everyday life will or can use more than one language will depend on the linguistic skills of those taking part in the conversation (on their “language profiles”) (Mondada 2001, Pekarek Doehler 2005), as well as on social norms. In situations in which it is appropriate to use only one language, multilingual speakers must temporarily ignore all their other resources. The choice of language amongst multilinguals is more flexible, speakers being able to switch from one language to another.
In all of these cases the key is to make the most of the available possibilities, to be creative and to play, as it were, with one’s linguistic skills. This also involves taking certain risks (Lüdi, Py 1986: 63–68): especially when multilingual conversation partners do not use forms prefabricated in their memories but depart from traditional paths to explore innovative new forms of expression and use “mixed languages”.
In extreme situations, this can result in dialogues such as this exchange between a Swiss booking clerk and a Brazilian customer at a railway ticket office:
Customer =<duos passagem para Freiburg deutsch>.
Clerk Freiburg Deutschland jä okey. ((lange Pause))
voilà, si vous faire la carte à la machine? oui. (3) va bene.
Clerk voilà. il prossimo treno (.) binario cinco hm? dodici diciotto.
Customer merci. obrigado.
Clerk bitteschön. service
Customer obrigado (h)
Clerk molto grazio. ((sic))
THE “LINGUISTIC MARKET”
The prescriptive standardized use of language stipulated in grammar books and taught in schools is the opposite of such language mixing. In many cases, it is used to “separate the wheat from the chaff”, that is to say to distinguish “simple” working-class people, including immigrants, from a country’s elite classes. The concept of “language cultivation”, based on the idea of there being a “correct” and “proper” use of language, dates all the way back to the seventeenth century in Germany (cf. Admonition to the Germans. Of German Language Cultivation by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz). Even if the idea of “language cultivation” has a somewhat mythical character, it is used by educated speakers not least to prove that they belong as a matter of course to the culturally dominant stratum. Members of other strata use it to express their desire to advance socially.
The sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, when referring to societies in which people use language to vie for recognition and participation, talks of a “linguistic market” in which the most highly prized language variety functions as the “legitimate language” (Bourdieu, 1982): the one tacitly acknowledged as the best and most valuable by all members of a language community. This applies even – and indeed especially – to those who have mastered their own either incompletely or not at all. Within a space characterized by dialects, sociolects, registers and mixed languages, the “legitimate language” is thus regarded not as one variety among others but as the language per se.
Within the framework of such models, the language used by members of lower social strata is seen as deficient (Bernstein 1971). Although this simplified perception was not even upheld for long by Bernstein himself, it has persistently remained part of the general public’s view. This results in unrealistically high benchmarks being applied to both languages spoken by multilingual immigrants and their children; accordingly, little value is attached to their individual multilingualism in everyday life even today.
THE STANDARDIZED LANGUAGE MIX
Nonetheless, recent research has shown that the use of multilingual resources is very common, not only statistically speaking, and that it is not nearly as “chaotic” as critics who subscribe to the norms often complain. Instead, it follows “multilingual norms” (Jessner, 2008). When a Spanish immigrant in French-speaking Switzerland says to his companion “Vamos a la gare”, thus combining a Spanish verb with a French noun (the article being identical in both languages), he does so not primarily because he cannot think of the Spanish equivalent (“estación”) but because “gare” and “estación” relate to two entirely different spheres of experience: the former to the place where immigrants meet in Neuchâtel, the latter to the point of departure or arrival back home in Spain. And when a Swiss German apprentice describes his workplace by saying: “il y a de grands mast de stahl”, he is following the grammar conventions of what is known as code switching when he uses German lexical material to form words in the French manner to compensate for gaps in his vocabulary.
These forms of “multilingual speech” correspond to patterns which, though established, are never entirely stable and are constantly being renegotiated between multilingual speakers. This is known as “plurilanguaging” (García 2008, Pennycook 2010). Contrary to popular belief, this phenomenon can also be observed in situations where non-native speakers use a lingua franca among themselves. This is the case for example when German and Italian scientists speak English to one another, or when immigrants from different countries use German – their second language – at the workplace. A lingua franca is thus nothing but a more or less hybrid contact variety which enables successful communication but should not be mistaken for the “Queen’s English” or standard German spoken by native speakers. In a wider sense, researching these varieties falls within the remit of multilingualism research (Hülmbauer, Seidlhofer 2013; Siemund 2013).
Considerable research has already been conducted into the acquisition of multilingualism, the everyday speech practices of multilingual people and the peculiarities arising from verbal contact. By contrast, little as yet is known about the relationships between multilingualism, language education and educational success. This is likely to change soon: a research cluster on “Language Education and Multilingualism” funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) began its work in 2014 and promises to yield some interesting results.
In principle, these observations on multilingualism in everyday life have many implications for the classroom. It is especially important to accept forms of language mixing for what they are: an entirely normal means of successful communication between multilinguals. Anyone who accepts that any lingua franca constitutes a form of language mix will thus also accept that lessons in German as a second language do not result in “perfect” bilingualism and that the German spoken by immigrants will always contain traces of other languages.
Bernstein, Basil: Class, Codes and Control (3 vol.). London, Routledge & Kegan, 1971-1973.
Bourdieu, Pierre: Langage et pouvoir symbolique. Paris, Fayard 1982.
García, Ofelia: Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective. Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell 2008.
Hülmbauer, Cornelia; Seidlhofer, Barbara: “English as a lingua franca in European multilingualism” In: Berthoud, A.-C., Grin, F. & Lüdi, G. (eds.):Exploring the Dynamics of Multilingualism. Results from the DYLAN Project. Amsterdam, John Benjamins 2013, 387-406.
Jessner, Ulrike: “Teaching third languages: findings, trends and challenges. State-of-the-Art Article”, Language Teaching 41/1 2008, 15–56.
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm: Ermahnung an die Deutschen. Von deutscher Sprachpflege. Unv. Nachdruck der Ausgabe von 1916. Darmstadt, Wiss. Buchgesellschaft 1967.
Lüdi, Georges; Py, Bernard: Etre bilingue. 4e éd. revue, avec une postface. Berne/Francfort 1986, 2012, Lang.
Mondada, Lorenza: “Pour une linguistique interactionnelle”, Marges linguistiques 1 (2001), 142-162.
Pekarek Doehler, Simona: “De la nature située des compétences en langue” In: J.-P. Bronckart, Bulea, E., & Puoliot, M. (Eds.). Repenser l’enseignement des langues: comment identifier et exploiter les compétences? Villeneuve d’Ascq: Presses universitaires du Septentrion 2005, 41-68.
Pennycook, Alastair: Language as a Social Practice. New York, Routledge 2010.
Siemund, Peter: Varieties of English. A Typological Approach. Cambridge, CUP 2013.
Here are a few of the international accolades bestowed on Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah:
PAUL LEE: “In the 20th century, probably no one except Marcus Garvey did more to bring freedom and dignity to black people worldwide that Kwame Nkrumah, the liberator and first president of the West African state of Ghana…His memory is cherished by a dwindling number of veterans of the movements of black liberation in the United States and national independence in Africa and the Caribbean…IN 1935, NKRUMAH ARRIVED IN AMERICA. WITH LITTLE FORMAL EDUCATION TO COMMEND HIM AND ALMOST NO MONEY TO SUSTAIN HIM, NKRUMAH NEVERTHELESS SHOWED PROMISE, WINNING THE CONFIDENCE OF HORACE MANN BOND, THE PRESIDENT OF THE HISTORICALLY BLACK LINCOLN UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA…IN 1945, HE HELPED THE VENERABLE DU BOIS ORGANIZE AN INTERNATIONAL COLONIAL CONFERENCE AT THE OLD SCHUMBURG LIBRARY IN HARLEM. THIS LITTLE-KNOWN CONCLAVE WAS SOMETHING OF A DRESS REHEARSAL FOR THE HISTORIC FIFTH PAN-AFRICAN CONGRESS, WHICH BOTH MEN HELPED TO MOUNT IN MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, IN OCTOBER OF THAT YEAR. ”
KOFI HADJOR: “It is Nkrumah the theoretician and practitioner of Pan-Africanism who continues to provide interest and respect.”
NNAMDI AZIKIWE: “It is a very special pleasure to us, because Dr. Nkrumah is not merely the Prime Minister of Ghana, but is an outstanding pioneer in the fight for the freedom of a sister nation in West Africa. We who are battle-scarred and are on the verge of attaining our statehood and who eagerly await the great day, 1st October 1960, when, God willing, our dreams shall be realized, have been especially emboldened by the tenacity of purpose of Dr. Nkrumah and his immortal comrades to make Ghana free. INDEED, GHANA’S INDEPENDENCE IS THE SUCCESSFUL ACCOMPISHMENT OF THEIR LIVES’ MISSION…It is all history now, it is true, but I still see the gleam of hope and the dream of greatness which flashed in in the eyes of a young “MERCHANT OF LIGHT” who left us in Accra to study in the United States and later COVERED HIMSLEF WITH ACADEMIC AND POLITICAL HONORS TO THE GLORY OF HIS COUNTRY AND OUR RACE…ON BEHALF OF MY GOVERNMENT AND THE EIGHT MILLION PEOPLE WHO INHABIT EASTERN NIGERIA, I SALUTE HIM AS ONE WHO HAS PROVED HIMSELF A VICTOR AFTER MANY BITTER POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS, AND I CONGRATULATE HIM AS THE FIRST PRIME MINISTER OF THE FIRST SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT STATE IN WEST AFRICA TO EMANCIPATE ITSELF FROM COLONIAL TUTELAGE.
KOFI BENTUM QUTSON: “Nkrumah, the unmatchable and big one.”
JOMO KENYATTA: “Ghana’s independence marked the end of colonialism in Africa.”
JULIUS NYERERE: “Ghana’s independence from colonial in 1957 was recognized for what it was: The beginning of the end of colonialism for the whole of Africa…So 40 years ago, we recognized [Ghana’s] independence as the first triumph in Africa’s freedom and dignity. It was the first success of our demand to be accorded the international respect which is accorded free peoples. But Ghana was more than the beginning, our first liberated zone. Ghana inspired and deliberately spearheaded the independence struggle for the rest of Africa…KWAME NKRUMAH WAS [Ghana’s] LEADER, BUT HE WAS OUR LEADER, FOR HE WAS AN AFRICAN LEADER. He had a great dream for Africa and its people. He had the wellbeing of our people at heart. He was no looter. He died poor…So my remaining remarks have a confession and a plea. The confession that we of the first generation leaders of independent Africa have not pursued the objective of African unity with vigor, commitment and sincerity that it deserved…”
JULIUS NYERERE: “Time has shown that Nkrumah’s dream of African unity was not an ideally romantic idea. Since then Europe via the EU has adopted his [Nkrumah’s] entire proposal apart from the one on a union of government. The current AU structure was modeled on his proposal.”
ANTONIO DE FIGUEIRDO: “Nkrumah’s influence filtered to exiles-cum-intermediaries like myself mainly through the support extended by that great statesman to the leaders of the Portuguese African Liberation Movements who converged in Accra, Ghana’s capital. Even after Nkrumah became the victim of Western-inspired coup, and went in to exile in Conakry (Guinea), his Guinea-Bissau fellow exile, Amilcar Cabral, the most influential of Portuguese freedom fighters, often visited him and learned from him.”
SAM NUJOMA: “Ghana’s fight for freedom inspired and influenced us all, and the greatest contribution to our political awareness at that time came from the achievements of Ghana after independence. It was from Ghana that we got the idea that we must do more than just petition the UN [United Nations] to bring about independence.”
KENNETH KAUNDA: “Nkrumah inspired many people of Africa towards independence and was a great supporter of the liberation of southern Africa from apartheid and racism.”
MOLEFI KETE ASANTE: “This is why I am ardent celebrator of Nkrumah’s life and voice because in celebrating him we celebrate the best in us”
OBED ASAMOAH: “The All-African Peoples’ Conference which followed in December 1958, came as the formal and concrete expression of Ghana’s dedication to the freedom struggle in Africa and made it possible for representatives of freedom-fighters throughout the continent to assemble in a free, independent African state for the purpose of planning a coordinated assault on colonial and racist rule in Africa.”
GODFREY MWAKIKAGILE: “Acheampong was also symbolically and substantively sympathetic to Nkrumah, but only because of the outpouring or popular, pro-Nkrumahist sentiments in Ghana and elsewhere. His ‘party,’ the NRC (National Redemption Council), included the word ‘Redemption,’ the English verbiage of the Twi-language root word that was given as a title to Nkrumah, Osagyefo, (meaning Redeemer).
MOLEFI KETE ASANTE: “THE ESSENCE OF AFRICAN INTELLIGENCE.”
DR. KWAME AMUAH (Nelson Mandela’s son-in-law, married to Makaziwe Mandela-Amuah; Dr. Amuah is also a nuclear scientist): “No doubt he [Nelson Mandela] saw Nkrumah as his hero.”
FREDERICK COOPER: “There is a particular poignancy to the history of Ghana because it was the pioneer. Kwame Nkrumah was more than a political leader; he was a prophet of independence, of anti- imperialism, of Pan- Africanism.”
SEKOU TOURE: “A Universal Man.”
THOMAS HODGKIN: “Nkrumah’s radical Pan-Africanism had an influence on the attitudes and behavior of a substantial body of people.”
ERIC WALBERG: “The Greatest Africa.”
AMA BINEY: “Nkrumah was central to the major debates and issues of the decolonization period of the 1950s and the 1960s.”
KWAME BOTWE-ASAMOAH: “One of the world’s historical personalities in the twentieth century.”
OBED ASAMOAH: “Ghana was instrumental at the United Nations and other international fora in spearheading the adoption of a number of measures against the colonial and racist presence in Africa; most notably, General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of 1960 on the granting of independence to colonial territories and Resolution 1716 at the 17th Session of the General Assembly in 1962 requesting Member States separately or collectively to apply diplomatic and economic sanctions including an arms embargo against South Africa as well as the establishment of the UN Special Committee on Apartheid which was assigned responsibility for reviewing UN policies on South Africa and assessing the extent of their effectiveness. INDEED, TO AN EXTENT THAT NONE CAN GAINSAY AND TO WHICH THE UNPRECEDENTED ACCESSION OF 17 AFRICAN COUNTRIES TO INDEPENDENCE IN 1960 ALONE BEARS TESTIMONY, IT IS LARGELY TO THE CREDIT OF THE LIBERATION POLICY PURSUED BY GHANA UNDER NKRUMAH THAT THE ACCELERATION OF THE PROCESS OF DECOLONIZATION IN SOUTHERN AND EASTERN AFRICA OWED ITS SUCCESS…”
NATHAN ALBRIGHT: “King’s famed admiration for Gandhi’s leadership in nonviolent rebellion was not isolated. He [Martin Luther King, Jr.] drew inspiration from Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana to peaceful independence.”
GENERAL J.A. ANKRAH: “Nkrumah’s place in African History had been assured.”
KOFI HADJOR: “Nkrumah is a reminder not of what Africa is, but of what Africa must become.”
KWAME ARHIN: “His political achievements in Ghana served as a model for African nationalists elsewhere on the continent…He was a pre-eminent founder of the movement for African unity; more than any other African leader of his time, he symbolized the black man’s self-identity and pride in his race. His name shall endure as the leading emancipator of Ghana, the leading protagonist of African independence and unity, and a statesman of world stature of the twentieth century.”
ABRONI K. THOMAS: “Nkrumah will continue to stand tall in the history of world leaders…His image has been looming larger ever since he shot into the limelight in 1949; and his renown is unmatchable…Nkrumah’s monumental contributions to world politics are beyond doubt.”
ALI MAZRUI: “Ghana’s Founding Father.”
TAJUDEEN ABDUL-RAHEEM: “It is a testimony to Nkrumah’s success that 40 years after he was overthrown Ghanaian governments and leaders will still be judged (and judge poorly) against him. Even his enemies are forced to acknowledge him as a true national leader and statesman who was genuinely committed to the welfare of the people of Ghana and Africa…Time they say is a final arbiter. The ideas that Nkrumah lived and died for continue to reverberate across the continent.”
JUNE MILNE: “It is now 40 years. Yet the repercussions are still felt in Ghana, and within the Nkrumahist Movement. It is not difficult to imagine the greatly improved condition of the African people today if Nkrumah had continued in power in Ghana to lead the Pan-African Movement…For during the nine short years between Ghana’s independence in 1957 and the overthrow of the CPP government in 1966, foundations were laid which could never be reversed.”
AMILCAR CABRAL: “…One of the greatest men mankind has seen this century…It follows one to grasp the true stature of Nkrumah as a political giant…President Nkrumah, to whom we pay homage, is primarily the strategist of genius in the struggle against classic colonialism…We hail finally Nkrumah, the philosopher and thinker…Let no come and tell us that Nkrumah died from cancer of the throat or any other sickness. No, Nkrumah was killed by the cancer of betrayal…Nkrumah will rise again each dawn in the heart and determination of freedom fighters, in the action of all true African patriots…As an African proverb says: ‘THOSE WHO SPIT AT THE SKY WILL SOIL THEIR FACE.’ Those who have tried to soil the brilliant personality of Kwame Nkrumah should now understand very well that the African people are right. Another African proverb says: ‘A HAND, HOWEVER BIG, CAN NEVER COVER THE SKY.’ There it is: ‘Those who have tried to disparage the magnificent achievement of Kwame Nkrumah must today admit that this African proverb is right…We are certain, absolutely certain that framed by the eternal green of the African forests, flowers of crimson like the blood of martyrs and of gold like the harvests of plenty will bloom over the grave of Kwame Nkrumah; for Nkrumah will triumph.”
HARCOURT FULLER: “The death of Nkrumah in 1972 ushered in a renewed public fervor for all things Nkrumah. Since then, contemporaneous and successive governments, both military and civilian, have sought to appropriate or capitalize on Nkrumah’s posthumous resurgence and popularity for their own purposes or at least to manage the renewed interest of Ghanaians and foreigners alike in the legacy of Nkrumah…Ironically, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Mausoleum, which was commissioned some two decades after Nkrumah’s death, came to serve the purpose that the Nkroful museum-shrine, which was built at the site of Nkrumah’s birth, did not fully get a chance to fulfill. It now serves as a pilgrimage site for people from Ghana, Africa, and the African Diaspora who have a personal or academic interest in the life and legacy of Nkrumah.”
We shall return…
Brussels Umbrellas c’est la concrétisation d’un projet d’écriture multilingue intitulé Writing Brussels.
A l’origine du projet, il y a Veronika Valentová, traductrice pour l’Union européenne. Elle vit à Bruxelles, et a rencontré d’autres expatriés issus de divers pays. Ils ont commencé à échanger ensemble, se raconter leurs vies et expériences dans la capitale belge.
De là est né un blog, puis un livre numérique.
Brussels Umbrellas a donc écrit à 12 mains et en 4 langues : français, anglais, espagnol et allemand. Au fil de la lecture, les histoires changent, les langues aussi, on pioche les histoires en fonction de la langue que l’on maîtrise.
Dans une interview accordée à Radio Prague, V. Valentová raconte : « A la base, c’est un groupe d’écriture qui existe depuis quatre ans qui reflète bien le caractère cosmopolite de Bruxelles. Il y a moi qui suis tchèque, il y a une Slovaque, un Espagnol né en Allemagne, maintenant il y aussi deux Belges dont l’une écrit en anglais et l’autre en français.
Tout d’abord on se réunissait pour parler des questions d’écriture, de nos inspirations, de nos auteurs préférés, de nos problèmes avec les éditeurs. Petit à petit on a commencé à se dire qu’on pourrait écrire un livre en commun en utilisant toutes nos richesses, toutes nos langues, nos différents points de vue et expériences à Bruxelles.
On a tous choisi un personnage d’étranger et notre langue. C’est comme cela que j’ai commencé à écrire en français parce que jusque-là j’écrivais en tchèque. Pour pouvoir me faire comprendre du groupe, j’ai dû changer de langue. On écrivait les histoires petit à petit. C’était toujours autour d’un étranger arrivant à Bruxelles, qui était perdu. Cela pouvait créer des situations comiques ou dramatiques parce que certains sont des étrangers sans papiers, clandestins. On se mettait ensuite d’accord pour voir comment les histoires pouvaient se rejoindre, comment nos personnages pourraient se rencontrer.
Nous avons eu l’idée de publier nos textes sur un blog. Une fois les histoires finies, on s’est dit qu’il fallait en faire quelque chose car ça fonctionnait à merveille, malgré les quatre langues différentes, l’anglais, le français, l’allemand et l’espagnol. On a donc publié un livre électronique disponible sur Amazon. Il s’appelle Brussels Umbrellas. Il y a toujours ce mot ‘Brussels’ qui est important pour nous. »
Direção-Geral do Livro apoiou mais de 1.700 traduções de obras portuguesas desde 1993
Em vinte anos, a Direção-Geral do Livro, Arquivos e Bibliotecas (DGLAB) apoiou 1.787 traduções de obras da literatura portuguesa para 56 países, mas é preciso reforçar a formação de tradutores, afirmou hoje o diretor-geral, José Manuel Cortês.
No âmbito de um fórum internacional sobre cultura, a decorrer no Centro Cultural de Belém, em Lisboa, José Manuel Cortês revelou que entre 1993 e 2014 foram investidos 3,4 milhões de euros no apoio à tradução de obras literárias portuguesas, descrevendo-o como um mais importantes programas de apoio da DGLAB.
José Manuel Cortês destacou o interesse internacional pela literatura portuguesa, revelando que a Mongólia apresentou, pela primeira vez, candidaturas de apoio para tradução de obras portuguesas, e que está a ser preparada uma intervenção específica para o mercado chinês.
The letter, lost for 63 years, eventually found its way to Limerick in 1971. Posted from Canada in 1908, it encouraged the production of a second, more robust volume of an English-Irish dictionary. Its intended recipient had died in 1915, but he had already heeded the advice.
The letter was addressed to Timothy O’Neill Lane, a teacher, clerk, lexicographer and Times of London journalist who produced the first English-Irish dictionary of the 20th century.
O’Neill Lane’s enormous contribution and dedication to the Irish language have remained relatively unknown. Next month a plaque will be unveiled to mark the centenary of his death in his native Templeglantine, Co Limerick. Across the county border a headstone will be erected to mark his final resting place, in Brosna, in Kerry.
“The Irish language would have been strong in the Templeglantine area,” says Tadhg O’Maolcatha, a local historian who has been researching O’Neill Lane since the 1970s.
“A census carried out in 1851 showed that 60 per cent of the adult population spoke Irish,” he says. “Under British rule no Irish was taught in schools, but O’Neill Lane was raised bilingually and would have had a good grasp of the language in his formative years.”
O’Neill Lane was born in 1852 to a prosperous farmer. He taught at his local school for seven years before applying for the civil service. He passed the written examinations but failed the medical test. O’Neill Lane had been born with a deformed foot, which gave him a life-long limp. He wore specially made shoes and never travelled without his walking stick.
He persevered with a career change, however, and was appointed as a clerk to the Incorporated Law Society in London. But it wasn’t long before he moved again, when a relative secured him a job as Paris correspondent for the Times.
It was in Paris in the 1880s that he began work on his dictionary. Dictionaries had been produced in the 18th and 19th centuries, but O’Neill Lane found them to be lacking. His aim was to produce something that would better inform students of Irish. By the time he finally finished, in 1904, he had spent more than £2,500 – more than €325,000 today – to complete it.
O’Neill Lane spent five years travelling around Ireland. He made the most of his time and wrote a series of travel books while visiting Gaeltacht areas, where he collected words and phrases from locals. Words thought to be obsolete in Munster he found alive and well in other parts of the country, so he documented regional variations of Irish words and phrases.
The support for the dictionary was substantial. O’Neill Lane received a grant of £250 – about €32,500 today – from the British government to produce the book and had more than 650 advance subscriptions. Clergy made up the bulk of subscribers, but people from all over Ireland, the United States, Canada and Australia also gave their support.
As soon as his 581-page work was published, however, O’Neill Lane expressed dissatisfaction with it. He had at this stage given up his journalism career and partly blamed his Paris commitments for shortcomings in the first edition.
“When he realised that the first one was inadequate he started work straight away on the second,” says O’Maolcatha. “He had included in his first edition an appeal for corrections and omissions, with a prize of £25 for the person who provided him with the best information.”
It was because of this appeal that a C Hylton of Ontario wrote the letter that arrived six decades late. “You will be mistaken if you don’t reprint such a magnificent work,” the Canadian wrote.
O’Neill Lane asked that corrections be sent to Tournafulla, a parish a few kilometres from Templeglantine, where he later lived with his cousins. O’Neill Lane had married an Englishwoman, and they had a son and a daughter, but neither wife nor daughter ever set foot in Ireland. (His son spent time at the school in Tournafulla and later edited an English-language newspaper in Shanghai.)
“The second edition was a magnificent publication,” says O’Maolcatha. “He gave much longer explanations, and there are a lot more words, so we assume that many omissions were pointed out to him. He made notes on half a million slips of paper, and his final manuscript ran to 5,000 quarto pages.
“I’m sure that he would have travelled around for the second edition, but he was also in heavy correspondence with many scholars from around the country who also helped with the editing process.”
Published in 1915, his revised edition was one and a half times the size of the first. It was as useful as a standalone English dictionary as it was as an Irish translator.
It made a vast amount of material available at a time when the Gaelic League was enjoying huge popularity. Lane’s English-Irish Dictionary was largely bought by scholars and clergy educating young people in their native tongue.
Although he received many subscriptions for the second edition, producing it left O’Neill Lane virtually penniless. The day before he passed away a copy of the dictionary arrived by train at his local station in Limerick. He laid his hands on it on his deathbed and died on May 8th, 1915.
Alemania: "En lugar de una política económica europea, lo que ha habido es una política económica alemana. Es como si, en España, la política económica la marcara el presidente de la Comunidad de Madrid o el de la Junta de Andalucía. Si los ciudadanos europeos escogen un Gobierno en las urnas, este tiene una obligación con esos ciudadanos, y no con los Estados más influyentes"
Banca: "Se tendría que haber rescatado solo a las entidades sistémicas y no a los 'inventos' como Bankia, que se convirtió en sistémica sumando a todas las cajas del PP"
Becas: "Un estudiante cumple cuando aprueba y pasa de curso. Por tanto, vincular una beca a la nota me parece un error. Una beca debe estar vinculada a los recursos económicos, y si la familia no los tiene y el estudiante carece de ingresos, habrá que ayudarlo"
Cadena Perpetua: "Con la cadena perpetua revisable el problema no es tanto cuántos años estés en prisión, sino que te estás cargando el fundamento de tu sistema penal. Si alguien quiere reformularlo y crear un sistema punitivo puro y duro, aparcando el sistema de reinserción social, que lo diga y lo debatiremos entre todos. Pero cargarse de golpe la filosofía de todo un Estado de derecho y de toda una tradición jurídica me parece un atropello. No soy de los que piensa que hay que ser blando con los terroristas o con los violadores, al contrario. Pero hay que actuar con la Ley en la mano"
Comerciantes: Rivera, hijo y nieto de ellos, afirma: "Ahora te paseas por cualquier ciudad, Barcelona o Madrid, y ves muchos comercios vacíos, muchos locales cerrados, muchos polígonos abandonados. Va a costar un gran esfuerzo recuperar ese tejido empresarial y que la gente se atreva a volvérsela a jugar. ¿Cómo conseguirlo? Pues poniéndoles una alfombra roja, porque una persona que se juega su dinero, sus ahorros, su casa, para contratar a diez personas tiene más mérito que una multinacional que se instala en España a cambio de no sé qué subvención y se va a los diez años"
Conciliación: "En España somos los que más horas pasamos en el trabajo, pero, paradójicamente, somos los menos productivos de Europa. Algo estamos haciendo mal, y seguramente el horario influye. He vivido algún tiempo en el extranjero y quizá por eso creo que hay que plantear unos horarios mucho más racionalizados. Acortar el tiempo para comer, más profesionalidad en el momento en que se está en la oficina o en el trabajo y, a la vez, una reducción de la jornada laboral"
Desahucios: "...en España se calcula que ha habido en los últimos años más de 300.000 familias desahuciadas de su primera vivienda, tenemos 3,4 millones de viviendas vacías, según el INE, muchas de ellas pertenecientes a los españoles a través de la SAREB, puesto que las rescatamos entre todos. ¿Los poderes públicos no podemos casar la demanda con la oferta?¿Podemos tener un país con tantos millones de viviendas vacías (y algunas se están tapiando o tirando abajo) en ciudades fantasma?"
Deuda: "¿Quién no va a estar a favor de reestructurar la deuda cuando está muy endeudado? El problema es si podemos hacerlo y si los que nos han prestado están dispuestos. Yo trabajé en una caja de ahorros y sé que en los bancos hay dos tipos de clientes VIP: los que tienen mucho dinero ahorrado y siempre les recibe el director, y los que tienen mucha deuda, a los que también recibe el director. España pertecene al segundo grupo, aunque, a pesar de todo, somos la cuarta economía de Europa"
Educación: Además de reivindicar un gran pacto de Estado para varias generaciones, Rivera apuesta por aumentar la inversión: "En Europa, la media de inversión es un 6,4% del PIB, mientras que en España estamos invirtiendo por debajo el 4%. Y la media de los países con mejores resultados, como Finlandia, ronda el 9%".
Energía: "Hay que modificar definitiva y radicalmente las reglas de funcionamiento del mercado eléctrico para que el precio que los consumidores pagamos por un servicio esencial dependa, fundamentalmente, de los costes de producción del mismo. Con este objetivo, creo que es imprescindible llevar a cabo una auditoría de costes del sistema eléctrico para comprobar si los costes que pagamos son reales o resulta que son inferiores […] Es precisa una transición a un modelo energético más sostenible y, en consecuencia, con una presencia cada vez mayor de las energías renovables […] Las renovables tienden a crear más empleo que la industria de los combustibles fósiles, mientras que la eficiencia energética brinda también mayores oportunidades de creación de empleo que el aumento de la oferta energética. Existen grandes oportunidades de creación de empleo en la venta, montaje, instalación y mantenimiento de paneles solares"
Estado del Bienestar: "No veo incompatible la economía de Mercado con el Estado del Bienestar; es más, en mi opinión, deben ir de la mano. La otra solución es una economía intervenida o de Estado, como en los países comunistas. La economía de mercado es la menos mala de las soluciones"
Europa: "Unir a los europeos en un proyecto político único en el mundo es seguramente la idea más brillante de la historia de Europa. El debate no es si desmontar la UE, la moneda única o las políticas comunes, sino preguntarnos qué ha fallado y corregirlo. Poder viajar por Europa sin fronteras o unificar la política bancaria y fiscal es una avance para nuestras vidas. La estabilidad que supone tener un tipo de interés al 1% o al 2%, y no al 16%, como pagaban nuestros padres las hipotecas, también es positivo, aunque ahora no nos lo parezca"
Expresidentes: "Me gustaría ver a Aznar o a González haciendo discursos de Estado, no criticando en el extranjero a los Gobiernos de España"
Foralidad: "Uno de los debates que se deben producir en un futuro es el de cómo incorporar el modelo foral vasco y navarro al modelo de financiación autonómica, porque ningún federalista del mundo entiende que un país de la UE tenga unos cupos de corte decimonónico"
Formación, cursos de: "La política de formación ha sido uno de los mayores fracasos de nuestro sistema. El fraude en los cursos de formación, como estamos descubriendo casi a diario, muestra la corrupción tanto de políticos como de sindicatos y patronales, que los han estado usando para financiarse en lugar de para mejorar la formación de los parados"
FP: "En este país hubo mucha desigualdad y muy pocos pudieron estudiar una carrera universitaria. Por eso a nuestros padres, cuando llegó la democracia y se garantizó la igualdad de oportunidades, les entró una especie de obsesión legitima por querer que sus hijos estudiasen una carrera universitaria, que era lo que tenía más prestigio social. […] Los países más avanzados, como Alemania, no han tenido ese problema, porque la gente entiende que lo importante es capacitarse en aquello para lo que se tienen cualidades o preferencias, y luego optar a un buen trabajo"
Fusión de municipios: "Si los municipios pequeños se agruparan, habría alrededor de 1.200 municipios en lugar de más de 8.000. Lo que permitiría tener una economía de escala en la que los ciudadanos pagarían los mismos impuestos con más servicios, e incluso se podrían rebajar algunos impuestos locales"
Hipotecas: "Quien tenía un sueldo fijo, o dos, en su familia y pagaba una hipoteca de 800 euros no ha hecho nada mal. Simplemente, ha perdido su empleo o su empresa ha cerrado y se ha encontrado con una deuda que no puede afrontar. El crédito ha sido, además, concedido por una entidad y por empresas tasadoras afines a los bancos, así que, ¿por qué dicen que ha vivido por encima de sus posibilidades? En realidad, le dijeron que esas eran sus posibilidades"
Iglesia: "Ni oigo mucho a los curas ni los persigo. Soy agnóstico, no soy creyente. Como decía Buñuel, me gustaría creer, pero no creo, así que no puedo evitarlo. […] Estoy a favor de que la Iglesia pague el IBI, como deberían hacerlo los partidos, los sindicatos y la patronal, que tampoco lo hacen. Privilegios para nadie. […] Me considero una persona progresista, partidario de separar Iglesia y Estado, pero no comparto eso que algunos proponen de acabar con la Semana Santa o llamar "fiestas de invierno" a la Navidad. Es como decir que, en lugar de celebrar el día de Sant Jordi, celebraremos el día de Jordi. Es de risa"
Impuestos: "Nuestra reforma fiscal buscará poner en práctica cuatro principios: que los impuestos sean progresivos, simples, neutros, y estables. […] Yo creo que el impuesto de patrimonio no puede ser una fuente importante de ingresos, pero es necesario que exista por razones de transparencia recaudatoria, puesto que los incrementos repentinos del patrimonio pueden dar pistas sobre cambios en ingresos que quizá no se han explicado adecuadamente. Como en el caso del impuesto sobre patrimonio, nos parece también conveniente que el impuesto de sucesiones exista"
Informática: "En Ciudadanos pensamos -y yo personalmente- que programación debería ser una asignatura obligatoria, y que el problema no es tanto el soporte -una tablet o un libro-, sino la mentalidad y cómo abordamos esa globalidad que supone hoy Internet y el uso de las tecnologías"
Justicia: "No se me ocurre mejor manera de separar los tres poderes que volver a la teoría clásica de la democracia, dando autonomía al poder judicial, al margen del legislativo y el ejecutivo. No es admisible que un juez que tiene que perseguir la corrupción reciba presiones, o sea apartado de su puesto por la Audiencia Nacional, o sea trasladado a un juzgado de primera instancia de no sé qué pueblo. La reforma de Gallardón ha convertido el poder judicial en una ventanilla del ministerio, y eso no puede ser"
Ley Electoral: Que no le gusta la actual y considera prioritaria su reforma es obvio, más difícil es precisar el modelo concreto por el que aboga, aunque Rivera explica el espíritu del mismo: "...exigiremos que las listas se desbloqueen. ¿Esto qué quiere decir? Que se votará a partidos y se votará a personas, así de simple." El líder de Ciudadanos apunta también a un cambio en la circunscripción provincial, algo recogido en la Constitución: "En el mundo del siglo XXI, cuando el AVE nos permite atravesar España en cuatro horas e Internet nos da una cercanía y una conexión inmediata con cualquier persona en cualquier lugar, me parece que hablar de territorialidad es anacrónico"
Libre Mercado: Véase Estado del Bienestar.
Lucha de clases: "Yo, personalmente, por procedencia social, por ser hijo de autónomos y nieto y sobrino de autónomos, no creo en la lucha de clases tal y como se planteaba en el siglo XIX; en mi opinión, el gran objetivo es conseguir una clase media potente"
Monarquía: "Siempre he defendido que mientras el Rey de España no se meta en política, la cosa va bien. El jefe del Estado, que puede ser escogido por un método institucional a través de la monarquía, o por un método democrático puro mediante una votación, mientras cumpla con las funciones que le da la Constitución, no es un problema para el país. España tiene muchos otros problemas que solucionar como para sumarle un cambio de régimen político"
Moncloa, La: "...en Washington o en Londres los primeros ministros o los jefes de Estado residen en el centro de las ciudades. […] Yo votaría a favor de que las casas del jefe del Estado y del presidente del Gobierno estuvieran en el centro de la ciudad"
Patronal: "El modelo de patronal está caduco, algo que comparte la mayoría de empresarios, sobre todo las pequeñas y las medianas empresas, que no se sienten representados y se quejan de que faltan plataformas de negociación, de diálogo y de conexión con los gobiernos"
Piratería: "La única instancia que debería tener poder para cerrar una web o un negocio en Internet es un juzgado. Y ningún funcionario o secretario de Estado debería tener potestad para hacerlo […] Hoy día, un CD vale entre 10 y 15 euros, pero, por ejemplo, te dan un bonus para conseguir una entrada más barata en un concierto, o un making off . Es decir, te ofrecen un valor añadido a un precio mucho más razonable. Esto es una prueba evidente de que Internet ha vuelto más competitivo el mercado, por lo que muchos han tenido que espabilar para conseguir que los consumidores sigan respetando la propiedad intelectual"
Puertas giratorias: Rivera apuesta por una severa Ley e Incompatibilidades, pero: "...habrá que compensar a quienes salen de la política con un trabajo para el Estado mientras no puedan entrar en el sector privado. Las dos cosas no valen. Es pura demagogia decir que vamos a acabar con las puertas giratorias y que nadie cobre una pensión subsidiaria hasta que encuentre trabajo y se le acabe la incompatibilidad"
Pymes: "Me conformaría con que las grandes empresas tributaran lo que les corresponde y que los pequeños y medianos empresarios tuvieran un trato fiscal que compensara la dificultad para competir en igualdad de condiciones"
Redes sociales: "Debería ser obligatorio que los cargos públicos del siglo XXI tuviéramos un blog, una red social y una dirección de mail a la que nos puedan escribir los ciudadanos, un contacto directo que permita saltarse los organigramas y los cuadros tradicionales de los partidos"
Referentes: Tiene varios: Obama: "Ha revolucionado la política, que ya no es solo la gestión del Gobierno, sino, además, la gestión de la relación con los ciudadanos. Tener a más de cincuenta millones de personas siguiéndole en Twitter, o más de cuarenta y cinco millones de 'me gusta' en Facebook es digno de estudio"; Manuel Valls y Mateo Renzi: "...a partir de su procedencia del partido socialdemócrata, han sabido abrirse a reformas de Estado, porque si hace falta reformar la administración, se reforma; si hace falta reducir la burocracia, se reduce; si hace falta darle un impulso a quien quiere crear empleo, se le ayuda..."; Adolfo Suárez, Felipe González y José María Aznar: "El proyecto de Felipe González cuando aglutinó a todas las federaciones socialistas, el proyecto de Suárez cuando integró a socialemócratas, liberales y democratacristianos para gobernar España, el proyecto de Aznar cuando tuvo que abandonar la lógica de la antigua Alianza Popular para ir a un acuerdo en el que se incorporaba a gente más liberal, más abierta, buscando el centro político...Y esos tres proyectos funcionaron, ¿no? Cada uno con sus luces y sus sombras, pero siempre han ido a sumar, nunca a restar"
Rescates: Véase Banca.
Sanidad: "Una de las joyas de la corona española es la sanidad, con todos los logros que hemos conseguido en estos treinta años. Como muchas otras materias, puede necesitar reformas de fondo, por ejemplo, ¿cómo se compran los medicamentos, ¿cuál es el gasto farmacéutico?, ¿debe haber una central de compras nacional o autonómica?, ¿cómo racionalizar, mejorar y ajustar el sistema? Pero no es cierto que la sanidad pública haya sido la causante el descontrol del gasto público. Estoy a favor de las reformas, pero no de los recortes"
Sanidad universal: "Es imposible que un Estado occidental -no hay ninguno en Europa- pueda garantizar un servicio universal, con una tarjeta universal gratuita, a quien no tiene un permiso de residencia. Sí debe exisitir un paquete de servicios básicos para menores, para embarazadas, para enfermedades contagiosas, para urgencias... Pero sería incoherente que un Estado tenga una ley de extranjería y que al mismo tiempo conceda tarjetas sanitarias universales"
Senado: "Creo que hay demasiados senadores (266) y deberíamos ir a un modelo con dos cámaras, como ocurre con los modelos federales: una cámara que represente a la nación, al interés general, y una cámara territorial con representantes en cada territorio, como ocurre en Alemania o EEUU"
Separación por sexos: "Si alguien piensa que los alumnos deben estar separados por sexo, en ningún caso deberá recibir dinero del Estado"
Sindicatos: "Me gusta bastante el modelo alemán, en el que los sindicatos tienen una alta afiliación y no dependen del presupuesto público, lo que permite acabar con esas subvenciones de 700 millones de euros a patronal y sindicatos, porque lo primero es ser de verdad independiente"
Sueldos de políticos: "Nadie se cree que el presidente de España cobre 3.500 euros al mes. Primero, porque es ridículo si tenemos en cuenta el reto y la responsabilidad del cargo, y, segundo, porque hay otras partidas ocultas que no están recogidas como sueldo. […] Yo, que he tenido que trabajar para hacer listas electorales, debo reconocer que a veces no he conseguido incorporar a personas muy válidas porque tendrían que haber cerrado un despacho, una consulta médica o dejar una cátedra, y no pueden porque con el sueldo de concejal o de diputado no cubren gastos"
Vida privada: "Quizá sea una cuestión generacional, pero tengo menos recelo sobre mi vida privada que los anteriores presidentes, [sic] algo que probablemente cambia cuando se llega al Gobierno. Antes, Adolfo Suárez y Felipe González salían en el ¡Hola! Y ahora estamos en las redes sociales"
Zarzuela, La: Véase Moncloa, la
Havana: Great technology companies are born in garages, of course, and that is where 31-year-old Bernardo Romero has launched his Cuban start-up, Ingenius.
And like Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in the 1930s, and Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in the 1970s, Romero doesn’t have internet access, either.
“At least,” he said, “we have a garage”.
It is no small feat, by Cuban business standards. Romero also has five employees, a sign, printed advertising and a government license to operate his company — almost none of which was allowed by Communist authorities a few years ago.
What keeps Romero and other similarly aspiring entrepreneurs crippled is a near-total lack of Web access. Ral Castro’s limited opening for private business has been good for Cubans in physical trades such as shoe repair and plumbing, but the country’s digital labourers are still largely disconnected.
When one of the engineers at Ingenius needs to upload work for a client, he travels by bus or bicycle to a cybercafe run by the state telecom monopoly, ETECSA, paying $5 (Dh18) an hour for mediocre Wi-Fi. The converted garage, like most of Cuba, isn’t plugged in.
“If we had internet, we could really take off,” said Romero, who will design and build an entire web site from scratch for $150.
That is a wisp of what it would cost in the United States. And as a result of President Obama’s recent moves to ease 1960s-era trade sanctions, American companies and clients can now hire private Cuban businesses like Ingenius for services such as translation work, software development and accounting.
The potential bonanza is not lost on Cuba’s highly educated, lowly paid professionals, now more eager than ever to hire out their services to US clients. Romero estimates there are at least another 20 small, licensed, taxpaying technology start-ups like his in Havana. Far more Cuban programmers and software engineers are said to be freelancing for foreign customers off the books.
Nearly all are stuck with the same problem: They can’t reliably and affordably get online. That deprives them of the tools essential to work with customers remotely, such as video conferencing, access to software updates and the ability to send and receive large files.
At a business conference in Panama last week before the Summit of the Americas, Cuban trade officials insisted to an audience of global corporate leaders — including Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg — that there were no political or ideological obstacles to expanding Web access, only financial and technological ones.
“Cuba today is comparable to India when their software export industry was starting — both had a lot of smart, trained programmers, but they were working with old technology and had poor internet connectivity,” said Larry Press, a professor at California State University at Dominguez Hills, who writes about the island’s Web infrastructure on his blog, The internet in Cuba.
Almost anywhere else, a government that has invested so much in quality education would be alarmed that its skilled engineering graduates lack the basic building blocks to drive development and spur growth. Cuban authorities have begun to acknowledge as much, but they show little detectable urgency to broaden Web access if it means ceding tight control over the country’s data networks.
Their reluctance stems partly from fears, not unfounded, about US schemes to digitally undermine Cuba’s one-party state, including a now-defunct “fake Cuban Twitter” service, Zunzuneo, whose unwitting users didn’t know they were getting messages sponsored by Washington. Alan Gross, the US subcontractor freed in the December 17 prisoner exchange announced by Obama and Castro, was arrested in 2009 for trying to set up illegal satellite networks on the island.
The Castro government seems especially apprehensive about Arab Spring-style unrest enabled by smartphones, so mobile data plans simply aren’t available. Flashy Cubans walk around with dumbed-down iPhones that don’t connect to the Web.
The bandwidth deficit may reflect an enduring ideological ambivalence about private business as well. Cuban authorities continue to treat the entrepreneurial zeal of their countrymen as a natural phenomenon that needs to be contained, rather than encouraged, like a wild river. It’s an Army Corps of Engineers approach to economic development, not a chamber of commerce one.
Cuba has fallen so far behind in technology that even its problems are obsolete. When manufacturers of laptop computers phased out the 56k modem about 10 years ago as a standard accessory for connecting to the internet through a phone line, most of the world had gone wireless by then and barely noticed. But for Cubans, it was a hardware crisis.
A generation after Americans dialled into AOL accounts through a series of beeps, squawks and static, many Cuban Web users still connect that way. On a good day, they can achieve download speeds of 4 or 5 kilobytes per second, approximately 10,000 times slower than the US residential service offered by Verizon or Comcast.
“I would not be surprised if Cuba had the highest rate of dial-up among internet users of any nation in the world,” Press said.
Online classified sites such as Revolico — Cuba’s versions of Craigslist — offer $20 external USB modems for connecting a modern laptop to a phone line.
It might sound like the Web-browsing equivalent of driving around Havana in a 1950s Chevy. But it is much worse than that, as Cuban dial-up users will attest. At least the Chevy gets you to your destination.
“The other day, someone sent me a simple PDF file, and it took an hour and a half to download,” said Georgina Gomez, an English-language interpreter who specialises in medical translations.
Gomez has a 7-year-old daughter and can’t easily get to a government computer lab, so she must rely on an achingly slow dial-up link from home. Her Cuban email service has an account size limit of only 10 MB; if a client tries to send her a large file, it crashes her inbox.
“Books with illustrations are the worst,” she said.
Gomez charges a nickel a word, which she said is one-quarter the going rate in the United States for technical translation work. And even though she’s had a lot of new inquiries in the past few months, she’s had to turn down offers because she can’t download video files from documentary filmmakers or big PowerPoint slides.
“It’s just too complicated,” she said.
Cuba’s main link to the global internet is a single undersea fibre-optic cable that runs across the Caribbean to Venezuela. The state is the lone service provider. But broadband accounts are restricted to government ministries, state businesses and a limited number of foreign residents and diplomats. Ordinary Cubans can’t sign up for residential dial-up accounts even if they can afford to pay for it.
Some Cuban engineering graduates take low-paid jobs at state companies to secure high-speed internet access at work, then moonlight for private customers on the side.
Cubans with the money can purchase prepaid WiFi cards for use in the lobbies of major tourist hotels, or log on at state computer labs, but users must register their names and ID cards with Big Browser.
Cuba’s obstacles are not all self-imposed. One of the more contradictory elements of US policy toward Cuba is a stated goal of expanding Web use while US economic sanctions and other measures continue to block Cubans’ access to sites and Web tools needed most by entrepreneurs such as Romero.
Google Code, for example, and Google AdWords — both of which are critical for programming work and Web design — are blocked on the island. The company says it must comply with US trade sanctions and the US. State Department’s designation of Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”
When a delegation from Google Ideas visited Havana last month, Cuban technology students asked them if their Cuban-made apps could be made available through the Google Play Store. The company executives said no.
The two countries recently met for first-ever talks on internet and technology issues, and US officials said Cuba has set a goal of 50 per cent household connectivity by 2020. Currently, only about 5 per cent of the island’s homes are thought to have online access — by dial-up — making Cuba one of the least-connected countries in the world.
Romero said he is not discouraged. Like a lot of young Cubans, he sees Obama’s opening as the beginning of the end of such frustrations.
He has close relatives in Florida and could have left the island years ago. “But I chose to stay and make my company here,” he said. “Over there, I’d just be another low-level worker. Here, it’s a wide-open field.”
El Instituto de Lenguas y Literaturas Andinas-Amazónicas sistematizó 23 diccionarios de distintos autores en ocho idiomas de pueblos originarios de Bolivia.
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domingo, 19 de abril de 2015Fotos: Gentileza ILLA Gabriel Díez Lacunza / La Paz
El Instituto de Lenguas y Literaturas Andinas - Amazónicas (ILLA) lanzó diccionarios en versiones digitales de las lenguas takana, movima y t’simane para computadora y para celulares inteligentes.
Estos tres ejemplares forman parte de una colección que incluye 23 diccionarios de diferentes autores que reflejan el vocabulario de ocho pueblos originarios de Bolivia.
La iniciativa es impulsada por el lingüista boliviano José Laura Yapita y por el estadounidense Amos Batto, profesional en informática. Ambos combinaron sus conocimientos con el fin de implementar una plataforma para computadoras y una aplicación para celulares, esto con el objetivo de "acercar a la población estas herramientas”.
"Hasta ahora hemos puesto 23 diccionarios en una aplicación para celulares que se llama SimiDic, que corre en android y en Apple. Son nueve lenguas diferentes incluyendo el mapuche de Argentina”, cuenta Batto.
Las ocho lenguas originarias plasmadas en estos diccionarios digitales son: guaraní, aymara, quechua, uru, takana, movima, t’simane y mosetén. La única lengua foránea incluida es la mapuche, cuyos habitantes tienen presencia en Argentina y Chile.
Para los celulares, el usuario puede descargar la aplicación SimiDic a través del PlayStore o el AppleStore. Una vez instalada, de manera automática se habilitará una opción para decidir qué diccionarios se requiere.
Para las "computadoras estacionarias” se debe ingresar a la página www.illa-a.org y buscar la pestaña "diccionarios”, ahí se puede bajar el dispositivo. Una vez descargada la herramienta, se activa con los software libres StarDict o GoldenDict, que se instalan de forma previa y que se pueden bajar gratis.
Según establece la Constitución Política del Estado, Bolivia cuenta con 36 idiomas oficiales de los cuales se destacan, por su frecuencia de uso y cantidad poblacional, el castellano, el aymara y el quechua. Batto explica que una de las metas de este proyecto será desarrollar diccionarios de todos estos pueblos.
"Estamos haciendo que la tecnología se adecúe a las lenguas originarias. Queremos que la gente ya no piense que su lengua está desvalorizada o que tenga una actitud negativa ante su propia lengua”, asegura Laura.
Los investigadores consideran que este aporte puede servir en lo inmediato para transcribir e interpretar documentos al castellano. Incluso creen que será útil para la "interacción académica” entre hablantes de una lengua y otra.
La mayoría de estos 23 diccionarios tienen su versión original en documentos del Ministerio de Educación; y estos investigadores fueron autorizados para su reproducción. También están los textos de especialistas independientes, cuyo crédito se menciona de forma explícita en cada caso.
El diccionario de guaraní, por ejemplo, se desarrolló sobre la base del Diccionario etimológico y etnográfico de la lengua guaraní hablada en Bolivia, de Elio Ortiz y Elías Caurey. Mientras que el Diccionario Mosetén-Castellano, Castellano-Mosetén de 2011 es obra de la Organización de los Pueblos Indígenas Mosetén y de la Universidad Mayor de San Simón.
Datos del último censo poblacional de 2012 en Bolivia dan cuenta de que 2.806.592 de personas mayores de 15 años se identificaron con una de las 36 naciones indígenas. De los ocho pueblos cuya lengua ya tiene un diccionario digital, 1.191.352 personas se identificaron como aymara hablantes y 1.281.116 como quechua parlantes.
Según estos datos, hay 58.990 guaranís; 11.173 takanas; 12.213 movimas; 6.464 t’simane y 1.989 mosetenes.
Colección El ILLA ofrece en total 23 diccionarios en nueve lenguas originarias, ocho de Bolivia y una extranjera. El dispositivo puede ser descargado para computadoras y también para celulares inteligentes.
Autores Entre los autores de estos diccionarios digitales están Félix Layme, en aymara, Elio Ortiz y Elías Caurey con guaraní, Melvin Rossel de movima, Alejandro Marupa Beyuma de takana, Cándido Nery de t’simane y Abel Maito Canare con su diccionario en mosetén.
Proyección Los responsables de este proyecto lingüístico-digital quieren, a futuro, poner a disposición del público diccionarios de las 36 lenguas reconocidas en la Constitución Política del Estado.
Descarga Hay que buscar la aplicación SimiDic en PlayStore o en AppleStore, dependiendo del tipo de celular.
Punto de vista
Juan de dios yapita, lingüista
Ayudará a los hablantes
José Laura conoce bastante este tema y va a ser muy útil porque hay mucho material, pero hay pocas personas que lo saben enfocar. Estos diccionarios que van a subir a internet son de varias personas hablantes y también que escriben, obviamente son bolivianos. Todo vocabulario ayuda.
En ese sentido, está bien que se muestren los diccionarios y que a través de los medios de comunicación se ayude para que de una manera amplia nuestras lenguas, que son parte de nuestras identidades, salgan adelante. En otras partes del mundo hay cientos de lenguas que la gente habla, pero no hay esto.
Está muy bien que se publique y además va a ser una ayuda para los hablantes de estas lenguas. Está muy bien que esté en estos soportes digitales. En nuestro país estamos muy interesados en valorar la lengua. El lenguaje es lo primero, de lo contrario no hablaríamos. Hay un dicho: las aves sin alas no pueden volar y el ser humano sin lengua no puede hablar, y tiene mucha razón eso. Estoy muy de acuerdo porque es una contribución.
The urbandictionary.com has come up with a whole new lot of words which can be called as the modern slang. Most of the words are created by combining two words.
Like 'Brunch' is derived from breakfast and lunch, there are many other words in the dictionary which you will feel are an absolutely fit given the modern times. You can also comment in the suggestion box below with some words you think are funny and should be adopted by the dictionay.
Connaissez-vous le «yet» ? C'est un mollusque qui, de par son odeur, est surnommé le camembert sénégalais. Cette particularité, on la trouve à la lettre Y dans le «Dictionnaire insolite du Sénégal». Un ouvrage qui vient de paraître aux éditions Cosmopole et que l'on doit à un Albigeois d'origine.
Actuellement rédacteur-en-chef adjoint du bureau France de l'AFP à Paris, Christophe Parayre a grandi à Albi, «de l'âge de 6 ans à 18 ans» . Ville où vivent ses parents et où celui qui a pas mal bourlingué ,surtout en Afrique,revient souvent.
Christophe Parayre est un ancien de l'école de Rayssac, du collège Balzac et de Bellevue, lycée où il a passé en 1986 un bac lettres et langues étrangères. Admis au Centre de formation des journalistes (CFJ) à Paris, il a intégré l'Agence France presse. À l'AFP, il a d'ailleurs pour collègue une autre Albigeoise qui a fait ses premières armes à «La Dépêche du Midi», Jordane Bertrand.
«Un pays très proche de nous»
Tous deux partagent la même passion de l'Afrique. Christophe Parayre fut en poste à Abdijan, au Rwanda et au Burundi, au Kenya... Mais le pays qui l'a le plus marqué est le Sénégal, où il a passé quatre ans, comme directeur du bureau AFP à Dakar, entre 2006 et 2010. Christophe Parayre a acquis une connaissance approfondie de ce pays d'Afrique de l'Ouest, qu'il a eu à cœur de faire partager. Ainsi naquit l'idée de ce petit dictionnaire qu'on peut facilement glisser dans sa poche, avant par exemple de s'envoler en vacances au Sénégal. Facile à lire, cet abécédaire aborde aussi bien la politique, la géographie, la gastronomie et la culture. «Ce sont des aspects que je n'ai pas trouvés dans les guides existants et qui méritent d'être soulignés J'ai beaucoup aimé le Sénégal, dans sa diversité et sa richesse. C'est un pays très proche culturellement de la France, avec lequel on est liés par la langue et une histoire vieille de 350 ans. Le Sénégal, ce n'est pas que la plage. C'est une société civile avec des citoyens qui se mobilisent pour la liberté de penser et d'écrire, une démocratie qui n'a jamais connu de coup d'État. Vacanciers ou retraités, tous les Français connaissent quelqu'un qui va au Sénégal !» Comme, pour prendre un exemple tarnais, l'ancien président de la chambre d'agriculture, Jean-Claude Sabin, qui est à 81 ans conseiller agricole au Sénégal !
Dictionnaire insolite du Sénégal », Éditions Cosmopole, 160 pages, 11 €.
El eximio pianista correntino Walter Luis Lezcano, fue recientemente reconocido por la pianista e investigadora de fama nacional e internacional Dora de Marinis, al incluirlo en su más reciente obra “Nuestra Escuela Pianística Diccionario de pianistas argentinos”, que fue presentada en el marco del 2° Congreso Internacional de Piano titulado “El visrtuosismo pianístico en los compositores latinoamericanos”.
Dicho diccionario es el primero de este tipo en Argentina, y en el mismo se menciona a Walter Lezcano en la voz Nº 51 como “el único pianista correntino nacido, formado y dedicado a la formación e interpretación profesional del piano en su provincia natal”.
La autora destaca los principales maestros con los que se formó pianísticamente Lezcano, remarcando luego su dedicación a la pedagogía del instrumento, su constante perfeccionamiento y por último subraya su condición de Miembro de Número de la Junta de Historia de la Provincia de Corrientes desde donde, como investigador independiente, dio a conocer alguna de sus investigaciones sobre el patrimonio musical correntino.
Además de incluirlo en el diccionario, De Marinis utiliza la obra del pianista correntino como fuente para su trabajo de investigación, citando su trabajo "La obra para piano de Alberto Williams (1862-1952): estilos compositivos" publicado en las Actas del Congreso Internacional de Piano “La música latinoamericana para piano” de 2010.
Walter Lezcano nación en 1963 en Empedrado. Es Licenciado en Artes Musicales egresado de la Universidad Nacional del Nordeste y Magister en Educación Artística-Mención Música egresado de la Universidad Nacional de Rosario.
Realizó estudios de perfeccionamiento pianístico con destacados maestros, como Rosalyn Tureck, Martha Salzman, Horacio Azcárate, Piotr Paleczny, Mario Videla y otros.
echnique to improve communication skills
We have published about the importance of effective communication. Effective communication is one of the most important life skills we can learn which would help us in our daily life as well as in our career growth. Effective communication is more than mere writing or speaking. Some people are good in it while others may practice to improve it. It’s no secret that good leaders are also good communicators. And the best leaders have learned that effective communication is as much about authenticity as the words they speak and write. There are ways how we can enhance our communication skill. Here are some of the ways to enhance our communication skills.
* Be a listener: We must be good at listening to make effective communication. if we fail to listen properly then we may not communicate effectively.
* Show Empathy: Communication is a two-way avenue. When two or more individuals are involved then we must respect each other. If you practice taking the opposing viewpoint, you can reduce the difficulty and anxiety that sometimes arises when trying to truly communicate with others. Developing empathy helps us to better understand even the unspoken parts of our communication with others.
* Brief but Specific: There’s actually a BRIEF acronym—Background, Reason, Information, End, Follow-up—to help you keep your emails/mails/ conversation short without leaving anything out. It’s a good policy for both written and verbal communication.
* Put Away the Distractions: It’s pretty rude to use our mobile phone while someone’s talking to us. It is always good to avoid distractions for effective communication which may not be very realistic but we must try it.
* Ask questions to be clear: When we are communication with many people , sometime we may not understand what the other person is saying. In this situation we need to ask question to understand the conversation so that we can reply properly.
* Have a Script for Small Talk: Small talk is an art that not many people have mastered. For the inevitable, awkward silences with people you hardly know, it helps to have a plan. We can have a script and make the talk small which shall lead to effective communication in certain situations.
* Get Rid of Unnecessary Conversation Fillers: Um’s and ah’s do little to improve your speech or everyday conversations. We must avoid the fillers to make our communication effective. This is possible through proper practice.
* Body Language: A positive body language is important for the effective communication. Sometimes a person’s body language will tell what s/he wants to express or communicate.
Our behavior is your single greatest mode of communication, and it must be congruent with what we say. If our actions don’t align with your words, there’s trouble. And it can turn into big trouble if not corrected swiftly and genuinely. Leaders distill complex thoughts and strategies into simple, memorable terms that colleagues and others can grasp and act upon.
Good leaders know how to ask good questions, and then listen with both their eyes and ears. It’s easy to be so focused on getting your message out — or persuading others — that you don’t tune in to what you see and hear. Because you’re in a position of authority, the stakes are even higher because you won’t always get direct feedback. You need to read between the lines. Listen and hear what is coming back at you. Look for the nonverbal cues.
· The Dept of Social Work, University of Delhi announces admission to M.A. in Social Work for the academic session 2015-2016. Last date for receipt of completed applications: 30th Apr 2015
· AIT: Army Institute of Technology, Pune invites application to admission for the year 2015-2016 for the BE Courses commencing in July/August. AIT admission is based on the merit of JEE. All applicants are therefore required to appear in JEE and also apply to AIT. Last date for submission of completed AIT Application Form 25 Apr 2015
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Not too long ago, Chunxiang Yan and Zhenhua Wang were fêted by politicians, diplomats and business leaders at a seven-course banquet in Belleville, Ont., where the wealthy couple, recently arrived from China, was lauded as bold entrepreneurs for a plan to create a lavish resort on a 334-acre estate.
“They have big aspirations with ideas such as a golf course, spa, cottages and a winery,” the municipal economic development officer enthused to the local press.
“I really like this country, I extremely like Canada,” Yan, who was then living north of Toronto, told the gathering through a Chinese interpreter. “It is a beautiful land and I am planning, if all of you accept, I will be a permanent resident here.”
That was in 2013.
A year later, as Yan arrived at the York Regional Police headquarters to lodge a complaint against partners in that land deal, she was received not with plaudits but with warrants for the couple’s arrest.
In China, her husband Wang is wanted for an alleged fraud — involving between $180 million and $220 million from about 60,000 investors.
Although facing no criminal charge in Canada, both have been in prison for immigration concerns since. From behind bars, they have waged a fierce fight against deportation and issued a blizzard of lawsuits.
Rather than being fugitive fraudsters, they claim, they are really victims of a massive manipulation in Canada, conned at every turn by supposed friends.
And then, they claim — when Yan, 49, and Wang, 50, realized they had been duped out of millions of dollars — they were ratted out to immigration authorities for false documents they had no idea were filed on their behalf, likely robbing of them of their ability to remain in Canada.
That claim is disputed by Yan and Wang’s nemesis as vociferously as it is made: “Those are all lies; that’s their revenges,” said Jessica Chen, who, along with her husband, Louie Szeto, is the couple’s former business associate.
It creates a perplexing tale of duplicity — on someone’s part — but sorting out the lies seems almost impossible, even for police.
“There is some evidence to support both sides of the allegations, which is the essence of a good lie,” said Detective Ward Taylor, a fraud squad investigator with York police.
Is justice being served by clipping the wings of high-flying foreign crooks? Or are they, themselves, victims of the perfect con?
Wang was pitching an investment scheme at Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay exhibition centre on March 6, 2012, when Louie Szeto met him.
Wang tapped into the nascent capitalist hunger in China and Szeto, along with many others, lined up to buy in. Szeto and his wife, Chen, say they invested $7.5 million of their savings into Wang’s and Yan’s fund.
Despite the slick presentation, InZon seems a poor investment. Wang and Yan took over a floundering U.S.-registered telecom firm, relocated it to Hong Kong and sold foreign investors on its plan for a new subdivision in Fort Erie, Ont.
Yan and Wang were named as directors. However, in corporate filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission they declare there is “no family relationship between any of the company’s directors.” InZon has since had its registration revoked by the SEC.
Wang’s pitch offered a multi-level marking operation, a system often derisively called a pyramid or Ponzi scheme.
Wang had already drawn unwanted attention from Chinese authorities. In January 2012, he was called to a police station in Guanxian, 450 kilometres south of Beijing, where he was questioned, photographed and fingerprinted over his investment business.
Whether he was fleeing China or merely looking for a better life is not yet known. What is accepted fact is that Yan and Wang wanted to leave China but could not speak, read or write any English.
Szeto introduced them to his wife, Chen, offering her services as a translator and trusted assistant. He also, Yan and Wang claim, said he was an immigration lawyer with extensive connections to Canadian officials and was paid $2 million for immigration help. (Szeto denies the claim.)
The two couples reconnected in September 2012 in Canada. Arriving on visitor’s visas, ostensibly to visit their children who are enrolled in schools here, Yan and Wang relied heavily on Szeto and Chen. They referred to them as “family.”
Yan and Wang gave the other couple the passwords to their email accounts and keys to their mailboxes so they could read their English correspondence, they claim. They gave them the keys to their home and to their Land Rover and Mercedes, told them the combination to their safe. And they gave them signing authority on many of their bank accounts.
Yan and Wang transferred about $30 million to Szeto’s and Chen’s control over the next year to fund business ventures, they claim.
There were plans for a gold mine in British Columbia and a development in Quebec. They started a Chinese-language magazine called China Canada Business Times, dominated by ads from politicians appealing to Chinese-Canadian voters.
The most public of the investment plans, however, became the would-be resort near Tweed.
Tawlia Chickalo had been trying to sell the sprawling, rustic property in Marlbank for five months when the Chinese investors arrived at the start of 2013.
“When they showed up they were very hot and fast to buy. They wanted me to close the deal in three weeks and move out in 30 days,” Chickalo said.
The deal closed Feb. 25, 2013, for a purchase price of just over $4 million, court documents say.
The purchaser was Yan, but all of her dealings were through Szeto and Chen, who translated everything between English and Mandarin, Chickalo said.
Just days after the sale, Yan — through Chen — paid Chickalo to host two parties trumpeting the deal to the press, politicians, business leaders and the public, she said.
Despite the liberal infusion of capital and publicity, none of these projects flourished and in late 2013, the relationship between the two couples was shattered.
Yan and Wang were travelling in the Caribbean in November 2013 when bank officials called to confirm a transfer of $4.5 million to a company registered in the British Virgin Islands. The couple claims they didn’t know of the company and stopped payment.
They looked closer at their affairs.
Several transfers from their accounts had already gone to the British Virgin Islands firm, which, as it turns out, was controlled by Szeto. There were other payments they questioned, including $168,000 to Chen’s mother.
Yan and Wang called police and Szeto and Chen were arrested. They offered an alternate explanation, claiming legitimate use of the car and house. They told police — and immigration authorities — that Wang was wanted in China.
“We had grave questions as to the information we had been given (by Yan and Wang), so much so we didn’t feel comfortable laying the charge,” said police detective Taylor.
Chen and Szeto have a different version of their breakup with Yan and Wang. They learned in May 2013 that InZon was a scam when they read SEC notices online. They confronted Yan and Wang about it, Chen said, but were assured of their innocence. Then, at a corporate meeting, Chen claims, Wang produced a passport in a different name, that of Changzhi Xie.
“We then realized they never tried to do any legal business, they wanted to make use of us,” Chen said.
Just as York police were wading into these competing claims, the court was asked to do the same. On Dec. 6, 2013, Yan and Wang sued Szeto and Chen in Ontario court. It was the start of an immense amount of litigation, both in Canada and in Hong Kong.
The court has now frozen most of the assets.
Justice David Brown, during pre-trial motions, said there are enough concerns over Szeto and Chen’s handling of the money to warrant further hearings.
As Yan and Wang pushed their complaint against Szeto and Chen with police, the fraud detective, Taylor, invited them to police headquarters to explain their version of events. It was a set up. On March 7, 2014, Yan arrived with a Chinese-Canadian lawyer. Waiting for them were officers with the Toronto Police Fugitive Squad and Canada Border Services Agency.
Officers arrested Yan and her lawyer, Wen Wu — mistaking him for Wang. Yan was “wailing and almost collapsed,” according to a description filed in court. Police found she was carrying $7,500.
Yan and Wang were arrested not for any criminal offense, but for immigration allegations. The couple, however, say their documents were prepared by Szeto and Chen and submitted without them being able to read any of them.
For more than a year, Yan and Wang have remained in prison, separated both from each other and from their life of luxury.
They have filed lawsuit after lawsuit against the government for their treatment in prison, against former lawyers and former employees, against Ms. Chickalo who sold them the estate, the town’s economic development officer, their former realtor and others they did business with.
And against Chen and Szeto.
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The same day they were confronted with confirmation of an arrest warrant from China, court filings say, they claimed for refugee protection and asylum in Canada, making their immigration proceedings secret affairs. The Immigration and Refugee Board has ruled the couple must remain in jail until their immigration issues are sorted out saying: “The likelihood of Ms. Yan and Mr. Wang appearing voluntarily for removal is low to non-existing… They have the willingness and financial means to do whatever is necessary to avoid removal.”
And while Yan and Wang remain in Canada to avoid authorities in China, Szeto and Chen are in China and have missed court deadlines in Canada.
“I have ongoing litigation with Wang and his wife. I just flew from Canada,” Chen said in a recent telephone interview. She said she is “temporarily staying here,” but will “definitely return to Canada” to deal with the court matters.
For Yan and Wang’s part, despite their lawsuits suggesting they have plenty of grievances to air, none of the lawyers acting on their behalf would speak about the case.
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Life has changed incredibly quickly in the last 20 or so years. We carry the entire Internet around in our pocket, whereas 20 years ago we had dial-up at best.
Technology has changed so rapidly that my generation’s childhood seems like practically a different century. And with all of these advances, language changed.
The English language has never been a static, unchanging thing. New words and definitions are added into dictionaries every year. For example, the world “selfie” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013.
If language didn’t change, we wouldn’t change either. Purists say words like “selfie,” “hashtag,” or slang like “totes,” “bae,” and “on fleek” are going to be the downfall of our language. But, that’s also what was said when the pencil was invented. Teachers said it would be the end of writing as we knew it—that nobody would ever be able to properly use a slate again. However, today, we couldn’t imagine a world without pencils.
Surprise, something new didn’t hurt us.
Additionally, use of slang reflects the way that we — particularly young people — speak to one another. Writing is typically supposed to convey that, unless you’re writing an academic paper. Then you might want to stay away from calling something “fire.”
Shakespeare invented hundreds of words that we now use all the time (pickle, for example). I’m sure people sneered at these new words back when they were invented, but, eventually people chilled out and started using them.
So why not just be chill now?
Children in families earning less than $25,000 ( £16,900) a year had brain surface areas 6% smaller than those who earned $150,000 (£68,500)
Separate study found differences in thickness of parts of brain's cortex
This could explain as much as 44 per cent of the income achievement gap
By ELLIE ZOLFAGHARIFARD FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 01:43 GMT, 18 April 2015 | UPDATED: 01:45 GMT, 18 April 2015
Poor children develop smaller brains than their richer classmates, according to two US studies.
Neuroscientists who studied the brains of more than 100 young people found that the surface area of their cerebral cortex could be linked to family income.
The region of the brain studied is responsible for language, memory, spatial skills and reasoning.
Columbia University found children in families that earned less than $25,000 ( £16,900) a year had surface areas six per cent smaller than those whose families earned $150,000 (£68,500) or more
Columbia University found children in families that earned less than $25,000 ( £16,900) a year had surface areas six per cent smaller than those whose families earned $150,000 (£68,500) or more.
'We've known for so long that poverty and lack of access to resources to enrich the developmental environment are related to poor school performance', Elizabeth Sowell, of Children's Hospital Los Angeles told the Washington Post.
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'But now we can really tie it to a physical thing in the brain. We realised that this is a big deal.'
Neuroscientists from MIT came to the same conclusion in a separate study.
'Just as you would expect, there's a real cost to not living in a supportive environment,' said MIT's John Gabrieli, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences.
'To me, it's a call to action. You want to boost the opportunities for those for whom it doesn't come easily in their environment.'
While the study didn't look at the possible reasons for differences in brain anatomy, previous research has found lower-income students are more likely to suffer from stress in early childhood (stock image used)
While the study didn't look at the possible reasons for differences in brain anatomy, previous research has found lower-income students are more likely to suffer from stress in early childhood.
This may be because they have more limited access to educational resources, and receive less exposure to spoken language early in life.
POOR CHILDREN ARE 6 IQ POINTS WORSE OFF THAN WEALTHY PEERS
Poverty affects the intelligence of children as young as two, a study has found - and its impact increases as the child ages.
Deprived young children were found to have IQ scores six points lower, on average, than children from wealthier families.
And the gap got wider throughout childhood, with the early difference tripling by the time the children reached adolescence.
Scientists from Goldsmiths, University of London compared data on almost 15,000 children and their parents as part of the Twins Early Development Study (Teds).
The study is an on-going investigation socio-economic and genetic links to intelligence.
Children were assessed nine times between the ages of two and 16, using a mixture of parent-administered, web and telephone-based tests.
The results, published in the journal Intelligence, revealed that children from wealthier backgrounds with more opportunities scored higher in IQ tests at the age of two, and experienced greater IQ gains over time.
The study included 58 students - 23 from lower-income families and 35 from higher-income families, all aged 12 or 13.
Low-income students were defined as those who qualify for a free or reduced-price school lunch.
The researchers compared students' scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) with scans showing the brain's cortex.
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), they discovered differences in the thickness of parts of the cortex in the temporal and occipital lobes, whose primary roles are in vision and storing knowledge.
Those differences were linked to differences in both test scores and family income.
In fact, differences in cortical thickness in these brain regions could explain as much as 44 per cent of the income achievement gap found in this study.
In most other measures of brain anatomy, the researchers found no significant differences.
The amount of white matter - the bundles of axons that connect different parts of the brain - did not differ, nor did the overall surface area of the brain cortex.
The researchers point out that the structural differences they did find are not necessarily permanent.
'There's so much strong evidence that brains are highly plastic,' says Gabrieli, who is also a member of the McGovern Institute.
'Our findings don't mean that further educational support, home support, all those things, couldn't make big differences.'
In a follow-up study, the researchers hope to learn more about what types of educational programs might help to close the achievement gap.
But the same ease of understanding does not carry through between Dakota and Lakota people in trying to converse with Nakota speakers.
“Nakota, in the linguistic designation, is spoken by the Assiniboine and Stoney nations of Montana and Canada, for the most part, and it is not easily intelligible now to Lakota and Dakota speakers. Therefore, Nakota is, at this point, almost a different language, even though very obviously linguistically and culturally related to the Dakota and Lakota, as these share a lot of vocabulary and history with each other,” Mirzayan said.
Mirzayan said recent linguistic surveys and anecdotal evidence indicate that Lakota speakers of all abilities, on and around the reservations of North Dakota and South Dakota, amount to about 6,000 persons, or roughly 14 percent of the total Lakota population.
“More difficult is the fact that average age of Lakota speakers is 60 or over … probably more near 65 years old, and inter-generational transmission has been very difficult,” Mirzayan said.
Things have been better the past few years with the rise of immersion schools, home immersion and other strategies, Mirzayan notes. But Lakota faces challenges.
“The language probably stopped being transmitted to children during the 1950s because of the history of boarding school language suppression and punishments that that generation received earlier. This language is ‘in trouble,’ but with efforts at revitalization it can be maintained.”
Mirzayan said he knows less about the number of Dakota speakers.
He said the Ethnologue, the comprehensive reference work that catalogs all the known languages in the world, puts the number of speakers of all the “Sioux Dialects” at 25,000. “This would presumably include all Lakota (a little more than 6,000) and Dakota (a little more than 18,000), but whether it includes the northern Nakota . I cannot tell,” Mirzayan said.
Mirzayan adds that he questions whether there could really be 18,000 Dakota speakers and said people who work with the language put the number much lower.
Willis Barnstone is a polymath author of more than 70 books — a poet, translator and scholar of Gnosticism and the New Testament. But the 87-year-old also has had a long and colorful relationship with China, translating Mao Zedong’s poetry and befriending numerous Chinese artists and political leaders in the 1980s.
Willis Barnstone.Credit Ian Johnson/The New York Times
Recently he was in Beijing to speak at the Bookworm Literary Festival. In an interview, he discussed his love of classical Chinese poetry, a telegram he sent to Zhou Enlai and taking Allen Ginsberg to a Taoist temple.
What got you interested in Mao’s poetry?
I’ve always been interested in poetry, and I make no distinction of language or time. I’ve translated Sappho and, with the help of a professor at Yale, Sumerian poetry. But I was equally interested in Chinese poetry. It’s image poetry. Even bad translations work, because pictures translate better than sound. I asked people who were the great contemporary poets, and they said none. It turns out that Mao was the only poet. The only permitted poet!
You translated Mao before you went to China.
I did it before Nixon went to China [in 1972]. I felt that Mao was an excellent poet behind the gibberish translation. It was the worst kind of Chinglish. If you are a writer, you can see the writing behind even a bad version. Most of his poems have a political element, but he never forgets to bring the classical gods in.
So I translated it with the help of a colleague. I sent it in and received a letter saying, “We’re glad to have it and will get back to you.” It sat there for nine months until word came out that Nixon was going to China. In 11 pre-computer days, Harper & Row put it out in a magnificent edition. It became Book-of-the-Month, a New York Times feature review, the whole works.
Then Nixon did fly to Beijing for a summit with Mao, Zhou and Henry Kissinger. Nixon recited two of Mao’s poems in my translation.
And soon after that you were invited to China.
I wrote a telegram to “Zhou Enlai, Beijing, China” saying I am the translator of Mao’s poems and would like to visit China. Next morning I got an answer: “Go to Ontario, Canada. Pick up visa.” They gave me two weeks, but I extended it to four.
I met all the Albanians in the world because they were half the population of China at the time, it seemed. I looked out the window and there were a thousand Albanians marching. The great Albanian Army marching! In Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou!
And you saw a lot of Mao’s poetry.
The only poet allowed was Mao, and his poetry was everywhere. If you went to a restaurant, or walked down a street, walls were filled with his poems. If you bought a postage stamp, it had a microscopic reproduction of a Mao poem.
Mao was omnipresent. He condemned medieval religions, but in poems and statues he was the new emperor god.
You did get to meet a writer you liked.
I told them I wanted to meet Yeh Chun-chan, a very refined gentleman. He had published with my publisher at the time, Harper & Row, was Cambridge-educated and had translated into Chinese the works of Hans Christian Andersen. I went to the Foreign Languages Press to meet him. We talked and talked.
And then he went back to jail!
Yes! He had just served three years in jail, having been denounced by Red Guards. They let him out only for few hours to see me, and then he had another couple of years in jail. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know that. I only found out when I returned to China in the 1980s.
What did the city feel like back then in 1972?
The strange thing is, poverty preserves beauty. Now China is richer, but the old city has been destroyed. Even during the Cultural Revolution, the hutongs were there. When all were asleep, I would sneak out from the Nationalities Hotel and get lost. It was beautiful to be adrift in the magic of all the palaces that still existed. I would take a bus or streetcar and get lost and wander back. People didn’t mind. They would clap when they saw me and then back away cautiously.
You ended your stay by going down to Guangzhou.
On the last day I played Ping-Pong. I’m an average bad Ping-Pong player, and they put me up against the champion of the corrugated-metal garbage-pail syndicate. How could I face the champion?! So I played, and I think I got three points before he got 21. But every time I got a point, there was a burst of applause. There were 30,000 people, and they were screaming their heads off. I never felt so vain in my life. I won a point against the champion!
And he was letting you have the points.
Of course! He was doing his best to throw me the points, but I was so bad I couldn’t take advantage of them. Things were always surreal in those days.
And then you went back in 1984.
Yes, I had a Fulbright teaching fellowship. I was supposed to go the year before. But at the last minute, they wouldn’t issue the visa. I had asked for leave and had rented my house in Indiana. They wouldn’t say why. Then in the autumn they said apply again. I said, no way, but they said it’s been approved, just do it. So I reapplied, and it was approved.
When I got here, the vice president of the Foreign Studies University told me, “Willis, do you remember when you were going to come to China, but we didn’t give you a visa?” I said, “Yeah, I was really upset.” They said, “We were afraid you were a Maoist. The last thing we wanted was a Maoist!”
How did it feel then compared to the 1970s?
It was so much more open. Yet when I went downtown, I saw the trucks with prisoners with boards around their chests. They were about to be executed. The boards listed their crimes: prostitute, thief, whatever it was. They got one bullet in the head, and the family paid one yuan for the cost of the bullet.
Those were still not the happiest of days, but people spoke, and things were improving. Women started to wear earrings and better clothes. Things were improving. If it had not been for the tragedy of Tiananmen — maybe if Gorbachev hadn’t come to China, which gave the protesters the excuse to stay longer — China would be a fully democratic country now. Everything was in the works. All the right people were moving into the right positions. Including the novelist Wang Meng, who was minister of culture.
You got to know a lot of those people.
Yes, I talked to Wang Meng often. I’d go to his place, and he’d come to mine. I was staying at the Friendship Hotel. My son Tony and I knew all the poets in China. They came in through the window.
We lived in the Friendship Hotel, near the wall. It was so close we could hear people spitting in the streets at dawn. The wall wasn’t that high and so people just came over the wall and through our window. That way they didn’t have to register at the front desk and be reported to their work unit.
It was Gertrude Stein’s salon en Chine. I’m exaggerating, but for us it was paradise.
Later your son published some of those poets in the United States.
Yes, with Wesleyan University Press. They were the Misty Poets — many of the major post-Mao poets. We knew many of them back in the 1980s. The window jumpers.
I was in China at the same time, and I recall, like you, riding to the Summer Palace. In fact, you wrote a poem about it in your book “5 A.M. in Beijing: Poems of China”:
My bike clanks in the dusk, rattling like sudden summer
in the corridors of the Summer Palace.
Those were hilarious, happy days.
You made Beijing feel romantic. In “5 A.M. in Beijing,” you wrote a poem about walking down Wangfujing thinking of your love, and the other places in China where you had been:
No more. I won’t look in the Foreign Experts Dining Hall
for you choosing vegetables for us,
I won’t expect us to walk near the perfumed palace
of the late emperors of Chengde.
You see I never construe you, you’re never alive
like the cock
fulminating through dawn,
We’re never together four days on northwest trains
where tribesmen pull turnips from the violet fields.
During your stay in 1984-85, Allen Ginsberg came.
Yes, he came on a visit with leading American authors. He gave a talk about [fellatio]. That was the end of his tour! Everyone was stone-faced. But being Allen Ginsberg and finding marvels in China, and boyfriends, he stayed on until Christmas.
What happened at the White Cloud Temple?
I went there with Allen. We walked in there, and the abbot was wise, as Taoists should be, and generous. We were interested in everything, and although I’m not religious, religion is something I know well, so we had a lot to talk about. We were walking around, and we saw a room. Allen said, “What’s in this room?” and the abbot said, “Look inside.” Allen opened the door, and there was a young man wearing a loincloth, but otherwise completely naked. He was in a posture where his hands touched his feet, like a circle, but his eyes were open. Allen said, “Oh, oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb him.” And the abbot said, “Don’t worry. No one will disturb him for 24 hours.” Allen said he had been in India for three years, but this is the real thing
When was the third time you came?
It was nine years ago. My wife, Sarah Handler, a Chinese art historian, wrote a book on Chinese furniture and architecture. We traveled around Anhui Province, looking at old villages.
What’s your impression of China now?
I don’t know. I know people like you are happy to be here, and I’m exhilarated. And if I were here longer, I would be even more exhilarated, and I would find things to write about.
You’re still translating Chinese poetry. What’s the continuing fascination with Wang Wei, the eighth-century poet?
There are certain clichés about his poetry, such as that poetry is dancing in chains, which recalls the Greek “chorus,” meaning “dance.” Poetry is dance. Wang Wei is dancing in a monosyllabic way. Chinese is tight and visual. If you think of Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” — “Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though” — the only bisyllabic word is “village.”
Chinese is a concise language like Frost’s. Now they’ve put characters together to form polysyllabic words, but in the classical era they rarely did that. The total vocabulary of Wang Wei is small. I was able to learn every character and ultimately publish a book with my son Tony. Each of his key characters repeat over and over again. It’s like reading the Hebrew Bible, Genesis, which is very easy to do. If you read the first page you can read the second page.
Wang Wei isn’t repetitious, but by changing the syntax of common words he infinitely enriches their meaning. His poems are of retreating into the mountains, from city obligations, of recovering after the death of his wife, which he never really did, and of his love of nature. He is one with the great pastoral poets of Greece.
When you came in 1972 were you disappointed?
Oh, no. How could one be disappointed about coming to China? You would be soulless, like the dark side of the moon.
Follow Ian Johnson on Twitter at @iandenisjohnson.