Metaglossia: The Translation World
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Metaglossia: The Translation World
News about translation, interpreting, intercultural communication, terminology and lexicography - as it happens
Curated by Charles Tiayon
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Disappearing Languages, Endangered Environment

Disappearing Languages, Endangered Environment
Abba Mahmood
— Jul 23, 2015 12:59 am | 1 Comment
Dr Bukar Usman retired as a Permanent Secretary in the Presidency in 1999 after over three decades of a distinguished career in the public service. He is one of the most respected public servants Nigeria has ever produced. The first book I read authored by him was entitled “Voices in Choir”. Two weeks ago, I got and read another book by him entitled “Language Disappearance and Cultural Diversity in Biu Emirate”. Biu Emirate is in Borno State and is the home emirate of Dr Usman. Dr. Usman analysed the phenomenon of language disappearance through research into his multilingual Biu area of Borno in northeastern Nigeria.

On page 51, Dr Usman writes: “Nigeria has a projected population of about 170 million and has more than 500 indigenous languages. If the nation’s languages are shared out among the total population, on average it will amount to one language per 340,000 citizens. But the distribution of the languages is not as simple as this. There are languages such as Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo (which are called major languages) spoken by millions of people. Biu Emirate has a population of about 432,275, and it is home to speakers of over eight living indigenous languages (Bura/Babur, Tera, Jara, Chibok, Kanakuru, Hwana, Marghi, Pidlimdi) and five exogenous languages, namely, Kanuri, Fulfulde, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo.

Dr Usman quotes the UNESCO definition of endangered languages thus: “a language is endangered when its speakers cease to use it, use it in fewer and fewer domains, and or stop passing it on to the next generation. No single factor determines whether a language is endangered. “ Dr Usman further quotes UNESCO on causes of language death: “languages are threatened by external forces such as military, economic, religious, cultural or educational subjugation, or by internal forces such as a community’s negative attitude towards its own language. Today, increased migration and rapid urbanisation often bring along the loss of traditional ways of life and a strong pressure to speak a dominant language that is (or is perceived to be) necessary for full civic participation and economic advancement.”

One thing I admire Dr Bukar Usman for is his passion and flair for writing. He has so far written over 30 books in both English and Hausa languages. He is the president of Nigerian Folklore Society (NFS). This is a very worthy and commendable effort. Unlike most of the other public servants who do not want to tell their story or write their memoirs, Dr Usman is leaving a permanent legacy for posterity by his very educating and highly entertaining books.

Reading his book on language disappearance has triggered a lot of thoughts in my brain. According to Lord Lugard who gave Nigeria its name in 1914 when he amalgamated the northern and southern protectorates that year, Adamawa, Borno and Bauchi provinces of that era alone had more than half of the total number of ethnic and language groups in Nigeria. I remember when I was in school reading about the defunct Gongola State, now Adamawa and Taraba states, that these two states alone have 104 ethnic/language groups! The then Bauchi province extends up to the present Plateau, Nassarawa and Gombe states in addition to the present Bauchi State. Collectively, these states have more than 100 language/ethnic groups. This is why I laugh at those who are advocating a conference of ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. They are just demonstrating their ignorance of the country.

But how many of these languages are still spoken? Only a few have survived and fewer still will survive at the rate we are going. Members of the middle class take pride in having their children speak English or other foreign languages from kindergarten. As the late Kuntigi singer Dan Maraya Jos sang: “kayan aro abin banza ne, in mai abin ya karbi abinsa to dole sai ka komo naka!” Meaning: “whatever you borrow is useless because if the real owner takes it back, you have to revert back to what belongs to you!”

One can recall the late governor of the old Kano State Alhaji Aliyu Sabo Bakin Zuwo’s words of wisdom when he was harassed by the press about his often use of Hausa language in communication. Governor Bakin Zuwo said: “The Russians have sent people to the moon, they are not speaking English but Russian. The Japanese are having one of the strongest economies in the world; they speak Japanese. The Chinese and the Indians speak their languages and they are great countries. So why should anyone question me because I speak my language?” Recall that Bakin Zuwo was Senator in the Second Republic during which he passed the highest number of bills in that era, including the minimum wage bill!

Dr Usman quotes an American linguist Michael Krauss who predicted that 50 per cent to 95 per cent of the world’s 6,000 languages would be extinct or would be on the verge of being extinct within the next 100 years or by the end of the 21st century. “Based on this prediction, Krauss classified languages into three levels of endangerment: moribund languages, endangered languages, and safe languages,” writes Usman. “The (UNESCO) organization classifies languages as follows: ‘safe’, ‘vulnerable’ (not spoken by children outside the home), ‘definitely endangered’ (spoken by only the oldest generations) and ‘critically endangered’ (spoken by only a few members of the oldest generation). “

Apart from the languages, even our environment is under threat. All the bush animals we used to have are disappearing. Very soon, our children and grandchildren will have to go to the zoos to see even donkeys and vultures. The squirrels are gone. The wild rabbits are gone. Most of the birds in the forests are gone. These are even the smaller animals. The elephants, lions and hyenas have all disappeared.

In addition to the fauna, the flora is also endangered. There are a lot of wild fruits that we were enjoying but are getting more scarce by the day. And the products of these native trees are found to be highly medicinal. A lot of them, I do not know their English names. But I can recall tsada, dinya, kadanya, dorawa, kanya, kuka, gwandan daji, adu’a, goruba, giginya, kurna, taura, magarya etc which are native to us, especially in the north, and are now scientifically found to be very useful to the body and highly medicinal. No wonder there were no diabetes, high blood pressure and other now prevalent diseases.

We have to preserve our dear languages and our beloved environment. History is on the side of the oppressed.!
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B.C. judge and defence for accused Chinese spy uneasy about hiring U.S. translators to help RCMP

British Columbia judge is concerned that assistance from the United States in extraditing an accused Chinese spy has more to do with inadequate RCMP resources than Canada's international obligations.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Terence Schultes said on Tuesday he wouldn't accept that the Mounties don't have the ability to translate the equivalent of more than 300,000 pages of seized information from Canadian permanent resident Su Bin.

The U.S. wants to extradite Su to face trial over accusations he masterminded a plot to steal military trade secrets from several American defence contractors.

The Canadian government has asked the court to OK a team of U.S. investigators to help the RCMP extract and translate reams of data found on Su's seized electronics, written predominantly in Chinese characters. That information would then be used by the courts to decide whether to extradite him.

The RCMP's inability to investigate the matter on its own suggests it has a resource-allocation issue, said Schultes. He said the proposed assistance could be interpreted as "administrative convenience."

"I presume they either don't want to spend the money or whoever's in charge here can't authorize to spend the money," the judge said. "That's really the elephant in the room for me."

Stacey Repas, counsel for the federal attorney general, told the court Canada has an international obligation to co-operate with its neighbour on issues of national security.

It would take the one Canadian Mountie available working full time more than 35 years to translate the documents, and outside help is the only immediate option to expedite processing the U.S.'s extradition application, he said.

"It is a reasonable and measured way of dealing with information that relates to serious offences that have an impact on U.S. national security," said Repas.

Su's defence lawyer, Greg DelBigio, echoed the judge's unease, describing the application as purely a resource issue.

"I say that Canadian law has not yet reached the point where we outsource criminal investigations simply because of inadequate resources," said DelBigio.

He also said American translators may not comply with Canadian requirements that they not submit any information to the U.S. before a Canadian court order permits them to do so.

There would be little recourse available in the event of a breach, he added.

"There would be nothing that a Canadian court could do," said DelBigio. "You can't bring the information back."

Repas countered, saying American translators would be required to sign a non-disclosure form that would guarantee repercussions if they failed to follow the rules.

DelBigio said if the court rules in favour of the application, he'd like to see the RCMP sign a contract making them liable for any possible breach of information by the U.S. agents.

"This is, I submit, a perfectly reasonable, lawful and appropriate balancing of interests," he said. "It would offer my client some protection."

A Los Angeles grand jury indicted Su last August on five offences, including conspiracy to steal trade secrets, conspiracy to export defence information and unauthorized computer access.

The Canadian government is attempting to revoke Su's permanent-residency status but he is appealing the decision.

© Copyright (c) The Province!
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Did the BBC cover up the antisemitism of Gaza’s children?

Did the BBC cover up the antisemitism of Gaza’s children?
July 23, 2015 by Robert A. H. Cohen 41 Comments
Has a mistranslation in a BBC documentary created an image of innocence where none should exist?
Was the motivation of the broadcaster to avoid diminishing sympathy towards the Palestinians while increasing antipathy towards Israel?
For those that missed the coverage let me bring you up to speed.
According to a report in the Jewish Chronicle, Britain’s oldest and most widely read Jewish newspaper, the BBC substituted the word “Israelis” for “Jews” in its translation of interviews with Palestinian children.

From the BBC documentary Children of the Gaza War. Source: BBC
The documentary, Children of the Gaza War, was presented by the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet to mark the first anniversary of the conflict and included extensive and sympathetic interviews by Doucet with both Israeli and Gazan children and their parents.
At one point in the film, a Gazan child says the “yahud” are massacring Palestinians. However the TV subtitles read: “Israel is massacring us”. The Jewish Chronicle pointed out to its readers that the correct translation for “yahud” from Arabic to English is “Jew”.

BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet. Source: BBC
Lyse Doucet told the JC:
“We talked to people in Gaza, we talked to translators. When [the children] say ‘Jews’, they mean ‘Israelis’. “We felt it was a better translation of it.”
The Jewish Chronicle appears to be raising two very important issues. Are Palestinian children in Gaza antisemitic and can we trust the BBC to be fair to Israel?
Let me attempt to unscramble the thinking (or lack of thinking) going on here.
Listener context
With words (and much else) context is everything.
To Jewish ears, mine included, the pejorative use of the word “Jews” conjures up enough historical baggage to fill the reclaim hall at Ben Gurion airport.
Immediately I’m thinking: ‘Christ killers’, ‘blood libels’, ‘pogroms’ and the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’.
Very soon I’m thinking: ‘Nazis’ and ‘gas chambers’.
If that’s how the children of Gaza think of me, and every other Jew in the world, then doesn’t the BBC have an obligation to tell us? This seems to be what the JC’s article is inferring.
If this is the truth and the children of Gaza are cold hearted, old school, antisemites then they do not deserve the world’s sympathy.
The State of Israel is again entitled to present itself as the victim rather than the villain and as the guardian of Jewish safety against the genocidal intentions of those that seek to harm us.
I’m sure that advocates for the State of Israel would want to update me on my understanding of antisemitism and move me on from its classic Euro-centric brand to its new mutation in the Middle East.
They would no doubt point me to the rhetoric and propaganda of Hamas, its charter, and the views of other more extreme Islamist groups. They would direct me to text books, TV channels, websites and social media to illustrate how widespread is anti-Jewish hatred in the ‘Arab world’. Pogroms and blood libels have been replaced by rockets and terror tunnels.
This was the emotional, political and historical context into which the Jewish Chronicle was happy to pitch its story.
Speaker context
But the speakers, in this case the children of Gaza, have context too. And it’s just as emotional, political and historical.
If the Jewish Chronicle cared to give it a little consideration, it might realise that there are many good reasons why the children interviewed by Doucet would naturally choose the word “yahud” when describing their enemy.
Don’t we call Israel the ‘Jewish State’? Don’t we insist that it is the State not just of its Jewish citizens but of all Jews wherever they may live? Don’t Israeli Prime Minister readily talk as if they represent the interests of the Jewish people around the globe? Don’t our communal leaders throughout the Jewish diaspora act as defenders and apologists whenever Israel faces criticism? The Jewish Chronicle certainly knows that all of this is true. In fact it promotes all of this every week.
So, if you were a Palestinian child in Gaza is it really so unreasonable to think that “Jew” and “Israeli” were interchangeable?
Haven’t we made identification with the State of Israel so central to modern Jewish identity that the Gazan children are only reflecting what we have been saying of ourselves for decades? We are at one with Israel.
I understand that identity politics can be complicated but in accusing the children of antisemitism I think we are trying to have our Jewish nationalist cake and eat it.
But there is plenty more context where this came from.
If you are a child in Gaza then over the last seven years, during three Gaza wars, either you, or a relative, or a friend, are likely to have lost someone close to you, had your home damaged or destroyed, watched your parents lose their business, been forced to move out of your home, had your school or mosque blown-up, had a limb amputated, or been orphaned.

Max Blumenthal’s The 51 Day War. Source: Verso books
If you want a picture of what it was like to be a child in Gaza last summer I’d recommend Max Blumenthal’s The 51 Day War. Blumenthal entered the Strip during the sporadic ceasefires last August, and in the days following the truce, collecting testimonies from children and adults while the memories and the blood were still fresh. He describes entering the ruins of Eastern Shujaiya after Israeli shelling and bombing from F16s: “I began to sense that I was inside a vast crime scene.”
After reading his account, with its eyewitness stories of random killing, casual brutality and deliberate humiliation of civilians, all at the hands of the ‘the most moral army in the world’, it strikes me that it would be miraculous if the children of Gaza had not developed sweeping and indiscriminate views about Jews.
Racism in plentiful supply
So perhaps the children of Gaza are antisemitic. If so, we have given them a great many reasons to be so.
But are we Jews, and Jewish Israelis in particular, free of such charges of racism? On the evidence of last summer it’s a categorical ‘No’.
Don’t we (adults and children) also hold sweeping and indiscriminate views about Arabs, and Palestinians in particular.
The quality of the discourse I heard from the Jewish community in Britain last year was far from up-lifting. It echoed the lines being pumped out by Israeli spin doctors on air and online.
The Palestinians are not like us.
They teach their children to hate.
They do not value life like we do.
And to prove these points the following summary of Palestinian military strategy was put forward:
Israel uses missiles to protect its people while Hamas uses its people to protect its missiles.
It was a propaganda slogan that gave permission for the indiscriminate mayhem unleashed by the Israel Defence Forces from land, sea and air.
The bottom line of all this talk is that the Palestinians are considerably less human than we are.
And in Israel there was far more rabid commentary than this doing the rounds last summer. Not just on Twitter and Facebook (“kill Arab children so there won’t be a next generation”), but from newspaper columnists, academics, Rabbis and all the way up to the Knesset itself. Blumenthal quotes the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset at the time, Moshe Feiglin, who wrote on his Facebook page suggesting mass transfer of Gaza civilians to the Sinai border so that their former homes could be shelled to “exterminate nests of resistance”.
I’m not sure how much Israeli Jewish racism the Jewish Chronicle got around to reporting last summer. If it did, I trust there was no sleight of hand with the translation.

BBC Logo
As for trusting the BBC, the corporation gets equally criticised by Palestinian advocates as it does by Zionists. Personally, I think the BBC is not perfect but it gets most things right most if the time. In the grand scheme of things, it is not part of the problem.
To return to Lyse Doucet, her documentary was powerful and she clearly felt for the children on both sides of the divide. But the pictures of devastation in Gaza spoke louder than anything being spoken. It hardly matters how the children choose to label their foes.
What needed no translation in Doucet’s documentary was the trauma still on the faces of Gaza’s children. It’s hard not to think that as time passes the trauma will turn to bitterness and the bitterness to hatred.
What else would you expect?
The upshot of all this is that the Jewish Chronicle has its news priorities seriously skewed along with its ethics.
If the JC really cared about the Jewish future and the safety of the State of Israel it would be calling for Israel to ditch the demonising rhetoric, open the borders to reconstruction in Gaza and start talking to Hamas.
This is not naivety, it is common sense and basic humanity.!
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Telephone-based Interpreters Job in Auckland - SEEK

Telephone-based Interpreters
Use your language skills to benefit the community
Work on a casual basis
Work anywhere in New Zealand
Serco Citizen Services is a proud partner of the Office of Ethnic Communities in New Zealand.
Due to company expansion, we are currently seeking experienced NAATI, NZSTI or equivalent accredited Telephone Interpreters, particularly in the languages of Burmese, Kurdish, Myanmar, Niuean, Pashto Tuvaluan and Tongan.

As an Interpreter, you will be taking incoming calls on an as-needs basis to facilitate dialogue between our clients and the various departments they deal within the New Zealand Government.

To be part of our Interpreter panel, you must demonstrate the following skill set:
Flexibility to work in response to our clients’ requirements
Excellent communication skills
Great customer service skills
Excellent English speaking skills
Previous experience interpreting from English to your chosen language and your chosen language to English is essential.
We would like to hear from you if you are fluent in any of the following languages:
Cook Island Maori
Cambodian / Khmer
Filipino / Tagalog
Successful candidates will need to have NZSTI or equivalent, as well as satisfy the requirements of a National Police History Check. If this sounds like the right opportunity for you, express your interest by applying online.  Please email for more information.!
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Language errors due to direct translation from BM - Nation | The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: While school exercise books are supposed to improve students’ mastery of Mathematics and Science, errors in the books’ English-language portions might be giving children the wrong impression about the language.

A check by The Star at several major bookstores found some UPSR-level exercise books with language errors in their questions.

Examples include:

1. What can be done by a farmer to prevent the fish from being rotting.

2. Recently it is raining season. Joanne’s mother realizes that the clothes are difficult to be dried up. What is the reason that causes this?

3. What is the best conclusion about the animals (in the diagram)? A. Animal feed their youngs.

4. What is the meaning of human reproduction? D. Remove the faeces from the body.

Most of the errors spotted appeared to be the result of direct translation from Bahasa Malaysia, with minor grammatical mistakes seen throughout the books, especially in the multiple-choice question sections.

Even English exercise books are not free from errors in the language.

One idiomatic mistake: “I was just pulling your legs”, when the correct phrase should be pulling somebody’s “leg”.

One of the books claims to publish copies of past UPSR papers, with permission from the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate.

However, on average, based on the check on UPSR exercise books, most books released by major publishers and available in popular bookstores are error-free.!
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Poetry, across boundaries

50 poets, nearly 20 languages and literary encounters across South Asia. Poets Translating Poets is a project that will help create a platform for poets from South Asia and Germany to translate each other
An unique project, Poets Translating Poets by Max Mueller Bhavan will introduce German poetry to South Asia for the first time in the region. Spanning countries from Iran, to Sri Lanka, the diversity of South Asia’s languages will be showcased by this project. The Mumbai chapter will inaugurate the first leg of Poets Translating Poets and feature Gujarati, Marathi and German poets like Ulrike Draesner, Thomas Kunst, Aruna Ramchandra Dhere, Pradnya Daya Pawar, Harish Meenashru and Neerav Patel.
German and Indian poets at a translation session
“Usually, a translator translates poems. We have tried to do things differently. For example in Mumbai, we had a mix of Marathi and German poets. Each poet selected four poems and sent it to Max Mueller Bhavan. We requested an interlinear translator to meet the poets and help them come together. The final translation will, however, be done by the individual poets themselves,” says Jayashree Joshi, programme co-ordinator, Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai. Likewise, contemporary poetry from Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka will be translated in German by known German authors along with Literaturwerkstatt Berlin (a platform to promote literature in Germany).
A world language
The project will include readings, literature festivals, book fairs, and events at the Goethe-Institute, as well as a dedicated project website. “In the subcontinent, poetry continues to be a prominent form of cultural expression and plays an important role in all societal groups. Dalit poetry, for example, with its extensive audience, addresses the daily life of this underprivileged group. With this project, we hope to undertake a silent process, which will be rewarded with intense trans-cultural collaboration than being a spectacular event,” shares Joshi. “The aim would be to offer a platform for poets from across the globe to communicate with each other and exchange their works and the literary traditions of their country and language. It would give the poets the opportunity to rediscover their work through the detour of another language, and to view it from another perspective,” she feels.
Marathi poet Aruna Ramchandra Dhere tells us that she loved this unique experience. “As a poet, you choose certain words and adjectives which another poet fully understands. Your poetry gets new meaning in a different language,” she says.
Highlighting the challenges she adds, “Sometimes, getting the cultural ethos might get difficult. In one of my poems, I was describing Krishna’s flute. I described him as Draupadi's friend more than a husband and protector. It was difficult for me to explain this to a German Poet whose mythology was different.” German poet Ulrike Draesner believes it’s is okay, at times, to change the references in poetry. “In one of German poems, I had written about a mouse. In the Gujarati version, they it was changed to another small animal because they felt it was better suited. It’s fine. I feel happy when I translate, thinking that I have created new poetry in German, which has a new tone and no imitation,” she concludes.
On: July 24, 6.30 pm
At: Max Mueller Bhavan K Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort. 
Call: 22027710!
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Comedy lifeline: video skits teach endangered Lushootseed language - The Seattle Globalist

This video focuses on the phrase “ʔudᶻubalikʷ čəł” (“what are you doing?”). The clip is short – two minutes – and easy to catch up on. The dialogue lasts a minute, and the rest is entertaining as you watch Cantrell (yes, it’s him in the video) dramatically and enthusiastically get ready to dance.

Half the video is of Cantrell dancing in front of the TV. Yet, as far as language learning goes, it’s also  successful, because viewers latch onto the phrases they see repeated throughout the videos. This is one of the longer videos, as most of the others are just around 45 seconds long.

With enough repetition, viewers can get the hang of several Lushootseed phrases within the course of a day; which exactly is what Duenas, Cantrell and the rest of the team are aiming at achieving – the acquisition and usage of everyday Lushootseed.

Their audience interacts with them frequently on Facebook, in which their page Twulshootseed has over 500 likes and is growing fast. The pair’s work is simple yet extremely effective. Little kids recognize them from their videos and greet them in Lushootseed when they run into them in real life. However, they don’t have plans to streamline their teaching methods as yet.

Duenas says that as far as an “actual plan” and timeline is concerned, they are still learning and building momentum. The long-term goal is to make this sustainable, keep it going, and one day, have a camp which functions purely in Lushootseed.

Left to right: Archie Cantrell and Chris Duenas, who teach the Lushootseed language.
(Photo by Aisha Nazim.)!
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Lost in translation? This Irish language-tech startup is here to help

Dublin-based Iconic Translation Machines is growing fast.!
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How can children learn fourth languages? asks linguist Dr Henriette Hendriks

Dr Henriette Hendriks, 53, is head of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at Cambridge University's Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, and a fellow and praelector of Lucy Cavendish College.

Originally from the Netherlands, she has been in Cambridge since 1998.

What is your particular area of expertise?

I am a psycholinguist (or cognitive linguist) specialised in language acquisition and learning.

How would you explain your current work to a stranger on the bus?

I study how children learn their mother tongue and how children and adults learn second, third, fourth or further languages, and what that tells us about how language development and cognitive development are linked (or not).

Where do you do most of your work?

As head of department I do a lot of administrative work, which I tend to do in my office in the Raised Faculty Building on the Sidgwick site.

However, my research I do mostly in "the field". In my case, the field very often consists of primary schools, secondary schools, universities, but also social clubs or "schools" where immigrants meet.

What first inspired you to study linguistics?

I was born in the Netherlands, where at the time it was quite normal to be taught English, French and German at secondary school.

I really liked learning languages myself, and ended up also learning Greek and Latin at school. After having been exposed to all these different languages, I got really interested in how languages work, how they may influence how you think when speaking, etc, and so, after studying one more language (Chinese), I got involved with projects on child first and adult second language learning.

What kind of student were you at school?

One of my teachers at secondary school once told us: "Most of the students I teach I will not remember in 20 years from now. It is mostly the students that cause trouble, and are young rebels that are remembered."

I am most certainly not one of those students. I was hard-working and pretty obedient.

What's the most exciting part of your job?

Trying to understand and explain the data from experiments, and formulating new research questions and projects as a result.

What keeps you awake at night?

It is mostly issues related to my head of departmentship that keep me awake at night, i.e. people problems.

Otherwise, my research doesn't really keep me awake as long as I have enough time for it.

What's the worst thing about your subject?

It's probably a problem that all subjects have; we do not talk enough to each other across different schools of thought, and different approaches and methodologies. As a result, the field never advances as much as it could.

What false preconceptions do people have about your field?

When I mention that I am a linguist, most people understand that as someone who speaks many languages.

Although in my case this happens to be true, that is not necessarily what we mean by a linguist in the profession itself. Another misconception is that if I study child and adult language learning, I must think about how languages are taught. But really, my interest is in how languages are learnt in a natural way.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned this week?

I have learnt something about how Uyghur expresses information about motion events (people walking, running hopping, skipping etc from or to different places).

I have learnt this through working with one of my PhD students.

What one thing don't your students or colleagues know about you?

Probably not all my students and colleagues know that I'm a great football fan, loved to play it when I was a child, and support PSV Eindhoven (and Holland of course).

What's the best thing about working in Cambridge?

The students are an absolute joy to work with. They are clever, interesting and interested in what we do, and they keep me on my toes all the time by asking really pertinent and discovering questions.

What do you think will be the next big discovery in your field in the next 10 years?

It is difficult to predict what the next big discovery might be, but I hope it would be something allowing us to better understand how similar or different language learning is from other types of learning (learning to ride a bike, to play the piano, to do maths, etc).

For more information about the faculty, see here.!
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The Evolution Of Programming Languages

If you know a few computer languages and a little history you probably have some ideas about how they relate to one another. If informal ideas aren't quite what you want, how about a full taxonomy derived as if the languages were species?
I need to say right at the start that most of the conclusions of this research fit in with your preconceptions of how languages fit together - or they should. 
Sergi Valverde and Ricard Sol working at the Santa Fe Institute have taken the methods of computational evolutionary theory and classified languages into clades to form a phylogenetic network or evolutionary tree. The aim of the research is to clarify whether cultural evolution is like biological evolution, but the specific results about programming languages are still interesting to us programmers. 
The data source was Wikipedia's extensive pages on computer languages, a total of 347 different languages to be exact. Using a time ordering it is possible to say which language influenced which - later languages could not have influenced earlier languages. This produces a directed network but not a phylogenetic tree. A measure of which languages influenced which was created based on the network topology and using it you can convert the network to a tree. 

The network of languages that was used to create a phylogenetic tree
The tree that results does seem to be sensible in that the clades correspond with reasonable groupings of languages based on their characteristics - object oriented, functional and so on.

The Fortran clade
It also reveals that the evolution is "bursty" and there is a big growth phase in the 1980s corresponding to the introduction of the home microcomputer. 
Another interesting finding is:
The influence graphs describe a very interesting situation: far from observing links relating languages close in time, bundles of links reveal very large time windows connecting modern and old languages.
... there are groups of time-close languages whose properties are recruited to build new clusters of languages far in the future.

Relationships between languages from different eras
Finally there seems to be evidence that programming languages develop much like natural languages and biological systems in that they exhibit punctuated equilibrium. Essentially, things carry on unchanged for longish stretches of time and then suddenly there is a lot of activity with new entities being produced at a much faster rate:
As it occurs with the tree of life, technological trees are highly imbalanced, largely a consequence of accelerated diversification events tied to innovations. This pattern has also been found in the diversification pattern of human languages, which exhibited strong imbalances too. The asymmetries have been proposed to be evidence of punctuated equilibrium. In our system, we do identify these shifts as major innovations associated to novel forms of engineering programming languages. The tree imbalance, but also the bundles observed in the horizontal transfer interactions are consistent with such bursts of rapid modifications.
So really the way that we think of programming language informally seems to fit this pattern. Any programmer will tell you that things seem to go on for a long while with the same languages dominating, then all of a sudden something new appears and becomes so popular that it gives rise to closely related languages and technologies. 

 The Lisp Clade
More Information
Punctuated equilibrium in the large scale evolution of programming languages by Sergi Valverde and Ricard Solé
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The power of translation | NSF - National Science Foundation

Software helps deaf and hearing communities interact, in the U.S. and abroad

Few resources exist for deaf students in Morocco, making assistive devices important for classrooms.
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July 22, 2015

For most Americans, communication is an oral endeavor. We learn to speak and read through sound, to distinguish between hard and soft k's, to make the hiss of a double "s" or the slight lisp of a "th."

A large chunk of the population, however, relies on their eyes to speak. These are the millions of people who use American Sign Language (ASL), a visual language built on movement, gesture and facial expression.

This difference between English and ASL--auditory versus visual--has implications for how the deaf and hearing communities interact. There's no translation app to help a deaf person navigate a doctor's visit, for example, or to aid a teacher trying to understand why a deaf student struggles to read.

That's where the Institute for Disabilities Research and Training Inc. (IDRT) comes in. With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Maryland-based small business has created translation software and assistive technologies to build bridges between English and ASL. And through a partnership between NSF and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), they've adapted those technologies for use in Morocco, a country in desperate need of resources for deaf children.

"We do this to make life better for deaf people, and those who work with them," says Corinne Vinopol, president and CEO of IDRT and principal investigator on the NSF grants. "It's become clear to me that all this IT we've developed over the years can go out into the world and do some more good."

That technology includes software with an extensive translation database, which allows users to enter English words or sentences, and see images and video of how to express it in ASL. Think of it as Google Translate for sign language: Users can translate into both signs and fingerspelling, which spells English words with the ASL alphabet. The software also supports real-time ASL translation.

Much of that technology was developed with support from NSF's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which catalyzes commercialization at startups and small businesses.

IDRT's current SBIR award includes research on gesture recognition technology through the AcceleGlove, a high-tech glove embedded with sensors. It works with 3-D camera technology to capture hand movements.

AcceleGlove has implications beyond ASL translation. It could replace a joystick to maneuver sensitive robotics--the kind that venture into dangerous environments or control heavy machinery. Or it could be adapted for artificial simulation, to help train medical technicians.

About five years ago, Vinopol was contacted by Abdelhadi Soudi, a computational linguistics professor at Morocco's Ecole National de l'Industrie Minerale. He'd found Vinopol's research and wondered if she would be interested in adapting that technology for Moroccan Arabic sign language.

"I really didn't know anything about Arabic when we started," Vinopol says. "I don't think he knew anything about sign language."

And yet their collaboration--and assistive technology developed by their team--has been so successful, Morocco's government is interested in using the technology in classrooms throughout the country.

Soudi and Vinopol received funding through Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER), which links NSF-funded researchers in the U.S. with researchers in developing countries. USAID provides funding for the foreign scientist, and the ensuing collaboration benefits both countries.

Vinopol's research is the only SBIR-supported work to ever receive supplemental funding from NSF's Office of International Science and Engineering.

"The research promised international cooperation between the U.S. and Arab nations, at a time that couldn't be more important," says Glenn Larsen, a program director in NSF's Engineering Directorate, which funds the SBIR program. "We saw it as a great broader impact to handle the needs of deaf students both here and abroad."

A country in need

More than 85 percent of deaf children in Morocco lack access to education past primary school. The country has few well-trained deaf educators and has almost no sign language interpreters, which means deaf children are kept in segregated classrooms, with sparse instructional materials and little opportunity to interact with their hearing peers.

Soudi has spent the last 15 years working on machine translation between spoken languages--software to translate Arabic into French, for example. He was interested in the mechanics of translating a spoken language into a visual one.

"Translation between native spoken and sign languages involves not only analyzing linguistic differences, but also rendering translation from one cognitive processing modality (auditory) to another (visual)," he says.

It's not a word-for-word translation. For example: Vinopol's company previously helped WalMart use ASL translation for employee training, which included teaching people how to hang clothes on a rack. In English, "rack" is one word. In sign language, it depends on what the rack looks like: Is it thin or thick? High or low?

Soudi and Vinopol built technology that works as a real-time translation device and an instructional tool, converting Standard Arabic into Moroccan Sign Language (MSL) and offering resources like games and quizzes to help students and parents learn MSL.

A second PEER award, received in 2013, supports the creation of a MSL thesaurus, which will allow users to describe signs (the right hand is making this shape, the left hand looks like this) and find the Arabic word equivalent.

To get this technology into the hands of schools, the team has traveled all over the country, met with over a dozen deaf associations and caught the attention of government ministries.

The robust intellectual collaboration between Vinopol and Soudi is a core criteria for international activities funded by NSF's international office, says Lara Campbell, a program director in that office.

"The unusual partnership between a small business and a foreign university brings a unique perspective to the table in terms of fundraising and structure," she says. "I think the business perspective may help the work of this project expand not just across Morocco but eventually across the region."

The most impressive results right now, however, may be how this technology affects deaf students and their families.

"Teachers, parents and students were positively astounded that software of this kind could be developed," Soudi says. "It generated hope and advocacy on the part of parents that there could be better education and higher expectations for their children."

--  Jessica Arriens, (703) 292-2243
Corinne Vinopol
Related Institutions/Organizations
Institute for Disabilities Research and Training, Inc.
Related Awards
#0944752 SBIR Phase I: ASL Literacy Support System
#1118610 SBIR Phase II: ASL Literacy Support System
#0712183 SBIR Phase I: AcceleGlove: A Cost Effective Device For Translating American Sign Language Into Text and Speech
Total Grants
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The Mad Challenge of Translating

Explore the linguistic tricks used to make Lewis Carroll's puns, parodies and nonsense accessible in hundreds of tongues

By Andrea Appleton
JULY 23, 2015
1.2K 190 4 0 35 18 1.8K
1.2K 190 0 35 4 1.8K
Middle Welsh and Manx, Lingwa de Planeta and Latgalian. In its 150-year history, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into every major language and numerous minor ones, including many that are extinct or invented. Only some religious texts and a few other children’s books—including The Little Prince by French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry—reportedly rival Alice for sheer number of linguistic variations.

Half of All Languages Come From This One Root Tongue. Here’s How it Conquered the Earth.
The 64-Square Grid Design of ‘Through the Looking Glass’
But the real wonder is that any Alice translations exist at all. Penned in 1865 by English scholar Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, the book’s delight in wordplay and cultural parodies makes it a torment for translators.

How do you write about the Mouse’s tale without losing the all-important pun on “tail”? Some languages, like the Aboriginal tongue Pitjantjatjara, don’t even use puns. What about when a character takes an idiom literally? The Caterpillar, for instance, tells Alice to explain herself. “I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir, because I’m not myself, you see,” Alice replies. The cultural references in this Victorian novel pose other problems. British contemporaries would have guessed that the Hatter was mad from mercury exposure, but hat makers in other parts of the world didn’t use mercury. And why translate a parody of a popular British poem for readers of Arabic who have never seen the original?

A massive new work, Alice in a World of Wonderlands, devotes three volumes to exploring such questions. Published by Oak Knoll Press, the books include essays by 251 writers analyzing the beloved children's book in 174 languages. The essays are scholarly but peppered with anecdotes illuminating the peculiarities of language and culture as they relate to Carroll’s book.

The project began as a catalog to accompany an exhibition on Alice translations, which is opening at the Grolier Club in New York City in September. “It’s gotten bigger by a long shot,” says general editor Jon Lindseth, whose extensive collection of Alice books inspired the undertaking. “We're putting a stake in the sand and making the claim that this is the most extensive analysis ever done of one English-language novel in so many languages.” 

The frontispiece for Volume 1 of Alice in a World of Wonderlands shows a photograph of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the fictional Alice. (Oak Knoll Press)
Language and typography scholar Michael Everson says the novel’s inherent difficulty is part of its appeal. “The Alice challenge seems to be one that people like because it’s really fun,” he says. “Wracking your brains to resurrect a pun that works in your language even though it shouldn't, that sort of thing.” For instance, an early Gujarati translator managed to capture the tail/tale pun for readers of that western Indian tongue. When someone talks incessantly, it is often conveyed through the Gujarati phrase poonchadoo nathee dekhatun, which means “no end in sight"—allowing the translator to play on poonchadee, the word for "tail", with poonchadoo.

Everson owns Evertype, a publishing house that specializes in esoterica. Under this banner, he has published 50 editions of Alice, including one in Gothic, an extinct Germanic language, and one in Nyctographic, an alphabet Carroll invented. Everson himself is currently translating Alice into Blissymbols, a visual language that's been adapted for people who lack the ability to speak. “I’m using visual puns where possible, because there’s no phonology,” Everson says.

His approach illustrates something common to all successful Alice translations. “You have to be really creative in order to translate Alice in Wonderland well,” says Emer O’Sullivan, an expert on children’s literature in translation at Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany. “The translations with zero creativity are really quite hilarious.”

The mad tea party scene, with its puns, parodied verses, nonsense and linguistic jokes, is a particularly good test of a translator’s skills. Some simply omit parts of the scene—for South African readers, the Xhosa translator dispenses with the chapter altogether. In the second volume of Alice in a World of Wonderlands, the scene has been back-translated—re-translated into English—from each language, with copious footnotes. The results show how different translators approach the same problem.

Take Carroll’s parody of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” recited at the tea party by the Hatter:

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!
Up above the world you fly
Like a tea-tray in the sky.

Here it is back-translated from Pashto, an Afghani language:

Blink, oh, you little bat,
Tell me something about your situation because I am surprised.
Open your wings on the world,
Like a Falcon in the sky.

The Pashto translator notes that he rewrote the poem to make it rhyme properly but otherwise tried to match the original English. In other words, he faithfully rendered Carroll’s parody in Pashto despite the fact that “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is not a traditional work in Afghanistan. This is known among translators as the foreignization strategy: the translator stays close to the original text at the risk of producing something readers will not fully understand.

The 1869 German version, by contrast, dispenses with the twinkling star entirely, as is evident in the back-translation:

O parrot, o parrot!
How green are your feathers!
You’re not only green in times of peace,
But also when it snows plates and pots.

Here the translator chose to parody a German Christmas carol his readers would know, “O Tannenbaum,” in a strategy known as domestication. To make the poem culturally and linguistically relevant to her readers, the translator sacrificed a literal interpretation of Carroll’s words. This is a common approach among Alice translators, some to a greater degree than others. In the Swahili edition, the Hatter wears a fez and the dormouse is a bush baby. In a 1910 Japanese edition, the Hatter does not offer Alice tea. An annotation notes that this is likely because it was inappropriate for men to serve food or drinks to women in Japan at the time. Other translations alter so much that readers may wonder how much of the original Alice remains.

“There's so many things in Alice in Wonderland you could identify as being Carrollian,” says O’Sullivan. “How many of them would have to be fulfilled for you to say this is Alice in Wonderland? It’s a question of degree. All translations are adaptations.”

While the three volumes of Alice in a World of Wonderlands may seem extensive, they are no match for the continuing popularity of Carroll’s creation. Even now, new Alice translations are appearing. An emoji version came out online a few months ago, and Everson says he just typeset the first translation in Western Lombard, a dialect spoken in Italy. “I hate to say it,” he says, “I think [the project is] already out of date.”

Note: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that scholars can only verify 46 translations of Pinocchio as of 1994.!
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Here Are the Best Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking

Everyone at some point in their life has been nervous about public speaking. It can be one of the most terrifying things to encounter. Getting up on that stage, suddenly you have flashbacks to that fifth grade book report that you definitely didn’t prepare for.

But I have some tips to become a better public speaker. You can increase your public speaking skills, and give presentations without fear. It takes time, but I hope by the end of this you’ll have a better idea about how to speak in public.

Getting your first public speaking gig

Getting your first gig can be tricky, but there is one thing I want you to remember when you’re trying to book stuff: you may have to wait for that nice paycheck.

Why? Because you need to show that you can get an audience. You don’t get paid if you’re not bringing any value. The organizers want to make sure they are getting a bang for their buck. Makes sense, right? Maybe it sucks a bit, and this might mean eating crow (getting paid less than you want) for a while until you’ve done many talks. If you’re not that well known yet, you may have to speak for free. But if you truly love it, and believe in it, you’ll see the value in doing work for free. Yeah, click that link. Do it. I’ll show you why working for free has benefits.

In fact, here’s a fun anecdote: my first big speaking gig is ultimately what led to my first book, “Crush It”, becoming a reality. I did a talk at Web 2.0 in New York on building a personal brand through social media (you can watch it here), and it became the basis for the book. Speaking can lead to great opportunities, but you have to be willing to eat crow at first to watch those things happen.

How to prepare for public speaking
When you get that first keynote, prep can be a lot of different things. But you can get over your fear of crowds. Maybe you need minimal time to get everything together. Or maybe you need to rehearse it a few times with someone. Figure out what makes you feel most secure in what you are about to say. If you don’t need notes, don’t use them. Fuck ’em. Just talk; you got this.

And what about those couple minutes just before you get up there?

Don’t try to do anything special, or start a ritual. I’m serious.

Focus on normal everyday stuff. Check your email. Joke with a friend. Act like the talk isn’t even going to happen. Try this out for yourself; you might find calm in just doing everyday activities. It will help with overcoming anxiety.

It works tremendously for me. I am in the zone, I’m ready, but I’m not going over notes. I’m not mouthing anything to myself. Those last minute tendencies people have to want to fix something or change something are destructive. Push them away. Go with the plan. It will psych you out, and nobody wants to be their own cause of destruction. Leave it all behind. You’re ready.

Do what feels right for you
But the bottom line on preparing really is this: you do you. This is what works for me best. Self-awareness is so enormously important in our world today. Sure, before I speak, I need to just focus and not think about anything else for a while. But if you need notes? If you need to do push ups and some lucky ritual to feel good? Do it. Whatever is going to get you motivated and comfortable with the fact that you are about to take the stage, do it. I am happy to give my advice and tell you what I do, but in the end, you have to hack away at it whatever you have till you figure it out for yourself.

I am a big believer in the fact that listening to gurus won’t actually change your life. I don’t expect everyone to be like me. Not at all. In fact, you should be focusing on what works for you. I think people ask successful entrepreneurs questions like “What does a day look like for you?” because they think they might hold some secret to success. Some overarching wisdom that will change everything.

We don’t.

The only advice I can give you is audit yourself and figure out what makes you work the hardest.

How to not be afraid about public speaking
So what happens when you hit the stage?

Well, weird shit starts to happen. You might feel this strange combination of seeing the audience as friends but also enemies. There is a strange mix between these two emotions that happen when you really get into a talk.

Take me for instance. I love them for being there and supporting me and being interested in what I have to say, but I also really want them to get the message, to leave with a new understanding of things. And that is a powerful feeling, the pull between those two things.

That is what public speaking is really all about. You want to convey something with nothing but your own voice. You don’t want to seem crazy, but emotion is a good thing. It’s strong. It’s convincing. You’re allowed to get excited about your idea.

Still nervous about public speaking? Well…
I am a professional public speaker who is afraid to read aloud.


I talked about it in an answer on my YouTube show, which you can watch here. The gist of it is this: if you give me a piece of paper to read from, or any kind of notes, I freeze up. I can’t do it. It becomes impossible for me to perform. A while back I had to read a commercial on a radio show before being the guest, and they gave me a piece of paper with everything I had to say. I completely botched it. I kept messing up. Finally, one of the guys on the radio show suggested I lose the paper and just talk.

That did the trick.

It just showed me even more that you need to know yourself. I am self aware enough to know I can’t speak under those circumstances. I can’t bring notes onstage. So like I said above, know yourself. Try every different option or idea until you have exhausted them and found the one that works for you.

The good thing is, you can afford to mess up a little. But only a little. Why? Because…

You’re only as good as your last talk
So you did it. You learned to overcome your fear of public speaking. You did that first gig and it went … fine? Amazingly? Not great?

Well I have good and bad news.

The good news is: You’re only as good as your last speaking engagement.

The bad news is: You’re only as good as your last speaking engagement.

Even if you’ve had a long career of public speaking, seven or eight years for me, none of that matters. The second you take that stage, you’re basically wiping the slate clean.

People only remember your last at bat. Make it an amazing one.

(This article was originally published on

About the Author: Gary Vaynerchuk has built businesses all his life: In his 20’s, he grew his family liquor store from a $3 million business to $45 million business in 5 years and launched, one of America’s first wine e-commerce sites. In 2009, he co-founded VaynerMedia, a social-first digital agency which helps brands market in the year we live in.

An angel investor and adviser to some of the most successful tech startups since social media’s early days, Gary has counseled and invested in more than 50 tech startups including Twitter, Tumblr, Medium, BirchBox, Uber and Venmo. In 2014, Gary launched $25 million seed fund VaynerRSE to continue his successful investing career.!
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Le Beowulf de Tolkien, en français cet automne -

Nous vous en parlions ici l'an dernier lors de sa parution originale et il aura fallu à peine plus d'un an pour le voir arriver traduit en français.
Par là, j'entends bien que la traduction de Beowulf en langue anglo-saxonne que Tolkien a fait en anglais moderne, c'est la version publiée par HarperCollins ; ici, l'anglais moderne sera traduit en français, une double traduction en somme. L'intérêt réside dans la spécialisation de Tolkien en la matière, pour un texte qui a de quoi donner du fil à retordre aux médiévistes.
Vous avez jusqu'au 8 octobre pour maîtriser l'anglo-saxon, ou l'anglais ; au-delà, le français pourra vous suffire.!
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Science has its own language

Mother-tongue education has long been a political powder keg in South Africa. This started with the 1976 Soweto uprisings when school children staged protests after Afrikaans became the medium of instruction.

Today, the country’s policies promote multilingualism. But its schools are battling with too few African language teachers. Many teachers are not multilingual. All the high-stakes examinations are also taken in only English or Afrikaans.

This means most of South Africa’s 11 official languages take a back seat to English and Afrikaans when it comes to formal school learning and teaching.

Language rights are enshrined in South Africa’s Constitution and there’s an ongoing debate about how best to promote multilingualism in schools.

But is this debate relevant when it comes to teaching science? My answer is no. Instead, science should be taught in only one language from grade 4 onwards.

This is a conclusion reached after more than three decades as a school physics teacher, a science teacher educator and through sustained research about language for the effective learning of school science.

In the past five years, this research has been conducted as part of the language and learning of physical science project at Wits University’s Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education.

It has involved about 3?500 physical science pupils from 35 high schools in Johannesburg and teaching students from Wits. A total of 70 physical science teachers have also participated. Data has been collected through word tests and structured interviews.

Science is a practical subject, but it also has its own language. Teachers must explain what they are doing when setting up an experiment, for instance, and use everyday language to clarify complex concepts.

In South African schools, a language’s appropriateness for learning and teaching is judged mainly by whether it is the pupils’ mother tongue, no matter what subject is being taught.

Teachers assume that, if a pupil is proficient in a language, they’ll be able to cope with the subject matter.

So, in science, those who speak and are taught in English are presumed to have an advantage.

If that was the case, all first-language English speakers who are taught in English would excel in science – but this is simply not true.

That’s because science classrooms have an entirely different language. A pupil who is fluent in English will know what “decay” means in an English lesson or a biology text. In physics, the word means something totally different.

Our findings over the past five years have been nearly identical to those in other transnational studies and in my earlier work.

Teaching students and pupils battle with the unique language of the science classroom irrespective of gender, cultural or linguistic backgrounds.

Proficiency in the language of the science classroom is key, though it’s certainly not the only factor that will stop people from performing well in the subject.

Our research suggests that if everyone is at the same level of proficiency in a single language when they start learning science, it removes a serious barrier to performance.

Many of South Africa’s children are still learning in a second or even third language.

The shortage of qualified African language teachers is a situation that seems unlikely to improve any time soon. While debates about multilingualism continue, we cannot sit idle. So why not level the playing field by using just one language for all learning beyond grade 3?

As to which language this should be, there is evidence to suggest that many South African parents want their children to be taught and become proficient in English. English is considered useful for future studies at tertiary institutions anywhere in the world and is also the most widely spoken of the 11 official languages globally.

Once a language has been chosen, the education department can focus on ensuring that pupils are proficient in it, in much the same way that schools foster computer literacy.

Pupils will then be able to learn and perform in science according to their individual capabilities to handle science concepts without language as an added handicap.

A similar policy has been pursued elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. In Lusophone countries, Portuguese is the language of instruction, Francophone countries often use French as the medium of instruction and Anglophone countries favour English in the classroom.

These languages hark back to colonial times, which may make people uncomfortable. But on a practical level they are similar to English – far more widely spoken globally than any local languages.

This is not to say that all other official languages as recognised in the Constitution are irrelevant or that multilingualism shouldn’t have any place in schools.

Multilingualism fosters social cohesion and languages are a crucial part of people’s individual cultures.

When it comes to learning school science, however, the single language policy is a sustainable one. One language for all school learning will focus pupils’ efforts on attaining good proficiency levels in it.

The single language policy therefore has the potential to enhance learning outcomes and to speedily produce the science skills that South Africa needs. –

Samuel Ouma Oyoo teaches science education at Wits University!
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The Greeklish project and speaking hybrid languages

They are what some would describe as unique languages, hybrid languages such as Greeklish or Chinglish, and Australia has its own homegrown forms that some are seeking to celebrate.
By Peggy Giakoumelos
24 JUL 2015 - 9:47 AM  UPDATED 26 JUL 2015 - 6:02 PM

It happens all over the world when untranslatable elements of one language creep into another and become embedded in there, to the extent that it almost becomes a new language.

Chinglish, Greeklish, Hinglish, Spanglish - the combinations are endless. SBS Greek broadcaster and founder of the Greeklish Project Kyriakos Gold wants to share Greeklish and other hybrid languages with Australia.

"We're talking to our partners on how to best deliver this project to the Greek community and understand how we can engage best with communities. Once this is perfected we are going to take it to other cultures as well."

He and a team of volunteers are aiming to record and categorise these languages, starting with Greeklish.

"Those who do hear those words have no idea what we're talking about. They're completely dumbfounded"

The program manager for the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, Penny Kyprianou, said many recently arrived Greeks who had come here to escape the economic crisis didn't quite know what to make of Greeklish.

"Those who do hear those words have no idea what we're talking about. They're completely dumbfounded. It's very much a language that's unique to Australia and America and other cultures, countries where that blend has evolved from migrants."

Bureau of Statistics figures show more than 300 different languages were spoken in Australia, making the potential for hybrids endless.

Taglish is one of these - a combination of English and the Filipino language Tagalog.

Originally from the Philippines, restaurateur Raquel San Juan said she had noticed the impact that Australian English was having on the way her daughters spoke her native tongue.

"Over the years when we go back to Manila they try to pick up words and also I find that when we take them back home, it takes them a really short time to pick up terms and they really try to speak," Ms San Juan said. "And I think it's the way they speak or pronounce the Tagalog words, it's a slang because of their Aussie accent." 

Also from the Philippines, author Eric Maliwat, has lived in Australia for the past four years.

He said he had noticed native speakers of Tagalog spoke the language a little differently from people in their homeland, with the years spent living in Australia influencing how the language was expressed.


Bilingualism 'restructures the brain'
There is increasing evidence that bilingualism can affect how the brain works.
But he added that the hybrid nature of Tagalog goes back hundreds of years, long before English started to affect the language.

"Filipino language is a hybrid of all the other dialects and languages in the Philippines and some say it's 175 dialects all in all, some say it's 171," said Mr Maliwat. 

"But then again apart from all the native dialects and languages spoken in the Philippines, Filipino also is a hybrid or a fusion of Indo-Malayan dialects or languages, and Chinese and Spanish and American English, all of these countries that in one way or another have become part of our Philippines history."

These hybrid ways of speaking have a special name - ethnolects. 

Dr Ghil`ad Zuckermann is a Professor of Linguistics and Endangered Languages at the University of Adelaide.

"This is a lect spoken by a specific ethnic group especially in a bilingual environment," he said. "For example, when Greeks or Chinese move or migrate to Australia some of them continue to speak Greek or at least their grandparents, etc.

"Then they have a bilingual situation in which they listen both to English or 'Strine' or Australian English, as well as to Greek, and the result is a blend or a hybridic ethnolect which is based on both languages."

Benefits of speaking an ethnolect 
So does speaking English and an ethnolect rather than a formal language still give some of the benefits that come with being bilingual?

Dr Zuckermann said it does.

"A speaker of both Greeklish and English actually does get the benefits that exist in bilingualism," he said.

"Of course it might not be the case of the benefits that you have for example when you speak totally different languages, like Greek and English or like Arabic and English or like Chinese and English".

Dr Zuckermann believed that despite not being fluent in the second language, speaking an ethnolect conferred some advantages for speakers similar to some of those passed on by bilingualism.!
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SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: 311 languages spoken in our schools as English starts to die out

MORE than 300 different languages are now spoken in Britain’s schools, a Daily Express special investigation reveals.

PUBLISHED: 00:01, Fri, Jul 24, 2015 | UPDATED: 08:48, Fri, Jul 24, 2015


Over 300 languages are now taught in British schools
A decades-long open door policy on immigration has led to English-speaking pupils becoming a minority in hundreds of classrooms. 

Our inquiry reveals there are 1.1 million children speaking 311 dialects and some schools where English is hardly heard at all. In some, no pupil has English as a first language.

In one school 342 of the 360 pupils say Punjabi is their first language while just six are recorded as speaking English. 

Department for Education figures show there are classrooms where Polish, Bengali, Somali, Gujurati, Arabic, Tamil and the Afghan language Pashto are spoken ahead of English.

Ukip MEP Steven Woolfe said: “This shows the Government’s inability to control mass immigration is causing severe problems for public services such as the education system.

“How schools are supposed to cope with this number of languages is not known and is likely to lead to a deterioration in standards.”

Diversity in the classroom puts pressure on schools to educate
How schools are supposed to cope with this number of languages is not known and is likely to lead to a deterioration in standards
Ukip MEP Steven Woolfe
Daily Express columnist and former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said: “Whatever people speak when they arrive here doesn’t matter, lessons must always be taught in English – that’s just plain common sense.”

Schools where foreign languages have overtaken English are dotted all over the country, including swathes of London and major towns and cities such as Oldham, Rochdale, Birmingham, Slough, Sheffield, Bolton and Bradford.

Our detailed analysis shows that at Burnley Brow Community School in Oldham 352 of the 360 pupils speak Bengali while the number of English-speaking pupils is so low the Department will not disclose the figure. 

At nearby Westwood Primary School not one of the 175 pupils is recorded as having English as their first language while 170 speak Bengali.

Khalsa Primary School in Slough, Berkshire, has 360 children, of whom 342 speak Punjabi and just six are said to have English as their first language.

At Hamer Community Primary School in Rochdale 182 pupils speak Urdu while just 23 use English. The picture is the same at the Valley Community Primary School in Bolton where 264 of its 360 pupils speak Urdu while just 20 have English as their first language.

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Word to the wise: The English language and its neglected treasures
Christopher McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “Schools spend a lot of time and attention looking after children who do not speak English as a first language.

“This is a great country in which to be at school if English is your second language. However, we must make sure that native speakers of English are not neglected, especially in schools where they are in a minority. This problem is placing considerable demands on some schools. An independent investigation is needed as a matter of urgency.”

Figures show the number of schools in England where more than 50 per cent of pupils speak English as a foreign language has doubled in 17 years from 3.7 to 7.4 per cent.

The Department for Education said: “Many schools teach pupils whose first language is not English successfully. We have protected school funding to ensure they have the resources they need to meet the needs of all pupils, no matter what their background.”!
Dorothy Retha Cook's curator insight, August 10, 2015 8:00 PM


'Dragon Ball Z Resurrection F' release date news: Different launches, same English dub

One report puts the release on Aug. 4, the other puts it at Jul. 2. The official website says the Jul. 2 date is accurate, but whatever date it plans to arrive, one thing is clear--"Dragon Ball Z Fukkatsu no F" or "Resurrection F" is arriving.

According to Movie News Guide, the movie has been released in other areas last April. The reason it took this long to release the English-dubbed version was because of Funimation's dubbing, although it has been said, in this article, that the theatrical release is on Aug. 4.

"Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F" is set after the events of the original fight against Freeza in "Dragon Ball Z" during 1989. Freeza was killed by Goku after a long-drawn fight, wherein the post-credits reveal that he was happily welcomed in the Hell of the Dragon Ball Z universe. The plot of "Resurrection of F" follows a "what-if" while exploring Freeza's return after his death in "Dragon Ball Z".

A report from Latino Post clarifies the curious case of the release of "Resurrection of F."

Citing reports from Fansided and CW33, the showing on July 2 will be at the Regal LA LIVE Stadium in LA, and it appears that it will be a one-time only block screening that meant to show the movie way ahead of its reported premiere on Aug. 4. Perhaps, a chance to see the finished product before the premiere. It also coincides with the Anime Expo during Jul. 2 – 5 at the Los Angelese Convention Center.

FUNimation head honcho Gen Fukunaga praised the crew, meanwhile, saying that they "did an amazing job with the dub."

Fans from the other parts of North America will get a chance to see the show this coming August 4 – 12, clearing the film screening hoopla at the beginning.

The current "Dragon Ball Z" film is the largest grossing in the series, surpassing "Battle of Gods" with a gross of $51.1 million.!
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More than 300 different languages spoken in British schools, report says

More than 300 different languages are now spoken in British schools with English-speaking pupils becoming a minority in hundreds of classrooms







Labour will say that parents should be allowed to set up their own schools provided that there is a strong demand for places in their area.  Photo: PA
By Javier Espinoza, Education Editor3:52PM BST 24 Jul 2015 22 Comments
More than 300 different languages are now spoken in British schools with English-speaking pupils becoming a minority in hundreds of classrooms, a new investigation has revealed.
There are 1.1 million children who speak 311 dialects and in some schools English speakers are the minority, the inquiry revealed.
In other schools, no pupil has English as a first language, a Daily Express investigation based on Department for Education data showed.
The revelations follow reports earlier this week that the overall number of pupils in state-funded schools in England is projected to increase by 13 per cent to roughly 8.2 million as a result of a baby boom and immigration.
In one school 342 of the 360 pupils say Punjabi is their first language while just six are recorded as speaking English, the report said.
Official statistics revealed there are classrooms where Polish, Bengali, Somali, Gujurati, Arabic, Tamil and the Afghan language Pashto are spoken ahead of English.
Schools where foreign languages have overtaken English are spread across the land, including areas of London and major towns and cities such as Oldham, Rochdale, Birmingham, Slough, Sheffield, Bolton and Bradford.

Christopher McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, told the newspaper: "Schools spend a lot of time and attention looking after children who do not speak English as a first language.
"This is a great country in which to be at school if English is your second language. However, we must make sure that native speakers of English are not neglected, especially in schools where they are in a minority. This problem is placing considerable demands on some schools. An independent investigation is needed as a matter of urgency."
The Department for Education said: "Many schools teach pupils whose first language is not English successfully. We have protected school funding to ensure they have the resources they need to meet the needs of all pupils, no matter what their background."!
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AFRIQUE :: Google Translate prévoit d’ajouter cinq langues africaines

La plateforme du moteur de recherche américain Google teste actuellement la qualité de fonctionnement des nouveaux services de traduction de l’anglais en Somali, Igbo, Haoussa, Yoruba et Zoulou. Leur mise en place nécessite, en effet, quelques modifications.
Décidément, l’Afrique est en vogue. Une nouvelle preuve : « Google prévoit d’ajouter le Somali, Igbo, Haoussa, Yoruba et Zoulou à sa liste d’options de langues sur Google Translate », indique

Du coup, le service de traduction automatique de Google a publié, hier, un article sur la page Google Afrique de Google+ incitant les utilisateurs à évaluer la qualité de traduction de ces cinq langues africaines. « Après avoir évalué les passages qui ont été traduits en anglais et vice-versa, les utilisateurs pouvaient noter avec les mentions : excellent, bon, passable ou mauvais », précise le site du prestigieux journal anglais.

De quoi plaire aux internautes africains, en particulier ceux de l’Afrique de l’ouest qui pourront, dorénavant, traduire de leur langue maternelle à la langue de Shakespeare.

© Source :!
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Latin, Ancient Greek, and Hebrew: three fashionable languages in Rome

These students from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome study not just Latin and Ancient Greek but also Hebrew. They attend classes during the summer because they want to learn the three ancient languages. They are different ages and come from very different backgrounds, but they all share a common interest. 

Ancient Greek student
"I would like to learn the Greek language, I would like to speak it, because I think it is easier to read the ancient text when you can also speak it, and  can use the language as a normal language.”

Latin student
"It's interesting to see how the language that the Romans used would have sounded, how they would have spoken. I like that idea.”

The only languages you'll hear in the classroom are Latin, Greek, or Hebrew—any other language is forbidden. For example, Lorenzo and Francesca are Italian, but they only use one language when addressing their professor: ancient Greek.

Some classic ancient texts have never been translated. This course aims to show that the classical languages are the best way to read and understand those texts.

Director Instituto Polis
"More than 50 percent of ancient sources haven't been translated into a modern language. The only way to read them is to speak the language and to be able to read fluently.”

More than 100 students participate in this program over the course of three weeks. They want to prove that the so-called dead languages are coming to life more and more every day.!
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Princeton University - Clarence Brown, pioneer in modern Russian literature and translation, dies

Clarence Brown, professor of comparative literature, emeritus, at Princeton University, died in his sleep July 18 after a long illness in Seattle, where he moved after retiring in 1999. He was 86.

Brown, whose field was the interpretation of modern Russian writing, came to Princeton as an instructor in 1959 and became a professor in 1969. He first taught courses on Russian language and literature in the Department of Romance Languages and then in the Program in Slavic Languages and Literatures, which became a formal department in 1967. He is known for his scholarship on the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, who was condemned to a concentration camp in Siberia by Stalin and remained a "non-person" in the USSR.

"Clarence Brown is recognized throughout the world as a pioneer in the study of Mandelstam," said Michael Wachtel, chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. "In the dark Cold-War years, Clarence spent a year in the Soviet Union. He found his way to Mandelstam's widow, Nadezhda, and spent most of his time in conspiratorial conversations with her and her friends. The eventual result was a book of scholarship that still retains its value as well as a number of superb translations of poetry and prose," he said.

"The Prose of Osip Mandelstam" (1965) was nominated for a National Book Award. Mandelstam's papers, entrusted by his widow to Brown, are housed in Firestone Library and were curated by Brown. According to Wachtel, the papers comprise the most valuable Russian literary archive outside Russia. Brown's 1973 book "Mandelstam" earned him the Christian Gauss Award in Literary Criticism.

"Clarence Brown belonged to the courageous generation that put Princeton on the map of Russian studies during the risky and delicate years of the Cold War," said Caryl Emerson, the A. Watson Armour, III, University Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature, Emeritus. "He was a legend, a scholar who knew the people we had studied in textbooks in graduate school."

Emerson noted that Brown once helped her with a project on the Russian émigré composer Arthur Vincent Lourie, who spent the last 10 years of his life in Princeton. "In his youth Lourie had a non-trivial love affair with the great Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, before the Russian Revolution; in the early 1960s Lourie nostalgically tried to resurrect the relationship. It was Clarence Brown who ferried letters back and forth from Akhmatova in the USSR and Lourie off Nassau Street."

In 1971, Brown joined the Department of Comparative Literature.

"He offered seminars in what were then remote outposts of the discipline: fantastic, dystopian and science fiction; the craft of translation; and the art and history of the American newspaper cartoon," said Eileen Reeves, professor of comparative literature and chair of the department.

Born in Anderson, South Carolina, in 1929, Brown began drawing cartoons as a young boy and then as editor of his high school newspaper during World War II. He served as cartoon editor at the Saturday Review from 1977 to 1984. His work also appeared in Esquire, Playboy, The Village Voice and The Spectator, among others. Cartoons often punctuated the column he wrote called "Ink Soup" for The Times of Trenton. His work as a cartoonist was the focus of a profile in The New York Times in 1984.

"Students in his very popular 'Forms of Short Fiction' course will recall that Clarence frequently enlivened his lectures with impromptu, amusing, and always educational chalkboard sketches," said Reeves, who served as Brown's preceptor as a beginning assistant professor.

Judith Lewin, who earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton in 2002 and is an associate professor of English at Union College in Schenectady, New York, was a preceptor for Brown in "Really Fantastic Fiction." The focus of this course was realist writers who introduce the supernatural into their books. One of Brown's readings for the class was George Herriman's "Krazy Kat" cartoons.

"What I hadn't quite realized was how teaching 'Krazy Kat' and nervously learning about how to teach the history of American comics would lead to my current interest in (Jewish) graphic novels," she said. "I am certain Professor Brown influenced my own teaching significantly since I still stand by his advice to grad students: get out of the way of undergrads making their own discoveries and learning to think for and express themselves."

Val Vinokur, who earned his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton in 2001, also precepted for Brown and called it a "formative experience." He took part in the translation workshop Brown led in the Program in Creative Writing. "In fact his work as a translator and critic of 20th-century Russian literature was one of the reasons I came to Princeton," said Vinokur, associate professor of literary studies at Eugene Lang College at the New School in New York.

"In his ongoing commitments to the practice of translation, to the question of Russia and the West, and to the global development of postmodern fiction, he helped shape this department's early and distinguishing features," Reeves said. In the 1960s and '70s, Brown served as a board member of the National Translation Center. In 1990, he helped Philip Bobbitt, a 1971 alumnus, with the creation of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry at the Library of Congress.

James Irby, professor of Romance languages and literatures, emeritus, who arrived at Princeton the same time as Brown and remained close colleagues and friends until Irby's retirement in 2000, noted, "Clarence was a very courteous, even courtly person, always soft-spoken, with a South Carolina accent and subtle sense of humor."

Added Irby: "He was a wonderful reader of poetry. In his courses he always gave close attention to the verbal particulars of the texts in question, whether prose or poetry, and, with his knowledge of several literatures, knew how to place them in different perspectives. His critical prose is a model of penetrating clarity and elegant concision."

Brown earned his bachelor's degree in classics at Duke University in 1950. After graduation, he was drafted and served three years in the Army Security Agency, including a year of intensive training in Russian at the Army Language School in Monterey, California, after which he was sent to Berlin as a German translator.

He earned a master's degree in linguistics in 1955 from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and his Ph.D. in 1962 from Harvard University.

Brown is survived by his wife, Jacqueline, who worked at several Princeton libraries from 1975 to 1984, and then as director of information services in the Office of Information Technology until 1999; daughter Kitty; son Christopher; brother Douglas; and four grandchildren.

Contributions made in Brown's honor may be sent in his name to Princeton's Department of Comparative Literature or the National Brain Tumor Society.!
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The best, worst of Aquino as orator: Inaugural, 2nd Sona speeches stand out

In his five years in office, President Aquino has given 925 prepared speeches.

On Monday, he will be delivering his 926th. It will be his last State of the Nation Address (Sona).

The President is not a particularly good orator, unlike his father who delivered fiery and witty discourses, or his mother whose elegant and articulate English owed in large part to her speechwriters, Teddy Boy Locsin and the late Teodoro Benigno.

Presidential speeches are difficult and challenging presentations simply because, as political analyst Prospero de Vera explains, “everything that comes out of the mouth of the President in any occasion is taken seriously and considered policy.”

According to rhetorician Gene Segarra Navera, President Aquino’s contribution to Philippine presidential rhetoric “would have to be his use of Filipino, the corner-store style.”

The colloquial Tagalog subverts the elitism of the presidency, which you tend to find in the earlier Sonas in English, said Navera, a Filipino lecturer at the National University of Singapore whose fields of interest include political rhetoric, critical discourse analysis and metaphors.

While deposed President Joseph Estrada also used Filipino in his speeches, it is Aquino who has been the most consistent in the use of Filipino throughout his presidency, Navera said.

Aquino has “made the presidency relatable, not standoffish” like the rhetoric of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he said.

“And that is no mean feat for a member of the politico-economic elite,” Navera said.

Good communicator

De Vera said Aquino’s use of the vernacular is what makes him a “good communicator” even as he observed that his speeches in English are more presidential.

“When he speaks in Filipino, he is able to simplify what he wants to say so he is able to communicate well. In fact, he communicates better than his speechwriters. He also likes to use strong words (maanghang) that is more effective in Filipino,” said De Vera, who used to write some of the speeches of President Fidel Ramos.

A government lawyer who is also a writer said the President’s Sonas in Filipino are effective because Aquino is “able to translate foreign concepts into gut-level words.”

‘None of the charm’

“He has none of the bombast of Erap and [also] none of the charm. In his obsession with detail and facts, he would be ranked with FVR (Ramos) and GMA (Arroyo). But in his communication effectiveness, primarily because he is not afraid to use Filipino and colloquial language, he would be ranked together with Erap. Both are naturals when using Filipino,” said the lawyer, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of his post.

“He is also able to use different imagery—much more Filipino—to translate and drive across ‘up-in-the-air concepts’ like ‘sovereignty resides in the people’ and ‘accountability’ with his most effective line yet: ‘Kayo ang boss ko (you are my bosses),’” the lawyer said.

When the official English translation from Malacañang is not readily available, translating the President’s speeches from Filipino to English can be a nightmare for journalists.

Essence of the message

It does not only take up so much time, eating into the hours that could be spent writing to meet the deadline. There is also the fear of losing the essence of the President’s message.

An exception may be the President’s second Sona in 2011, in which he addressed for the first time China’s belligerent behavior in the South China Sea, where the English translation was more effective than the original Filipino.

The President said the Philippines does not intend to raise tensions in the South China Sea, “pero kailangan ding mabatid ng mundo na handa tayong ipagtanggol ang atin.”

Forceful, remarkable

The official translation—“But we must let the world know that we are ready to protect what is ours”—was forceful and remarkable.

When delivering his speeches, President Aquino speaks too fast, trips on sentences and has a penchant for punctuating them with jokes.

His oratory is crowded with repetitive themes, most notably, blaming his predecessor for the country’s woes and weaving in his parents’ wisdom and sacrifice to emphasize a point. He also has a proclivity for dwelling at great length on what his government has achieved.


As to which are Aquino’s best and worst Sonas or speeches, Navera said he considered the President’s Mamasapano eulogy for the massacred 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos as “insensitive, probably one of his most unpresidential utterances.”

“In that particular speech, he spent some time talking about his own personal experiences. He came off as projecting himself to his audience rather than empathizing with them. I think he would have benefited from talking less,” Navera said.

The “redeeming factor” of that speech delivered on Jan. 30 at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig was that Aquino showed he was serious with the peace agreement with the Muslim insurgents and avoided the “othering” of the Filipino Muslims, he said.

Navera, De Vera and the government lawyer all agreed that Aquino’s inaugural speech and his second Sona where he declared the “walang wangwang” (no sirens or special treatment) promise were the ones that stood out.

Presidential rhetoric

“The speech ties in perfectly with the master trope of his presidential rhetoric: the daang matuwid or tuwid na daan (the righteous path). The way he talked about rejecting the wangwang mentality is quite remarkable in that he pinned it down so well,” Navera said.

De Vera said it was a promise to break down the systemic abuse of power by the country’s leaders, akin to Estrada’s “walang kapatid, kamag-anak at kaibigan” pledge.

“Anything that the President says which breaks down this problem will be positively taken by the people,” said De Vera.

While President Aquino’s speeches are mostly straightforward, his two speeches during the signing of the Framework and Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro two years apart are best remembered for some lyrical and meaningful passages.

An emotional P-Noy

For a President who is said to lack empathy, the times when Aquino showed emotion in his speeches are remarkable.

When he took responsibility for the deaths of the SAF commandos in a speech at Malacañang on Feb. 6, two weeks after the Mamasapano debacle, he showed how the tragedy bore down on him.

“I will carry this to the end of my days,” he said in Filipino.

The President also showed some emotion at the end of the 2014 Sona.

“Whether advertent or inadvertent, it had the effect of humanizing him. Whether you believe what he is saying or not, a speaker who connects with the people is usually at his most effective,” the government lawyer said.

When he failed

Mamasapano was not the only time when Aquino, the Commander in Chief, fell short of putting across an impactful message.

In February 2013, the President called on the late Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to order his brother, Rajah Mudah Agbimuddin Kiram, and their followers to return to Sulu after they went to Lahad Datu to stake their claim to Sabah.

Telling the Tausugs to surrender and “return home” was the last thing Aquino should have said if he wanted the siege to end as telling a Tausug, the fiercest fighters among the Muslim groups, to surrender is an insult.

A lack of understanding of how culture plays a significant role in national security worked against the President and his administration on more than one occasion.

In June, at a media briefing at the Nikkei 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia in Japan, Aquino likened China’s aggression in the South China Sea to that of Nazi Germany.

Japan and Germany were, along with Italy, the main allies of World War II, forming the Axis alliance.

Awkward speech for Pope

He was just as awkward in the welcome remarks he delivered for the much-admired Pope Francis.

In it, the President both criticized and praised the Catholic Church for its role in Philippine society.

When the President flounders in his speeches, whose fault is it?

“While it is tempting to say brilliant speechwriters make good Presidents, in the end a good President is the one who cannot be differentiated from the speechwriter,” De Vera said.

A speechwriter may feel superb when he writes something good, “but (the speech) should be owned 100 percent by the President. It is the President’s voice,” he said.!
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PORTOguês, o lado B da língua para inglês ler

oi lançado esta semana o dicionário de PORTOguês-inglês, que revela aos estrangeiros a forma peculiar, e por vezes grotesca, como os portuenses se exprimem.

“O turista estrangeiro ficará a saber que o PORTOguês é um verdadeiro compêndio médico. Não deve haver doença que não tenha uma tradução local”PAULO PIMENTA

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Língua Portuguesa
artes, cultura e entretenimento
Se a língua portuguesa é muito traiçoeira, como dizia o Herman, o PORTOguês é ainda mais escorregadio. Ou, para ser mais franco, mais escatológico, da ordem do grotesco, tão fundo se aventura, para dizer o mundo de todos os dias. Por isso, o Dicionário de PORTOguês-Inglês que João Carlos Brito compilou, com Ana Cruz e Cristina Vieira Caldas a ajudá-lo na tradução, é um instrumento de iniciação, para estrangeiros, a uma forma de usar a língua - e outras partes mais baixas do corpo - que pode soar algo mal-educada a alguns leitores pouco familiarizados com as ruas do Porto, e o à-vontade de muitos dos seus habitantes.

Entre um falante do Porto (e da região) e outro de Lisboa há aquelas diferenças simples, que todos nos habituamos a distinguir. Por cá comem-se iscas e bolinhos de bacalhau, em vez de patiniscas e pastéis do dito, come-se um molete em vez de um papo-seco, bebe-se cimbalino como quem toma uma bica, pede-se um pingo em vez de um garoto e um fino em vez de uma imperial. A cultura pop local – e o caso do merchandising produzido pela empresa IllustrART é um bom exemplo disso – tem explorado, nos últimos anos, estes localismos linguísticos, como forma de expressão de uma identidade “tripeira”, mostrando-a também aos turistas.

O regresso de João Carlos Brito ao PORTOguês – no qual se iniciou com muito sucesso com Heróis à Moda do Porto, de 2010, o mesmo ano em que Alfredo Mendes lançava o seu Porto Naçom de Falares – faz-se, também, para estrangeiro ler e aprender. Com a novidade de procurar traduções para um inglês literal, um inglês corrente e outras que exploram, também elas, as partes baixas do nosso quotidiano, dizendo, em múltiplos anglo-calões, coisas normais a partir do indizível.

Não foi tarefa fácil, a de Ana Cruz e Cristina Vieira Caldas. A tradução literal pode parecer, e é, uma brincadeira – ninguém vai dizer a um inglês quit the shop, “desampara-me a loja”, para o mandar embora de um sítio qualquer. E se a tradução para o inglês comum não passa de mero osso de ofício de quem sabe da poda, já a procura de expressões com idêntico significado nos múltiplos calões, ou slang, esbarrou em vários obstáculos. Desampara-me a loja pode ser algo como naff off, bugger off ou sling your hook. Mas para outras expressões, como “encostar às boxes” (lesionar-se durante muito tempo, no futebol), eles não chegaram lá.

Por muitas ajudas que tivessem lá fora, de fontes portuguesas ou anglo-saxónicas, algumas foram as expressões sem tradução, e a outras só lá chegaram com uma grande dose de imaginação. É o caso de “chá de bico” – portuense “eufemismo” para um clister. Nas ruas e nos becos não encontraram paralelo, mas entre os médicos ingleses, os marotos, há quem chame a isto um 3H enema, de High, Hot and a Hell of a Lot. Não vamos re-traduzir, que já há muita malícia nos parágrafos a seguir. Outra, como “bater no Siska” não tem mesmo tradução, visto que o referente destas críticas era um antigo treinador do FCP, da década de 1930 e 1940. A não ser que entretanto se invente algo, por lá, com o nosso Mourinho, que se farta de levar, mas da imprensa.

Já que andamos numa de “pancada”, todos sabemos que lobsters são lagostas. Mas por cá dão-se outro tipo de “lagostas” e, se alguém oferecer a outra face, ainda leva uma “bolacha”, uma “lamparina”, ou “lapada”, múltiplas e dolorosas expressões para uma chapada na cara, que, resumidamente, pode ser uma box on the ear em inglês, ou seja uma caixa na orelha, vá-se lá saber porquê. O melhor é nem perguntar. Porque se eles forem muito susceptíveis, às vezes há “mosquitos por cordas”, um argy-bargy, e alguém mais “passado dos carretos”, perturbado, que é o mesmo que pissed off, ainda se mete em cenas de pancadaria que obrigam à intervenção da polícia.

Se não sabia, explicamos-lhe que, por lá, a polícia chegaria num cherry topper (algo que terá que ver com a cereja luminosa no meio do tejadilho), mas que por cá apareceria, há uns anos, num “Nívea”, os antigos carros azuis escuros e brancos, e ainda levaria alguém “a passar férias em Custóias”, freguesia de Matosinhos famosa pelo seu estabelecimento prisional. Expressão para a qual os autores não encontraram um equivalente geográfico nas terras de Sua Majestade. 

O sexo na ponta da língua
Este subtítulo não tem qualquer segundo ou terceiro sentido. A sexualidade é, como outros temas do interdito – e envolvendo as parte baixas, moralmente imundas – tema de eleição de qualquer calão, seja ele de que porto for. Aqui por este Porto (e muito pelas redondezas) se uma mulher é uma “ardida” (fogosa, ou up for it), é bem provável que ande “enrodilhada” (enroscada) com alguém, que esse alguém “ande a roê-la”, deixando outro pretendente “de beiças” (amuado) por não conseguir “mudar o óleo” – e aqui eles inventaram a expressão “How’s your father”, bem mais desconcertante do que a mecânica metáfora portuense para relação sexual.!
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A Navajo Speaker Says The Language Connects Her With Her Culture

A Navajo Speaker Says The Language Connects Her With Her Culture
JULY 25, 2015 7:47 AM ET
Listen to the Story
Weekend Edition Saturday 3:39

Supporters of Navajo presidential candidate Chris Deschene were unhappy last October when a court determined that he did not meet the language requirement.
Felicia Fonseca/AP
Should the president of the Navajo Nation be required to speak fluent Navajo?

The Navajo Nation held a referendum on that question this week, and the majority voted no.

The vote was victory for supporters of a Navajo presidential candidate who was disqualified last fall because he didn't speak the language fluently. The next Navajo Nation election is in 2018.

Advocates say loosening the language requirement will enable the younger candidates, who are less likely to speak the language, to run for Navajo president. Opponents say the change will weaken the Navajo culture.

"Language and culture ties in together," says Jessica Dodson, 23, a Navajo who speaks the language fluently. "You cannot separate them."

Dodson tells NPR's Scott Simon that she believes the nation should keep the language requirement. She works at a senior center, where she says she speaks Navajo every day.

Navajo Nation Changes Language Law

Navajo Presidential Race Shaken By Language Gap
"I see a lot of our younger generation having cell phones, playing video games, watching TV," she says. "They're not really going out there into the community and showing themselves that they do care about saving our language and our culture."

Interview Highlights

On the connection between language and culture

When I go to a traditional ceremony, I observe, I participate, and I notice that there is about 90 percent [of our] elderly are in there because they were brought up with it. As years went on, their grandkids are not really interested in it due to no one advocating it, [no one] telling them, "Come in ... listen to these songs, it will brighten your spirits, it will refresh your mind and soul." No one is doing that. They just think it's some sort of ritual that they don't have to take part [in]. But it's who they are. They should carry it on, is what I strongly believe.

On why the Navajo president should speak the language

This Navajo Nation president represents us to the country, to different states. They have to know that this leader is representing not only himself but his people, the whole Navajo tribe, showing them, my people know their language, know their culture, know where they're coming from.!
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