The man responsible for developing the phonetic translations of Chinese characters is being celebrated this week by Google, with a doodle. Zhou Youguang would be 112 years old Saturday. During his life, Youguang not only developed phonetic translations of Chinese characters — meaning, he’s the reason why you say “Beijing” instead of “Peking” these days, for instance — but also authored more than 40 books, and translated the Encyclopedia Britannica into Chinese.
Yassss kweeen, werq! Guest blogger Gary Nunn explores the linguistic legacy of the seminal 1990 documentary, Paris is Burning.
Guest blogger Mel Carlisle's blog post on everyday words and phrases that came from the printing press is truly the dog's bollocks.
When I decided to study Dutch, I did not imagine there would be so many different variations of this language. In fact, I thought that it was only spoken in Holland, but later I discovered that I could not be more wrong. I got in touch with a private Dutch teacher through a friend. When …
A single author created them, but the public adopted them.
Dreams may train people to face daytime threats, and sleep talking is a response.
When Angela Merkel opened Germany’s borders to refugees in August 2015, I happened to be spending the summer in Berlin. For days, I did little but watch the news and read about Syrian families and …
In an essay from 1941 on H.G. Wells and Nazism, Jorge Luis Borges expressed surprise that the English writer who had fictively sent worlds to war was not a Nazi. “Wells, incredibly, is not a Nazi,”…
A conversation with Asymptote Journal’s poetry editor.
The English-language versions of Han’s work have won wide acclaim. Are they faithful to the original?
We all know that TED Translators work hard—but they love having fun, too. In the spirit of the latter, each of the 10 translators attending TED2017 recorded a tongue twister in his or her native la…
“I write in Zapotec because it’s my right.”
I have never heard anyone use the idiom to go woolgathering, but it occurs in older books with some regularity, and that’s why I know it. To go woolgathering means “to indulge in aimless thought, day dreaming, or fruitless pursuit.” Sometimes only absent-mindedness is implied.
What are some challenges when interpreting regional varieties of Spanish? 414 million individuals speak Spanish in approximately 20 different countries.
Hungary might sit in Europeâs geographical heart, but its language bears little resemblance to its Indo-European neighbours. Originating from the Ugric subgroup from the Uralic group of languages, Hungarian, along with its far-flung distant cousins Finnish and Estonian, has little in common with other European languages. Itâs an agglutinative language, in which complex words are …
CMOS: You have now translated a large portion of the Hebrew Bible into English. What motivated you to take on such an enormous, high-profile, high-stakes project?
Censorship isn't just redacted text and banned words. What happens when censorship is furtive, flying under the radar as much as possible?
Text messages ending in periods are perceived as more insincere.
On January 5, at its annual meeting in Salt Lake City, the American Name Society will select its names of the year for 2017. Names of the year are those “that best illustrate, through their creation and/or use during the past 12 months, important trends in the culture of the...
The first historical dictionary devoted to science fiction, Brave New Words:The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction shows exactly how science-fictional words and their associated concepts have developed over time, with full citations and bibliographic information. It's a window on a whole genre of literature through the words invented and passed along by the genre's most talented writers.
The blog Infotra (University of Salamanca) features a collection of 150 free e-books for translators and interpreters in Spanish and English
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The Royal Spanish Academy added the words âkosherâ and âhummusâ to the latest update of the online version of its official dictionary. The words will appear in the next print edition of the Dictionary of the Spanish Language to be published next year. Spanish is the most common second language...
If youâve ever noshed on a bagel with your schnoz stuck in a schmaltzy novel, or schlepped to a party to schmooze with the mavens and machers, you know all about the influence of Yiddish on modern English. But what about Hebrew? Thanks to English translations of the Bible, Hebrew-derived words have been playing their …
This is the fourteenth in a series of fifteen conversations on consciousness between Riccardo Manzotti and Tim Parks.
Language. Language, language, language. In the end it all comes down to language. I write to you today on this subject as a way of welcoming you to www.stephenfry.com 2.0 and because, well, it’s a subject worth thinking about at any time and because fewer things interest me quite so much.
Diana Vreeland famously coined “youthquake” decades ago, but like any good trend, it’s staging a comeback.
The follow-up to Pinker's groundbreaking The Better Angels of Our Nature presents the big picture of human progress: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.
Random changes play an outsized role in how we speak today
Children everywhere can recite their names: Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen. They can also name Rudolph on sight – a reindeer distinctive for his bright red nose. But where did those names come from, and what do they mean?
Novel language learning activates different neural processes than was previously thought. A Leiden research team has discovered parallel but separate contributions from the hippocampus and Broca's area, the learning centre in the left hemisphere. The right hemisphere of the brain also seems to play an important role.
Evolution doesnât imply improvement or progressive change towards perfection. In a straight darwinian sense, evolution means adapting to oneâs environment in order to survive and endure, for the environment is ever changing, and so must we. All living creatures adapt to a constantly mutable environment, and so does language in a very organic, spontaneous and …