What do J.R.R. Tolkien, professional linguists, and a sneaky French teenager all have in common?
In something of a Hotel California of linguistics, once a word has made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, it can never leave.
More than 1,000 years ago in Spain’s La Rioja region, monks made notes in the margins of Latin texts. These are believed to be the Spanish language’s first steps onto the page.
Phrases such as ‘dosh’, ‘notes’ ‘bob’ and ‘dough’ are more commonplace now
Linguists have a lot of largely untested theories. Borrowing a tool from ecology, researchers built a model that didn't look for one worldwide explanation.
What would it look like to convert a year and a half of homepage links totaling more than half a trillion words from worldwide news homepages in 110 languages into ngram datasets with just three SQL queries, an open source language detector, one script and the power of Google’s BigQuery platform?
Experts estimate that a language goes extinct every two weeks. USC student Prim Phoolsombat wants to use a blend of linguistics and computer science to help save them.
The small village of San Pedro Sochiapam, deep in the mountainous region of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, is home to the Chinantec people. Here steep footpaths end at chicken coops and cornfields grow on mountainsides, while the villagers clear brush with machetes and children enjoy ice-cream cones from a stall near the town …
One of the biggest challenges for artificial intelligence is language interpretation and translation. Tech companies look to change that.
Some animals, like rats, learn linguistic patterns better than humans can.
Colonial occupation of cities such as Basra in the early 20th century led to some intriguing language swaps
âAdorkable.â âManspreading.â âFrenemies.â Coining new words to fit modern needs is a practice that goes back to the beginning of language; Shakespeare, for example, is said to have introduced somewhere from 1700 to 3200 new words. Peter Hill may not be Shakespeare, but he has cataloged around 3000 new words in the indigenous Lakota language. …
RIA initiative is one of the most ambitious linguistic research projects in history of State
The blog Infotra (University of Salamanca) features a collection of 150 free e-books for translators and interpreters in Spanish and English
When it was suggested to Joshua Blau, at the start of his professional career, that he study the letters of Maimonides, there were those who warned him not to undertake the task. The three scholars who had previously begun dealing with the letters had died unnatural deaths. The first was found deceased at his desk …
On a cold night winterâs night nine years ago, I made my way along icy cobblestone streets, a howling wind at my back, into the medieval town of Sarlat-la-CanÃ©da in the Dordogne region of south-west France. This area is famous for its prehistoric caves, medieval castles and truffles â but I was here for another …
Recent protests against the federal governmentâs approach to Indigenous language legislation is the latest manifestation of concern regarding the maintenance and flourishing of Indigenous languages and culture. Although these latest protests are centred around jurisdiction and funding, the fundamental issue for Indigenous peoples is support for an essential part of their identity. My work in …
A genetic mutation that slowed down the development of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in two or more children may have triggered a cascade of events leading to acquisition of recursive language and modern imagination 70,000 years ago.
Under certain circumstances, the question of whether a particular string of letters constitutes a word can assume a momentary prominence, with money or honor on the line. Passionate squabbles can erupt over a game of Scrabble or over how Jeff Bezos asserts his right to privacy. In his February online post accusing the National Enquirer of blackmail, the billionaire founder of Amazon used the doubtful word “complexifier,” twice, as in, “My ownership of the Washington Post is a complexifier for me.” Commentators were quick to point out that “complexifier” is indeed a word, although a verb, in French.1 Poor Bezos, they seemed to imply, deserved some linguistic latitude for having employed a combination of letters that constituted a word somewhere, even if not in Los Angeles or London, as opposed to, say, “covfefe.” And who decides, anyway?
The English word translation comes from the Middle English, which originates from the Anglo-French translater. That in turn descends from the Latin translatus: trans, across or over, and latus, which is the past participle of ferre, to carry, related to the English word “ferry.” The translator, then, is the ferry operator, carrying meaning from words on that shore to words on this shore.
Is translation a discipline or a cause? A catalogue sent to me by a small American publisher begins by naming all the translators of the foreign titles the company is offering, inviting the reader to thank and celebrate the people who have made the English versions of these books possible.
I go to a university seminar on translation whose program is headed with a quotation from Paul Auster: “Translators are the shadow heroes of literature, the often forgotten instruments… who have enabled us to understand that we all, from every part of the world, live in one world.”
Enrique Jiménez makes use of artificial intelligence to fill in the many tantalizing gaps in the surviving texts written on clay tablets by scribes in early urban societies 3000 years ago.
Places of Poetry, an interactive online mapping project, has gathered more than 2,000 poems pinned to locations in England and Wales that correspond to them. Poet Paul Farley and Andrew McRae of th…
Up to half of the 7,000 languages spoken today are likely to die off by the end of this century. Queens has become ground zero to save them.
It's kept itself free of moss for centuries
The translated books have captured life in China's transition periods, and the rise of sci-fi.
The world’s most powerful computers can’t perform accurate real-time translation. Yet interpreters do it with ease. Geoff Watts meets the neuroscientists who are starting to explain this remarkable ability.
How did Southern Californians come to treat their highway route numbers as if they were proper names?
âGuder Mariye, liewe Kinner!â (Good morning, dear children!) I start most of my mornings with these four words. Whatâs most interesting about that statement is that I am an American. My family immigrated to the colony of Pennsylvania in the early 1700s and has been here ever since. Twelve generations later, we still speak the …