Our society seems divided between those who want to abolish the police and those who want to abolish the language police. The Left fears people with handcuffs and guns making violent arrests while …
What do we mean by the word beautiful? It depends not only on whom you ask, but in what language you ask them. According to a machine learning analysis of dozens of languages conducted at Princeton University, the meaning of words does not necessarily refer to an intrinsic, essential constant. Instead, it is significantly shaped […]
The most commonly-used word in English might only have three letters – but it packs a punch.
PETER TRUDGILL on the first meeting of two languages, one of which has since died out – but not without leaving some traces.
With fewer and fewer fluent speakers of the Crow language, advocates for revitalizing it hope a free online dictionary can aid people already working to bolster their skills and make learning the language more accessible. On Thursday, a group of linguists, native Crow speakers and programmers launched the app after four years of work on […]
Some of the oldest languages in the world are becoming more accessible with the 50 Words project documenting the nation's Aboriginal languages on an interactive map which is already being used by one Adelaide school.
Having a command of more than one enriches us and offers a doorway to other cultures, as discovered by a team of researchers.
One surefire way to tell whether somebody is an east or west German is to ask them what noise a duck makes. West Germans will typically say quak, quak, while east Germans will say nak nak nak. As far as the latter are concerned, itâs frogs that go quak, not ducks. The sound nak nak […]
Love travels through the body. When the love is between people, what this means is obvious enough. When the love is between a person and a text, what this means, to me, at least, is that the transl…
From ‘social distancing’ to ‘self-quarantining,’ the pandemic is leaving a lasting impact on the English lexicon
Times of crisis have always changed our slang, with the help of a little black humour. Coronavirus is no exception.
The translator is a writer. The writer is a translator. How many times have I run up against these assertions?—in a chat between translators protesting because they are not listed in a publisher’s index of authors; or in the work of literary theorists, even poets (“Each text is unique, yet at the same time it is the translation of another text,” observed Octavio Paz). Others claim that because language is referential, any written text is a translation of the world referred to.
In recent months, I have been dividing my working day between writing in the morning and translating in the afternoon. Maybe comparing the two activities would be a good way to test this writer–translator equation.
How many feminine pronouns will be enough?
Linguists have spent three years poring over audio to study the way Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks, Time reports. But rather than focus on the content of her words, NYU linguistics professor emeritus John Victor Singler and researchers Nathan LaFave and Allison Shapp analyzed the change in Ginsburg's accent between 1970 and the early '90s, up to present day. In her earlier speech, Ginsburg's New York accent — her 'thought vowels' and 'R-vocalizations' — is less pronounced. As time goes on, even accounting for her aging voice, Ginsburg's Brooklyn accent creeps back into the way she talks.
What the researchers discovered could give important insight not just into Ginsburg's speech development, but into the complicated social, political, and linguistic shifts in the way each and every one of us pronounces words, even if said words are as non-threatening as 'coffee.'
[The linguists'] theory, reported here for the first time, is that 'conscious or not,' the lawyer was doing something everyone does, what is known in linguistics as accommodation: adapting our ways of communicating depending on who we're talking to. Accommodating can be done through word choice, pronunciation, even gestures. A common example would be when someone returns to the town where they grew up and their accent comes roaring back as they talk to friends and family who sound that way, too.
[…] Noting that Ginsburg moved to Washington, D.C., in 1980, the linguists argue that the sounds of her youth have come back in part because one of the most powerful women in America doesn't have to fret so much about what people think these days. 'Justice Ginsburg no longer needs to worry about whether she seems threatening to the Court,' they write in a working paper. 'She is the Court.' [Time]
'Everybody actually has more than one accent,' linguist David Crystal added for Time. 'Everybody modifies their accent. Some people are so proud of a particular point of origin that they try their damnedest not to modify their voice, but this pressure to accommodate, as it's called, is in everybody.' Compare Ginsburg's speech below, and read a full report of the study in Time. Jeva Lange
A new study of the Supreme Court Justice’s accent says something about the way we all talk
This study investigates the variable use of New York City (NYC) dialect features by Brooklyn-born Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court, both from her time as a lawyer arguing cases before the Court in the 1970s and as a Justice hearing cases from the bench from 1993 onward. Our data comes from digitized recordings of Supreme Court cases available at The Oyez Project (www.oyez.org). The immensity of the Oyez Project’s corpus and its public availability provide us with tokens all along Ginsburg’s timeline at the Court. We look at THOUGHT vowels (N=556) and postvocalic /r/ (N=3304) with reference to their NYC variants, i.e., THOUGHT-raising and r-vocalization. While Ginsburg moved to Washington from NYC in 1980 and has remained there, her data at the endpoint of our study (2011–2012) shows a greater use of NYC vernacular features than was true of the data at the beginning (1972). Mixed-effects regression models using both linguistic and social predictors would seem to point to the importance of chronology for both features: for THOUGHT-raising, the best-fit model makes a binary temporal distinction, between the “Lawyer” years of the 1970’s and the “Justice” years from the 1993 to the 2011 terms. We refer to Communication Accommodation Theory (Giles, N. Coupland and J. Coupland 1991; Giles and Gasiorek 2013) to frame our explanation for what we see as Ginsburg’s reduced use of raised thought in the 1970’s. For r-vocalization, there is again a fundamentally binary distinction, with the year 2000 as the point of division. The forces that motivate this greater use of vocalized-r after 2000 are much less obvious than those behind the Lawyer v. Justice opposition that we propose for THOUGHT-raising. We weigh competing and somewhat contradictory explanations for Ginsburg’s increased use of r-vocalization.
It's a captivating idea: build an interstellar ark, fill it with people, flora, and fauna of every kind, and set your course for a distant star. The concept is not only science fiction gold, it's been the subject of many scientific studies and proposals. By building a ship that can accommodate multiple generations of human beings (a generation ship), humans could colonize the known universe.
They all originate from one language, Latin. Yet, the Romance languages differ in grammar and structure from classical Latin. How?
Even though the Spanish language is the most widespread in Mexico, there are many other indigenous (native) languages spoken in the country to this day.
Springfield's Merriam-Webster has added new words with unprecedented speed.
Sign languages emerge through a natural process in deaf communities just as verbal languages do, after a language community is formed, according to a linguist. âSign languages are perceived as the translated language of verbal language, on the contrary, they are independent,â Zeynep Acan Aydin, a linguist at Hacettepe University, told Anadolu Agency, as the […]
Waubgeshig Rice, host of CBC Sudbury’s afternoon show, Up North, interviews Indigenous language speakers from northern Ontario to celebrate the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages.
The Auditor Generalâs report on education in the territory released in February painted a dismal picture of Indigenous language education. âAfter our audit in 2010, the department acknowledged its need to review its policy for Indigenous language and culture-based education. It completed this review in 2014, which found that its model was not leading to […]
Wanna talk like a New Yorker? Then you gotta know the lingo, wise guy. flying rat (n.): A pigeon.hun (n.): hundred. As in, “I’m going to a party up on a hun
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.
The history of the printed word is full of bibliographic twists and turns, major historical moments, and the significant printing of books now so obscure no one has read them since their publication.
The restoration of an 18th century manuscript of liturgical choir songs written in the Abenaki language will be an important resource for language revitalization efforts in Odanak, Que.
Irish, English, Scots, French and Old Norse are just some of the languages that have left a mark.