Category Archives: Languagewatch

140 words that spellcheck might miss

140 words that spellcheck might miss

( #spellcheck #punctuation )

In part one of the Pragmatists’ Guide to Grammar and Punctuation, Creative Boom takes a look at the 140 most commonly confused words in the English language.

Mistakes you’ve probably made – or are making right now. Have a look here.

Hiberno‐English – How well do you know English words from Irish?

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Do you think you’ve got the luck o’ the Irish? Make your friends green with envy with your knowledge of Gaelic etymologies and do this quiz at oxforddictionaries.com.

From Wikipedia: : “Hiberno‐English or Irish English is natively written and spoken within the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland. It comprises a number of sub-varieties, such as Mid-Ulster English, Dublin English, and Cork English.

English was brought to Ireland as a result of the Norman invasion of the late 12th century. Initially, it was mainly spoken in an area known as the Pale around Dublin, with mostly Irish spoken throughout the rest of the country. By the Tudor period, Irish culture and language had regained most of the territory lost to the colonists: even in the Pale, “all the common folk… for the most part are of Irish birth, Irish habit, and of Irish language”.However, the English conquest and colonisation of Ireland in the 16th century marked a revival in the use of English. By the mid-19th century, English was the majority language spoken in the country.[a] It has retained this status to the present day, with even those whose first language is Irish being fluent in English as well.”

Related links:
The Irish discitionary
The Irish English Resource Centre
Everyday English and Slang in Ireland

How To Do An Irish Accent

This VideoJug film will help teach you the basics of the Irish accent. Gareth Jameson, an actor and voice coach, will guide you through some Irish accent techniques. Following his easy Irish accent guide will help you learn the sounds and make you speak like an Irish person.

Irish vs American English

From “American English n’ culture with Philochko”. Part 2 is here.

Confessions of an Idiom

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Something funny to start the working week — Everyone has Skeletons in their Closet but what happens if one day the Elephant in the Room decides to make the Skeleton in the Closet bring the truth to light? The Skeleton isn’t one to confess to his crimes so easily. Mayhem ensues in this power struggle with a world full of idioms.

Confessions of an Idiom

This film was done by Amanda Koh and Mollie Helms at Ringling College of Art + Design. If you have any questions, feel free to visit their website at amkoh.com

Confessions of an Idiom

Stay tuned for more information on Facebook.

#AussieSayings you never knew you needed to understand plus some Monty Python

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Those #AussieSayings got some attention in the Twitter world the other day and Mashable was so kind to collect some of the best and mostly hard to translate phrases from the land of the Bruces.

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More here.

We have to add that the intellectual überminds of Monty Python had a look at #AussieSayings way before Twitter was born of course. Here we go, Ladies and Bruces.


This is the original sketch about the Australian University of Woolloomooloo, not the live version from the Hollywood Bowl show which also includes The Philosopher’s Song. The song does not feature in the original television version, which instead ends with the first Bruces saying “Sidney Nolan! What’s that?” pointing to the ear of fourth Bruce returning to that episode’s running joke, “how to recognise different parts of the body”.

So Thou Wantst to Write Olde-Timey Speech

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Let’s say you’re a writer or a translator. Wouldn’t you like your work to not only evoke the time period you’re replicating, but actually work?

To that end Jezebel started a new series of posts filed under “Memeievalism” and aimed at giving a few tips toward improving the verisimilitude of your attempts to capture the speech of bygone days.

Read the first post here. The word ‘thou’ is the first lesson.

A good source in this context is the Middle English Dictionary by the way.

Essay: There Is No ‘Proper English’

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Never mind the grammar scolds. If people say it, it’s the right way to speak.

Is there such a thing as “proper English”? Here’s an excerpt from an essay in the Wall Street Journal by Oliver Kamm:

“A few weeks ago, pundits and columnists lauded a Wikipedia editor in San Jose, Calif., who had rooted out and changed no fewer than 47,000 instances where contributors to the online encyclopedia had written “comprised of” rather than “composed of.” Does anyone doubt that our mother tongue is in deep decline?

Well, for one, I do. It is well past time to consign grammar pedantry to the history books.

As children, we all have the instinct to acquire a set of rules and to apply them. Any toddler is already a grammatical genius. Without conscious effort, we combine words into sentences according to a particular structure, with subjects, objects, verbs, adjectives and so on. We know that a certain practice is a rule of grammar because it’s how we see and hear people use the language.

That’s how scholarly linguists work. Instead of having some rule book of what is “correct” usage, they examine the evidence of how native and fluent nonnative speakers do in fact use the language. Whatever is in general use in a language (not any use, but general use) is for that reason grammatically correct.”

Excerpt from an essay in the Wall Street Journal by Oliver Kamm, editorial writer and columnist for the Times of London. His latest book is “Accidence Will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage.”

Why English Changes More Slowly Today Than It Did A Thousand Years Ago

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“As languages acquire new speakers, spread to new geographic areas, and mingle with other languages, they change. But is that change happening as quickly as it once did?” (IO9)

What might a future version of English look? Perhaps not quite so different from the version we see today — and we owe that to the widespread growth of the written word.

Read the story at IO9 here.

Top image: A 15th century edition of Recuyell of the Histories of Troy from Brandeis University’s Special Collections

Übelsetzungen

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Langenscheidt has started a new collection of incredibly bad translations into German from all over the world. Author Titus Arnus has also been a guest on “Tv Total” in case you want to know more.

Photo: Haimo Pölzl

Lost without translation – Accurate scientific translation is vital, say Meredith Root-Bernstein and Richard Ladle.

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Excerpt from an essay: for “Times Higher Education”:

“A misplaced preposition or poor choice of verb can ruin a convincing narrative, reducing the probability of publication in a top international journal and limiting the impact of the research. Not only is this bad news for scientists struggling to communicate their work, it is also bad for science.
Science needs more trained personnel who can bridge the language gap. The need is particularly urgent in areas such as the environmental and agronomical sciences in which it is increasingly appreciated that regional and local interventions can have global impacts.

In an effort to disseminate their work, many foreign scientists spend precious research funds on private translation services. But standard translators may not understand the science, the structure of scientific papers or the technical language. The only alternative is to rely on bilingual colleagues to provide translation services as a favour.”

Read the article here.

Authors:

Meredith Root-Bernstein is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford and at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Richard Ladle is senior visiting research associate at Oxford and professor of conservation biogeography at the Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil.

How to Talk Australians – Season 1

TalkAustralians2From director Tony Rogers (Wilfred) and writer Rob Hibbert, (Images You Should Not Masturbate To) comes How to Talk Australians, a comedy web series set in an Indian call centre training college.

Presented in the format of an elaborate educational video, the series delivers a satirical take on the Australian way of life. An assembly of Indian teachers dissect our national identity, as they perform re-enactments, conduct lectures in linguistics, and attempt impersonations of famous Australians.

Mining the depths of every aspect of the Australian stereotype, the 8-part series presents us with a unique outsider’s perspective, and asks us to visit that most Australian trait: to laugh at ourselves.

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