Category Archives: Languagewatch
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.”
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.
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
Stay tuned for more information on Facebook.
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.
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”.
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.
A good source in this context is the Middle English Dictionary by the way.
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.”
“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
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Anyone who travels beyond Delhi and Mumbai to India’s provincial cities will notice English words cropping up increasingly in Hindi conversation,” writes BBC. While some of these terms fell out of use in the UK decades ago, others are familiar, but used in bold new ways.
Picture the scene. I’m chatting to a young man named Yuvraj Singh. He’s a college student in the Indian city of Dehra Dun. We’re talking in Hindi. But every so often there’s an English word. It’s Hindi, Hindi, Hindi, and then suddenly an English word or phrase is dropped in: “job”, “love story” or “adjust”.
What should we make of this? It’s not that Hindi lacks equivalent words. He could have said the Hindi “kaam” instead of “job”. Why mention the English words? And what’s Yuvraj speaking? Is it Hindi, English, an amalgam “Hinglish”, or something else?
In 1886 Henry Yule and Arthur Burnell published Hobson-Jobson, a guide to words from Indian languages that had passed into English.
You can search through it for references to the origins of words such as “shampoo” and “bungalow”. But now many Indian citizens are using English words in the course of talking Hindi – or Tamil, or Bengali etcetera.”
Read on at the BBC.
– BBC: Hobson-Jobson – The words English owes to India
On Wikipedia: Hobson-Jobson
– Digital Dictionary – Hobson-Jobson: A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive.
– Digital Book at archive.org: