Me, myself, and I. You may be tempted to use these words interchangeably, because they all refer to the same thing. But in fact, each one has a specific role in a sentence: ‘I’ is a subject pronoun, ‘me’ is an object pronoun, and ‘myself’ is a reflexive or intensive pronoun. Emma Bryce explains what each role reveals about where each word belongs.
Lesson by Emma Bryce, animation by Karrot Animation.
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of made-up words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language, to give a name to an emotion we all feel but don’t have a word for.
Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.
n. an image that inexplicably leaps back into your mind from the distant past.
“Whether the broader meaning of a text – the jokes, philosophies, and cultural peculiarities of its language – is translatable depends almost entirely on the individual with their nose in the dictionary (not to mention the dictionary itself).” (The Oxford Dictionary Blog)
When we say that a word is untranslatable, we tend to mean that it lacks an exact or word-for-word equivalent in our own language. In our desire to make everyone and everything understood, we sometimes forget that languages are living, writhing beasts: they evolve and mutate at such a rate that their genetic make-up is by nature very different, and it is almost impossible to pin them down. Although we can spot many commonalities between languages (just ask a friendly polyglot), there are also countless words that resist comparison. We are attracted to these outliers because they seem to fill the gaps in our own language and – if they originate from lands that are unfamiliar to us – they appear to unlock the secrets of other, distant cultures.”
– Wikipedia: Untranslatability
– BBC News: The world’s most difficult word to translate has been identified as “ilunga” from the Tshiluba language spoken in south-eastern DR Congo.
– Blog: Better than English – “We post words and phrases that don’t have direct English translations.”
– 11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures
– Book: Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon (Translation/Transnation)
– Book: How to Translate The…Untranslatable from English (from American) Into French and Vice Versa?: Comment Traduire…L’Intraduisible D’Anglais (D’Americ
Jacques Lezra: Dictionary of Untranslatables
Presentation by Jacques Lezra, Professor of Spanish, Portuguese and Comparative Literature at NYU.
This is an encyclopedic dictionary of close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms and concepts that defy easy–or any–translation from one language and culture to another. Drawn from more than a dozen languages, terms such as Dasein (German), pravda (Russian), saudade (Portuguese), and stato (Italian) are thoroughly examined in all their cross-linguistic and cross-cultural complexities. Spanning the classical, medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary periods, these are terms that influence thinking across the humanities.
Originally published in French, this one-of-a-kind reference work is now available in English for the first time, with new contributions from Judith Butler, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ben Kafka, Kevin McLaughlin, Kenneth Reinhard, Stella Sandford, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jane Tylus, Anthony Vidler, Susan Wolfson, Robert J. C. Young, and many more.The result is an invaluable reference for students, scholars, and general readers interested in the multilingual lives of some of our most influential words and ideas.
Image from New Zealand-based designer Anjana Iyer’s “Found in Translation” series of images
Screenplay: Karl Eccleston and Brian Fairbairn
Directed by Brian Fairbairn
Starring: Karl Eccleston and Fiona Pepper
Sound and lighting: Thomas Jordan
Brian Fairbairn and Karl Eccleston are a London-based filmmaking duo.
Made for Kino Sydney #47.
For Steven Pinker, the brilliance of the mind lies in the way it uses just two processes to turn the finite building blocks of our language into infinite meanings. The first is metaphor: we take a concrete idea and use it as a stand-in for abstract thoughts. The second is combination: we combine ideas according to rules, like the syntactic rules of language, to create new thoughts out of old ones.
Note – This video contains strong language. Also see animation below.
Wikipedia: Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist and popular science author. He is a Harvard College Professor and the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.
Pinker’s academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of innuendo and euphemism. He published two technical books which proposed a general theory of language acquisition and applied it to children’s learning of verbs. In his popular books, he has argued that language is an “instinct” or biological adaptation shaped by natural selection. On this point, he opposes Noam Chomsky and others who regard the human capacity for language to be the by-product of other adaptations. He is the author of six books for a general audience: The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), The Stuff of Thought (2007), and The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011). Read on…
TED Talk – Steven Pinker on language and thought
In an exclusive preview of his book The Stuff of Thought, Steven Pinker looks at language and how it expresses what goes on in our minds — and how the words we choose communicate much more than we realize.
Linguist Steven Pinker questions the very nature of our thoughts — the way we use words, how we learn, and how we relate to others. In his best-selling books, he has brought sophisticated language analysis to bear on topics of wide general interest. Watch it here.
RSA Animate – Language as a Window into Human Nature
In this new RSAnimate Steven Pinker shows us how the mind turns the finite building blocks of language into infinite meanings. Taken from the RSA’s free public events programme http://www.thersa.org/events
Via Beyond Words