Archive for January, 2012

Are you a Francophone? You must see this!

I posted this on Facebook 2 days ago people loved it a lot. This is a table in which you can find French sentences but when you read them, they sound like English 🙂 It is totally fun and I also find it very interesting since it is not easy to create English sounding sentences simply using French. They are completely different considering the way they are pronounced.

I wish you a nice weekend! Have fun!

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Do You Know the Difference Phonetic and Phonemic Alphabets?


Well, this term I got many courses on Linguistic and I guess I finally learn the difference between phonemic and phonetic alphabet. You can always find the scientific explanation on internet but for those who do not want a detailed and complex explanation, I will try to tell the difference  briefly.

IPA, International Phonetic Alphabet, is the set of phones that mostly define the way we pronounce words. They are different from the regular alphabet because most of the times, our alphabets contain less sounds than we actually utter. Phonetic alphabet has more sounds. I’m sure you are confused many times about the weird signs that appear following the word that you are looking up. These are the phonetic signs. For example: /ˈdɪk.ʃən.ər.i/= dictionary. As you can see, there are different signs that we are not familiar with.

On the other hand, Phonemic Alphabet includes more and more sounds compared to Phonetic Alphabet because phonemes are little sounds that mostly appears in different dialects. That’s to say, phonemes are the different pronunciations of the same phones.

There is one major difference between these 2 alphabets. Mistakes related to Phonetic Alphabet create meaning difference but mistakes related to Phonemic Alphabet do not create any meaning difference. I will explain this with an example.

kin= /kɪn/ vs king= /kɪŋ/

Here, there is only one phone is different but if we use them interchangably, it means totally different things.

lull = [lʌɫ]

In this word, there is a different pronunciation of “L”. Try to pronounce this word aloud. You will see that you say the first and and the last “L” in a different way. This is phonemic because even if you say these two “L”s in the same way, it does not create any meaning difference.

As a last remark, the phonetic transcriptions are shown between /…/ but phonemic transcriptions are shown between […].

I hope my little knowledge on linguistics is helpful for you.

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Does Knowing a Language Mean Fluency?


When I hear people saying “I know 7 languages”, I generally have second thoughts about this. For me, without putting too much effort and too much time, one cannot be fluent enough; 7 languages mean a whole life effort 🙂 I know French, I can translate from French with the huge help of (!) a dictionary but it is hard-almost impossible- for me to communicate in French. When I say “I know French”, I hesitate. I just know how to translate from French. When I went to France, after 2 days I got confidant and began to start daily conversations but that’s all…

However, it is said that there are people who can really know and speak many many languages. In her article, Marla Popova talks bout these people and she also introduce a novel on the same issue: “Babel No More”. Thanks to Paul Sulzberger, I discovered this article and this book on Twitter. I consider buying this book. My birthday is coming. Anyone thinking about buying me a present? 🙂

“Nineteenth-century Italian cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti, a legend in his day, was said to speak 72 languages. Hungarian hyperpolyglot Lomb Kató, who taught herself Russian by reading Russian romance novels, insisted that “one learns grammar from language, not language from grammar.” Legendary MIT linguist Ken Hale, who passed away in 2001, had an arsenal of 50 languages and was rumored to have once learned the notoriously difficult Finnish while on a flight to Helsinki. Just like extraordinary feats of memory, extraordinary feats of language serve as a natural experiment probing the limits of the human brain — Mezzofanti maintained that “god” had given him this particular power, but did these linguistic superlearners really possess some significant structural advantage over the rest of us in how their brains were wired? That’s precisely what journalist and self-described “metaphor designer” Michael Erard explores in Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners — the first serious investigation into the phenomenon of seemingly superhuman multilingual dexterity and those who have, or claim to have, mastered it, and a fine addition to our favorite books about language…For the rest, click here.

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How to Express ‘Snow’ in Your Language?

This afternoon, there began a blizzard in Istanbul. Actually most of Turkey is under snow nowadays. Thanks to one of my friends, I thought about writing a blog post about snow. In this post, you will see how cultuıre makes a language richer. I am talking about Inuits. As everybody knows Inuits have tens of words about the way snowing 🙂 In Turkish and in English, there are couple of words but Inuits are familier with snow more than us. So the environment led them to produce many words about it. In Turkish, for e.g., we have many words about relationships; it is again a result of the style of life. However, this can be the topic of another post 🙂  Here is a list of Inuit words about snow. How do you express ‘snow’ in your language?

tlapa           powder snow
tlacringit      snow that is crusted on the surface
kayi            drifting snow
tlapat          still snow
klin            remembered snow
naklin          forgotten snow
tlamo           snow that falls in large wet flakes
tlatim          snow that falls in small flakes
tlaslo          snow that falls slowly
tlapinti        snow that falls quickly
kripya          snow that has melted and refrozen
tliyel          snow that has been marked by wolves
tliyelin        snow that has been marked by Eskimos
blotla          blowing snow
pactla          snow that has been packed down
hiryla          snow in beards
wa-ter          melted snow
tlayinq         snow mixed with mud
quinaya         snow mixed with Husky shit
quinyaya        snow mixed with the shit of a lead dog
slimtla         snow that is crusted on top but soft underneath
kriplyana       snow that looks blue in the early morning
puntla          a mouthful of snow because you fibbed
allatla         baked snow
fritla          fried snow
gristla         deep fried snow
MacTla          snow burgers
jatla           snow between your fingers or toes, or in groin-folds
dinliltla       little balls of snow that cling to Husky fur
sulitlana       green snow
mentlana        pink snow
tidtla          snow used for cleaning
ertla           snow used by Eskimo teenagers for exquisite erotic rituals
kriyantli       snow bricks
hahatla         small packages of snow given as gag gifts
semtla          partially melted snow
ontla           snow on objects
intla           snow that has drifted indoors
shlim           slush
warintla        snow used to make Eskimo daiquiris
mextla          snow used to make Eskimo Margaritas
penstla         the idea of snow
mortla          snow mounded on dead bodies
ylaipi          tomorrow's snow
nylaipin        the snows of yesteryear ("neiges d'antan")
pritla          our children's snow
nootlin         snow that doesn't stick
rotlana         quickly accumulating snow
skriniya        snow that never reaches the ground
bluwid          snow that's shaken down from objects in the wind
tlanid          snow that's shaken down and then mixes with sky-falling snow
ever-tla        a spirit made from mashed fermented snow,
		popular among Eskimo men
talini          snow angels
priyakli        snow that looks like it's falling upward
chiup           snow that makes halos
blontla         snow that's shaken off in the mudroom
tlalman         snow sold to German tourists
tlalam          snow sold to American tourists
tlanip          snow sold to Japanese tourists
protla          snow packed around caribou meat
attla           snow that as it falls seems to create nice pictures
		in the air
sotla           snow sparkling with sunlight
tlun            snow sparkling with moonlight
astrila         snow sparkling with starlight
clim            snow sparkling with flashlight or headlight
tlapi           summer snow
krikaya         snow mixed with breath
ashtla          expected snow that's wagered on (depth, size of flakes)
huantla         special snow rolled into "snow reefers" and smoked
		by wild Eskimo youth
tla-na-na       snow mixed with the sound of old rock and roll
		from a portable radio
depptla         a small snowball, preserved in Lucite, that had been handled
		by Johnny Depp
trinkyi         first snow of the year
tronkyin        last snow of the year
shiya           snow at dawn
katiyana        night snow
tlinro          snow vapor
nyik            snow with flakes of widely varying size
ragnitla        two snowfalls at once, creating moire patterns
akitla          snow falling on water
privtla         snow melting in the spring rain
chahatlin       snow that makes a sizzling sound as it falls on water
hootlin         snow that makes a hissing sound as the
		individual flakes brush
geltla          snow dollars
briktla         good building snow
striktla        snow that's no good for building
erolinyat       snow drifts containing the imprint of crazy lovers
chachat         swirling snow that drives you nuts
krotla          snow that blinds you
tlarin          snow that can be sculpted into the delicate corsages
		Eskimo girls pin to their whale parkas at prom time
motla           snow in the mouth
sotla           snow in the south
maxtla          snow that hides the whole village
tlayopi         snow drifts you fall into and die
truyi           avalanche of snow
tlapripta       snow that burns your scalp and eyelids
carpitla        snow glazed with ice
tla             ordinary snow
For the source, click here.
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International Symposium on Bilingualism 2015

Compared to other social issues, there are very few international conventions and symposiums about languages or translation. I have discovered this one and if anyone wants to be a part of this organization, you can contact to the Durk Gorter. The symposium is supposed to be on 2015 and it will be the 10th one.  The details as follow:  

The ISB Committee is calling for bids from interested institutions or
individuals to host the International Symposium on Bilingualism – ISB10
in the year 2015. The deadline for the call for bids is March 1, 2012.

ISB is an international forum that welcomes scholars in all disciplines
and fields of research dedicated to bilingualism and multilingualism. Its
main goal is to provide a forum for presenting quality research on
bilingualism/multilingualism from linguistic, psychology, anthropology,
cognitive, sociolinguistic, neurolinguistic and educational perspectives,
and possibly others.

The 2015 Symposium will be the 10th time in ISB’s history. ISBs were
organized since 1997:

– 2015 (To be announced)
– 2013 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 10-13 June
– 2011 University of Oslo
– 2009 Utrecht University
– 2007 University of Hamburg
– 2005 Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
– 2003 Arizona State University (Tempe)
– 2001 University of the West of England, Bristol
– 1999 University of Newcastle upon Tyne
– 1997 University of Newcastle upon Tyne

For more detail, click here.

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Tips for Fast Note-Taking, Part#2 Symbols

3 days ago, I published the first part of note taking tips. Now, I am publishing the second part (the last part). Some symbols, especially math symbols, help you save time. Here is a little list of symbols:

–>  Leads to, causes, makes…

<–  comes from, result of…

↑ increase, go up, rise

↓decrease, lower, go down

& and

@ at

/ per

P page

Pp pages

? question

+ plus, in addition, also

–          minus

= equal, is, as a result, hence

≠ not equal

≈ about, approximately

X times

> greater than

< less than

$ money

% percent

# number

ht height

wt weight

2 to, too, two

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Tips for Fast Note-Taking, Part#1 Initials&Abbreviations


Note-taking should be considered as a talent or as a product of a hard work. Taking notes is easy; however, the point is ‘can you recall them later?’. If you study/studied interpreting a little bit, you know what I mean. Especially in consecutive interpreting, you take notes but when you go to top to interpret your notes, you just have no idea about what is written there. There may be some symbols, some abbreviations… If you want use different symbols for different words, stick to them; do not change them for every interpreting. For example, if you use “X” for negative words like cancel, don’t, isn’t, disapprove, disagree etc., do not use it for something else like “5times=5X”.

Fast note taking helps you not only for interpreting but also for conferences and lectures that you attend.

In this part of my article, I will write some basic initials and abbreviations. I hope they help.

w/                          with

w/o                        without

w/i                         within

i.e.                         that is

e.g.                        for example

etc.                        so forth

b/c                         because

b/4                        before

re:                          regarding, about

esp.                       especially

min.                      minimum

max.                     maximum

gov’t                      government

asap                      as soon as possible

wrt                         write

rt                            right

yr, yrs                   year, years

c.                            circa, from the year

vs                           versus

ch                           chapter

q&a                        question and answer

ex                           example

wd                         word

ref                          reference

diff                         difference


In the next post, I will go over some basic symbols for note taking. Follow us on Facebook!

I want to thank my Consecutive Interpreting lecturer for this information.

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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