Posts Tagged ‘languages’

Duolingo

While the internet has become a vital part of our lives, it just goes beyond the computers or laptops… With tablet and smart phones, we carry the internet wherever we go and we really need it when we are mobile. So, the famous internet websites find enjoyable applications to promote their brand in mobile as well.

Thanks to one of my friends, I come across with a perfect mobile application for language lovers: Duolingo!

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Its web site is quite colorful and funny. It makes you practice a language and it turns this process into a game…

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You have your own skill tree and you can compete with your friends as you complete new missions! 🙂

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It also has its iPhone application. Wherever you go, you can continue gaining new skills and beat your friends out.

Do you want to try? You can visit the website here: http://duolingo.com/

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Proverbs and Quotations about Languages

urlLanguage is not only our job it is our life. It is one of the basic elements of communication and living as a society. It is not surprising that there are many sayings about languages. 

Here are different quotations or proverbs in different languages. They are not only sentences; they also reflect the viewpoint of the societies… 🙂

Since it is a long list, I will leave the English, French, Latin and Spanish ones for the next blog post! 🙂

 

Aromanian

Limba dultsi multu adutsi
sweet language brings much

 

Breton

Hep brezhoneg, breizh ebet
Without Breton there is no Brittany

 

Bulgarian

Човекът е толкова пъти човек, колкото езика знае
(Čovekãt e tolkova pãti čovek, kolkoto ezika znae)
the more languages you know, the more you are a person

 

Chinese (Classical)

書不盡言 言不盡意
(Shū bù jìn yán yán bù jìn yì)
Writing cannot express all words, words cannot encompass all ideas.
– Confucius

學而時習之 不亦說乎
(xué ér shí xí zhī, bù yì yuè hū)
Is it not enjoyable to learn and practice what you learn?
– Confucius

Chinese (Mandarin)

天不怕,地不怕,只怕广东人说普通话。
(Tiān bù pà, dì bù pà, zhǐ pà Guǎngdōng rén shuō Pŭtōnghuà)
I fear neither heaven nor earth, I only fear Cantonese speakers trying to speak Mandarin.

学一门语言,就是多一个观察世界的窗户。
(xué yì mén yǔyán, jiù shì duō yí ge guānchá shìjiè de chuānghu.)
To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.

Chinese (Cantonese)

天唔驚,地唔驚,只驚北方人講廣東話唔正。
(Tìn m̀h gìng, deih m̀h gìng, jí gìng bākfòng yàhn góng Gwóngdùngwá m̀hjeng)
I fear neither heaven nor earth, I only fear Mandarin speakers speaking Cantonese badly.

 

Czech

Kolik jazyků znáš, tolikrát jsi člověkem.
The more languages you know, the more you are human.
or lit. “As many languages you know, as many times you are a human being”

– refers not just to the ability to communicate in different languages, but also the ability to share in various spiritual spheres of different cultures .
– Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk

Greek

Ἡ γλώσσα δὲν ἔχει κόκκαλα καὶ κόκκαλα τσακίζει
(I glóssa den éhi kókala ke kókala tsakízi)
Language/Tongue has no bones but it breaks bones.

 

Hawaiian

I ka ‘ōlelo no ke ola; i ka ‘ōlelo no ka make
In the language there is life; in the language there is death

 

Hebrew

Click here to hear this phrase הֵחַיִּים והַמָווֶת בְּיָד הַלָשׁוֹן
Life and death are in the hands of the tongue
= mind what you say, for it might have great consequence

 

Hindi

एक भाषा की बोली दूसरी की गाली | (ek bhaashaa kii boli doosrii kii gaalii)
A normal word in one language is an abusive word in other language

 

Hungarian

Nyelvében él a nemzet.
The nation lives through its language.
– Gróf Széchenyi István

 

Ilocano

Ti táo nga mannaríta, awán ti ania nga magapuánanna.
A man that talks too much accomplishes little.

 

Indonesian

Bahasa menunjukkan bangsa.
Language represents the nation.

Bahasa jiwa bangsa.
Language is the soul of a nation.

 

Irish (Gaelic)

Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam.
A country without a language is a country without a soul.

Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste, ná Béarla cliste.
Broken Irish is better than clever English.

 

Italian

Un vocabolario può contenere solo una piccola parte del patrimonio di una lingua.
A dictionary can embrace only a small part of the vast tapestry of a language.
– Giacomo Leopardi

Lingua toscana in bocca romana.
Tuscan language in a Roman mouth.
– a popular saying concerning the origins of the Italian language, meaning that its grammar sprang from the dialect spoken in Tuscany, while Roman people have the best pronunciation.

 

Korean

말이 씨가 된다.
A word becomes a seed = what you say is what you get

Malay

Bahasa jiwa bangsa.
Language is the soul of a race.

 

Manx

Çheer gyn çhengey, çheer gyn ennym.
A country without language is a country without an name/identity.

Gyn çhengey, gyn çheer
No language, no country

Tra haink ny skibbyltee boghtey stiagh hie yn Ghaelg magh.
When the tourists came in, the Manx language went out.

Ta çhengey ny host ny share na olk y ghra.
A silent tongue is preferable to speaking evil.

Ta dooiney creeney smooinaght ooilley ny te gra, agh t’an ommidan gra ooilley ny te smooinaght.
A wise man thinks all he says, but a fool says all he thinks.

Yn beeal tutler poagey scrieu yn jouyl.
A gossip’s mouth is the devil’s postbag.

More Manx proverbs

 

Māori

Toku reo toku ohōho.
My Language, my awakening.

 

Norwegian

Det er viktig hvilke ord du bruker, men viktigere hvilket språk du bruker.
Du kan bytte ut ordene og si nesten det samme, men bytter du ut språket, hjelper det ikke om ordene er like.

Your choice of words is important, but more important is your choice of language.
You can replace the words, saying roughly the same, but if you replace the language, it won’t help you that the words are the same.

– Joachim Aremk

 

Polish

Mówienie jest srebrem, a milczenie złotem.
Talking is silver, while staying silent is golden.

Chodzi mi o to, aby język giętki
Powiedział wszystko, co pomyśli głowa;
A czasem był jak piorun jasny prędki,
A czasem smutny jak pieśń stepowa,
A czasem jako skarga Nimfy miętki,
A czasem piękny jak Aniołów mowa

I wish that a dexterous tongue
Could say everything that the head could think

– Juliusz Słowacki, from the poem Beniowski

 

Portuguese

Minha pátria é a língua portuguesa.
My homeland is the Portuguese language.
– Fernando Pessoa

 

Sanskrit

भाषा प्रशस्ता सुमनो लतेव
केषाम्न चेतांस्यावर्जयति।
(bhāṣā praśastā sumano lateva
keṣām na cetāṃsy āvarjayati)
Language, auspicious, charming, like a creeper, whose minds does it not win over?
– sūkta – traditional maxim

 

Scottish Gaelic

Am fear a chailleas a chanain caillidh e a shaoghal.
He who loses his language loses his world.

Sluagh gun chanain, sluagh gun anam
A people without a language is a people without a soul

Chan fhiach cuirm gun a còmhradh.
A feast is no use without good talk.

Tagalog

Ang hindi magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa sa hayop at malansang isda.
Those who know not how to love their own language are worse than an animal and a smelly fish.
Jose Rizal, Filipino national hero

 

Turkish

Söz gümüşse sukut altındır.
If talking is silver, silence is golden.

Tatlı dil yılanı deliğinden çıkarır.
Sweet language brings even a snake from its hole.

Dilin kemiği yoktur ama kemikleri büker.
The tongue has no bone but it twists the bones. meaning: words may have disastrous effects.

Bir dil bir insan, iki dil iki insan.
One who speaks only one language is one person, but one who speaks two languages is two people.

 

Ukrainian

Скільки мов ти знаєш – стільки разів ти людина
(Skilʼky mov ty znaješ – stilʼky raziv ty ljudyna)
How many languages you know – that many times you are a person.
– Павло Тичина (Pavlo Tychyna)

 

Welsh

Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon.
A nation without a language is a nation without a heart.

 

Yiddish

אַ שפּראַך איז אַ דיאַלעקט מיט אַן אַרמיי און פֿלאָט
(A shprakh iz a dyalekt mit an armey un flot)
A language is a dialect with an army and navy.
– Max Weinreich

I want to thank to http://www.omniglot.com/ for this precious compilation. There are many useful and interesting information on their web site. Enjoy and wait for the second part published by omniglot.com! 🙂

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How Does Google Translate Fail? :)

Here is a hilarious video basicly about Google translate. I wouldn’t expect anything like this when I first started watching it but these guys have generated a funny song using Google translate… Everytime, they translate the lyrics into a different language via Google Translate and sing the song with that lyrics! After 6-7 languages, the meaning changes dramatically!

If you want to see “how”, just watch the video until the end! 🙂

 

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German Words in English

The early form of English is quite similar to German. After all both of them belong to the same language family, namely Germanic. It is not surprising that there are many words from German… I have found a very useful article about the German words in English. Although sometimes you can guess from the spelling and pronunciation, sometimes it is quite hard to distinguish them from real English words. Since it is a little long, I will publish the article into 3 parts. It is a valuable source of information for us – the language lovers…

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When Your Tongue Slips… :)

Today, I want to give an example of a so-called “slip of the tongue”. But get ready! It is a very funny story.

Do you know anything about the Ottoman Empire? Well, okay it was one of the biggest empires of the world until WWI (after WWI, it is Turkey). However, the situation was not like that when we go back to the 16th century. There was a “Sultan” called Suleiman, the Magnificent. He is quite famous for his laws and bureaucracy.

A few years ago, the wife of one of the Turkish presidents visited the UK on the occasion of an exhibition about Suleiman. She gave a speech in front of many important people including Lady Diana and she did not use an interpreter. While everything was going well, her tongue kind of slipped and she said “Suleiman, the love maker” instead of “Suleiman, the law maker”.

It was reported that Lady Diana could not help herself laughing! Yeah, well… I guess this is one of the top examples that any Turkish citizen can recall when it comes to the slip of the tongue!

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That’s Why English is Hard to Learn

We’ll begin with box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
Then one fowl is goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a whole lot of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be pen?
The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,
But the plural of vow is vows, not vine.

 
And I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,
But I give a boot… would a pair be beet?
If one is a tooth, and a whole set is teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth?
If the singular is this, and the plural is these,
Why shouldn’t the plural of kiss be kese?
Then one may be that, and three be those,
Yet the plural of hat would never be hose.
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
The masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim.
So our English, I think you will agree,
Is the trickiest language you ever did see.

 

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Do you Like Shopping on Amazon.com?

It has been almost 1.5 years since I started this blog and together with the Facebook page. We are more than 1000 people on Facebook and we share many funny posts and pictures about languages, translation and life itself. I have more than 200 daily readers on my blog. I want to thank everyone. To show how I’m glad, I have started a campaign on our Facebook page and Twitter account. You just tell why you love languages and you can win a $ gift card from Amazon. Every week I give a gift card to the most creative tweet! You can find the details on our Facebook page.

If you want to try it just send a tweet 🙂 But don’t forget to use #ilovelanguages and @aimtr

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Common Grammar Mistakes in Translation

There are certain words or phrases that most of the people use wrong. Spelling is also another issue considering such mistakes. For example, I always misspell “grammar” as “grammer”. I can only edit this mistake after proofreading. I do not know why, I am also confused when it comes to import and export 🙂 Whenever I work as an interpreter, I write these two words on post-its and put them somewhere close to me. I came across a good article explainingthe common grammar mistakes in translations. It is a column by JON GINGERICH, I want to thank him for this wonderful post. If you have more grammar mistakes in mind, please feel free to add 🙂

Who and Whom

This one opens a big can of worms. “Who” is a subjective — or nominative — pronoun, along with “he,” “she,” “it,” “we,” and “they.” It’s used when the pronoun acts as the subject of a clause. “Whom” is an objective pronoun, along with “him,” “her,” “it”, “us,” and “them.”

Which and That

This is one of the most common mistakes out there, and understandably so. “That” is a restrictive pronoun. It’s vital to the noun to which it’s referring.  e.g., I don’t trust fruits and vegetables that aren’t organic. Here, I’m referring to all non-organic fruits or vegetables. In other words, I only trust fruits and vegetables that are organic. “Which” introduces a relative clause. It allows qualifiers that may not be essential. e.g., I recommend you eat only organic fruits and vegetables, which are available in area grocery stores.

Lay and Lie

This is the crown jewel of all grammatical errors. “Lay” is a transitive verb. It requires a direct subject and one or more objects. Its present tense is “lay” (e.g., I lay the pencil on the table) and its past tense is “laid” (e.g.,Yesterday I laid the pencil on the table). “Lie” is an intransitive verb. It needs no object. Its present tense is “lie” (e.g., The Andes mountains lie between Chile and Argentina) and its past tense is “lay” (e.g., The man lay waiting for an ambulance). The most common mistake occurs when the writer uses the past tense of the transitive “lay” (e.g., I laid on the bed) when he/she actually means the intransitive past tense of “lie” (e.g., I lay on the bed).

Moot

Contrary to common misuse, “moot” doesn’t imply something is superfluous. It means a subject is disputable or open to discussion.

Continual and Continuous

They’re similar, but there’s a difference. “Continual” means something that’s always occurring, with obvious lapses in time. “Continuous” means something continues without any stops or gaps in between.

Envy and Jealousy

The word “envy” implies a longing for someone else’s good fortunes. “Jealousy” is far more nefarious.

Nor

“Nor” expresses a negative condition. It literally means “and not.” You’re obligated to use the “nor” form if your sentence expresses a negative and follows it with another negative condition.

May and Might

“May” implies a possibility. “Might” implies far more uncertainty.

Whether and If

Many writers seem to assume that “whether” is interchangeable with “if.” It isn’t. “Whether” expresses a condition where there are two or more alternatives. “If” expresses a condition where there are no alternatives.

Fewer and Less

“Less” is reserved for hypothetical quantities. “Few” and “fewer” are for things you can quantify.

Farther and Further

The word “farther” implies a measurable distance. “Further” should be reserved for abstract lengths you can’t always measure.

Since and Because

“Since” refers to time. “Because” refers to causation.

Disinterested and Uninterested

Contrary to popular usage, these words aren’t synonymous. A “disinterested” person is someone who’s impartial. For example, a hedge fund manager might take interest in a headline regarding the performance of a popular stock, even if he’s never invested in it. He’s “disinterested,” i.e., he doesn’t seek to gain financially from the transaction he’s witnessed. Judges and referees are supposed to be “disinterested.” If the sentence you’re using implies someone who couldn’t care less, chances are you’ll want to use “uninterested.”

Anxious

Unless you’re frightened of them, you shouldn’t say you’re “anxious to see your friends.

Different Than and Different From

This is a tough one. Words like “rather” and “faster” are comparative adjectives, and are used to show comparison with the preposition “than,” (e.g., greater than, less than, faster than, rather than). The adjective “different” is used to draw distinction. So, when “different” is followed by a  preposition, it should be “from,” similar to “separate from,” “distinct from,” or “away from.” e.g., My living situation in New York was different from home. There are rare cases where “different than” is appropriate, if “than” operates as a conjunction. e.g.,Development is different in New York than in Los Angeles. When in doubt, use “different from.”

Bring and Take

In order to employ proper usage of “bring” or “take,” the writer must know whether the object is being moved toward or away from the subject. If it is toward, use “bring.” If it is away, use “take.”

Impactful

It isn’t a word. “Impact” can be used as a noun (e.g., The impact of the crash was severe) or a transitive verb (e.g., The crash impacted my ability to walk or hold a job). “Impactful” is a made-up buzzword, colligated by the modern marketing industry in their endless attempts to decode the innumerable nuances of human behavior into a string of mindless metrics. Seriously, stop saying this.

Affect and Effect

Here’s a trick to help you remember: “Affect” is almost always a verb (e.g., Facebook affects people’s attention spans), and “effect” is almost always a noun (e.g., Facebook’s effects can also be positive).

Irony and Coincidence

“Irony” is the incongruity in a series of events between the expected results and the actual results. “Coincidence” is a series of events that appear planned when they’re actually accidental.

Nauseous

Undoubtedly the most common mistake I encounter. Contrary to almost ubiquitous misuse, to be “nauseous” doesn’t mean you’ve been sickened: it actually means you possess the ability to produce nausea in others. e.g., That week-old hot dog is nauseous. When you find yourself disgusted or made ill by a nauseating agent, you are actually “nauseated.” e.g., I was nauseated after falling into that dumpster behind the Planned Parenthood. Stop embarrassing yourself.

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Orange: The Fruit or The Color?

This is a never ending discussion. It is actually similar to the relation between egg and chicken 🙂 But, today we will put an end to it with this article! 🙂

Anyway, let’s be serious 🙂 Last week, we had a discussion about the names of colors. For example orange. Did our ancestors name the fruit after the color, or the color after the fruit? At first, my friends claimed that the fruit was named after the color; however, I disagreed. I gave the violet example to prove it. In my opinion, the color violet was named after the flower. When people saw similar colors to violet itself, they just named this color as violet. When it comes to orange, the situation is the same. I also found an article supoorting my discussion. It is a very funny one so I strongly recommend you to visit the website itself. I want to thank DAVEN HISKEY for this funny article.:

Today I found out the color orange was named after the fruit, not the other way around.   Before then, the English speaking world referred to the orange color as geoluhread, which literally translates to “yellow-red”.

The word orange itself was introduced to English through the Spanish word “naranja”, which came from the Sanskrit word nāraṅga, which literally means “orange tree”.  The English dropped the leading “n” and eventually we got the word “orange”.

In the early 16th century, the word orange gradually started being used to not only refer to the fruit, but also what we now know of as the color orange.

Bonus Factoids:

  • There is an orange tree in Europe called “Constable” that is estimated to be almost 500 years old.
  • Lightning kills more orange trees annually than any disease.
  • Temple Oranges and Murcott Honey Oranges are actually hybrid oranges, being crossed with tangerines.
  • Over 25 billion oranges are grown in the United States every year.  That’s enough oranges for every American to eat about 83 oranges a year.
  • Christopher Columbus brought the first orange seeds to the New World on his second voyage in 1493.  On this same voyage, he also brought seeds for lemons and citrons.
  • Navel oranges are named for their belly-button-like formations on the opposite side from the stem.  As a general rule, the bigger the navel in the orange, the sweeter it will be.
  • There is no single English word that rhymes with orange.  There are however half rhymes such as “hing”, “syringe”, “sporange”, etc.  There are also proper nouns that come very close to being a perfect rhyme with it, such as “Blorenge”, which is a mountain in Wales, and “Gorringe”, which is the last name of the US Naval Commander who discovered and named Gorringe Ridge in 1875.

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Product Names of IKEA

To me, they mean nothing; however, it is not the case for Thai people! IKEA opened its first store in Bangkok and it resulted in a linguistic problem 🙂 In Swedish, I guess all the product names have a certain meaning but in other languages, these words might mean very very bad things! We have many examples for this issue. You should remember the Ford Nova case, which is quite popular in marketing classes 🙂 You know the French or Spanish (I Dont quite remember) pronunciation of “Nova” means “No Go” or something like that. So when you give this name to a car, it is not good at all 🙂 The car “should go”. In IKEA case, there is a similar situation which requires further linguistic and marketing research. Let’s see what UPI.com says about this:

“BANGKOK, June 9 (UPI) — A language squad spent four years vetting IKEA product names before the Swedish furniture giant opened its new Bangkok store last year.

Natthita Opaspipat, a member of the team, told The Wall Street Journal IKEA’s Swedish names “bring a unique character to the brand.” But she said misunderstandings are easy when they are heard by Thai speakers.

“We’ve got to be careful,” Natthita said. “Some of them can be, well, a little rude.”

The Redalen bed, for example, named after a town in Norway, sounds like a Thai term for sexual intercourse. Part of the name of the Jattebra plant pot also sounds like a term for the sex act, a term not used in polite society.

IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, began using children’s names and place names in the Scandinavian countries for his products in the 1950s because he himself was dyslexic. While the company’s sources of names have expanded along with its product line, it is still Scandinavian.

Natthita said the team has tried to keep as close to the original as possible, sometimes only changing a single letter. Team members have to consider both how a word sounds and what it will look like when spelled out in Thai’s cursive alphabet.”

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