Posts Tagged ‘Language’

New Language Course – start today!

September 16, 2011 2 comments

Today we bring you the first installment in a new course of one of the most popular languages you can learn, in the known universe, at least.

Strange Random Language Quote:

A different language is a different vision of life. – Federico Fellini

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Endangered Languages, video and websites

The language of Ayapaneco has been spoken in the land now known as Mexico for centuries. It has survived the Spanish conquest, seen off wars, revolutions, famines and floods. But now, like so many other indigenous languages, it’s at risk of extinction.

There are just two people left who can speak it fluently – but they refuse to talk to each other. Manuel Segovia, 75, and Isidro Velazquez, 69, live 500 metres apart in the village of Ayapa in the tropical lowlands of the southern state of Tabasco. It is not clear whether there is a long-buried argument behind their mutual avoidance, but people who know them say they have never really enjoyed each other’s company.

“They don’t have a lot in common,” says Daniel Suslak, a linguistic anthropologist from Indiana University, who is involved with a project to produce a dictionary of Ayapaneco. Segovia, he says, can be “a little prickly” and Velazquez, who is “more stoic,” rarely likes to leave his home.


Putting aside the rather ironic nature of this news, a quick search shows us that language loss is still very much an important issue today. According to the Unesco‘s own Language Atlas, there were still 8 speakers of Ayapanec in 2005, which makes it a “critically endangered” language. Closer to home, AsturianLeonese is considered a “definitely endangered” language with 150,000 estimated speakers. Basque, although healthier, is seen to be “vulnerable”.

Over on The Rosetta Project website, you can find an online version of their original Rosetta Disc, containing documents and vocabulary in over a thousand languages, since updated and upgraded to more than 2,500.

Last but not least, a video talk worth watching at – Daniel Everett: Endangered Languages and Lost Knowledge. It’s worth watching on the site because the player has several good features such as a Transcript tab, to help you follow along. You can also use the Chapters tab to review specific parts of the talk.

Strange Random Language Quote:

Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. – Mark Amidon

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10 Words That Can’t Be Translated To English – Top 10 Lists | Listverse

September 26, 2010 Leave a comment
Pythagoras (c. 580 c.500 BCE) has been called ...

Image via Wikipedia

This list looks at some special words that are not from English and, furthermore, are untranslatable to English. These are words which have, for the most part, not become loan words, but describe concepts we generally understand in English, but need many more words to convey.

via 10 Words That Can’t Be Translated To English – Top 10 Lists | Listverse.

Featured words:

Esprit d’EscalierHyggeKyoikumamaUitwaaienQualunquismoBakku-shan and more …

Strange Random Word Quotation:

“Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few.” – Pythagoras (Greek philosopher and mathematician, BC 580-500)

Welcome to Thesaurus

Another example of strange humour  in English and a reminder that a Thesaurus is indeed a great investment, along with a good dictionary, of course. Double or even triple your vocabulary!

Strange Random Vocabulary Quote:

“I used to think I was poor. Then they told me I wasn’t poor, I was needy. Then they told me it was self-defeating to think of myself as needy. I was deprived. (Oh not deprived but rather underprivileged.) Then they told me that underprivileged was overused. I was disadvantaged. I still don’t have a dime. But I have a great vocabulary.” – Jules Feiffer

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Unfortunate Acronyms

July 24, 2010 1 comment

It has to be said, in their defence, that the word means nothing in Spanish, so it’s not as bad as being the Southampton Hair Implant Trade, for example, but even so, I imagine most people here know the word and it would set off alarm bells. Just watch out for their catering!

Strange Random Acronym Quote:

MBWA – Management By Wandering Around. Estimated to describe 83% of managers.


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TitanPad, free online document collaboration!

From the ashes of the popular EtherPad project, acquired by Google to form part of its Wave team, comes TitanPad. Create a new document without registering and you get a unique URL (web address) which you can then send on to any other people you’d like to work with you.

Use colours to designate authors, see document revisions and when you’re ready, export to Word, PDF, HTML or just plain old text!

Strange Random Document Quote:

“What is a diary as a rule? A document useful to the person who keeps it. Dull to the contemporary who reads it and invaluable to the student, centuries afterwards, who treasures it.”  – Sir Walter Scott

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The Digital TV Revolution is here!

A helpful reminder that the date has passed to change your system to TDT

aka “Dude, Where’s my TV?”

aka “My Telly’s Gone Bung!” (Australian English Slang for not working)

If you’ve just come back from a nice, relaxing holiday weekend away and switched on the TV, you may well be wondering where all your favourite channels have gone. Well, in fact they haven’t gone anywhere, just migrated to the new Digital Terrestrial standard. Since the launch of the system in Spain several years ago, people have been generally unexcited / unenthusiastic / unimpressed by the new platform, which prompted the government to bring forward the “analogue blackout” by two years to, well, last Friday. Ah, that would explain a lot, then …

If you go to the official state website for TDT, you’ll find a very helpful Troubleshooting section (see image right), which will help you to find out if it’s just you who has problems or everyone else in your building. At the same time, it will also try to find out which planet you have been living on for the past few years and why anyone would not be happy at seeing the same rubbish as traditional television multiplied by four (typically, there are 40 channels now, depending on where you live) and in higher resolution.

If this is your case, then this is the site you need – Página principal – Televisión Digital.

And if this is isn’t your case, then congratulations – I think.

Strange Random TV Quote:

I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.  Groucho Marx

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