Archive: Dec 2017

  1. A New Multilingual Sign Language Dictionary Looks to the Stars

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    A New Multilingual Sign Language Dictionary Looks to the Stars

    “Over the past six years, a working group within the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has collected space-related signs from various sign languages. Earlier this month, they announced the result: a publicly accessible list of 47 common astronomical words, each translated into up to 31 sign languages, including Portuguese, Russian, and Finnish.”

    Read on—

    Hoping to make education more accessible, the International Astronomical Union is compiling all the signs of outer space.
    ATLASOBSCURA.COM
  2. Can festive cheer boost your language skills?

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    Can festive cheer boost your language skills?

    “While alcohol diminishes concentration, cognitive skills and motor skills, it simultaneously decreases inhibitions. And anxiety is often what leaves many people tongue-tied when they are trying to speak a foreign language.”

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    Making yourself understood in a second language could be all about getting rid of anxiety.
    BBC.COM
  3. The “Lord of the Rings” of Chinese literature is finally being translated into English

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    The “Lord of the Rings” of Chinese literature is finally being translated into English

    “‘Translating Jin Yong is often a daunting task because of the complexity of his language, which integrates prose and poetry and makes extensive use of four-character phrases and other Chinese idioms in order to recreate the feel of traditional Chinese vernacular novels,’ said Petrus Liu, associate professor of Chinese and comparative literature at Boston University.”

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    Jin Yong’s world celebrates the triumph of the individual over a corrupt and authoritarian state—and heroes who deliver deadly blows with a single finger.
    QUARTZY.QZ.COM
  4. Reason why languages around the world have similar structures—it’s all in the brain

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    Reason why languages around the world have similar structures—it’s all in the brain

    “The human brain’s preference to communicate simply and effectively is why there are so many commonalities between languages, say researchers. The brain likes to process information as accurately and quickly as possible, and as a result, a language—as it is spoken and developed over the years—also uses the best possible route to convey ideas.”

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    There are common threads between most languages spoken in the world and they are linked to the human brain’s preference for simplicity.
    IBTIMES.CO.UK
  5. The Randomness of Language Evolution

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    The Randomness of Language Evolution

    “For the most part, linguists today have a strict Darwinian outlook….When they see a change, they think there must be a directional force behind it. But I propose that language change, maybe lots of it, is driven by random chance—by drift.”

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    English is shaped by more than natural selection.
    THEATLANTIC.COM
  6. December 18 is World Arabic Language Day

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    December 18 is World Arabic Language Day

    “UNESCO aims to mobilize the Arabic language as a medium for dignity and equality, emancipation and equality between men and women. On the occasion of this day, UNESCO is organizing a series of events, concerts and round tables at its Headquarters in Paris and worldwide, to stimulate linguistic research and the development of Arabic dictionaries, to highlight the links between Arabic and science and the potential of new technologies for the dissemination and learning of this beautiful language.”

    Learn more—

    The Arabic language is a pillar of the cultural diversity of humanity. It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, used daily by more than 290 million people.
    EN.UNESCO.ORG
  7. From Beginning to End: The Interpreted Medical Visit. Some pointers on etiquette and best practice when interpreting in a medical setting

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    From Beginning to End: The Interpreted Medical Visit. Some pointers on etiquette and best practice when interpreting in a medical setting

    “For the first time in months, I took an assignment for a medical interpreting job. While my language skills are just fine for this setting, I was reminded of how difficult this work really is and how flexible we have to be. The experience also made me remember how nervous I was when I was new, mostly because I had no idea what to expect. The points addressed here don’t have anything to do with terminology. Terminology and asking for clarification is a different matter. What follows is a basic rundown of what you can expect in an interpreted encounter in the outpatient world.”

    Read on: http://bit.ly/PointersEtiquette

    No automatic alt text available.
    American Translators Association
    Nonprofit Organization
  8. A Native American ‘Sesame Street’ could help save dying languages

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    A Native American ‘Sesame Street’ could help save dying languages

    “Focusing on children is crucial to saving the Diné language. While there are 7,600 traditional Diné-only speakers and about 169,000 Navajo-English fluent speakers still in the United States, the language will not survive if children are not learning it. Just as we help children learn English and Spanish through educational programs like ‘Sesame Street,’ shouldn’t we do the same with Native American languages?”

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    Two Navajo women are looking to engage children to help save Diné, the tribe’s ancestral language.
    WASHINGTONPOST.COM