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I didn’t have enough cat links or enough linguistics links for a full post. July 18, 2017

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Linguistics links:

Nothing new under the sun: “in tibullus 1.8 (a poem about his boyfriend Marathus) has this line about “pugnantibus linguis” (literally battling tongues) which means that the idea of tongues battling for dominance in homoerotic fiction has been going on since at least the 1st century bce

From Seaspeak to Singlish: cool English dialects and English-based creoles.

Hawaiian pidgin has a great all-purpose noun — it’s “you-know-what”, “whatchamacallit”, “so-and-so”, and “the thing” all at once.

Cat links:

Before there were laptops, cats were happy to sit on our portable typewriters.

“I was right there in case he got upset — I was expecting him to hiss or growl or slink away. But then one of the ginger kittens started licking Mason’s ear, and Mason sort of leaned into it and closed his eyes like it was the most amazing thing ever.

Undersea spaghetti monster, dinosaur tails, ancient cookbooks, and other fun things February 7, 2017

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An interlude with nice things.

Dinosaur tail found fully preserved in amber, and yes, it’s feathery.

“A team from BP was carrying out routine operations near an oil well, using a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) at a depth of 1325 metres, when they spotted the creature, which they nicknamed the flying spaghetti monster.” The noodly appendages are real. RAmen.

Mall space got repurposed into gorgeous loft apartments.

“The Ptolemaic dynasty was able to spend big on the institution thanks to the riches of Egypt’s fertile land and resources from the Nile, including papyrus, the ancient world’s main writing material. As a result, the library had an edge in development over others. The Ptolemaic kings were determined to collect any and all books that existed—from the epics, tragedies, to cookbooks.

“Olio wants to make it easy for busy food sellers to avoid wasting food. ‘These vendors usually don’t have enough surplus to donate to a charity or something, but they still end up having to throw away quite a lot at the end of the day.'”

I asked other immigrants about their first moments of culture shock in the United States. Here’s what they told me.” Braces, junk food, chatty cashiers, and more.

“Hebrew marks gender prolifically (even the word “you” is different depending on genders), Finnish has no gender marking and English is somewhere in between. Accordingly, children growing-up in a Hebrew speaking environment figure out their own gender about a year earlier than Finnish-speaking children; English-speaking kids fall in the middle.

When pigs fly” and equivalent metaphors, in different languages, illustrated.

Disability, language, history, and per se &. May 16, 2016

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“It’s a person’s right to identify however the hell they want. If they’re more comfortable as a ‘person with a disability’ than as a ‘disabled person’ then that’s nothing to do with me. […] ‘Disabled’ is the best word in the world for describing the barriers I confront and no non-disabled person has the right to try and take that from me.

We may be able to ask questions about typical and atypical developing children that we couldn’t ask if we only examined typically hearing children.” Deafness, ASL, autism.

Discussions about what non-native English speakers think of the English language.

Quiet updates made to the latest edition of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever. Good ones! Gender-neutralizing ones, for starters.

In the early 1800s, school children reciting their ABCs concluded the alphabet with the &. It would have been confusing to say ”X, Y, Z, and.” Rather, the students said, ‘and per se and.’ ‘Per se’ means ‘by itself,’ so the students were essentially saying, ‘X, Y, Z, and by itself and.’ Over time, ‘and per se and’ was slurred together into the word we use today: ampersand.”

Using italics for second-language words? September 8, 2014

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What is your opinion about the use of italics for “foreign” words in fiction in general? How do you determine which words to italicize? To what degree it is a stylistic or political choice?”

The article there has a bunch of opinions from pro writers. Fic writers, what do you do?

Me, I’m thinking I’ll keep using italics, and there’s one reason carrying most of the weight: because on the Internet, not all your readers are going to have English as their first language, and ESL fluency levels will vary. If the second language coming up in the fic is one that they speak, great. But if it’s not, they might just end up lost.

Anecdote 1: One time I had on Radio Junior, a kids’ radio/streaming station that broadcasts primarily in French. My brother and I were both taking French in school at the time. The station changed songs, and he said, “You know, I was recognizing some of the words in that last song, but now I’m not getting anything at all.” The new song…was in Italian.

Anecdote 2: Another time I went to the wordreference.com forums seeking help with a word I couldn’t find in any dictionaries. Turned out it was a typo.

So it seems polite to signal “hey, don’t stress about not recognizing this phrase, or not being able to find it on your translation website of choice — it’s a different language from the main text, and there may even be a translation at the end of the chapter.”

Other fannish people, how do you handle this? Especially those of you who regularly read in a second language: what do you prefer?

Translated MadoHomu doujin October 22, 2011

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Found a text translation by superlink@tumblr of this doujinshi by MURA@pixiv, so I went and did a quick typesetting job. Homura/Madokami, magical fempreg.

Full download

sample page

Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo! February 12, 2011

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A typical incendiary blog post. Be sure to read the amazing, amazing comments.

Fortune cookies you’d really like to see. Such as: “If you’d opened me first, I could have warned you about the shrimp.” And: “Me you can trust, but that Thin Mint on 5th and Park is a lying bastard.” And: “Be thankful that Chick Tracts don’t fit into these things.”

Why everything you know about studying is wrong. Or at least, quite a bit of it.

Trans chick in hot-pink wig wins…Scrabble tournament. FTW.

Obsolete English words that should really make a comeback. Compare with awesome non-English words that just don’t translate.

Google, in its ongoing quest to Organize Everything Ever, has a database of 500 billion words published in six languages between 1500 and 2008. Even its flaws turn out to be interesting.

Obama’s speeches become popular in Japan as a way to learn English.

BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO…is a gramatically correct sentence. I love English.

How do you say “a linguistic linkdump” in Klingon? October 14, 2010

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Does the contours of your native language shape how you think? No in some ways, but definitely yes in others, including some very surprising ones.

As a sidebar, this amazing chart contrasts the meanings of over eighty colors across ten different cultures. For instance, black is the color of mourning in the West, but if you’re Chinese it’s white, Eastern European it’s yellow, and South American it’s purple. Purple also has connotations of insight in Japan, whereas the same is green in Hindu culture, and yellow in Native American. (Incidentally, red signifies passion just about everywhere.)

When translating involves more than two languages: dealing with the Greek and Latin in Negima!, and trying to keep it all consistent. Here’s a bit of straightforwardness about the process in general, and here’s a bit about the editor’s job, including the history of the industry.

An opera written and sung entirely in Klingon. And the reviews say the music and performances are actually good. What’s Klingon for “FTW”?

The importance of baby babbling, and how to encourage it.

Somebody went and uploaded the entirety of The Story of English on YouTube. It’s an Emmy-winning documentary from the ’80s, with enough breadth and depth that it doesn’t date itself in embarrassing ways – only in interesting ones. (Which is to say, it’s more “this is a snapshot of the world at the time” than “this is a laughably inaccurate declaration about how language will work in the far-off year 2000”.) Including glimpses of speculation for the future of computer communication, long before the Internet came into its own.

High Daylight Walkers unite! June 16, 2010

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Do female mangaka draw the perviest series? Or is it just that people are more shocked when they find out that women are not all delicate blushing flowers who cannot possibly think about such naughty subjects without fainting?

The outlawing of possession of certain types of fiction in the UK. The seventh volume of Hellsing qualifies.

Meanwhile, the iTunes store is refusing to sell manga with “inappropriate content” – which includes “people taking baths.”

A Japanese mangaka reflects on the American scene, including surprise at the moral standards and advice for young would-be artists.

A professor doing research into manga fandom talks about some of her research. One of my favorite tidbits: most fans read online scanlations, but most of these same people will still buy the books when they’re commercially available. “The folks at Viz Media admitted to me that they follow what is popular on the scanlation sites as part of their strategies to decide what to translate and publish.”

Reflections on how (and whether) to translate increasingly complex terms. They’re right: “leaf veil” sounds incredibly cool.

Linkspam on Translation February 23, 2010

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Review of L’Alchimiste des Ombres and its English translation, The Cardinal’s Blades. With plenty of attention played to the nuances, especially the names.

On Translation, specifically the translation of manga, talking about the importance of voice and attention to detail. Colloquialisms! Expressions! Local cultural effect! …All of which amateur translators tend to suck at.

A Thorn in Their Sides, a reaction to the previous link. Be sure to check out the comments for a deconstruction of the thought put into a single four-word phrase.

And, related, an interview with a translator of Japanese SF light novels.

What English Sounds Like To Foreigners – nonsense lyrics, written by an Italian singer, meant to sound like English. If you’ve ever tried to transcribe Logos Naki World, you’ll get the idea.

Finally, Only Poems Can Translate Poems. Densely written, and gorgeous.