Posts filtered by tags: Linguistics[x]


Do svidaniya, leto, do svidaniya! and Two Singers You Should Know About

In many parts of the world, we say до свида́нья to summer on September 22, the date of the осе́ннее равноде́нствие [autumn equinox – from the words ра́вный equal and де́нь day], but did you know that Russians actually have a calendar understanding of the seasons? What does that mean? В Росси́и после́дний день ле́та выпада́ет не на 21 (два́дцать пе́рвое) сентября́, а на 31 (три́дцать пе́рвое) а́вгуста1. (To learn more about dates, please read this awesome and informative article Bota wrote earli...
Tags: Music, Russia, Ukraine, Linguistics, Moscow, Idioms, Soviet Union, Bota, Alla Pugachyova, Sofia Rotaru, Arseny Aleksandrovich Tarkovsky, Andrey Arsenievich Tarkovsky, Rotaru, Kristina Orbakaite, Maksim Galkin

Dear in the headlights

Earlier this week I received a fundraising email whose salutation was “Look,” which seemed just a little … testy. But what do I know; I was schooled in the “Dear Sir or Madam” era. It made me wonder which forms of address are acceptable in 2021, which are a little edgy, and which are too quaint to be taken seriously. “Dear ___,” it goes without saying, now falls into the third category—in correspondence, anyway. When traveling grammar advisor Ellen Jovin conducted a Twitter poll last year, th...
Tags: Books, Film, America, San Francisco, Trends, Linguistics, Santa Claus, Theater, Ellen, Redundancy, Titles, Beach Blanket Babylon, Tony, North Beach, Debbie Macomber, Dear America

Five senses in Polish

Humans have five basic senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. Can you name them in Polish? The sensing organs ( narządy czuciowe)  associated with each sense send information to the brain to help us understand and perceive the world around us. Let’s name all 5 senses in polish! Five senses. Image by Kasia Scontsas   TOUCH – DOTYK Touch (dotyk) is thought to be the first sense that humans develop, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Pressure (nacisk), temperature (tem...
Tags: Science, Nature, Linguistics, Anita, Vocabulary, Pixabay, PublicDomainPictures, Kasia Scontsas, Omar Medina, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Pressure, Juraj Varga

Notes on Becoming 40

First off, I don’t know where all the time went. One day I am twenty-one in Ibadan as a young undergraduate, looking to the future and what it might bring. Then I wake up and it’s already forty. Where did all that time go? It’s either the earth is moving faster around the sun than […]
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Ibadan

New on Medium: The valley of the S-word

It was big news in California and Nevada last week when the 72-year-old Lake Tahoe resort formerly known as the Squaw Valley Ski Resort announced its new name: Palisades Tahoe. This was no ordinary rebranding but an acknowledgment that the old name had become irreparably tainted by racist and sexist associations. In my latest Medium story, “The Valley of the S-word,” I look at the history of squaw, from an innocuous Algonquian word for “woman” to an epithet so charged that the Palisades Tahoe...
Tags: Writing, California, Renaming, Linguistics, Broadway, Nevada, Lake Tahoe, Reno, Cecil B DeMille, Squaw Valley Ski Resort, Squaw, Walter Winchell, Mencken, Naming, Nancy Friedman, Place Names

Word of the week: Nikkei

A massive new rooftop restaurant called Chotto Matte is coming in 2022 in San Francisco’s Union Square, in the building that used to house Macy’s men’s store. According to a September 1 story in SFist, the restaurant—the latest in a chain with origins in London—will be San Francisco’s largest, with prix-fixe menus ranging in price from $75 to $155 per person. The part of the story that interested me, though, was the description of the menu: “the very best of Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) cuisin...
Tags: Japan, London, Abc, Nikkei, San Francisco, Linguistics, Brazil, Peru, Food And Drink, South America, Las Vegas, Oakland, Japanese, Lima, Burton, Macy

What date is it today?

Would you like to correctly answer that question in Russian? Вы на ве́рном ме́сте.1 If you need a quick refresher on поря́дковые числи́тельные2 see my blog here. Вы гото́вы? Пое́хали!3 Photo by Александар Цветановић from Pexels English Masculine Feminine Neutral Plural First пе́рвый пе́рвая пе́рвое пе́рвые Second второ́й втора́я второ́е вторы́е Third тре́тий тре́тья тре́тье т...
Tags: Holidays, Grammar, Linguistics, Maria, Orthodox Christmas, Alexandr Podvalny, Russian grammar, Russian numbers, Ordinal, Genitive, Pexels Here

Questions on Food: Ingredient, Recipes and Cultures

Guest post by Ọlábísí Abọ́dúnrìn Like the rapper, Nasir Jones, there are many things I wonder about in life: who made up words? Who made up numbers? What kind of spell is mankind under? Just like  Nasir Jones was curious, and so am I. And of course the origin of French Kiss. I mean, who […]
Tags: Food, Art, Fun, Guest Post, Linguistics, Guest, Nasir Jones, DishAfrik, Olabisi Abodunrin

The Wonderful World of Snacking

Imagine it’s 10:30am, you had breakfast not too long ago, but you realized that you проголода́лся [have become hungry] and you just can’t make it to your обе́денный переры́в [lunch break]. Мо́жет быть, пора́ закуси́ть что́-нибудь [Perhaps it’s time to snack on something]? But before we dive into the endless world of snacking and to stuff our бездо́нная я́ма [bottomless pit], let’s learn a bit about snacking in the context of Russian. Photo by Caio from Pexels The word “snack” is usually transl...
Tags: Food, Russia, Uncategorized, Linguistics, Bota, Caio, Russian life

On the Visual Thesaurus: Turduckenyms

Most portmanteaus are blends of two words: slithy from slimy and lithe, brunch from breakfast and lunch. But every so often, and with great effort, someone creates a portmanteau from three or more words. These tripartite blends, overstuffed like a Thanksgiving turducken, are the subject of my September column for the Visual Thesaurus. My columns are paywalled for three months. Here’s a slice to whet your appetite—some turduckenym examples from the world of branding and advertising: Nabisc...
Tags: US, Chicago, Linguistics, Renault, Ihop, Naming, Nancy Friedman, Visual Thesaurus, Portmanteaus, Nabisco Introduced, National Biscuit Company Tronc, Brianne Hughes Encyclopedia Briannica

Movie Titles in Chinese: Translations or Labels?

I enjoy examining the translations of brand names, book titles, and movie titles. They’re important for many reasons, so quite a bit of thought should have gone into their selection. Indeed, many translations of this kind are brilliant and well worth studying. One glaring exception, though, are the names of many Hollywood movies released in Mainland China. I’ve mentioned before that American animated films in China have some of the “laziest translations ever,” blatantly overusing the words 总...
Tags: Translation, Hollywood, Movies, China, Sci-fi, Language, Linguistics, Ryan Reynolds, Mainland China, NPC

Do you know all 16 voivodeships of Poland?

The voivodeship is  called in Polish województwo (plural województwa). Did you know how many of these high-level administrative subdivisions are in Poland?  The Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998, which went into effect on January 1st 1999, created sixteen new voivodeships. These replaced the 49 former voivodeships that had existed from July 1st. 1975. Learning geography. Image by Mojpe from Pixabay Today’s voivodeships are mostly named after historical and geographical regi...
Tags: Regulations, History, Culture, Linguistics, Poland, Warsaw, Krakow, Rzeszow, Bydgoszcz, Gdansk, Olsztyn, Kielce, Lublin, Poznan, Wrocław, Katowice

V biblioteke (at the library)

Смо́тришь в кни́гу ви́дишь фи́гу? (Looking into a book but seeing nothing – see note below) That certainly won’t be the case with Transparent’s Library Sign-up month. See here if your local library offers Transparent Language Online so that you can access Russian courses.  Remember to read the official rules here and поторопи́тесь — вас ждут призы! (Hurry up — prizes await you!) And while you are at the library, ask if they have any books in Russian (see my recommendation below). If you are curr...
Tags: Wikipedia, Russia, Culture, Language, Linguistics, Literature, Vocabulary, Russian Literature, David Lean, Russian Vocabulary, Thematic Vocabulary, Jenya, Maria Photo, Huỳnh Đạt, Nadi Lindsay, Boris Leonidovich Pasternak

Word of the week: Glowie

Most of the time, I enjoy learning new words. But every so often I come across a new-to-me word that I sort of wish I’d never seen. That’s the case with glowie, which popped up on Twitter a few days ago in a reference to a far-right rally planned for September 18 in Washington, DC. Now that I’ve learned about it, you’re going to learn about it too. Quit reading now if you’re easily offended by conspiracy theories or a spelled-out N-word. The tweet pointed to “Let’s Talk About September 18,” p...
Tags: Politics, Washington, Government, Barack Obama, Fbi, Atlantic, Memes, Linguistics, Davis, Cia, Sarah Palin, Slang, Dixon, Judas, Fred Hampton, Holt

Meet the Team – Lauren Hill

Hi Everyone, My name is Lauren Hill (not the singer unfortunately). I’ve just joined the Web-Translations Team as a Project Coordinator! I graduated from Swansea University with a Distinction in my Masters in Professional Translation in 2020. Since then, I’ve been working in a French and German customer service role within the automotive sector. I look forward to using not only the knowledge from my translation degrees, but also continuing to use my customer service experience within th...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Geneva, Clive, Swansea University, Kiel, Lauren Hill, Web-Translations, Project Coordinator, Translation Project Management, Meet the Team

Migrating to a New Webhost

No time for blogging this past week, as I’ve been busy migrating my websites away from Webfaction. I’ve really enjoyed using that webhost over the years, but they’ve since been acquired by the vile behemoth GoDaddy. So now I’m migrating to a new little upstart company very much like the old Webfaction called Opalstack. Seems like a great company so far. This is my last post out of Webfaction. Blogging to resume shortly from Opalstack… The post Migrating to a New Webhost appeared first on S...
Tags: Godaddy, Tech, Personal, Linguistics, Site News, Webhosting, Opalstack, WebFaction

Tendryakov’s Alternate History.

I’ve spent the week reading Vladimir Tendryakov’s Покушение на миражи [Trying to kill mirages, or Assassinating mirages] and wondering why Tendryakov isn’t better known. Like Yuri Trifonov and Arkady Strugatsky, he was part of the generation just old enough to have fought in WWII, and like them he was obsessed with the demands of morality and with the gulf between the generation that fought the war and their flighty offspring who aped Western fashions, cared more about love than duty, and didn’...
Tags: Uncategorized, Ray Bradbury, Wings, Linguistics, Jesus, Richard Dawkins, Galilee, Sabbath, Nazareth, Capernaum, Rupert Shortt, Trifonov, Bethsaida, Shortt, Yuri Trifonov, Strugatsky

Nicely named: Amberlink

“The Internet Is Rotting,” reads the headline, and it’s no overstatement. The article beneath the hed, published in The Atlantic on June 30, 2021, was written by Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of law and computer science at Harvard who has spent a lot of time thinking about the World Wide Web and its discontents. He’s worried, as we all should be, about the alarming impermanence of our digital artifacts. And he’s proposing solutions. Here’s one example of the problem: With John Bowers and...
Tags: Texas, Animals, America, Harvard, Atlantic, Web/Tech, New York Times, Linguistics, Times, Trademark, Dove, Jonathan Zittrain, Zittrain, Charles II, Perma, John Bowers

All French is Good French.

Chelsea Brasted has a good NatGeo piece (archived) on Cajun (and other) French: When Janice Prejean was growing up, if she wanted to speak with her grandparents, she had to do it in French. To crack the code of the private conversations and jokes that flew over the heads of children at family gatherings, she also needed to know the language. “My lifestyle as a child and a young adult was immersed in moving between the Cajun world and les Americains,” she says. Prejean, who was raised in Ossun, a...
Tags: France, Uncategorized, Canada, Linguistics, Lafayette, Louisiana, Haiti, Acadia, LaFleur, Arnaudville, Prejean, Frugé, George Marks, Chelsea Brasted, Janice Prejean, Ossun

Forgetting Cantonese.

Jenny Liao has a moving New Yorker piece (archived) about losing a language: No one prepared me for the heartbreak of losing my first language. It doesn’t feel like the sudden, sharp pain of losing someone you love, but rather a dull ache that builds slowly until it becomes a part of you. My first language, Cantonese, is the only one I share with my parents, and, as it slips from my memory, I also lose my ability to communicate with them. When I tell people this, their eyes tend to grow wide wit...
Tags: Hong Kong, New York, China, New York City, Uncategorized, Brooklyn, Linguistics, Manhattan, Chinatown, Guangdong, White Rabbit, TVB, Jacky Cheung, Jenny Liao

Vive l’Albanie!

The death of the great Jean-Paul Belmondo has inspired all sorts of tributes; my favorite so far is Slavomír Čéplö (bulbul) posting on FB this brilliant two-minute scene from Le Magnifique, a movie I had been unfamiliar with but now desperately want to see. It involves a dying Albanian; they’ve found an Albanian interpreter, but he only speaks Romanian. The Romanian interpreter only speaks Serbian, the Serbian interpreter only Russian, the Russian interpreter only Czech, but fortunately the Cz...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Jean Paul Belmondo, Le Magnifique

On being Anglo-Saxon

My latest story for Medium is about language, identity, and what it means to be “Anglo-Saxon”—which is how I was labeled when I lived in Israel, despite having neither Angles nor Saxons anywhere in my family tree. You can read it here: When I Was Anglo-Saxon. Happy Labor Day and a sweet new year—5782 on the Jewish calendar—to those who celebrate. [Author: Nancy Friedman]
Tags: Writing, Israel, Linguistics, British, Anglo Saxon, Nancy Friedman, Hebrew


I was just reading a book by Vladimir Tendryakov when I was taken aback by the word энеолит [eneolit]. My first thought was that it might be a typo for неолит ‘Neolithic,’ but the book is well copyedited and proofread (the Soviets knew how to do these things, comrade), so that seemed unlikely. I looked it up and discovered in English it’s Eneolithic or Aeneolithic (from Latin aeneus ‘of copper’), and it’s a synonym of Chalcolithic. Is anyone familiar with this term? Who uses it?
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Vladimir Tendryakov

Placename Patterns.

This website has a cute concept; the About text says: A visualization of placename patterns, using data pulled from OpenStreetMap (places), Natural Earth (borders, rivers) and SRTM (elevation). Originally created to visualize the distribution of places in France ending in -ac, and then the link between German placenames and altitude. Built at first using SVG, but since this proved too much for Firefox, the visualization now uses canvas (at the expense of nice animations). Patterns are Javascript...
Tags: Firefox, Wales, France, Uncategorized, Linguistics, Poland, Silesia

So. Right?

John Herrman has a NY Times piece on a couple of linguistic tics that have spread in recent years; there’s padding about Mark Zuckerberg and the like, but what struck me is that he consulted with actual linguists on the history of the usages: Linguistic observers have noted for years the apparent rise of “so” in connection with the popularization of certain subjects and modes of speech. In 2010, in The New York Times, Anand Giridharadas announced the arrival of a new species of the unassuming wo...
Tags: Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft, California, Stanford, Uncategorized, New York Times, Linguistics, Npr, Graves, Michael Lewis, Silicon, Ny Times, San Fernando, City University of New York, SIEGEL, Geoff Nunberg

A Beating for Generality.

Cyril Connolly talking about his “ideas of mortality, futility, and death” (via Laudator Temporis Acti): Even when we say “I am happy” we mean “I was” for the moment is past, besides, when we are enjoying ourselves most, when we feel secure of our strength and beloved by our friends, we are intolerable and our punishment—a beating for generality, a yellow ticket, a blackball, or a summons from the Headmaster, is in preparation. All we can do is to walk delicately, to live modestly and obscurely ...
Tags: Russia, Uncategorized, Linguistics, Cyril Connolly


I’m reading the Strugatskys’ Хромая судьба (recently translated by Maya Vinokour as Lame Fate), which involves rereading their earlier novel Гадкие лебеди (The Ugly Swans; see this 2012 post) and enjoying it all over again — it forms alternating chapters, now repurposed as the hidden writings of the protagonist of the outer story, Feliks Sorokin. It takes place in a city wilting under unending rain and suspicious of a group of strange creatures who need to stay wet to survive; they are called i...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Vicenza, Piedmont, Anglo Norman, Strugatsky, Mallender, Maya Vinokour, Feliks Sorokin

Pidgin Isn’t Standard English.

So says the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in its ruling in No. 19-1408, : The stakes in removal proceedings—whether a noncitizen will be deported—could hardly be higher. But despite the high stakes, the outcomes of these proceedings sometimes turn on minutiae. Small inconsistencies in a noncitizen’s testimony can doom even those cases that might otherwise warrant relief. To ensure testimony is not unfairly characterized as inconsistent, a noncitizen must be ...
Tags: Uncategorized, United States, Cameroon, Linguistics, Bia, Third Circuit, United States Court of Appeals, United States Department of Homeland Security, Board of Immigration Appeals, Convention Against Torture

Weekend reads

It’s Week Eleventy-Kajillion of the COVID pandemic and we’re headed into the long Labor Day weekend here, and then the Jewish New Year. I have no amusing stories about names and brands today; instead, here are a few things I’ve been reading (and stewing over) that you may find interesting. * On August 31, the Texas legislature passed a draconian law that doesn’t just prohibit abortions after six weeks’ gestation, which is pretty outrageous by itself, it also encourages—indeed, incentivize...
Tags: Books, Texas, Media, Writing, Law, Russia, Women, US, America, Netflix, Atlantic, Linguistics, Salem, Pfizer, Contests, Canon

Pretty in Prefix. Part II

In my last blog I left a little exercise on prefixes for you. Today, I will give you the answers and dive into what each word means and how the prefix пре or при changed its original meaning. Image by Selena13 from Pixabay Пр­­евраща́ть Враща́ть means to turn, to spin, or to rotate. Земля́ враща́ется вокру́г со́лнца1 Here, the prefix пре (from пе́ре) adds that meaning of “over”. Imagine your favorite fictional character spinning around Cinderella-style. In fact, any cool metamorphosis revolv...
Tags: Uncategorized, Earth, Linguistics, Helena Lopes