Yearly Archives - 2012

December 2012

6900 languages across the world; is Father Christmas a hyperpolyglot?

Saint Nick seemed to form part of the remaining quarter of the inhabitants who don’t speak Welsh. Some parents, whose children speak Welsh as their first language, complained to the local council because this Father Christmas was unable to speak to their children in their mother tongue. Their argument is that their children should be able to speak to the jolly old man in Welsh because they are not as confident or comfortable speaking in English. In recent years [...]

A different kind of ball game

Now I’m not a big sports fan but I know the difference between football and rugby. I may not know the entire lingo to go with it but I can tell them apart. So, to make matters more complicated, a New Zealand friend of mine was talking about a footie match and I was going along thinking she meant football when she started telling me the difference between that and soccer. Turns out, footie is the New Zealand term [...]

Plurilingualism and the future of translation

By Maria Ampelourgou There has been a lot of fuss in the translation world lately about this Chinese girl who can write, not only employing both hands simultaneously, but in different directions and languages as well. Chen Siyuan is said to be able to even write poetry using different hands for consecutive sentences and, perhaps most surprising of all, writing Chinese with one hand and English with the other. However, to my mind, apart from ambidextrosity, this girl seems to have [...]

Brace yourselves…for Dothraki!

by Maria Ampelourgou HBO's Game of Thrones is yet another typical case of a critically acclaimed TV series that I found myself casually following but it somehow failed to leave me breathless on the edge of my seat as it did to the rest of my overexcited friends. In any case (and given my highly probable ineptitude as far as TV series are concerned), I cannot but acknowledge and praise David J. Peterson’s attempt to render ‘Dothraki’; that is, the language of the [...]

Christmas in Spain

by Gema Matrinez Paredes Christmas in Spain starts with the traditional Christmas lottery draw on 22nd December. Two days later, the night of the 24th, is “Noche Buena”, when the whole family get together at home and usually eat lamb or stuffed turkey, and for dessert, a scoop of ice cream with pineapple. After the meal the host places a tray full of turrones (nougat), chocolates and polvorones (shortbread) in the centre of the table, and while the adults toast with [...]

Are we unabashedly dropping adverbs from the English language?

At dinner with a friend the other day, during my standard babble to him about the days' events, I was stopped dead as he corrected my grammar mid-sentence. Now, I have always loved language and although I have never claimed to be an expert at writing grammatically correct texts, I am constantly striving to ensure my written English (and other languages) are as 'perfect' as possible. Since starting at Planet Veritas I have found myself questioning grammatical decisions [...]

Language insight: Do you like mademoiselle the Greece?

By Maria Ampelourgou There is this old song by Greek singer Antonis Kalogiannis, referring to the notorious ‘Greek kamaki’ (pick-up lines), where one can hear the memorable line “Do you like mademoiselle the Greece?" I can only guess that the given mademoiselle has not exactly been charmed by the eloquence of this phrase… Accordingly, if you ever find yourselves in Greece and fancy mingling with the locals without sounding as awkward as the above must sound to an English-speaking person, [...]

Teaching dogs new tricks, like teaching a new language!

For any dog lover and owner this might not be a surprise, but dogs do have the capacity to learn and understand more than one language! Dogs are known to be able to register 1000 words on average, which is more than many humans manage to remember after years of school. Because of this capacity dogs demonstrate not only “to” be better than many human most of the time, but even smarter! Don’t be misled by the concept that dogs [...]

Hand gestures in different cultures

by Maria Ampelourgou With Christmas just around the corner, many of you might be considering spending winter holidays abroad, getting to explore new destinations and festive customs. I can picture you flipping through the pages of colourful travel guides right now, seeking the absolute travelling experience. Nevertheless, in order to make the most of your excursion, it is always a good idea to dare to straddle off the beaten tourist track and try to interact with local people. If [...]

A few steps to help your children learn a language!

We all know that a kid’s mind is like a sponge! That is why many parents avoid using certain swear words in front of their offspring. The young life is indeed the best stage when we are keenest in absorbing everything that surrounds us! That makes it the perfect chance to help your children learn different languages, which in a fast-growing, international world can only be helpful and will increase their brain capacity. So what to do? Here [...]

November 2012

Technology and new words

You only need to compare a dictionary from five years ago to one from this year to see how many new words enter the English language due to the rise in technology. The invention of Facebook, for example, led to the verb form, 'to facebook someone' which seems no less strange to say than ‘to write to someone’. When Twitter came into the picture, people were 'tweeting' and having ‘tweetups’ which are meetings arranged through Twitter. There are others [...]

The Spanish Situation

Spain has played a large part in causing young people to migrate to other European Union countries, as well as Latin America and North Africa. Among these young people there’s me; Gema Martínez Paredes, 23 years old and just trying to find a stable future. A future that we are forced to plan for at only 17 or 18, forced to choose a path... You continue studying, despite not being clear about what you would really like to [...]

Applications to avoid getting lost in translation on the phone

By José Antonio Martinez Aviles Could you imagine being able to speak to a Japanese person on the phone without either of you knowing each other’s languages? Well, now it is possible! An application has been created which provides real-time translations, allowing Japanese people to telephone abroad and for both parties to use their own language. NTT DoCoMo, the leading mobile phone operator in Japan, has developed an application for Android devices called "Hon Hanashite Yaku", which allows you to translate telephone [...]

“The lost generation” – The current economic situation in Spain

by José Antonio Martinez Aviles I am a 21 year old Spaniard, and I am part of "the lost generation". We have acquired this title because soon there will be no trace of us in our own country as so many of us have left to seek a better future elsewhere, which Spain cannot offer us at the moment. In my case, I have moved to the Welsh city of Swansea. When I finished my studies in Trade and Marketing I [...]