[Repost] Word histories: conscious uncoupling (by Simon Thomas)
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Word histories: conscious uncoupling
Simon Thomas Simon Thomas blogs at Stuck-in-a-Book.co.uk
Published4 April 2014
Tags celebrity, concious uncoupling,word histories, word trends
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin (better known as an Oscar-winning actress and the Grammy-winning lead singer of Coldplay respectively) recently announced that they would be separating. While the news of any separation is sad, we can’t deny that the report also carried some linguistic interest. In the announcement, on Paltrow’s lifestyle site Goop, the pair described the end of their marriage as a ‘conscious uncoupling’. So… what does that mean?
The phrase was picked up by journalists, commentators, and tweeters around the world. Some called it pretentious, some thought it wise, others simply didn’t know what was going on. Let’s have a look into the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and see what we can learn about these words.
Conscious is perhaps the less controversial word of the pair. A look through the Oxford Thesaurus of English brings up adjectives like aware, deliberate,intentional, and considered. But did you know that the earliest recorded use ofconscious related only to misdeeds? The OED currently dates the word to 1573, with the definition ‘having awareness of one’s own wrongdoing, affected by a feeling of guilt’. This sense is now confined to literary contexts, but it was only a few decades before the general sense ‘having knowledge or awareness; able to perceive or experience something’ became common. The idea of it being used as an adjective referring to a deliberate action came later, in 1726, according to the OED’s current research.
The verb uncouple has an intriguing history. The current earliest evidence in the OED dates to the early fourteenth century, where it means ‘to release (dogs) from being fastened together in couples; to set free for the chase’. Interestingly, this is found earlier than its opposite (‘to tie or fasten (dogs) together in pairs’), currently dated to c.1400 in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In c.1386, in the hands of Chaucer and ‘The Monk’s Tale’, uncouple is given a figurative use: ‘He maked hym so konnyng and so sowple / That longe tyme it was er tirannye / Or any vice dorste on hym vncowple.’ The wider meaning ‘to unfasten, disconnect, detach’ arrives in the early sixteenth century, and that is where things rested for some centuries.
The twentieth century saw another couple of uncouples – one of which is applicable to the Paltrow-Martins, and one of which refers to a very different field. In 1948, a biochemical use is first recorded – which the OED defines ‘to separate the processes of (phosphorylation) from those of oxidation’. But six years earlier, an American Thesaurus of Slang includes the word as a synonym for ‘to divorce’, and this forms the earliest example found in theOED sense defined as ‘to separate at the end of a relationship’. Other instances of uncouple meaning ‘to split up’ can be found in a 1977Washington Post article and one from the Boston Globe in 1989.
So, despite all the attention given to the term ‘conscious uncoupling’, people have been uncoupling in exactly the same way as Gwyneth and Chris – and using the same word – since at least 1942. So perhaps not quite as controversial as some commentators suggested.
Cf. original: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2014/04/word-histories-conscious-uncoupling/
[Repost] On mother tongue, native speakers and other linguistic myths (by Pierre Fuentes)
On mother tongue, native speakers
and other linguistic myths
- Published on Monday, 03 March 2014 09:00
original piece: http://www.iti.org.uk/news-media-industry-jobs/the-pillar-box/list-by-date/571-on-mother-tongue-native-speakers-and-other-linguistic-myths
Written by Pierre Fuentes
It is often said that real professional translators translate only into their ‘mother tongue’ because only ‘native speakers’ are fully competent in ‘their language’. I wish to question these linguistic myths.
What does ‘mother tongue’ mean?
The meaning of the expression ‘mother tongue’ is ambiguous.
Admittedly, the only language that monolingual speakers generally claim to know is that of their mother. They first learnt that language through interaction with their mother, at an early age.
But the world is diverse. Some people first learned their father’s tongue. Some did not have parents. Some were raised by people who spoke different languages.
Moreover, the expression ‘mother tongue’ poses an ideological problem, because some people imply that their mother tongue is the mother of their identity, as if, without it, they would not be ‘their true selves’.
Such a claim can bring people together, as in the case of the Irish slogan ‘ní tír gan teanga’ (no land without language).
But we must not forget that romantic slogans can also be used to discriminate towards the Other.
The Nazis, for instance, used mother tongue fascism to justify linguistic discrimination towards multilingual Jewish Germans. They claimed that these multilingual speakers were perverting the ‘mother tongue’ because they were not true ‘native’ German speakers.
I will let you reflect on what ‘perverting a tongue’ might mean and move onto my second question.
Who’s the ‘native speaker’?
One can only marvel at the term ‘native speaker’. This bizarre expression implies either that we were born speaking – a rare achievement – or that we were born into a language. My non-native instinct tells me we’ve got a metaphor on our hands.
Obviously, ‘native speaker’ does not imply that we are linguistically autonomous from birth. In fact, nothing much happens linguistically in the first year of our lives. Any parent of a young child will confirm this: what first happens with your newborn is communication.
When we use the term ‘native speaker’, we imply that a person has alegitimate competence in a given language.
But how do we make it legitimate? By being born with it, or by acquiring it? In other words, does native legitimacy come from innate or learned behaviour?
As sociolinguist Deborah Cameron recently pointed out, UK statistics suggest that the test for British citizenship applicants advantages native speakers of white European ancestry. So it would seem that there are different types of native speakers and that they are not all legitimate.
Interestingly, discourses that promote the ‘native speaker’ concept are often qualified with adjectives like ‘pure’, ‘perfect’, ‘authentic’ or ‘unique’.
Let’s take a look at translators
Some of us have developed a high level of oral or written comprehension in various languages, but cannot speak or write such languages as ‘correctly’ as ‘native speakers’ would. Some of us can even write languages that we cannot speak.
Sounds weird? Try speaking like Julius Caesar. While we can read him and write like him, no one really knows what this true native Latin speaker sounded like.
In any case, we don’t need to interact with living people to read or write a language – be it ancient or modern. These activities involve a different type of language use than, say, buying a pint for your mates on a Friday night.
Indeed, it has to do with how we use languages. Since we do not speak like we write, conversation plays a limited role in the work of most professional translators. Speaking like a true native is therefore far less important than having excellent writing skills.
The second mother tongue
Using the language of your mother on a daily basis does not make you a professional translator. And English has in common with many minority and endangered languages the fact that most of its speakers were not ‘born into it’.
While these ‘new speakers’ are often criticized by those who claim to be ‘natives’ – for their mistreat of language conventions, ie illegitimate use – some of these new speakers reach a level of competency that is so high that their new language becomes their language of habitual use – a fact that ITI’s Code of Professional Conduct takes into account.
Such competency allows them to claim certain legitimacy, at least in some areas of language use. They may not be able to have a laugh in that language at the pub on a Friday night, but they can translate medical reports that most ‘natives’ would simply not understand.
As a group of intellectuals commissioned by the EU once put it, some people are capable of adopting a ‘second mother tongue’. Language diversity is not about building walls between languages. It is about recognising the diversity of use human beings make of their tongues.
About the author:
Pierre Fuentes is a French translator and a registered architect who works mostly with texts in the fields of architecture, design, property and construction engineering. He suffers from lingophilia, having been severely exposed to English and Spanish and, to a lesser extent, to several other languages, including Galician, German and Irish.
How Chineasy inventor ShaoLan Hsueh used beautiful design to decode Mandarin and Cantonese
[Repost] If you could learn any EU language, which would you learn, and why?
If you could learn any EU language, which would you learn, and why?
As someone who decided to study Japanese, French and Irish (not the most typical of language combinations), I have always been fascinated by the reasons why people choose to learn certain languages. Because they enjoy the food and culture of the country where the language is spoken? Because their family or friends speak the language? Because speaking the language will get them a better job?
I got the opportunity to formally examine the reasons why people learn languages, language learner motivation, while writing my MA thesis last year. I studied an MA in Conference Interpreting at NUI Galway and throughout the year-long course we were regularly visited by staff interpreters of the EU institutions who came as pedagogical assistants to give us advice and feedback. I was always fascinated by the different language combinations these experienced interpreters had and frankly, envious that the EU institutions encouraged them to learn more languages by providing language classes and leave for study abroad for priority languages. I started to wonder, did staff interpreters learn languages that they were really interested in, or did they learn languages that were in demand and therefore beneficial to their interpreting career?
In order to investigate this question, I drew on research in the field of second language acquisition and, in particular, learner motivation. According to Noels’ self-determination theory, learner motivation ranges from extrinsic orientations of motivation to intrinsic orientations of motivation. According to self-determination theory, there are two general types of motivation, one based on intrinsic interest in the activity per se and the other based on rewards extrinsic to the activity itself (Noels et al 2000, p. 38).
On the extrinsic end of the scale, learners are under external pressure to learn the language; because it is a compulsory subject, they need it for their job, they need to learn it to avoid some negative outcome, etc. On the intrinsic end of the scale, learners want to learn the language out a sense of personal interest and enjoyment. Various orientations of motivation are at work in the case of each individual language learner. However, according to research by Noels, successful learners are more likely to be those who display more intrinsic orientations of motivation.
A person who is intrinsically motivated to perform an activity does so because it is inherently enjoyable and satisfying. In the context of second language acquisition, the learner may be interested in the language and culture, enjoy the sounds and rhythm of the language or simply enjoy acquiring new knowledge and mastering a difficult task. This form of motivation is associated with greater success in second language acquisition (Noels 2001, p. 45).
I set out to test this theory, taking staff conference interpreters who have added another working language as models of successful language learners – after all, knowing a language well enough to interpret it is an example of highly successful language acquisition! I used a self-report questionnaire, which I distributed via email and social media, to gather information about staff interpreters at the European Commission’s DG SCIC who had added another language to their combination since started to work there, and asked them to rank and rate the factors that had influenced their decision to learn the language in question.
61 interpreters responded to the survey. The results of the online questionnaire show that a wide range of languages were added by the participants; 18 out of 24 official EU languages were added by the survey sample; Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, English, Swedish, Polish, Russian, Danish, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Croatian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Maltese and Romanian. Languages added range from very widely spoken languages such as Spanish and English, to minority languages such as Maltese and Irish.
In 87% of responses, interest in the language and associated culture were identified as being either a very important or important factor in the participant’s choice to learn a particular language.
When asked to rank various factors in order of importance, personal interest was ranked most important in 59% of cases:
In 68% of cases, respondents agreed or strongly agreed that enjoying visiting the country/countries where a language is spoken was an important factor in their choice to learn the language in question, and in 68% of cases, respondents agreed or strongly agreed that enjoying the culture of the country/countries where a language is spoken was an important factor.
The survey data showed evidence that the main factor affecting the participants’ decisions to add a working language was intrinsic motivation. However, this was not the only factor at play. Respondents displayed a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, with more motivation from the intrinsic end of the scale playing an important role in the decision to add a working language. Some respondents had an interest in the language they learned but also cited the benefit to their career of another language as a motivating factor. Some respondents chose to learn certain languages not only because they had an interest in the associated culture, but also because of similarities between that language and a language they already knew. High levels of externally regulated orientations of motivation were also identified among some respondents, and some reported feeling pressure to learn another language, but these respondents were a minority. The high level of intrinsically oriented motivation displayed by these successful language learners supports Noels’ theory that intrinsic orientations of motivation are more likely to result in successful language acquisition.
So what can we conclude from this? Well, if you are thinking of learning a language, learn one you are genuinely interested in! You’ll learn Chinese far quicker if you have passion for Chinese culture and an interest in the country, than if you are purely learning it for the career benefits. If you have lots of Croatian friends and you want to be able to speak their language, go for it! If you love travel and want to backpack around South America meeting new people and experiencing new cultures, why not learn Spanish? If you are genuinely interested and intrinsically motivated, learning a language is that little bit easier.
Interpreting Studies and Second Language Acquisition Terms
active language: language into which an interpreter is capable of interpreting (Jones 1998, p. 131).
A language: ‘The interpreter’s mother tongue (or its strict equivalent) into which they work from all their other working languages in both consecutive and simultaneous interpretation’ (AIIC, 2012).
B language: ‘language in which the interpreter is perfectly fluent, but is not a mother tongue. An interpreter can work into this language from one or several of their other working languages, but may prefer to do so in only one mode of interpretation, either consecutive or simultaneous’ (AIIC, 2012c).
C language: language ‘which the interpreter understands perfectly but into which they do not work. They will interpret from this (these) language(s) into their active languages’ (AIIC, 2012).
conference interpreting: interpreting in multilateral communication, for example in international conferences, using either consecutive and/or simultaneous modes of interpreting (Pöckhacker 2004, p. 16).
consecutive interpreting: the interpreter listens to the totality of the speaker’s comments, or at least a significant passage, and then reconstitutes the speech in another language with the help of notes taken during the original (Jones 1998, p. 5).
DG SCIC: Directorate General for Interpretation, also known as DG SCIC. the European Commission’s interpreting service and conference organiser (European Commission, 2013).
interpreting: immediate oral translation of an utterance from one language into another (Pöckhacker 2004, p. 11). 1.
L1 (Also referred to as ‘mother tongue’ or ‘first language’): language or languages that a child learns from parents, siblings and caretakers during the critical years of development, from the womb up to about four years of age (Ortega 2009, p. 5).
L2 (Also referred to as ‘additional language’ or ‘second language’): any language learned after the mother tongue (Ortega 2009, p. 5).
language combination (also referred to as ‘linguistic combination‘): ‘sum of an interpreter’s active and passive languages’ (Jones 1998, p. 133).
passive language: language out of which an interpreter is capable of interpreting (Jones 1998, p. 132).
simultaneous interpreting: the interpreter begins interpreting while the speaker is still speaking. The interpreter is speaking simultaneously to the original, hence the name (Jones 1998, p. 5).
working language: language which an interpreter can interpret into, or out of, or both (Jones 1998, p. 133).
AIIC (2012) Working languages (Online). Available at: http://aiic.net/node/6/working-languages/lang/1 (Accessed 07 July 2013).
Deci, L. et al (1991) ‘Motivation and Education: The Self-Determination Perspective’, in Educational Psychologist, 26(3 & 4), pp. 325-346 (Online). Available from: http://selfdeterminationtheory.org/SDT/documents/1991_DeciVallerandPelletierRyan_EP.pdf (Accessed 24 July 2013).
Dörnyei, Z. (2001) ‘New themes and approaches in second language motivation research’, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 21, pp. 43-59 (Online). Available from: http://journals.cambridge.org.libgate.library.nuigalway.ie/action/displayAbstract?fromfrom=online&aid=100729 (Accessed 4 July 2013).
European Commission (2013) About DG Interpretation. Available from: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/scic/about-dg-interpretation/index_en.htm (Accessed: 03 June 2013).
Jones, R. (1998) Conference interpreting explained. Manchester: St Jerome publishing.
Ortega, L. (2009) Understanding second language acquisition. London : Hodder Education.
Pöchhacker, F. (2004) Introducing interpreting studies. London: Routledge.
Noels, K. (2001) ‘New orientations in language learning motivation: Towards a model of intrinsic, extrinsic and integrative orientations and motivation’, in Dörnyei, Z. & Schmidt, R. (eds) Motivation and Second Language Acquisition. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, pp. 43-68.
Noels, K. et al. (2003) ‘Why are you learning a second language? Motivational orientations and self-determination theory’, Language Learning, 53 (1), pp. 33-63 (Online). Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.libgate.library
Article written by Sarah O’Farrell, translator and terminologist at the Terminology Coordination Unit.
[Repost] 11 Confusing Words and Common Errors
11 Confusing Words and Common Errors
Image source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
#6 – Meet / Know
Don’t say: “I knew him last year.”
Say: “I met him last year.”
Meet has two meanings:
- When you have first contact with a person
“I met him last year”
- When you will encounter someone you already know. In this case, we often use “meet with” or “meet up with”
“I’m meeting up with some friends at the bar after work.”
Know has two different meanings/uses:
- With knowledge and skills in general
“He knows everything about computers.”
- With knowing people in general
“Do you know Janet? She’s in the advanced English class.”
“No, I don’t think I know her.”
#28 – Wait / Hope / Expect
Don’t say: “I’m waiting my friend to call.”
Say: “I’m waiting for my friend to call.”
Wait = Pass the time until something happens
- It’s 6:45. I’m waiting for the 7:00 bus.
- We waited in line for three hours to get tickets to the concert.
- You need to wait for the computer to finish updating.
Don’t confuse “wait” with hope and expect:
Hope = Want something to happen
- I hope I’ll get a promotion this year!
- I’m sorry to hear you’re sick. I hope you get better soon!
- The traffic is very bad today. I hope I won’t be late.
Expect = Believe that something probably will happen.
- We’re expecting a visit from some clients – they said they would come at 4:30.
- My boss expects me to arrive on time every day.
#40 – Before / Ago / Back
Don’t say: “I sent the letter two months before.”
Say: “I sent the letter two months ago.”
Or: “I sent the letter two months back.” (informal)
Ago and back are used for past times from the present moment. Before is used for past times from another time in the past. Here are some examples of before:
- Yesterday I missed my train. I got to the train station at 7:10, but the train had left ten minutes before.
- I was very happy when I got this job last year, because I had lost my previous job six months before.
#92 – Raise / rise / arise
Don’t say: “The government is going to rise taxes.”
Say: “The government is going to raise taxes.”
Rise means “to go up” or “to increase” – by itself. There is only a subject; there is no object.
- The sun rises at 6:00 AM.
- Energy consumption rose 20% this year.
Raise means “to move something to a higher position” or “to increase something,” so there are two entities, the subject (which performs the action) and the object (the thing that is moved or increased):
- I raised my hand to answer the teacher’s question.
(subject = I; object = my hand)
- The state is raising the minimum age to get a driver’s license – from 16 to 18.
(subject = the state; object = the minimum age to get a driver’s license)
Raise can also be used in a more metaphorical sense:
- He raised some objections to the project proposal.
(= he expressed the objections)
- Our baseball team raised money for a local orphanage.
(= collected money from donations)
- My parents raised their voices during the argument.
(= spoke louder)
- The college is raising the bar for new applicants.
(= increasing the standards)
Arise is similar to rise, but is more formal and abstract. It can also be used to mean “appear” or “result from”:
- Several important questions arose during the meeting.
- I’d like to work in Japan, if the opportunity arises.
- A new spirit of hope has arisen among the country’s people.
- Sorry, I’ll need to cancel our appointment. A few problems have arisen.
– See more at: http://espressoeng.staging.wpengine.com/english-vocabulary-11-confusing-words-and-common-errors/#sthash.gNZXyAfa.IFJ9UiSr.dpuf
[Repost] Vuoi fare conversazione in una lingua straniera? (by Francesca Cosi e Alessandra Repossi)
DOMENICA 16 MARZO 2014
Articolo originale apparso su:
Studio editoriale Cosi e Repossi –> http://www.cosierepossi.com/2014/03/imparare-lingue-scambi-di-conversazione.html
Vuoi fare conversazione
in una lingua straniera?
Hai mai fatto scambi di conversazione per imparare o perfezionare una lingua straniera? Per metà del tempo parli italiano e per l’altra metà la lingua del tuo interlocutore.
Se una volta era necessario incontrarsi di persona, oggi su internet è possibile organizzare gratuitamente scambi con utenti di tutto il mondo, grazie al sito ConversationExchange.
Su ConversationExchange la procedura è semplicissima: cliccando su “Cerca un partner di conversazione” al centro della pagina, si apre un form in cui dobbiamo inserire la lingua del nostro interlocutore, la nostra e spuntare la casella “Usando un chat software“. In base a questi dati, il sito ci offre una lista di utenti che rispondono alle nostre esigenze e che potremo contattare via Skype o con uno degli altri software suggeriti.
Se poi vogliamo incontrarli di persona, è sufficiente selezionare la casella “Conversazione faccia a faccia“, il paese e la città in cui vogliamo organizzare lo scambio.
Abbiamo messo alla prova il sito cercando interlocutori madrelingua portoghesi e i risultati sono stati incoraggianti: abbiamo trovato 251 utenti disposti a scambiare online conversazioni in questa lingua con l’italiano e 2 brasiliani che accettano anche incontri face to face a Firenze.
E tra una conversazione e l’altra è possibile ampliare il nostro vocabolario con Memrise, che permette di creare e rafforzare i collegamenti mentali tra una parola italiana e il corrispettivo nella lingua scelta arrivando a memorizzare 1000 vocaboli stranieri in 22 ore. Da provare!
La foto è stata scattata nel 1973 da Charles O’Rear ed è disponibilequi.
Pubblicato da francesca cosi e alessandra repossiArgomenti: imparare le lingue, risorse online
Semiotycs: il gioco-tool by Giuliano Pascali
Qualche mese fa ho fatto un “repost” relativo alle parole simili nelle lingue europee. L’articolo era accompagnato da una serie di mappe dell’Europa in cui venivano identificate le analogie e le differenze nell’utilizzo di alcuni termini specifici nei vari Paesi presenti.
Qualche giorno fa, invece, ho trovato un’email nella posta elettronica che richiedeva la mia attenzione. Il mittente era Giuliano Pascali. Informatico ed appassionato di lingue e materie umanistiche, mi ha informato di aver sviluppato un “gioco-tool” utilizzando proprio quelle mappe e, in cerca di un po’ di visibilità, mi ha domandato se fossi interessata a divulgare il suo progetto.
Così… eccolo qua! 🙂
Cliccando sul link vi ritroverete direttamente alla mappa delle parole.
Di seguito vi lascio la presentazione scritta da Giuliano.
La mappa delle parola in Europa
Somiglianze e diversità delle lingue.
Ecco un sito che ci permette di indagare su come si dice una parola nelle principali lingue europee.
Scegli una parola e clicca traduci, in pochi istanti avrai la traduzione sulla mappa in più di dieci lingue.
E’ un gioco divertente che ci permette di indagare sulla diversità, la somiglianza e provenienza dei termini scelti. Alcune parole hanno una radice universale, e una traduzione molto simile. Altre invece sono completamente differenti a seconda del ceppo di appartenenza.
Sito delle lingue nella mappa
Il ceppo latino, francia, italia, spagna. Il ceppo slavo del centro est europa, il ceppo scandinavo e quello anglosassone della zona anglotedesca. Fantastico il caso della parola ananas che ha un tipo praticamente universale, fatta eccezzione per le due grandi storiche potenze coloniali, che curiosamente hanno un suono diverso da tutti le altre nazioni, ma simile tra loro. Che sia solo un caso ?
E’ bello osservare le contaminazioni, avvenute nella lingua per vicinanza geografica francia spagna italia, ragioni storiche e circostanze commerciali militari e marittime. L’inghilterra trova vicinanza linguistiche con i paesi del mare del nord, con la norvegia, mentre la finlandia risente notevolmente della presenza russa. La polonia pur geograficamente dislocata, rientra tra le lingue slave e ha suoni molto prossimi ai balcani. La romania invece che rimane in quella zona, ha un impronta latina e i suoi termini spesso risuonano come quelli dei paesi mediterranei.
La germania che a volte divide suoni con gli anglosassoni della gran bretagna, influenza la zona dell’olanda a sua volta della svezia. Le tre repubbliche baltiche denotano una forte identità anche linguistica, mentre il portogallo a volte svela tutto il suo legame con la spagna, fino al cinquecento erano un unica nazione, d’altro canto sorprende con suoni nuovi e bellissimi che raccontato la sua storia di grande potenza del mare, alternativa (anche come terre di interesse) a spagna e inghilterra. La turchia ponte tra l’europa l’oriente, porta con se un timbro linguistico del mondo arabo oltreuropeo. L’islanda senza dubbio terra di mare e del nord, mantiene non solo geograficamente la sua unicità. E che dire dell’italia ? Centro della lingua di origine latina, al centro del mediterraneo, con influenze arabe francesi spagnole normanne. Le lingue: affascinante dinamico contenitore della nostra esperienza e della nostra vita raccontano in maniera incantevole, segreti misteriosi o lampanti che nel corso dei secoli hanno raccolto e compreso.
Buon divertimento, buona esplorazione. Il gioco traduce in tutte le lingue ma anche da tutte le lingue, quindi se avete amici estoni francesi o polacchi beh ..buon divertimento anche a loro!
Vai a Semiotycs, il gioco delle lingue sulla mappa
Il gioco è ispirato a una serie di mappe etimologiche comparse su alcuni siti, segnaliamo http://www.linkiesta.it.