Posts Tagged: language
But I think of greater importance than a sense of commonality is one of understood difference. Fiction that respects us says, “I know you because I have not had your life.”
For Lit Hub, Michael Helm writes on translation, examining Spanish-language literary fiction for moments of defamiliarization achieved through translation....more
For JSTOR Daily, Chi Luu examines the long-conflicting ideas of whether writing is a form of technology or a separate dialect of its spoken form. Luu references the upcoming film Arrival and the sci-fi novella it’s based on, Ted Chiang’s The Story of Your Life, which takes a linguist’s point of view in telling its story of a human-alien first encounter....more
At Aeon, Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore writes on the language of “mothering” and the trans parents and activists seeking to define the work of mothering for themselves....more
For the Guardian, Alison Flood writes on the bias of the Oxford English Dictionary towards “famous literary examples” instead of the actual origin, resulting in the incorrect attribution of several still-used words and phrases to Shakespeare. Flood writes that there are multitudes of evidence showing earlier usages of phrases such as “wild goose chase” and “it’s Greek to me,” citing Shakespearean scholar Dr....more
The Dictionary of American Regional English, or DARE, has launched a campaign to save fifty words and phrases it deems are dying from lack of use, reports Alison Flood for the Guardian:
Although language change is inevitable, it’s too bad to see some of our most colourful expressions going out of use,” said Joan Hall, former editor of DARE.
The power of names is intricately woven into the fabric of our identities.
At The Establishment, Jené Gutierrez recounts an argument with her editors over using the correct rendering of bell hooks’s name, and how language has historically functioned as a site of white privilege and domination....more
For JSTOR Daily, Matt Langione reviews the current state of artificial intelligence, and the strides AI technology must make to fully complement human thought and experience. The latest step, Langione notes, is the news that Google began improving its “natural language algorithms” with the text of romance novels, which opens the question of what kind of knowledge artificial intelligence still lacks in working with humans....more
Supposedly, the best way to master a foreign language is to fall in love with a native speaker. Language, in delineating a boundary that can be transgressed, is full of romantic potential. … If first languages are reservoirs of emotion, second languages can be rivers undammed, freeing their speakers to ride different currents.
At Lit Hub, Christina Farella examines the exchange of cultural ideas that comes with translation, using Helen DeWitt’s novel The Last Samurai as an example of books enriched by engaging with other languages in the English text itself....more
The summer issue of Asymptote was published this week with a gorgeous spread of short fiction in translation from Spanish, Croatian, Persian, and more. If you’re not already familiar the journal, it publishes English translations of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and more from across the globe (the website cites 105 countries and 84 languages so far) alongside the original text and often accompanied by audio of the author or translator reading an excerpt in the original language, making it a treasure trove for language nerds and literature lovers alike....more
For JSTOR Daily, linguist Chi Luu looks at the “my next band name” meme to identify not just trends in pairing interesting words, but also the social phenomenon of how we understand what words mean....more
Twain endorsed the book, saying “Nobody can add to the absurdity of this book, nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect.”
A 19th century Portuguese-to-English phrase book, English as She Is Spoke, broke the conversational ice between two countries—as well as many funny bones....more
At the Ploughshares blog, Bruna Dantas Lobato shares how learning a new language inspired her writing, and describes the constant, bilingual research required to find the right words:
If writing in a second language is like hunting, I’m both a stalker and an animal who explores the woods, both the archer and the prey.