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bars of gold

Deleting emails – trash, treasure, or amnesia?

For some mysterious reason, a lot of people appear to be positively obsessed with deleting emails. The other day we referred one of our correspondents to a discussion which took place a couple of months earlier. Astonishingly, their reply was: “I don´t keep emails that far back“. Why???bars of gold

FWIW, our basic rule is to keep all non-spam emails, because any email can turn out to be useful for future reference (or indeed even used as “evidence”) at any point in time. For this reason, we regard our very comprehensive email archive (dating back to the 1990s) as an invaluable resource. Additionally, the process of regularly deciding which emails to keep and which to delete is both a tedious and unconstructive activity.

At one time webmail services had very tight storage limits and ruthlessly bounced new emails once we hit the limit, and computers had small hard drives which would often fill up.  Nowadays disk space is hardly an issue and we can just let stuff pile up in the cloud, unless a cloudburst sends it pouring down to earth. Read more

Meerkat family speaking meerkat language

Simples – how a Russian rat hacked the OED with western ads

Or how to buy a place in the good book – a report from TastyWebDesign.com

Author holding book in English
The Oxford English Dictionary has recognised a new phrase imported into English from English by an animated cartoon character who appears to be a wealthy Russian rodent trading in insurance protection, though a meerkat is in reality a mongoose and eats rodents.  Simples? What does that mean? You might ask that if you don’t watch UK commercial television, and even then you might not know that it took expenditure of over £90,000,000 to get this word into the OED. Read more

Sennen Cove Webcam thirt message

Sea on the thirt in Cornwall

Observations from HE Translations linguist and researcher Chris Mawer

Having been a lover of, and visitor to, Cornwall since childhood holidays throughout the 1960s, the decision to retire to the end of the land (I now live less than a mile from Land’s End) seemed a natural choice.

As a linguist the Cornish language has always been of interest to me; over six decades many words now seem very familiar and relatively easy to understand, with similarities to other languages e.g. eglos and église – apparently Breton and Cornish fishermen in the 18th century could converse in their respective languages and understand each other.

Although Dolly Pentreath, who died in 1777, is often cited as the last known person to speak Cornish as a first language, Cornish persisted as a local dialect through the 19th century. Despite this, the language was officially declared “extinct” in the early 21st century. However, there was a gradual and growing movement to revive the language, and indeed a conscious investment in keeping it alive, with the result that Cornish was recently reclassified as “critically endangered“.
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A brown squirrel on a tree with an acorn in its mouth

From eggcorns to Lady Mondegreen and Monty Python

A recent Guardian article under the heading “That eggcorn moment” reminded me of an unforgettable “toothcomb moment” resulting from my 2009 article on Linguee (which, in case you are wondering, is an online “translation tool combining an editorial dictionary and a search engine”, to quote from the Linguee website).
A brown squirrel on a tree with an acorn in its mouth

Eggcorn is the term coined by linguists to describe the error that results from a mistaken analysis of commonly heard words and phrases.

I decided to start a discussion on this in a an e-group for professional translators, during which I learned about Lady Mondegreen (allegedly common knowledge, but it turned out that several translator colleagues hadn’t come across her either – see Google, if you haven’t a clue what it is about) and, courtesy of Wikipia, an unexpected connection with Monty Python. Doune Castle is now on my list of places to visit on one of our journeys to or from Scotland.

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difference between logo

Tell the difference between an icon and a symbol

If the difference between icon and symbol is obvious to you, you can ignore this blog post. If not, this page on the DifferenceBetween.com website seems to describe the difference very well.

difference between logo

In essence (quoting from the DifferenceBetween.com page):

  • Both symbols and icons represent other things, but icon is a pictorial representation of the product it stands for whereas a symbol does not resemble what it stands for.
  • A symbol represents products or ideas, whereas icon represents only items that are visible.
  • Icons are restricted to graphical representation of objects and one can easily understand what they stand for. On the other hand, one has to learn what a symbol stands for, as it is not similar to what it stands for.