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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.Continue reading full article…

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.

Continue reading full article…

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.
Chez Herbert Cafe

Chez Herbert

An old school friend, who is a Francophile and usually spends the summer in southern France, had a summer holiday in Reunion Island this year and sent this photo with the caption “Die Folgen des Brexit” (Brexit consequences).

Chez Herbert Cafe

Positive Psychology

Anyone suffering from symptoms of post-Brexit depression would probably be well advised to avoid reading the horror scenario described in an article by Tobias Stone with the title History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump.

The Plague
La Peste di Firenze, Marcello 1348

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Word of the day: monomaniacal

Although HE Translations specialise in technical documents, inquisitive translators are always keen to expand their general and other specialist vocabulary. The latest word of the day is “monomaniacal”, spotted in an article at PoliticsHome.com (previously at www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/conservative-party/news/76895/tory-leadership-hopeful-andrea-leadsom-under).

OED entry for monomania

OED entry for monomania

Abbreviation (initialism) of the Day: UKCS

According to the comprehensive documentation on the Development of UK Oil and Gas Resources, published by Data by Design Ltd at dbd-data.co.uk,  the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) comprises those areas of the sea bed and subsoil beyond the territorial sea over which the UK exercises sovereign rights of exploration and exploitation of natural resources. The map below shows the UKCS has been extended since the mid 1960s. The exact limits of the UKCS are set out in orders made under section 1(7)of the Continental Shelf Act 1964.

UK Continental Shelf Designations. Source: www.dbd-data.co.uk

Quote of the Day

When a translation job, for which the green light was supposed to be given by EOD yesterday, failed to materialise, one of my team members stoically commented: “Don’t grieve for what doesn’t come“, which apparently was one of Wayne Dyer’s favourite phrases.

It actually goes back to Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, known as Rumi, who said:

Don’t grieve for what doesn’t come.
Some things that don’t happen
Keep disasters from happening.

Rumi
Artistic depiction of Rumi. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Today’s CPD reflections: “hard-worked”

A recent e-newsletter for language professionals contained the term “hard-worked”. It made me pause and reflect, possibly because at first glance I may have read it as “hard-working”, and I’m tired of politicians going on about “hard-working families”.

Further ‘research’ seems to indicate that the term isn’t particularly common, although – not entirely surprisingly – there is an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary (see screenshot below), as a subheading under the very long entry for “hard”. Note in particular the oxen example in the OED.Continue reading full article…