About Language

Why some languages sound faster than others

It is a common misconception that languages are spoken at different speeds, Spanish certainly sounds like it is being spoken at 100mph but does that actually mean it is faster, or does its flowing nature lead you in to a false sense of security? Understanding If you don’t understand a language, it is bound to sound like it is being spoken quickly. If you don’t comprehend the dynamics of the language or how the noises you are hearing are separated in to words, how can you possibly ascertain the speed of what is being spoken?

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Moghrey mie

Not quite sure how to pronounce that? Well, then you must not be one of the 1,823 people with some knowledge of Manx Gaelic. (Figure according to the 2011 census) With only a few hundred competent speakers in the Isle of Man, the Manx Heritage Foundation, along with other groups, is trying to increase the number of Manx Gaelic speakers. As part of the plan to celebrate the island’s year of culture, residents are being encourage learn 1,000 Manx Gaelic words in 2014. By learning 20 words every week for 12 months, people will have a vocabulary of over 1,000 words. Manx Language Officer, Adrian Cain, said “A thousand words is enough to have some basic conversational knowledge of the Manx Gaelic language.” This is true of other languages as well, so if Manx Gaelic isn’t your language of choice, pick another one and get learning! Here are a few Manx Gaelic basics to get you started: moghrey mie (good […]

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Defining and measuring linguistic quality

Quality is a word which is thrown around loosely, in many different contexts. What one person considers to be quality, another may not. This is especially true with something as subjective as translation. People interpret language differently, and translation quality is often judged on subjective criteria such as style and choice of terminology. Some aspects of translation are are objective, however. ‘Yes’ translated as ‘no’ is clearly wrong, for example. The Project Management Institute’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (4th edition) defines quality as “the degree to which a product meets the specified requirements.” The International Organization for Standardization says quality is “determined by comparing a set of inherent characteristics with a set of requirements. If those inherent characteristics do not meet all requirements, a low or poor level of quality is achieved.” Both of these definitions include the concept of quality as a scale, with varying degrees, and also state that there must be a […]

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Speak to the future – learn 1000 words in another language

A new campaign entitled “Speak to the future” aims to encourage language-phobic Brits to learn 1000 words of a foreign language. The campaign, backed by the British Council and European Commission, among many other organisations and businesses, aims to get more people learning a basic level of another language, with the hope that many will continue to higher levels of fluency once they gain confidence. A vocabulary of 1000 words in a second language makes it possible to have a simple conversation, and creates the building blocks to further learning of a language. Many British people are unable to speak a second language, and sadly due to changes in educational policy over the last decade, fewer school pupils are learning a foreign language at GCSE level.

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Happy European Day of Languages!

Can you speak fluent Pig Latin? It’s not one of the 200+ European languages celebrated today as part of the European Union’s “European Day of Languages”, but it does work well as a secret language. This is especially true in Britain, where it doesn’t seem as popular as in America. So, if you don’t speak Icelandic or Esperanto, I’d recommend brushing up on your Ig-pay Atin-lay for top-secret conversations.

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