Lost, and Translation

January 4, 2011 3 Comments judy Uncategorized , , ,

The Chinese language phrase book I picked up in my first week in the city of Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China, asserts in a blurb on the back cover that travelers to China experience “instant illiteracy” and certainly this was a significant aspect of my first extended stay in that country. I have never before visited a place where I not only did not speak the language but also could not even sound out and guess at the meaning of signs, menus, ads in hotel rooms and the like. I was painfully aware of my dependence

John McWhorter on Talk of the Nation

Yesterday John McWhorter discussed the recent call by the DEA to hire “Ebonics translators” on Talk of the Nation. He did a good job describing his positions on translation and education, but his parting remarks on the nature of language variation were cut short. I presume to expand the description.

Idioms are hard

June 17, 2010 1 Comment Chad Nilep In the news , ,

Carl-Henric Svanberg, the chairman of BP, has apparently upset some Americans with his reference to “the small people.” My first reaction when I heard Svanberg’s remarks was that he must have been aiming for “the little guy” and produced a near miss.

An orphan by any other name…?

February 20, 2010 No Comments Chad Nilep Uncategorized , ,

I know very little about adoption practices in Haiti, and all I know about events in that country since the earthquake last January I have learned from the news media. Still, I wonder whether the thing that American missionaries call an orphanage is really the same as what most Haitians think of as an orphelinat. It appears that Haitian orphanages are quite different from my own image of an orphanage.