These people are pretty bad at recognizing different languages. And so am I.
Bonus facts I happened to find on Ethnologue, a fascinating directory of languages: Apparently there are more than 7,000 living languages in the world. Half the world's population speaks one of the top 23 most-used languages, with the top five being Chinese, Spanish, English, Arabic, and Hindi. One-third of the 7,000 languages are endangered, "that is, loss of all individuals who continue to identify the language as being related to their identity."
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Georgia Grainger, a Scottish librarian, began a fascinating Twitter thread earlier this week:
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This marvel of design was posted to Twitter by VGDensetsu; it's said to be official, and apparently romanizes as "Seja" as Arabic lacks a hard "G".
The Japanese company uses the classic Latin-alphabet logo in Japan, but here is a fanmade Japanese version:
And here is a Hebrew logo, devised by Baraksha, creator of an unlicensed translation of Sonic the Hedgehog into that language:
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The Foreign Service Institute has ranked the difficulty of learning a language for English speakers.
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Languages based upon Latin, such as French, Spanish and Italian are some of the easiest to pick up and are placed in ‘Category I’ languages with an estimated learning time of around 6 months. Languages such as Japanese, Korean and Arabic are placed in ‘Category V,’ and can take considerably longer and an estimated 2 years to master properly. Check out the rest on the map below.
What do computer programmers not want to code in? Read the rest
Vulgar constructs languages for fantasy fiction or whatever other purpose you can imagine, applying consistent rules to the custom phonemes you feed it. [via]
Vulgar's output models the regularities, irregularities and quirks of real world languages; phonology, grammar, and a 2000 unique word vocabulary. Trial the demo version online. Purchase the premium version to get access to the complete 2000 word output (with derivational words) and extra grammatical rules. ...
Vulgar generates ... based on a list of some of English's most common words. However, the program is more than just a one-to-one mapping of unique outputs to English words. In an effort to mimic real world languages, Vulgar also creates various homphones and overlapping senses inspired by examples from real world languages. For example:
Here's my language:
The Language of Puput /ˈpʰupʰutʰ/
...and he stood holding his hat and turned his wet face to the wind.
...u lu bunela une luch yafa u neba luch miku peb tul ye
Pronunciation: /u lu bɯˈnela ˈune løtʃ ˈjafa u ˈneba løtʃ ˈmikʰø pʰeb t̪øl je/
Narrow pronunciation: [u lu bɯˈnela ˈune løtʃ ˈjafa u ˈneba løtʃ ˈmikʰø pʰe t̪øl je]
Puput structure: and he stood holding his hat and turned his wet face the wind to
Seed for this language: 0.36384689368800394
The Puput word for "stuff" is "nut." I'll spare you details of the nominative and accusative case forms, but they're there. The full edition of the app is $20. Read the rest
Professional word taster James Harbeck shows you how to identify different languages by identifying the unique characters they use. Read the rest
There are so many ploys and scams out there that promise to teach you just enough Japanese to enjoy your big once-in-a-lifetime trip that even contemplating which one to choose is impossible.
My trips to Japan generally involve a trip to The Tokyo Disney Resort (surprise! … not) and I’m always scouring websites for the latest little titbit of new information. One of the few accessible ones (since most are in Japanese) is TDR Explorer. All the latest news, free, with good photography.
I like that the webmaster is actually thinking about things which would be of real practical value for a traveler not just to the Disney Resort, but often anywhere in Japan. And thus we come to his list of 17 basic phrases that you might find helpful.
The problem is that if you look at the center column of the list, you won’t have any idea how to pronounce these Japanese words. They are written in what is called “romaji,” or the Romanization of Japanese characters into western characters. This makes them extremely simple to say if they are broken down phonetically.
For example, “Yes” is pronounced “hi,” even though the romaji spelling is “hai.” If you didn’t know better you might say “hi-ee,” or “ha-i” or whatever.
So here is a simple tip: every syllable in Japanese is given the same emphasis. My friend Satoshi’s name is not pronounced “Sa-TOE-shi,” but “Sa-tō-she.” Equal emphasis on all syllables.
Here, then is my own version of a list of Japanese words, all spelled out phonetically so you can pronounce them properly (or at least closely) with some ease. Read the rest
See sample pages from this book at Wink.
If you’re like me when it comes to speaking Japanese – extremely clunky with with a limited conversational vocabulary but can read the two syllabaries (katakana and hiragana), this book is a fantastic supplement to further study. Besides the high fun factor of studying with manga (which teaches you to speak like a Japanese person rather than a formal text-book-taught foreigner), it’s the first book I’ve read that clearly explains the grammar (such as when and where to use particles like wa, ga and o), the complicated number systems, conjugating verbs, telling time, etc. I’m also learning some basic kanji as well as silly things you find in manga like exclamations and swear words. Each chapter gives you exercises to do on separate paper with answers in the back of the book. This lesson book is packed with great info on how the Japanese language works, and it’s presented in an interesting way that makes me look forward to picking up the book. I'm really loving it.
However, I have to say that the title of this book is a bit misleading. Yes, we are studying Japanese using manga, but Learning the Basics is a bit of a stretch. The book does touch on the basics but it moves quickly, and if you’re brand new to Japanese, I would hold off on reading this book until you actually have learned the basics.
Japanese in Mangaland: Learning the Basics
by Marc Bernabe
Japan Publications Trading
2004, 269 pages, 6.8 Read the rest
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Between 2008 and 2015 GitHub gained the most traction in the Java community, which changed in rank from 7th to 2nd. Possible contributing factors to this growth could be the growing popularity of Android and the increasing demand for version control platforms at businesses and enterprises.
Turns out, it was the Greeks. Χριστος is how you write "Christ" in Greek and writers (including people who transcribed the Bible) have been using "X" as a convenient abbreviation of that since at least the 3rd and 4th centuries. Read the rest
The BBC's in-house linguists have an interesting piece about pronouncing words in Xhosa — a major language spoken in the region of South Africa where Nelson Mandela grew up. (Helpfully included in the story: How to pronounce "Xhosa".) Read the rest
Languages come and go and blend. It's likely been that way forever and the process only accelerates under the influence of mega-languages (like English) that represent a sort of global means of communication. But, increasingly, people who are at risk of losing their native language entirely are fighting back—trying to encourage more people to be bilingual and save the native language from extinction.
At Discover Magazine, Veronique Greenwood has a really interesting story about a mathematician who is helping to preserve Scottish Gaelic. How? The researcher, Anne Kandler, has put together some equations that can help native language supporters target their programs and plan their goals.
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Some of the numbers are obvious—you must know how many people in the population you’re working with speak just Gaelic, how many speak just English, and how many are bilingual, as well as the rate of loss of Gaelic speakers. But also in the model are numbers that stand for the prestige of each language—the cultural value people place on speaking it—and numbers that describe a language’s economic value.
Put them all together into a system of equations that describe the growth of the three different groups—English speakers, Gaelic speakers, and bilinguals—and you can calculate what inputs are required for a stable bilingual population to emerge. In 2010, Kandler found that using the most current numbers, a total of 860 English speakers will have to learn Gaelic each year for the number of speakers to stay the same. To her, this sounded like a lot, but the national Gaelic Development Agency was pleased: it’s about the number of bilingual speakers they were already aiming to produce through classes and programs.
For many years, most of the Internet ran on ASCII, a character set that had a limited number of accents and diacriticals, and which didn't support non-Roman script at all. Unicode, a massive, sprawling replacement, has room for all sorts of characters and alphabets, and can be extended with "private use areas" that include support for Klingon.
But for all that, I never dreamt that Unicode was so vast as to contain a special character for a "pile of poo."
Name: PILE OF POO
Block: Miscellaneous Symbols And Pictographs
Category: Symbol, Other [So]
Index entries: POO, PILE OF
Comments: dog dirt
Version: Unicode 6.0.0 (October 2010)
HTML Entity: 💩
Here is "Pile of Poo" in whatever font your browser renders this page in: 💩
Unicode Character 'PILE OF POO' (U+1F4A9) Read the rest