The Linguist

The Linguist 53,4

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Vol/53 No/4 2014 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER The Linguist 5 My English Words was about the way those initially soulless and alien words begin to assert their familiarity… It ended with the feeling that, for all their familiarity, the words remained strange; voluptuous but behind thick glass, 'beautiful opiates/as brilliant as poppies, as absurd'. That seems an unnatural place for language, but a second language always retains its brilliant, opiate character, especially if you are a poet whose every perception and process is articulated through it. 'George Szirtes: What being bilingual means for my writing and identity', 3/5/14 What the papers say… When a word of one type is taken unchanged for use as another type – most commonly when we verb something – the linguistic term is zero derivation, also known as conversion. But these marketing usages are not aiming simply to noun an adjective for convenience. They aim, as so much marketing does, to produce a striking effect. The word for what they're doing – forcing a word into an unexpected grammatical slot for effect – is anthimeria… The qualities named by the adjectives are being transmuted into magical things. Neal Whitman has observed that we can talk about 'buckets of fail' and 'bags of win' – we imagine fail and win as bulk items. 'How Advertisers Trick your Brain by Turning Adjectives into Nouns', 13/5/14 According to a leaked memo, Indian officials must now use Hindi in all official posts on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Ministers have also ordered officials, many of whom do not speak fluent Hindi, to use the language in presentations. The disclosure provoked an angry response from state leaders across the country yesterday, who resent the imposition of Hindi. 'Indian Officials Ordered to Ditch English for Hindi', 20/6/14 The latest from the languages world NEWS & EDITORIAL EU Parliament opts for English Data released by the European Parliament has revealed that English is used for legislative sessions more often than any of the other 24 official EU languages. According to statistics published by The Guardian, German was spoken for 77 hours in European parliamentary debates in 2012, compared to 130 hours of English. This is despite the fact that the German/Austrian Christian Democrats are allocated the most speaking time as the largest parliamentary group. Olga Cosmidou, Director-General for Interpretation and Conferences in the European Parliament, believes that this is partly because legislative files are usually prepared in English – one of the Commission's three working languages (along with French and German) and the only language spoken by all the Commissioners. "The Commissioners find it easier to speak in the language in which they have their papers prepared," she explained. Happy sounds A study has found that articulating certain vowel sounds can make people feel happier or sadder and, conversely, that we are more likely to use those sounds depending on whether we are in a positive or negative mood. The German research team, led by Professors Ralf Rummer and Martine Grice, wanted to find out why the long /i:/ vowel sound appears more often in positive words, such as 'like' and 'admire', while the long /o:/ is found more often in negative words, such as 'lonely'. They found that the invented words made up by participants who had been watching positive film clips had significantly more /i:/ sounds than those who had watched negative clips, where /o:/ sounds were more common. In addition, repeating the /i:/ sound while watching cartoons made them seem funnier. Moral concerns Our moral compass is affected by whether or not we are speaking our native language, according to new research from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain. A team led by Dr Albert Costa gave participants an ethical dilemma: would you push a fat man in front of a train to save the lives of five people on the track? When asked in their native language, 80% of people said 'no', but this fell to 67% when they were asked in another language. Dr Costa believes this is because the brain has to consider more carefully what it is saying when speaking a language it doesn't know well, enabling it to make more pragmatic decisions. In a globalised world where people increasingly use non-native languages to make important decisions, the question is whether such calculated reasoning is desirable. 'T HE HEMICYCLE', SAIBO, 3/12/08 VIA WIKIPEDIA; CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY/2.0/

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