May 1st, 2007


(no subject)

I have a question to all of those who teach or study interpreting. I was wondering whether at your university/ school there are entrance exams for students who want to study interpreting. With entrance exams I mean tests that are designed to find out whether a student has certain abilities that are needed in order to become a conference interpreter, not the final exam where the student has to show that he's already able to work as an interpreter.

I'm asking because at the university where I teach, we're in the process of developping a new entrance exam for those students who want to study interpreting. So I'm curious to hear other opinions and experiences on that matter.

(cross-posted to linguaphiles and interlingual)


Why is there this tale that Dutch is hard to master? Is it really that hard? I've checked out some grammars and it seems tolerable, though I haven't heard it spoken. I was even told Dutch was hard by my lecturer, who has reading knowledge of it. Granted that the morphology might be tough for us English speakers but is there any grounding for this belief? It doesn't help that English is so widely spoken in the Netherlands. How can you practice, heh.
baby and me

Pitch and tone

I've been having trouble answering a question a colleague of mine had:

Could you explain the difference between inflection (change in pitch) & intonation (variation of tone)?

Can anyone help me out here? Sources wouldbe helpful. I keep running into sources that barely touch the topic of these two things.

Thank you!

studying in Quebec

I finally received word from my school's International Center for studying French in Quebec.

Realistically, here are my three options:

1 Quebec City (Université Laval; summer or semester),

2 Montreal (Université de Montréal; summer only)

3 Chicoutimi (Université du Québec à Chicoutimi; summer or semester)

I want to do a whole semester, so that takes out #2 Montreal (I didn't really want to go to Montreal anyway).

So if you consider that I will only have FRN 101 and possibly FRN 102 under my belt by the time I go to Quebec, which option do you recommend and why?

Merci merci!
The lovers dreamers and me
  • umpa2


Well reading New Scientist i came across two fascinating Articles, well i found them interesting.
The first one was about Blue the Colour and how Russian Speakers can differentiate its shades better then English speakers.

Russian speakers get the blues

The language you speak can affect how you see the world, a new study of colour perception indicates. Native speakers of Russian – which lacks a single word for "blue" – discriminated between light and dark blues differently from their English-speaking counterparts, researchers found.

the next is about Chimpanzee's and Bonobos.

Bonobos and chimps 'speak' with gestures

Human spoken language may have evolved from a currency of hand and arm gestures, not simply through improvements in the basic vocalisations made by primates.

This "gesture theory" of language evolution has been given weight by new findings showing that the meaning of a primate's gesture depends on the context in which it is used, and on what other signals are being given at the same time. Gesture is used more flexibly than vocalised communication in nonhuman primates, the researchers found.

Just though i would share.
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    Angela Aki

Intro and Question

Hi folks, first time poster here, so I'll give some background:

English - my native language.
Latin - two years in middle school, most of which I don't remember.
French - two years in high school, some of which I remember.
German - just under two semesters in college, some of which I remember.
Sanskrit - three years at a very slow pace, then two years at a fairly intense pace. I may stick with classes for another year or two or just read on my own from here on out.
Tibetan - one summer, and one semester. I stopped because it wasn't as useful as other languages for my studies.
Hindi - one year, and I intend to continue for another year or two, possibly with an intensive summer thrown in.
Tamil - next on the agenda. I might start it in September if I decide to do Sanskrit on my own.

I'm finishing up my MA in religion at Columbia (focus on South Asia, in case you didn't guess), then I'll be heading to Syracuse for my PhD.

I'm thinking about freshening up my German or French this summer. I need to develop a reading knowledge of one or the other for my PhD at the very least, but I think I'd ultimately like to be able to speak both with at least some level of proficiency. I'll figure that out as I go along, but for now I'm interested in doing some German on my own this summer. Anyone out there have any recommendations in terms of books, software, etc. that might be good?


This is a subject I've been thinking about for a while, and the more I think about it, the more confusing it becomes. What exactly is a cliché? We are supposed to avoid using them in writing, but, when I look at lists of clichés, inevitably, I see words and phrases that I think are just idioms of the language, and not clichés at all. For example, I have seen on one list phrases like: king's english, give a damn, hard to believe, life imitates art, freudian slip, etc. These are just random examples of phrases I do not believe are clichés at all. Some are convenient ways of expressing ideas that would require more words and time to explain (how else would you say 'freudian slip'?) or they're just inherited phrases. Much of our conversation with each other involves patterns of expressions and formulaic language. If all fixed expressions really are to be avoided, I think discourse could hardly go on, even in writing. Is 'how are you?' 'I'm fine, thanks' clichéd?
Some cultures highly value what we would call clichés because it shows cultural fluency. Why are English (among others?) speakers so allergic to them?
What is a cliché? Are all idioms clichés?
My Own Private Idaho

Non-roman characters on the computer

I just picked up a new computer (finally!) and I have a lot of software written in non-romanized letters...however, I can't remember how to get my computer to read them as anything other than nonesense letters and questions marks! I seem to remember needing to get an IME but when I try download one it tells me that I don't have the proper version of Microsoft Office to run it (I have 2003)...and in addition, I can no longer write in anything other than English, not even Spanish to my relatives anymore. I have a feeling I need the same thing for both of these problems but...yeah, I just can't remember. Anyone know what I need to do? Thanks!