December 4th, 2007

rovás, varpho
  • varpho

lost in translation

i'm not sure if it was discussed here earlier, if so, please point me to the thread.

in Polish, the word for 'elephant' ["słoń"] comes from Turkic word for 'lion': "aslan". and Polish word for 'camel' ["wielbłąd"] is thought to come from Gotic word for 'elephant': "ulbandus".


in Hungarian, there was a movement for regeneration of the language ["nyelvújítás"] and a lot of word was coined then [in 18th and 19th century]. these neologisms were coined in many different ways: by derivation, composition, by using archaisms and dialectism, by making portmanteaux etc. but one category was especially brilliant: words that arose due to typographic errors. :] ["főveg", "kög", "minta", "nemtő", "sirám", "vezekelni"].

do you know similar examples in other languages?

"Racked up"

Someone pointed out to me that I say "racked up" quite a bit - and, according to this particular speaker, they consider it bizarre and asked why I wouldn't say "raked up" instead. For instance, I said, "I racked my brain but couldn't find anything," and then later asked, "What bad karma have I racked up to deserve this?"

Now, I understand that racked up in this sense is some sort of English idiom, but what I'm wondering is, how common is it in every day speech? Has anyone heard it used frequently, or is it one of those oddball phrases? And any idea where it might have come from or is more prominent - is it American English, British English, universally English, what have you? Now that I think about it, I haven't heard very many people aside from myself use it, regardless of where I happen to go, so it's rather got me thinking.


Hi all, time for a bit of linguisticky, languageous frivolity.

You may or may not be familiar with the charming work of one Mr. Catface. Love it.

What I'm ideally looking for is various Catface translations into other languages...Collapse )

Also, does anyone know what kind of accent Catface is meant to have? Thank you to all who participate!
spn; highway men


This may seem like a strange query, but I was wondering if anyone in this community could recommend any four- or two-year universities that offer a strong foreign language program, more specifically in the Romance languages. I'm currently a senior in high school and am hoping to pursue a career that requires the usage of multiple languages. I am already studying French and Spanish and hoping to start Italian in the Spring. Could anyone here suggest a school that would help me further my education in this field?

Thank you!

Spanish orthography and other issues

I live in New York City, so I end up seeing a lot of Spanish in advertisements everywhere I go. A good quarter of the ads and posters I see are in Spanish.

I can read and speak Spanish; I learned it in school, but I am not a native speaker. However, it seems like a sizable portion of the signs I see have glaring orthographic and grammatical errors. Like this subway ad that I recently photographed:

(link goes to full size)

I can count four accentuation errors and two grammatical errors (switch from Usted to tú form; vacúnase instead of vacúnese), and I might be missing more. And this is an advertisement commissioned by the government, so presumably it was professionally translated. I continue to see ads that are as bad as this or worse everyday, and only very rarely do I see English ads with similar levels of mistakes.

So I guess what I'm asking is... what sort of factors cause this sort of inattention to rules? If this was a casual note from one person to another, I'd understand, but they're advertisements that cost tens of thousands of dollars to display. Is there a general problem with or loosening of rules for orthography in the Spanish language in the United States? Are there just a lot of careless translators? Or... what?
pixelated moi
  • tisoi

Name these languages - who got what right so far...

It's a day earlier than I had planned, but I decided to let you all know who got what right so far in my Name these languages game.

Below are the correct answers and the first person who answered them. It's in the LJ-CUT for those who still want to guess.

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So do you guys like games like this? Let me know. I know this one was hard. I am planning a "matching" game the next time around. I'm toying around with difficulty levels.

ETA: I guess the game is over as all the mystery languages have been correctly guessed! yay!