January 11th, 2008


i need opinions!

hey all!

i'm proofreading a manual for an air conditioner that is written in english, but it was translated from korean by someone who (i suspect) is not a native english speaker. so the english is ok, but it's spotty in some places.

i need some advice--at one point, the manual says: "The air conditioner is not intended for use by young children or invalids without supervision."

now. i'm pretty sure that a u.s. company is not going to want to print and distribute a manual that uses the term "invalids," but i'm not up on what the best word would be. is 'handicapped' the proper formal term? 'physically disabled'?

opinions please! gracias...

***EDIT--thank you to everyone! i've already turned in my proofing, so thank you very much. in the meantime, we've started some interesting discussions here...as always, GO linguaphiles! :) ***

Yet another language learning tool

I'm always on the lookout for unusual and innovative ways one can practice his language skills, so when I just recently discovered and started playing an online game called Travian that is available in over 20 different languages I thought not only is it fun, but it could definitely be a great language learning tool.


As per the description on the main page, "Travian is a browser game featuring a world with thousands of other real players. One begins the game acting as a chief of a tiny village."

It's a simple, slow-paced strategy game with the goal of developing one's own village into an empire. The language learning aspect comes in with regard to the fact that the game is interactive and has versions in a large variety of languages. Not only is the game's interface in the language... but all the other players are fluent speakers which gives you the opportunity to interact in the language you're learning. Players can send messages with one another and the game is in general fairly social.

Aside from the interactivity, the interface of the game is also a great way to learn. To show you what I mean, here is a screenshot of the game's Swedish version:

So as you can see, there's great vocabulary to be learned: words like marketplace and raw material, many basic verbs such as "buy"/"offer", and the names of the game's resources: clay, wood, iron and wheat. And this is just one small snapshot of the game's many features.

Learning how to play the game via having the interface in another language is a great exercise. And of course if you can't understand something you can always check the English version (or whatever version is your native language).

So anyway, I hope you all start playing in the language you're learning!


Are there any linguistics podcasts out there? Alternatively, does anyone know of any grammar podcasts for foreign languages? I've found one for German (German Grammar Pod), but I'm curious if there are others out there.

I am listening to Grammar Girl (which I enjoy), and the 1/10/2008 episode (episode 91) discusses the use of "yo" as a slang third-personal gender neutral pronoun. Evidently a group of children in Baltimore, MD have begun using this as a slang term. There is a linguistics professor who contributed some information to the podcast, and wrote a paper on it. I think the podcast is worth a listen (it's about 5minutes, 35 seconds) and there's some information and a request from the linguistics professor on if others have heard "yo" used in such a fashion. The podcast info is at http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/default.aspx
llama rain

(no subject)

I was watching a vid on youtube while trying to amuse myself while couching and spewing my disease over the cat when I came across this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dlr8fj4Y00&feature=related

It features a guy called Sid Caesar who is doing his double talk thing where he talks absolute gobbledegook but in an accent which makes it sound like an real language like french or japanese. To me, who can't speak either of these languages fluently (though a bit of french) it sounds authentic, but how about those of you who do know these languages really well? Are his accents good?

Go watch the vid anyway because it is quite funny.
  • Current Mood
    curious curious


Does anyone know what the etymology behind "Zzz" is? Like, origins/first appearance in English/etc? I know most onomatopoeic words don't sound much like the actual sound they're imitating, but even this one's a bit of a stretch.
  • Current Music
    Ani DiFranco - Callous
What can I say?

All right vs Alright

Hey, everyone, I'm interested in hearing your opinions on this.

I was having a talk earlier with one of my friends about the usage of 'all right' and 'alright'. I know gramatically that 'all right' is the one to use, though my friend was saying that since 'alright' is being used more and more often (I don't have any statistics on this, that is just their words) that it should be seen as also correct.

I switch between the two when writing, though when writing essays and papers I try to use 'all right', and for the most part I don't have an opinion one way or the other as to whether 'alright' should be seen as also being gramatically correct.

My question is this- do you think 'alright' should be seen as correct, and as a way to differentiate between everything being okay ('alright') and correct ('all right'), or should it still be seen as a spelling mistake?