June 9th, 2008


Computer help.

I found an ASP code page on our live web server written by someone named zehirhacker@xxxxxxx.com (not actual address) that appears to delete a bunch of files and folders and contains some text in a language I don't understand. Can anyone tell me what language it is and what it means?
Here is a sample: Bu Dosya Okunam?yor\nSistem dosyas? olabilir

I think it is Turkish but I am not sure.

Français de vache espagnole

Chers amis!

I've got a question to native speakers of French.

As far as I remember from my school French lessons, the phrase "Je veux lui envoyer l'argent" could mean both "I want to send him the money" and "I want to send her the money". If it's not understood from the context whether you send the money to him or to her you could say "Je veux envoyer l'argent à lui" (...to him) or "Je veux envoyer l'argent à elle" (...to her).

A friend of mine who knows French much better than me says that the form "Je veux envoyer l'argent à elle" is obsolete and that I would never hear it in contemporary French. Is that really so?

Merci d'avance.

Case explanations should come with a warning

I never had a problem with grammatical cases in and of themselves. The explanations that came with along with the accusative, dative, instrumental, etc. were all logical and clear. But what tripped me up is how cases (in languages that have such a grammatical feature) often end up being used in a way that has nothing to do with the their actual "function".

You end up with for example Polish which has has nouns in the instrumental case after the verb "to be", or at least I think it's the instrumental. In such a simple sentence such as "I am a student" why in the world would the word student end up being in the instrumental case? It makes no sense.

From my foggy memory I think this would be "Jestem studentem" as opposed to just "Jestem student".

These are the things that baffle me about cases. Is there any reasoning to how these sort of things develop or is it just idiomatic and illogical like so many other parts of language?

Poetry Fishbowl on Wednesday June 11

Writing is usually considered a solitary pursuit. One exception to this is a fascinating exercise called a "fishbowl." This has various forms, but all of them basically involve some kind of writing in public, usually with interaction between author and audience. A famous example is Harlan Ellison's series of "stories under glass" in which he sits in a bookstore window and writes a new story based on an idea that someone gives him. Writing classes sometimes include a version where students watch each other write, often with students calling out suggestions which are chalked up on the blackboard for those writing to use as inspiration.

I'm going to host a Poetry Fishbowl on my blog on Wednesday, June 11. (Gods and weather willing; we've had a lot of service outages recently. If that happens again, I'll reschedule.) This time the theme will be languages, linguistics, and linguists. I'll be soliciting ideas for characters, settings, historic or current events, languages, types of wordplay, and poetic forms in particular. Chances are I'll spend a good chunk of the day, from afternoon to evening or more, alternating between this site and doing stuff offline so my back doesn't weld itself to the chair. I will post at least one of the resulting fishbowl poems on the blog for everyone to enjoy. The rest will be available for audience members to buy, and whatever's left over will go into my archive for magazine submission.

If you enjoy my poetry -- or if you just love poetry in general, or want to promote language arts & sciences -- please mark the fishbowl date on your calendar. Drop by and give me some ideas, comment on the posted poetry, encourage people to come look, whatever tickles your fancy. I hope to see you then!
  • milram

Thesis Translation?

Hi all,

This is perhaps slightly off topic, but I hope it's okay nevertheless.

I wrote an academic thesis this year and have been toying with the idea of having it translated into Spanish. I could do a translation myself, but it would take me a very long time, and I'm not sure it would end up being quite the level of quality I am looking for, since I just don't have that much practice with very formal academic Spanish.

My problem is the cost - the thesis is about 12,400 words/47 pages long, and at what I think is a fairly standard rate (10 cents/word) that gets into a price range that I definitely can't afford. Does anyone know if there are any schools of translations whose students might be willing to take on such a job for cheaper? I guess the only other alternative I could think of would be Proz.com....

This is not something I'm planning to do immediately, but if anyone here has any interest in offering me a discounted rate because of the length of the job, let me know for future reference. FYI, the thesis deals with rural community development projects in aymara communities.

Thanks everyone!

x-posted to translators
steak yum

When you don't know the words

I've heard English speakers using "da da da", "la la la", or "doo doo doo" when singing a song without words or one they don't know the words to.  Among Hebrew speakers I've heard "ta na na" or "da da di da", and often "nay nay nay", "ay yay yay" or "oy yoy yoy" for religious melodies.  Which filler sounds have you heard in other languages or cultures?