February 16th, 2012

  • ami_ven

Hispanic Culture/Language

Is 'Hispanic' the word I'm supposed to use anymore? I really don't mean to offend anyone...

I just started a new job at a plant where many of the other workers speak Spanish. When I introduced myself, I said, "My name is Katie". It's short for Catherine, and I pronounce it Kay-tee. Many of them heard 'kitty' (a small cat) and one of the guys keeps saying Kah-tee. Then I thought another asked, "Is it Kate?" (which I also answer to) but he meant 'cake'.

'Katie' is a pretty common English name- is it not so common in Spanish-speaking cultures? Could it be that I had a sore throat when I started work, and just wasn't speaking clearly? Or, are they just teasing me by pronouncing it that way? (Which is fine, because they're all really nice there).


EDIT: Thanks to those who've commented, but I don't actually want to make them say my name any one way, I was just wondering why they would pick the ways they did.
test card

Languages of Ethiopia

I have an opportunity to do some volunteer work in the Omo River region of Ethiopia this coming winter. I've already started in on learning Amharic, and I'm starting to look into learning some Oromo. What fascinates and worries me are the local languages. There appear to be around a dozen languages or so (at least) spoken along the Omo River, primarily of the Omotic family (which might be either Cushitic (like Oromo) or Semitic (like Amharic)), but others too. They seem to be sparsely documented at best.

I'm not actually going on a linguistic fieldwork trip, but it would seem a waste of an opportunity not to at least try to do some fieldwork while I'm there.

Does anyone have any pointers on any of these languages beyond what can be found on Wikipedia and WALS? For that matter, what advice do y'all have on learning by immersion in a situation where there may well be no language directly in common?
general: pardon my french

"Please take off your shoes" in... well, lots of languages

Hey linguaphiles!

I have a housewarming party coming up. As my two housemates and I are all (psycho-)linguists, we'd like to have a sign saying "Please take off your shoes" in the native languages of our party guests. Don't tell me about the social protocol about such things, I'm just the one executing the task of getting the request translated. ;)

So, could you tell me how to say "Please take off your shoes" in:
(If applicable, the informal singular imperative seems most appropriate for our guests. Feel free to note if that sounds off to your native ears, though. :))

Thank you so much in advance!