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Linguistic purism and conlangs

This blog previously delved into the question of foreign diacritics and whether or not to include them in English text. Mulling this issue again recently led me off down another rabbit hole to investigate linguistic purism in… Read More

October 4, 2022 by Alison Tunley

Linguistic purism and conlangs

This blog previously delved into the question of foreign diacritics and whether or not to include them in English text. Mulling this issue again recently led me off down another rabbit hole to investigate linguistic purism in English. Some time ago, I came across the piece “Uncleftish Beholding” by American…

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September 27, 2022 by Alison Tunley

Idiosyncratic word definitions

When we acquire language, we build up an internal store of semantic information that allows us to interpret the meaning of words when we encounter them again. Generally, this process is remarkably successful, but every so often it misfires, and a word is filed away in our brain with an…

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September 20, 2022 by Alison Tunley

UK school modern language learning: a 2022 status update

The decline in numbers of UK school pupils taking modern language has been widely documented over recent years, including by the British Council, The Guardian, and in this blog. The British Council’s annual Language Trends survey for 2022 shows no sign of this tendency reversing and highlights the specific impact…

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September 13, 2022 by Alison Tunley

Back to Blighty after the dog days of summer

Overly literal translations are the scourge of a translator’s professional life, but when heading off on holiday they can become a source of endless amusement. I now have my family trained to look out for examples of linguistic faux pas, as previously documented in this blog. As my kids have…

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September 6, 2022 by Alison Tunley

This, that and the other: proximal and distal demonstratives

Until very recently, my knowledge of proximal and distal demonstratives could have fitted not so much on a postage stamp as a pin head. That was until I set about researching a translation habit of mine that I had spotted in my German to English work. Over many years, I…

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August 30, 2022 by Alison Tunley

Unintelligible movies are creating subtitle addicts – Part II

The previous blog post highlighted the way technological advances in sound editing have potentially tempted directors to defer responsibility for the clarity of recorded dialogue to the post-production sound engineers. Technology has had a huge impact on the modern film industry, enabling all sorts of tricks and special effects that…

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August 23, 2022 by Alison Tunley

Unintelligible movies are creating subtitle addicts – Part I

Are you one of those people who routinely watches TV with the subtitle on because otherwise you can’t understand what the characters are talking about? You are not alone. Although there may be a tendency to wax lyrical about a golden age of crisp enunciation and crystal clear sound, there…

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August 16, 2022 by Alison Tunley

The Voynich manuscript: unfathomable yet alluring

This blog has tackled impenetrable texts before when discussing the mysterious runic inscriptions on the Rök stone in Sweden, but few texts can rival the Voynich manuscript for intrigue. This hand-written tome is composed in an otherwise unknown writing system, which has defied all kinds of cryptographers over the years,…

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Maximus Crushing and Screening

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