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Translating specialist terminology: Part II Resist loyalty to dictionary definition

The previous blog described examples where specialist terminology lacks a direct equivalent in the target language. This week we take a tour of vocabulary that appears at first sight to have an obvious translation but where the dictionary… Read More

March 15, 2022 by Alison Tunley

Linguistic immortality – people who would rather their name was forgotten

Getting your name in the dictionary by having something named after you might seem to be a pretty cool achievement, a way to achieve linguistic immortality. The list of things named after people is extensive. Not surprisingly, many of these items are inventions named after their creator, such as jacuzzi,…

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March 1, 2022 by Alison Tunley

An ugly plural for a rather ugly vegetable: kohlrabies

Like most translators, I have a love-hate relationship with my spell checker. I begrudgingly admit it regularly saves me from crimes against punctuation and grammar, but sometimes it has a slightly hectoring tone and other times I just downright disagree with it. For better or worse, it was the Microsoft…

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February 22, 2022 by Alison Tunley

Definitely no definite article for Ukraine

Ukraine is currently in the news for all the wrong reasons. Less controversially it has been hanging out in my folder of “unwritten” blog post ideas ever since I stumbled across this 2014 Time magazine article about use of the definite article “the” in the country’s name. The journalist recounts…

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February 17, 2022 by Alison Tunley

Cryptanalysis, frequency analysis and ciphers

This blog recently examined different strategies for solving Codeword puzzles, including frequency analysis or letter counting. This involves using an understanding of the frequency of occurrence and distribution of different letters to decipher encrypted text. Frequency analysis is a specific type of cryptanalysis, which more broadly means the analysis of…

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February 8, 2022 by Alison Tunley

The Nigel Molesworth guide to grammar and spelling

Like most kids, my three offspring regard parental advice with a hefty dose of suspicion, including when it comes to book recommendations. So, one of my proudest parenting successes was listening to the gales of laughter from my youngest child’s bedroom after I had cajoled him into reading my ancient…

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February 1, 2022 by Alison Tunley

The purposive approach to interpreting legal meaning

Recently this blog took a brief tour of three different approaches to interpreting legal meaning in English law. These strategies range from literal interpretations to broader interpretations aimed at avoiding absurd legal results, and an even freer approach to statutory interpretation allowing judges to effectively plug gaps in the Acts…

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January 28, 2022 by Alison Tunley

A victory for loud people

We hear a lot about free speech, not so much about “loud speech”. But this was the topic that dominated a recent legal ruling in the UK. Dr Annette Plaut had worked as a physicist at Essex University for 30 years when she was dismissed, with the university citing the…

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January 18, 2022 by Alison Tunley

Sound symbolism: the bouba/kiki effect

  Look at the shapes depicted on the left. In a 2001 study on sound symbolism, VS Ramachandran and Edward Hubbard report that 95% of people pick the right image as kiki and the left as bouba. (Subjects are told the words are from a Martian language and are asked…

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January 11, 2022 by Alison Tunley

Statutory interpretation: understanding the letter and spirit of the law

‘Small men command the letter of the law. Great men serve its spirit.’ J.C. Marino The idea that someone might adhere to the letter of the law while violating its spirit is an acknowledgement that there is room for manoeuvre when it comes to interpreting legislation. Indeed, this principle is…

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Maximus Crushing and Screening

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