Language & Learning
They couldn’t find one, and so they simply made their own list of the “Top 100 Language Blogs” . That’s how the people over at LexioPhiles explained their motivation for searching through 300 blogs, sorting them by “three main categories: content, consistency and interactivity”. They also made some lists about language Podcasts, most spoken languages and translation blunders (see picture, courtesy of failblog.org). LexioPhiles belongs to bab.la, which purports to become the “Wikipedia of languages”.
Following a link on the Bremer Sprachblog about people being stigmatized for their dialect, I stumbled upon the work of Babara Soukup. In her own account, she is “fascinated by the study of language attitudes and ideology” and did her PhD about “The strategic use of Austrian dialect in interaction”. She worked on “Language attitudes in the United States towards Southern American English” as well.
For the original interview in German click here.
Frank Schröder is one of the two authors of the German dubbing of the acclaimed television series “the Wire”. In an interview with Babbel Blog, he speaks about the difficulties of translating the dialogue-rich series, which portrays the day to day goings-on of the police and drug dealing millieu in Baltimore. The series has been running for the past few weeks on German pay television. Schröder not only took care of direction for the dubbing of the first season, but he also dubbed the voice of the role of the policeman “Herc”.
Babbel-Blog: Even in the USA, some have to use subtitles to understand what’s happening in the show, because the slang can be almost incomprehensible to the untrained ear. As authors of the dubbing text, were you a bit stunned at first?
Frank Schröder: At first we were a bit stunned…when the raw translation of the first episodes were ready. I had a look at them together with “continuity,” that is, the English script and the German raw translation. That way I could understand a lot more than on the first look. My English isn’t that bad, but that way it was more understandable in some places.
For the English translation click here.
Frank Schröder ist einer der beiden Autoren der deutschen Synchronfassung der vielgelobten US-Serie „The Wire“. Im Interview mit dem Babbel-Blog spricht er über die Schwierigkeiten bei der Übersetzung der dialogreichen Serie, die den Alltag von Polizisten und dem Drogendealermilieu in Baltimore schildert. Sie läuft seit September im deutschen Pay-TV. Schröder führte nicht nur Regie bei der Synchronisation der ersten Staffel, sondern spricht auch eine der Rolle – die des Polizisten Herc (siehe Bild).
Babbel-Blog: In den USA war es wohl so, dass selbst US-Amerikaner die Serie mit Untertitel sehen mussten, weil der Slang so unverständlich für ungeübte Ohren war. Mussten sie da als Autor der Synchronfassung erst einmal schlucken?
Frank Schröder: Ich musste erstmal schlucken und habe dann auch, als die Rohübersetzung der ersten Folgen fertig waren – da habe ich mir sie zusammen mit der „Continuity“, d.h. mit dem englischen Drehbuchtext und der deutschen Rohübersetzung angeschaut. Dadurch konnte ich viel mehr verstehen als bei der ersten Ansicht. Mein Englisch ist jetzt nicht das Schlechteste, aber es war dann doch an einigen Stellen verständlicher.
Last week we had Mara interviewing the Dialect Doctor, who claims to cure accents and strengthen dialects. Well, now here is databank of roughly nearly 1,000 speech samples: Native and non-native speakers of English all read the same English paragraph; the recordings are collected and listenable over at the speech accent archive. They have the nice feature of a world map with a red flag from every region they’ve got a sample from. Click on the flag for an audiofile and a phonetic transcription.
It’s not just the free-market myth that’s crumbling these days: Anne Sodermann, Michigan State University professor emeritus of Family and Child, spent some hundred hours in a bilingual Mandarin-English Kindergarten in Bejing. In a recent study (Powerpoint-presentation here), watching 3 to 6 year old children from 16 nationalities, she came to a surprising conclusion: “There’s a wide-held perception that if children are very young, learning(another) language is extremely easy for them – that they are like sponges – and that is just not true. Their motivations for doing so are very different from those of older children or adults,” says Sodermann.
Maybe too cowed to weed out the actual message(s) from last night’s American presidential debate, the media’s now wringing their hands over “body language“. Once again, more than what Senators Barack Obama and John McCain said, it’s how they said it. A nice bear hug at the end deflected the damage of McCain pointing and referring to Obama as “that one,” or Obama audibly sighing and shaking his head.
Paralanguage — tone and vocal nuance — was just as crucial. Obama apparently made a big boo-boo and came off as a bit alienating by eschewing a middle American twang and saying ‘Pahk-istan’ and ‘Tahl-iban’. The winner? More or less consensus is: if we’re speaking in body language, it was Obama. But if we’re speaking in paralanguage, McCain is ooooo-one for ZEEE-ro.
One language they did NOT speak in — or about — in last night’s debate, however, was Spanish. (more…)
Babbel Blog factsheets provide the media, students and curious types with a comprehensive overview about language-learning and eLearning-topics. Download factsheet no.1 about eLearning here (pdf)
According to a mysterious “language monitoring service” cited by CNN, Sarah Palin , the American Republican vice presidential candidate, spoke at a tenth grade level (due to her astute use of “passive deflections”) at last week’s debate, while her Democratic counterpart Joe Biden managed only to graduate from the 8th. The analysis however championed form over content: the web is abuzz with lamentations on the distance between the sign and the signified in Palin’s spoken word. Palin’s particular brand of talk has come to be know as “Palindrome“, on par with the “Bushism” or “Dubyaspeak“. The blogosphere has particularly glommed onto her use of the term “maverick”, which she used at least six times in the televised debate, sparking discontent among the Mavericks of Texas themselves, who have come out in the New York Times to defend the word’s etymology and wrest it back from the frontwards-backwards nature of the Palindrome.
I’ve always found it curious that the Americans have no centralized institution which establishes the end-all be-all of language. I mean, something along the lines of the German Rechtschreibungen, grammars that all of which incorporated a rather catastrophic spelling reform mandated by an official agreement between German-speaking countries in 1996. Or the Real Academia Española (the Royal Spanish Academy) which purports to maintain propriety, elegance, and purity in the Spanish language, and consistently has conferences all over Spain and Latin America deliberating which words are worthy of inclusion. The North American language, however, is a bit federated, you could say… if not Balkanized.
For the Brits, one of the closest things to language royalty – along with Oxford’s, of course – would be Collins’ Dictionary, which has recently gotten positively ruthless in cutting words it deems obsolete. The Times along with other linguistic luminaries have taken up the case to save “endangered” words from institutional oblivion, by using them in public, and so reviving them.
I’m willing to wager that even those who’ve been speaking English their whole lives couldn’t tell you with confidence what a bogey or a mulligan is. Sports vocabulary has always constituted something of a rarefied language. I mean, words like scrimmage, sack or blitz have got to sound like Greek to the unintiated. Yet the LPGA (the US-based Ladies Professional Golf Association) recently took an iron swing at the rest of the world — and female golfers from Asia and Latin America in particular — when it attempted to implement a mandatory basic English language oral test for all of its members, failure of which would have meant suspension of playing privileges.