Library or bookshop? Fabric or factory? Avoiding common false friends

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

by Liz Walter

Maskot/GettyImages

Sometimes words look the same or similar in two different languages but have different meanings. We call these words ‘false friends’ because they seem as though they will be ‘friendly’ and easy to learn, but they trick us into making mistakes. In this post, I will discuss a few false friends with English: I have tried to pick ones that are problematic for speakers of several other languages.

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New words – 28 January 2019

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty

Blue Monday
noun [C]
/ˌbluː.ˈmʌn.deɪ/
the third Monday in January, said to be the most depressing day of the year

Arnall devised a literal mathematical formula to arrive at the Blue Monday theory. It factors in weather, debt and time since Christmas, timing of New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels, and the urgent feeling that you need to take action. It also reflects that Monday is regarded as the worst day of the week with many dreading the prospect of returning to work.
[www.mnn.com, 15 January 2019]

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Hemingwayese

Hemingwayese: Ernest Hemingway and the OED
Please note: this blog post discusses language that some readers may find offensive.

Ernest Hemingway, born on the 21st July, 1899, is remembered as one of the greatest voices in American writing. He was a journalist, an ambulance driver during the First World War, a fan of drinking, bullfights, fishing, and hunting, and a prolific writer of short stories and novels. He was also the recipient of the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature, and he is known for his direct and unadorned prose. Though he never sought to overcomplicate his prose with weighty literary words, he still made a lasting impact on the English language, and these are recorded in the occasions of his name in the Oxford English Dictionary.

It’s notable that the first example given in the OED for the word ‘by-line’ – the line in a newspaper or magazine article that names the author – comes from Hemingway’s 1926 usage in Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises – ‘I sorted out the carbons, stamped on a by-line’. A further example of the word in the OED, from Punch magazine in the 1960s, reads: ‘To win a by-line is… the rising newspaperman’s dream’. Impressive, then, that the young newspaperman Hemingway not only won by-lines, but now has his name alongside the term itself.

Hemingway’s fondness for the drink is also indicated by some of his words. He managed to import to English several foreign words relating to drinking, some of these apparently for the first time. He mentions ‘Izarra’, a herb-infused brandy liqueur drunk in the Pyrenees, and he currently provides first example for ‘anis’, a variant on ‘anise’ or ‘anisette’, for any liqueur or wine flavoured with aniseed. His writings are also used as the first examples of ‘salut’ as a drinking toast (‘good health!’) taken from the French, and the Spanish equivalent ‘salud’ – one thing you can say for certain was that Hemingway, who travelled extensively throughout his life, was an international drinker. He also enjoyed a snack or two with his alcohol, and he brought to English ‘mariscos’ – a Spanish or Portuguese dish of mixed shellfish, to be, as he wrote, ‘eaten in the cafés while drinking beer’ – as well as ‘scallopini’, thin slices of fried or sautéed meats.

A point of return for Hemingway in his writing was bullfighting. Both Death in the Afternoon and Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises deal with the sport extensively and unflinchingly. It’s little surprise that some of the terms associated with it that appear in the OED – usually Spanish words – got there by way of his work. A brief lexicon of bullfighting terms that Hemingway gives example to in the dictionary would include coleta (a pigtail worn by a bullfighter), cornada (the wound made by a bull horn), morillo (the muscle at the back of a bull’s neck that bullfighters target), morucho (a half-breed bull of mixed fighting and domestic descent), and querencia (the part of a bullfighting arena where the bull takes its stand). He is quoted for two definitions of ‘pic’, both short for ‘picador’ and for the lance carried by a picador, and for ‘mono’, a picador’s assistant (‘picador’ itself is from the Spanish verb ‘to prick’). He describes moves that are now in the dictionary, including the ‘farol’, where a bullfighter tempts the bull by passing his cloak over his own head, the ‘molinete’, in which the matador turns away from the bull as it passes (for stylish effect), and the ‘quite’, a series of passes made to distract a bull from a wounded horse. Hemingway is also cited as an example for the word ‘faena’, meaning ‘bullfighting’ itself. His knowledge and vocabulary concerning bullfighting was exhaustive, and his are still the greatest writings on a terrible sport.

It is irresistible to mention Hemingway’s word ‘whunk’, which, the OED notes, is ‘apparently only in the work of Hemingway’. The dictionary cites four occasions of the word or of a variant (‘whonk’), and it is always used as an onomatopoeic term for the sound of a bullet. Hemingway, who was seriously injured by mortar fire in Italy during the First World War, reported from Spain during the Spanish Civil War, and was a witness to the Normandy landings in the Second World War, no doubt had firsthand experience of the sound a bullet makes striking something.

No journey through Hemingway’s words would be complete without a brief mention of his coarser contributions. Along with the many and varied bullfighting terms, Hemingway brought over from Spanish the word ‘cojones’, used to mean courage, though literally, in Spanish, meaning testicles. He is listed for a 1933 use of the word ‘Chrisake’, a colloquial rolling together of the phrase ‘for Christ’s sake’ that was also put to good use by J. D. Salinger in Catcher in the Rye, and has a distinctly American sound to it. Hemingway seemed to prefer ‘crut’ to ‘crud’, the usually American slang word for excrement; he is listed twice alongside it as a noun, and once as an adjective (‘crutting’). He used the word ‘bitchingly’ in a letter of 1933, and finally, and rather wonderfully, he seems to have coined ‘shit-faced’ in 1932. However, he doesn’t use the term to mean drunk, as we might be familiar with it today – rather, his is a term of abuse for a critic he doesn’t appreciate.

Hemingway is rightly remembered for his pared-down speech and minimal sentences, and he wrote, in his lifetime, against the overuse of adjectives in journalism and literature alike; he writes that the poet Ezra Pound, in A Moveable Feast, was ‘the man who had taught me to distrust adjectives as I would later learn to distrust certain people in certain situations’. Of course, distrusting adjectives is not the same as not using them at all – ‘certain’ is an adjective, after all. But it does still feel a little ironic that Hemingway now lends his name to not one, not two, but three adjectives of his own. The OED records use of ‘Hemingwayesque’, as well as the derivatives ‘Hemingwayish’ and ‘Hemingwayan’; the latter is used by Jack Kerouac in the original text of On The Road, to describe a character’s writing. The noun ‘Hemingwayese’ – for language like Hemingway’s – is also recorded by the OED. The sense of irony in these multiple adjectives is compounded by the fact that they all refer to Hemingway’s plain-speaking manner, which he himself attributed to his lack of adjectives; an OED quotation from a scholarly essay reads ‘the opening and closing of the book are archly Hemingwayesque; some parts of the 640 pages that come between are simply Hemingwayese’. Whether or not the word ‘Hemingwayesque’ is a useful tool for critics, we can be fairly sure that Hemingway himself would never have used it.

Source: Oxford Dictionaries Blog
https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2017/07/21/ernest-hemingway-oed/?utm_source=newsletter-jan&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=odo-newsletter&utm_content=blog-oed-hemmingway-toppanel

Los 100 mejores artículos de traducción, interpretación y lengua de 2018

20 000 lenguas

Este 2018 concluye con una gran colección de artículos que hemos estado publicando al final de cada mes. El objetivo de esta iniciativa que empezó en 2015 ha sido el de acercar y descubrir temáticas nuevas, especialistas blogueros, traductores e intérpretes que quieren contarnos su historia a través de su experiencia y muchas más curiosidades del mundo profesional y académico. No podíamos faltar a la cita anual sin presentaros nuestra propuesta  que pretende resumir este año con los 100 mejores artículos publicados a lo largo de estos últimos 12 meses de 2018. ¡Os deseamos una buena lectura y un 2019 espectacular y lleno de encargos de traducción/interpretación/corrección, éxitos profesionales, académicos y personales!

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The “X” option

New York City birth certificates get gender-neutral option

By Evan Simko-Bednarski, CNN

(CNN)- A new law in New York City makes it easier for transgender and non-binary New Yorkers to match their birth certificate to their gender identity without needing a signed affidavit from a healthcare provider.

The law, which went into effect Tuesday, also creates a new label, “X,” to reflect a non-binary identity.

“Transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers deserve the right to choose how they identify and to live with respect and dignity,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement released Monday.

“Our city respects your gender identity and the right to have it affirmed on your birth certificate,” de Blasio’s office echoed in a Tuesday tweet.

Under the law, individuals born in New York City can apply to have the gender marker on their birth certificate changed by submitting a notarized application stating that the revision is to reflect their “true gender identity and is not for any fraudulent purpose.”

“You don’t need a doctor to tell you who you are and you shouldn’t need a doctor to change your birth certificate to reflect your true self,” New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in a June statement when the law was first proposed.

The “X” option will not be available at the time of birth, Michael Lanza, a spokesman for the New York City Health Department, told CNN Thursday, though it will be an option for amending youth birth certificates.

The move is the latest in the city’s efforts to reduce legal red tape for transgender and non-binary individuals. Hundreds have already received amended birth certificates with a health care provider’s signature since the city eased requirements for a gender marker change in 2015. Prior to that, individuals seeking to have their gender marker changed on their birth certificate would have had to provide proof of sex-reassignment surgery.

New York City joins the states of California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho in allowing a birth certificate change without the signature of a medical authority. New Jersey is scheduled to follow suit in February.

New York state still requires a medical professional’s signature for a gender marker change on state-issued documents, including drivers’ licenses, according to a database maintained by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

CNN’s Sonia Moghe contributed to this report

Source: CNN
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/03/health/new-york-city-gender-neutral-birth-certificate-trnd/index.html?utm_source=CNN+Five+Things&utm_campaign=8017801fa2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_01_04_12_41&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6da287d761-8017801fa2-86472957

New words and meanings coined by social media

How social media is changing language
From unfriend to selfie, social media is clearly having an impact on language. As someone who writes about social media I’m aware of not only how fast these online platforms change, but also of how they influence the language in which I write.

The words that surround us every day influence the words we use. Since so much of the written language we see is now on the screens of our computers, tablets, and smartphones, language now evolves partly through our interaction with technology. And because the language we use to communicate with each other tends to be more malleable than formal writing, the combination of informal, personal communication and the mass audience afforded by social media is a recipe for rapid change.

From the introduction of new words to new meanings for old words to changes in the way we communicate, social media is making its presence felt.

New ways of communicating
An alphabet soup of acronyms, abbreviations, and neologisms has grown up around technologically mediated communication to help us be understood. I’m old enough to have learned the acronyms we now think of as textspeak on the online forums and ‘internet relay chat’ (IRC) that pre-dated text messaging. On IRC, acronyms help speed up a real-time typed conversation. On mobile phones they minimize the inconvenience of typing with tiny keys. And on Twitter they help you make the most of your 140 characters.

Emoticons such as 😉 and acronyms such as LOL (‘laughing out loud’ – which has just celebrated its 25th birthday) add useful elements of non-verbal communication – or annoy people with their overuse. This extends to playful asterisk-enclosed stage directions describing supposed physical actions or facial expressions (though use with caution: it turns out that *innocent face* is no defence in court).

An important element of Twitter syntax is the hashtag – a clickable keyword used to categorize tweets. Hashtags have also spread to other social media platforms – and they’ve even reached everyday speech, but hopefully spoofs such as Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s sketch on The Tonight Show will dissuade us from using them too frequently. But you will find hashtags all over popular culture, from greetings cards and t-shirts to the dialogue of sitcom characters.

Syntax aside, social media has also prompted a more subtle revolution in the way we communicate. We share more personal information, but also communicate with larger audiences. Our communication styles consequently become more informal and more open, and this seeps into other areas of life and culture. When writing on social media, we are also more succinct, get to the point quicker, operate within the creative constraints of 140 characters on Twitter, or aspire to brevity with blogs.

New words and meanings
Facebook has also done more than most platforms to offer up new meanings for common words such as friend, like, status, wall, page, and profile. Other new meanings which crop up on social media channels also reflect the dark side of social media: a troll is no longer just a character from Norse folklore, but someone who makes offensive or provocative comments online; a sock puppet is no longer solely a puppet made from an old sock, but a self-serving fake online persona; and astroturfing is no longer simply laying a plastic lawn but also a fake online grass-roots movement.

Social media is making it easier than ever to contribute to the evolution of language. You no longer have to be published through traditional avenues to bring word trends to the attention of the masses. While journalists have long provided the earliest known uses of topical terms – everything from 1794’s pew-rent in The Times to beatboxing in The Guardian (1987) – the net has been widened by the ‘net’. A case in point is Oxford Dictionaries 2013 Word of the Year, selfie: the earliest use of the word has been traced to an Australian internet forum. With forums, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels offering instant interaction with wide audiences, it’s never been easier to help a word gain traction from your armchair.

Keeping current
Some people may feel left behind by all this. If you’re a lawyer grappling with the new geek speak, you may need to use up court time to have terms such as Rickrolling explained to you. And yes, some of us despair at how use of this informal medium can lead to an equally casual attitude to grammar. But the truth is that social media is great for word nerds. It provides a rich playground for experimenting with, developing, and subverting language.

It can also be a great way keep up with these changes. Pay attention to discussions in your social networks and you can spot emerging new words, new uses of words – and maybe even coin one yourself.

The opinions and other information contained in OxfordWords blog posts and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Oxford University Press.

Reblogged from Oxford Dictionaries
https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2014/06/18/social-media-changing-language/?utm_source=newsletter-jan-03&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=odo-newsletter&utm_content=blog-language-toppanel