December 5th, 2014

In the News: PlayStation Turns 20, Tablet Computers in 70% of Schools, Google for Kids

As the year comes to a close, many people shift into a time of reflection. People think about the current year, its failures and successes, and how to improve upon them in the coming years – specifically in the next year.  We at CSOFT think it is also an appropriate time to reflect on the technological advances of the past and current years and imagine what the future has to offer. In today’s In the News segment, we’ll take a look at a few technological developments from the past to now and into the future.

December 4th, 2014

UnPlugged: Part 1

The world today is a place of ever-present communications systems and it’s easy to forget what life was like before we became constantly connected. While we here at T for Translation were wondering about this, one of our own took it upon himself to go cell-less and to document the experience in this special, two-part edition.

December 3rd, 2014

Asteism – Wacky Word Wednesday

Some people say the meanest things but in such a nice way that you don’t even notice the insult. They’re so polite they could say whatever they wanted and nobody would take offense – even if the speaker intended them to. There’s a word for these sorts of cleverly biting comments and it’s this week’s Wacky Word – asteism.

Asteism

[æstɪˌɪzm]

-noun

An ingeniously polite insult.

December 2nd, 2014

A Layman’s Guide to Language Hacks, Part 1

Read. Write. Repeat. This is the traditional method of language learning employed by many educational institutions. Initially, it relies heavily on cramming tons of grammar and vocabulary into your head followed by forced output such as essay writing, rote memorization, or forced conversation. Once students have reached some arbitrarily mandated level of output, they are again overwhelmed by another intense cram session, this one with an emphasis on something like poetry or literature.  According to Dr. Krashen’s input hypothesis, this long-established method of language acquisition is ineffective and explains why many students of foreign languages can study for several years and still be unable to speak with any level of fluency. His hypothesis promotes a more natural way of language learning, mimicking the way we acquired our native tongues.  In today’s T for Translation, we’ll explore some unconventional ways to learn a new language.

December 1st, 2014

A BEEginner’s Guide to Language

In 1923, ethologist Karl von Frisch began working to uncover the then-shrouded mystery of how bees communicate.  With his Nobel Prize-winning research, he was able to prove that honeybees used a complex set of cues to inform each other about food sources.  The most frequently observed of such cues was a dance-like movement performed by forager bees, a movement later coined by scientists as the “waggle dance.”

November 28th, 2014

In The News: Mercedes-Benz Owners in China are Likely Wealthiest, 5 Free Apps to Save You Money on Gas, Is Black Friday a Good Time to Buy a Car?

During this Thanksgiving holiday, many of us are probably out shopping or browsing online for discounted items. But what about shopping for cars? Is Black Friday a good time to buy more than just gadgets? We will try to answer that question in today’s In The News segment. The news summary also covers the growing importance of the Thanksgiving holiday for auto makers and five smartphone apps that can help you find the cheapest gas prices near you.

November 27th, 2014

Reverent Translation

“…So sayeth the Lord…” but if the Lord spoke Aramaic, Greek or Latin, can we really be truly sure what was said without learning those languages? Religious translations are often sources of contention, with some arguing that the text can only be appropriately understood in its original form. In today’s T for Translation, we’ll take a look at how translation has shaped the development of the Christian religion throughout history, and how it continues to shape it today.

November 26th, 2014

Pandiculation – Wacky Word Wednesday

You rise from your chair, a little sleepy after a large lunch and a glass of wine, and as you stand your body begins to contort. Your spine stiffens and arches backward, your arms reach for the sky, your head leans back, your mouth opens wide and you draw a deep breath. It’s an exquisitely involuntary action we’ve all experienced and it’s this week’s Wacky Word: pandiculation.

Pandiculation

[pan-dik-yuh-ley-shuhn]

-noun

A stretching and stiffening of the back and arms, as when fatigued and drowsy or upon waking, often accompanied by yawning.

November 25th, 2014

Fried Enema Anyone?

Is Chinglish friend or foe?  That is the ongoing debate that has erupted between the Chinese authorities, linguists, and Chinglish enthusiasts. Chinglish is created at the intersection of Chinese and English and uses a mix of pinyin — the Romanized spelling of Chinese words — (e.g. 光棍 – guanggun) and creatively, though incorrectly, worded English (e.g. good good study, day day up) to express sometimes very culturally specific ideas.  If you’re an English speaker that’s ever visited China, you will have undoubtedly encountered your fair share of giggle-worthy signs and messages.  However, not everyone finds these twists of English and Chinese quite so amusing. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular Chinglish phrases and how they are received worldwide.

November 24th, 2014

New Chinese Terms and Their Backstories, Part 2

In case you missed the last installment of our two-part series, we’ve been learning about new Chinese terms and exploring their anecdotal origins. Today, we will continue our study on this topic. You will learn two Chinese phrases that could come in handy when you visit a restaurant and a term that you can use when talking about China’s air pollution.