Affresol's modular houses made out of recycled thermo set polymer

Sunday, February 28, 2010

BBC has a video today on a company called Affresol and the houses they construct (or more precisely: will construct soon) that are made out of recycled materials, lighter and easier to construct but still stronger than concrete. Their home page is here, and some of the specifications on the material used can be seen here. Apparently it is also fire retardant, though there are no hard numbers there to show how it compares to traditional materials in that sense.

Here's the video:



You can also see it in Portuguese or in Russian if you like.

Read more...

Kepler space telescope may be able to detect Oort Cloud objects as well

This is pretty interesting. In addition to being able to detect extrasolar planets by the transits they make in front of their stars, apparently Kepler may also spot a number of Oort Cloud objects passing in front of stars during its mission as well. The difference between these and extrasolar planets is that extrasolar planets will be observed over and over again as they pass in front of their stars in a regular orbit, whereas possible Oort Cloud objects would only be observed once.

Read more...

Na'vi language students to make appearance on Good Morning America on March 5th

Here's a quick heads up from the Learn Na'vi forum. Looks like everybody is preparing to record and upload the interview too after it airs so unless you really want to see it the moment it happens you can probably just wait the hour or less it will take for it to be available online as well.

Besides that though there hasn't been any news of new content (Frommer-certified content, that is) since Frommer recorded that speech to send to the community.

Read more...

English - Romanian phrasebook, English-Romanian dictionary: T

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Letter T of the English-Romanian dictionary section of the phrasebook. Other letters in the English-Romanian dictionary: A, B-C, D, E-F, G-H, I-L, M-N, O-P, Q-S. Romanian-English dictionary letters: A, B-C, D-E, F-H, I-K, L-M, N-P, R-S, T-Z. Other chapters in the book: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19.

table -- masă, tabel
tablecloth -- faţă de masă
tail -- coadă, a veni la urmă, a încheia
tailor -- croitor
take -- luare, a lua, a apuca, a accepta
talc -- talc
tale -- poveste, basm
talk -- conversaţie, a vorbi, a discuta
tall -- înalt
tangerine -- mandarină
tap -- robinet, lovitură (uşoară)
tape -- bandă, a înregistra pe banda, panglică
tape measure -- metru (pentru croitorie)
taste -- gust, a gusta, a savura, gustul
tax -- taxă, impozit, a taxa
teach -- a preda, a învăţa / instru
teacher -- învăţător, profesor
team -- echipă, grupă
teapot -- ceainic, ibric
tear -- lacrimă
teaspoon -- linguriţă
telegram -- telegramă
telephone -- telefon, a telefona
television -- televiziune
tell -- a spune, a zice, a face deosebire
temporary -- temporar
tenant -- persoane care închiriază apartamente / case, chiriaş
tennis -- tenis de cîmp
term -- termen, perioadă
terrible -- groaznic
test -- test, probă, a lua un test / o probă
text -- text
textbook -- manual (şcolar)
thank -- multumire, a mulţumi
theater -- teatru, cinematograf, amfiteatru
there -- acolo
thick -- des, gros, plin
thin -- subţire, slab, rar, a dilua, a subţia
thing -- lucru, obiect
think -- a gîndi, a fi de părere, a se gîndi la
third -- al treilea
thirsty -- însetat, a-i fi sete
thread -- fir, aţă
thrift shop -- magazin cu reducere cu obiecte uzate
throat -- beregată, gîtlej
through -- prin
throw -- aruncare / aruncătură, a arunca, a se arunca
thunder -- trăsnet
Thursday -- joi
ticket -- tichet, bilet, bon
tie -- legătură, cravată, a lega, a uni
tight -- strîns, solid, fix, îndesat
time -- timp, vreme
tired -- obosit, plictisit
toast -- pîine prăjită, toast, a toasta
today -- astăzi
toe -- deget de la picior
together -- împreună
tomato -- roşie, pătlăgea
tomorrow -- mîine
ton -- tonă
tongue -- limbă, limbaj
tonight -- seara asta, deseară
tool -- unealtă, sculă, instrument
tooth -- dinte
toothache -- durere de dinte
toothpaste -- pastă de dinţi
top -- vîrf, parte de sus, creştet
torn -- rupt/ă
touch -- pipăit, pipăitul, atingere, senzaţie, a atinge
towel -- prosop
town -- oraş
trade -- comert, afacere
tradition -- tradiţie
train -- tren, şir, trenă, a instrui / antrena
transfer -- transfer, mutare, a muta
translator -- traducător, translator
transport -- transport, a transporta
transportation -- transportaţie
trash -- gunoi, fleac
travel -- călătorie, a călători
tray -- tavă
tree -- pom/copac
trick -- şmecheri, truc, farsă, a păcăli
trip -- excursie, călătorie, a se împiedica
trouble -- încurcătură, necaz, a tulbura, a deranja
trousers -- pantaloni
trout -- păstrav
truck -- camion, vagon de marfă
true -- adevărat, audentic, real
trunk -- cufăr, trunchi, portbagaj
trust -- încredere, responsabilitate, credit, a avea încredere
try -- încercare, a încerca
Tuesday -- marti
tuition -- costul învăţămîntului / instrucţiei
turkey -- curcan
turn -- cotitură, rotatie, tur, a învîrti, a roti, a întoarce
turnpike -- autostradă cu plată
turpentine -- terebentină
tutor -- meditator, tutore
twice -- de două ori
type -- tip, fel, a bate la maşina
typist -- dectilograf/ă

Read more...

How much progress has been made since 1897?

Let's take a look at the front page of a newspaper from 1897 to see in which areas we've made progress over the past century and a bit, and which areas have remained mostly the same (or even regressed). For some context, this is what New York looked like at the time:


The newspaper is the Hornellsville Weekly Tribune, from September 24, 1897.

First we have a bit on a movement to oppose bachelor politicians. Opposing politicians for personal reasons (not married, married and cheated, doesn't seem to spend enough time with family, etc.) is a common practice today as well so no real change there.


The next interesting article doesn't have anything to do with progress or the lack of it but deserves a mention for sheer badassery.


Then there's Chicago's polite policeman. Similar stories can be found today as well, and this is just a single story so no insight here into any general trends.


The next one looks like it came straight from the Onion. Safe to say there has been a lot of progress in this area over a century.


The next article gives us a glimpse of a prison from Queen Elizabeth's day. No insight into prisons from 1897 here but it's still an interesting read. In modern times Norway for example is famous for its focus on rehabilitation over punishment in its prisons, although lenient prisons certainly aren't a completely modern invention. Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in a pretty comfortable prison too back in 1924. Back then most predicted that after the Putsch he had been tamed and his movement brought to an end, and that he wouldn't stir up trouble again.


The next is on slum work in London. London has certainly improved since then, although some other cities (Detroit is a good example) have gotten much worse recently. Statistical information though shows that there is a general improvement in most areas, with longer lifespans, greater literacy, and less poverty in most parts of the world over time.


Nearing the end of the page we reach a section called Purely Personal, with some interesting tidbits about just about everything. All of them are pretty normal except #2 (the last word there is Indians), which again would only be seen in the Onion today.

Finally, down in the corner we have two ads.


How much of the page do they take up? Let's zoom out and take a look at the information to ad ratio.

Read more...

All about demonyms

There's a big discussion ongoing here about demonyms that readers here might be interested in. The question that started it off is "Why don't we call countries what the people who live there call them?" Here are a few reasons for this off the top of my head:

- The original name has been changed, and other countries haven't followed along yet. Burma/Myanmar is one example.

- The English name actually is a fairly good approximation of, or even better than the native language. Persian is a good example of this, as Persian comes from Pars, which later on changed to Fars through the influence of Arabic, then add a -i to make it an adjective (in Persian), or an -ian to make it an adjective in English. Some Persians call their language Parsi though, because Persian has and has always had a p.

- A mistake or obsolete convention, which has since become a habit. Dutch is an example of this. Luckily there's no confusion between Dutch and Deutsch since English doesn't use the latter, so it's not a big deal. Also, Dutch is probably a more inclusive term than Netherlandese since Belgium also uses it.

- A pejorative term which has since lost its original meaning. Apparently that's where the Bulgarian (and other Slavic) Nemski (немски) for German comes from. Also the word barbarian.

- Influence from another language. French influence is why English says Italy and not Italia, Spain and not Spania/Espania. Libya and Tunisia and a number of others have retained the -ia ending though.


Every once in a while you'll see a drive by a city or country to have the rest of the world change the way it refers to it. Seoul did that when it decided that the proper way to write the city was 首尔 (shouer) and not the conventional 汉城 (hancheng, or Han Castle). The only problem with that is that it only sounds close to the real pronunciation in Mandarin/Putonghwa, while other Chinese languages/dialects pronounce it differently.

I've had a draft going for a while about a number of places that might want to think about changing their name (or changing it back), so I'll see if I can finish it up within a day or two now that we're on the subject.

Edit: I like this part.

Read more...

Another fee to be added to airplane tickets in Canada

Friday, February 26, 2010

Today we had news of another fee to be added to all the existing fees that already often serve to more than double the regular cost of tickets. This new one will increase the price of tickets from $2.58 to $8.91 each way, depending on the destination. The reason? New security measures make the extra money necessary.

This would be a good time to remind the country that most developed countries have at least a few high-speed rail lines, and that when they appear airlines are forced to work to retain customers travelling distances of up to 800 km. A little competition is in order for a few parts of the country.

Calgary to Edmonton is an obvious example. The Calgary - Edmonton corridor is the part of the country with the highest GDP per capita, the cities are only separated by a distance of 300 km, and the area between them is nearly completely flat. No reason anyone should have to take a plane to go between these two.


View Larger Map

Vancouver to Portland (or maybe even to Eugene) is also a good one considering the three large metropolitan areas it would serve over its 500+ km length (Vancouver + Seattle + Portland), as well as the fact that two countries, one province and two states would be involved and would benefit from its construction.


View Larger Map

And finally, a corridor from Quebec to Detroit, in addition to one from Montreal to New York. That as well would benefit and involve two countries, two provinces and two or three states (passing by Burlington on the way south would make Vermont a part of the plan as well).

None of this will help air travellers now, but in the long term high-speed rail is a definite necessity for any developed country. Even Turkey has high-speed rail with a GDP per capita less than a quarter that of Canada's ($8500 USD per year), and less than half the total GDP.



And no, the problem is not that Canada is so big. Canada is long and thin, like Chile. It just happens to have a big backyard. A map here shows just how many live within 100 km of the US border. Double that and you have most of the country.

Read more...

English - Romanian phrasebook, English-Romanian dictionary: Q - S

Letters Q to S of the English-Romanian dictionary section of the phrasebook. Other letters in the English-Romanian dictionary: A, B-C, D, E-F, G-H, I-L, M-N, O-P. Romanian-English dictionary letters: A, B-C, D-E, F-H, I-K, L-M, N-P, R-S, T-Z. Other chapters in the book: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19.



Q


quality -- calitate
quantity -- cantitate
quarter -- sfert, monedă de 25 cenţi, cartier
question -- întrebare, problemă
quick -- repede, vioi, a se grăbi
quiet -- tăcut, liniştit, calm


R


race -- întrecere, rasă; a se întrece cu
radio -- radio
radish -- ridiche
railroad -- cale ferată
rain -- ploaie, precipitaţie, a ploua
raincoat -- haină de ploaie
raise -- a ridica, a creste, creştere
raisins -- stafide
rare -- rar
razor -- aparat de ras
razor blade -- lamă de ras
reach -- atingere, a da, a înmîne, a ajunge la
ready -- gata (de), pregătit
real -- real, adevărat
real estate -- intreprindere de vînzare şi cumpărare de case
reason -- raţiune, motiv
reasonable -- rezonabil
receipt -- chitanţă de primire, primire
recent -- recent, de curînd
recess -- intrerupere, recesiune, criză
recipe -- reţetă culinară
recognize -- a recunoaste/identifica
recommend -- a recomanda
record -- listă, mărturie, record sportiv
recover -- a recăpăta, a (se) stabili, însănătoşire, restabilire
recreation -- recreere
red -- roşu
red pepper -- ardei roşu
reduce -- a reduce, a scădea
refer -- a (se) referi
refined -- a (se) rafina
refrigerator -- frigider
register -- a înregistra, registru
registered mail -- scrisori înregistrate
registrar -- archivar, grefier
registrar's office -- oficiul grefierului
registration -- înscriere, înregistrare
regular -- regulat, obişnuit
reject -- refuzat, a refuza, a respinge
relation -- relaţie, legătură, poveste
relatives -- rudeni
relevant -- relevant, semnificativ
religion -- religie
remember -- a îşi aminti
rent -- chirie, a închiria
replace -- a înlocui
report -- raport, a relata
represent -- a reprezenta
representative -- reprezentativ, reprezentant
request -- cerere, a cere, dorinţă, nevoie
resident -- rezident
respond -- a răspunde
responsible -- responsabil
rest -- odihnă, rest
restaurant -- restaurant
restroom -- toaletă
result -- rezultat
resume -- a relua, a reîncepe, autobiografie
return -- întoarcere, înapoiere, a înapoia
reunion -- reuniune
reward -- răsplată
rhythm -- ritm
rice -- orez
rich -- bogat
ride -- plimbare călare / pe bicicletă / cu maşina
right -- drept, just, deapta, corect
ring -- inel, arenă a suna / răsuna
rise -- ridicătură, creştere, a (se) scula, a se ridica / înălta
river -- rîu
road -- cale, drum, şosea
rob -- a jefui, a lipsi de
robe -- robă, mantie
rock -- stîncă, rocă, a se legăna / balansa
roll -- rulou, sul, tabel; a se rostogoli / răsuci / învîrti
roof -- acoperiş, tavan, plafon
room -- cameră, odaie
root -- rădăcină
rough -- aspru, dur, neplăcut, a trata cu asprime
round -- cert, rondă, horă; a rotunji / înconjura / ocoli
round trip ticket -- bilet de călătorie dus-întors
route -- itinerar
rubber -- cauciuc, gumă
rug -- covor, carpetă
ruin -- ruină, distrugere; a distrigu / ruina
ruler -- conducător, domnitor
run -- a alerga, alergare; a conduce, a goni
run away -- a evada, a fugi


S


sad -- trist, regretabil
sailor -- marinar, pescar
salary -- salariu
sale -- vînzare, reducere de preţuri
salt -- sare
Salvation Army store -- magazinul Armatei salvării (societate de binefacere)
same -- acelaşi / aceeaşi
sand -- nisip, plajă
sandals -- sandale
sandpaper -- hîrtie abrazivă
sardine -- sardea
satisfy -- a satisface / mulţumi, a fi suficient
Saturday -- sîmbătă
sauce pan -- oală cu capac
sauerkraut -- varză murată
save -- a salva, a economisi / cruţa
saw -- ferăstrău, a tăia cu ferăstrăul
say -- a zice, a spune, a presupunu / admite
scale -- cîntar
scare -- spaimă, a speria
scarf -- fular
schedule -- program, orar, a programa
school -- şcoală
school year -- an şcolar
science -- ştiinţă
scientist -- om de ştiinţă
scissors -- foarfece
score -- scor, socoteală, a marca
scream -- a striga, ţipăt, hohot
screw -- şurub, a înşuruba
screwdriver -- şurubelniţă
sea -- mare
seafood -- mîncare din peşte de mare şi ocean
search -- a cerceta / căuta, căutare, cercetare
seat -- loc (de stat jos), a (se) aşeza
secret -- secret, taină
section -- secţiune, secţie, bucată, parte
see -- a vedea, a înţelege
seem -- a părea, a se părea
self -- individualitate, acelaşi
self-confident -- cu încredere de sine
selfish -- egoist
semester -- semestru
send -- a trimite, a goni, a expedia
sentence -- propoziţie, sentinţă, a condamna
September -- septembrie
serious -- serios, grav
settle -- a (se) aşeza, a se stabili, a coloniza
sew -- a coase
shade -- umbră, a face umbră
shadow -- umbră (a unui corp)
shake -- scuturătură, mişcare a capului, a scutura
shallow -- nadînc, superficial
shame -- ruşine, jenă
shape -- formă, întruchipare, ordine, a forma, a da formă
share -- parte, a împărţi, distribui
sharp -- ascuţit, diez, abrupt, ironic
sheet -- foaie, cearceaf, strat
shelf -- raft, poliţă
sheriff -- serif
shine -- strălucire, luciu, a străluci
ship -- vas, corabie, a (se) îmbarca
shirt -- cămaşe, bluză
shock -- şoc, izbitură, a izbi, a dezgusta
shoe -- pantof, gheată potcoavă
shoe store -- magazin de încălţăminte
shoot -- mugur, vlăstar, a împuşca
short -- scurt, scund
shoulder -- umăr, umeraş
show -- arătare, aspect, spectacol, a arăta, a dovedi
shower -- duş, aversă
shrimp -- crevete
shut -- închis, a închide
shy -- timid, sperios
sick -- bolnav, nesănătos
sight -- văz, vedere
sign -- semn, urmă, gest
signal -- semnal
signature -- semnătură
silk -- mătase
silly -- prost, prostesc
silver -- argint
silverware -- argintărie (tacîmuri, etc.)
simple -- simplu, pur, modest
since -- de atunci
sincere -- sincer
sign -- a cînta
sink -- chiuvetă; a afunda / scufunda
sit -- a sta jos, a aşeza, a şedea bine
size -- mărime, măsură
skin -- piele, blană, coajă
skinny -- slab, subţire
skirt -- fustă
sky -- cer
slacks -- pantaloni
sleep -- a dormi, somn
sleeve -- mînecă, copertă
slender -- subţire, zvelt
slim -- subţire, zvelt
slip -- alunecare, greşeală, a alunceca
slippers -- papuci de casă
sloppy -- neglijent
slow -- încet, lent, în urmă
small -- mic/mică, neimportant
smart -- destept, descurcăreţ
smash -- izbitură, pocnet, sfărîmare; a lovi, a zdrobi/sfărîma
smell -- miros, a mirosi, a avea miros
smile -- zîmbet, surîs
smoke -- fum, fumat
smooth -- neted, calm, liniştit, a netezi, a şlefui
sneakers -- pantofi de tenis
sneeze -- strănut, a strănuta
snow -- zăpadă, a ninge
soap -- săpun
social security -- securitate socială
sofa -- canapea
soil -- sol, pămînt
soldier -- soldat
solid -- solid, compact, robust
some -- ceva, nişte, puţin
somebody -- cineva
someone -- cineva
son -- fiu
son-in-law -- ginere
song -- cîntec
sore -- rană, loc dureros
sorrow -- durere, suferinţă
sorry -- trist, îndurerat
sort -- gen, măsură, tip
sound -- zgomot, sunet, sănătos; a suna, a rosti, a răsuna
soup -- supă, ciorbă
sour -- acru, amar, afurisit, acreală
sour cream -- smîntînă
soybean -- bob de soia
space -- spaţiu, cosmos
spark -- scînteie, a scînteia
speak -- a vorbi, a zice
special -- special
specialist -- specialist
speech -- vorbire, discurs
speed -- viteză, iuţeală, a lua viteză
spell -- a ortografia, perioadă, interval
spend -- a cheltui / consuma
spices -- codimente, mirodenii
split -- despicare, dezbinare, a despica, a dezbina/diviza
sponsor -- sponsor (=persoană sau agenţie care garantează un imigrant în S.U.A.), a garanta
spoon -- lingură
sport -- sport, a face sport
spot -- pată, locşor
sprain -- luxaţie, a-şi luxa piciorul, etc.
spread -- întindere, desfăşurare, a întinde, a desfăşura
spring -- primăvară, izvor, a sări, a izvorî
square -- pătrat, piaţă, a ridica / da formă de / la pătrat
stamp -- timbru, marcă, ştampilă, a imprima, a marca
star -- stea, vedetă
starch -- amidon, apret, a scrobi, a apreta
start -- pornire, început, a porni, a lansa
state -- stat, rang, a stabili, a declara
statement -- declaraţie, afirmaţie, exprimare
stay -- şedere, a opri, a sta, a rămîne, a locui
steal -- a fura
steel -- otel, a căli
step -- pas, treaptă, a păşi, a călca
stepbrother -- frate vitreg
stepdaughter -- soră vitregă
stepfather -- tată vitreg
stepmother -- mamă vitregă
stepsister -- soră vitregă
stepson -- fiu vitreg
still -- nemişcat, încă
stockings -- ciorapi (damă)
stomach -- stomac
stomachache -- durere de stomac
stone -- piatră
store -- magazin, înmagazine, rezervă, stoc
story -- poveste, istorie, etaj
stove -- sobă
straight -- drept, direct
strange -- străin, ciudat
street -- stradă
strength -- putere, forţă
strike -- grevă, lovitură, a lovi, a izbi
string -- sfoară, coardă, şir, a lega
string bean -- fasole verde
strong -- puternic, tare durabil, autoritar
study -- studiu, birou, a studia, a cerceta, a învăţa
stupid -- prost, tîmpit
subject -- subiect, persoană, materie de studie, a supune, a expune, a se expune
succeed -- a urma după, a reuşi, a moşteni
such -- astfel (de)
sudden -- brusc, neaşteptat
suffer -- a suferi, a trece prin, a permite
sufficient -- suficient, destul
sugar -- zahăr
suggestion -- sugestie
suit -- costum, proces, a veni bine
suitcase -- geamantan, valiză
summer -- vară
sun -- soare
Sunday -- duminică
supermarket -- supermagazin
supervisor -- supraveghetor
supplies -- provizii
supply -- a livra, a aproviona, rezervă, stoc
support -- suport, sprijin, a spijini, a susţine, a întreţine
surface -- suprafaţă, arie, exterior
surgeon -- medic chirurg
surname -- nume (de familie)
surprise -- surpriză, a surprinde
sweat -- transpiraţie
sweater -- pulover
sweet -- dulce, parfumat, scump/ă, iubit/ă
sweet potatoes -- cartofi dulci
swim -- înot, a înota
system -- sistem, ordine

Read more...

Russian Wikipedia now at half a million articles

See, the Russian Wikipedia (the 10th-largest Wikipedia) just passed 500,000 articles:

 

After which it switched to a much snazzier (?) half-lemon motif.

 

Checking Google News, there seems to be a single article on the milestone, in Russian.

Read more...

Random links for 25 February 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Firefox has too many tabs open at the moment with articles and links that are worth a mention but perhaps not their own post, so here they are in no particular order.

A review of a new dictionary of Old English, which so far has been completed up to the letter G (out of a total of 22 letters) and expects to have between 33,000 and 35,000 headwords. There are a few interesting etymological notes there as well, such as the origin of the word baleful.

New Scientist on symbols on cave paintings that appear to be a real code or language, not just random scribblings. Apparently studies of cave paintings have been so distracted by the imagery itself for so long that nobody really thought to check the tiny scribblings next to the drawings. See here and here to take a look at the actual symbols and their frequency for yourself.

Also remember that simply tracing languages back to their source doesn't necessarily help us discover the origin of language, because for all we know there was, or were other languages that preceded the ancestor of all the ones we speak and simply died out. This talk mentions that a bit:



Washington Post has an article today on Kazakhstan and uranium. I mentioned back in 2008 that Kazakhstan was set to become the world's largest producer of uranium in a year, and now it is.

Times Online has a fascinating piece today on a British PoW who snuck into Auschwitz during WWII.

Miles O'Brien on why he supports the White House's new plans for NASA.

Phobos flyby season is beginning again, and the ESA's Mars Express will have a particularly close encounter (just 50 km above the surface) on the 5th of March.

An article here is on the partnership between the EU and Russia on space technology. The Russian Soyuz rocket will launch from Guiana for the first time this year.

Finally, here's an optical illusion along with instructions on how to make your own.

Read more...

Three choral pieces in Latin in Downers Grove (near Chicago) on February 28th

If you're interested in Latin and/or choral music and live in or near Chicago or Downers Grove, you might want to check out this concert on the 28th. I asked in the comments section on the bottom whether lyrics for the Latin pieces would be given to the listeners, and the answer is yes.


View Larger Map

Read more...

What happens when a country summons an ambassador

Foreign Policy tells us here what it actually means when an ambassador gets summoned. Basically what happens is that the ambassador gets an earful, and the atmosphere chills as both sides iterate and reiterate the views of their respective countries over whatever the incident happens to be.

It would be nice to have a list compiled somewhere of a list of ambassador summonings by country, in order to see which countries use it the most frequently and on which country, and also the main reason for the summoning.

The most ridiculous summoning over the past year or so was probably Iran's summoning of the Italian ambassador in July over their "violent suppression of G-8 protesters", due to the "violent suppression of justice-seeking protesters by the Italian police".

Read more...

English - Romanian phrasebook, English-Romanian dictionary: O - P

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Letters O and P of the English-Romanian dictionary section of the phrasebook. Other letters in the English-Romanian dictionary: A, B-C, D, E-F, G-H, I-L, M-N. Romanian-English dictionary letters: A, B-C, D-E, F-H, I-K, L-M, N-P, R-S, T-Z. Other chapters in the book: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19.



O

oatmeal -- ovăz
obey -- a da ascultare, a se supune
object -- obiect, a obiecta
obstetrician -- obstetrician
occupation -- ocupaţie, meresie
occupied -- ocupat
ocean -- ocean
October -- octombrie
odd -- impar, ciudat
offer -- ofertă, a oferi
office -- oficiu
officer -- ofiţer
official -- oficial
oil -- petrol, ulei
old -- vechi, bătrîn
on top of -- în fruntea la, în vîrful...
once -- odată, pe vremuri
one-way -- sens unic
onion -- ceapă
open -- deschis, a deschide
operate -- a opera, a funcţiona
operator -- operator, mecanic, telefonist
ophthalmologist -- oftalmologist
opportunity -- oportunitate
oppose -- a se opune
opposite -- opus, vizavi
optical -- optic
orange -- portocală, portocaliu
orchestra -- orchestră
order -- ordin, ordine, a pune în ordine, a comanda
organize -- a organize
other -- altul/alta
ounce -- uncie
outside -- afară, în afară
outstanding -- remarcabil, important
overshoes -- şoşoni, galoşi
owe -- a datora
owner -- proprietar

P

P.T.A. -- Asociaţia Părinţilor şi profesorilor
package -- pachet, împachetare
page -- pagină
pain -- durere
paint -- vopsea
pair -- pereche
pajamas -- pijama
pamphlet -- pamflet
pan -- tigaie, taler
pancakes -- clătite
pants -- pantaloni
pantsuit -- coscum cu pantaloni pentru femei
paper -- hîrtie, ziar, teză
parade -- paradă, promenadă
parcel -- pachet, colet
pardon -- iertare, a ierta
parents -- părinţi
park -- parc
parochial -- parohial
part -- parte, piesă
party -- petrecere, partid, grup
pass -- permis, a trece, a se scurge
passenger -- pasager, trecător
passport -- paşaport
past -- trecut
patience -- răbdare
patient -- pacient
patio -- curte interioară
pattern -- mod, model, tipar
pay -- a plăti, plată, a acorda
payment -- salariu, plată
pay raise -- mărirea plăţii, mărirea salariului
peace -- pace
peach -- piersică
peanut -- arahidă
pear -- pară
peas -- mazăre
pediatrician -- pediatru
pen -- toc, stilou, pix
pencil -- creion
penny -- peni
people -- oameni, neam, popor
pepper -- piper, a pipera
percent -- la sută
percentage -- procentaj
perfect -- perfect
perhaps -- poate
period -- punct, perioadă
permanent -- permanent
permit -- permis, a permite
person -- persoană
perspiration -- transpiraţie
pharmacist -- farmacist
phone -- telefon, a telefona
phone book -- carte de telefoane
photographer -- fotograf
phrase -- frază
physician -- medic, doctor
picture -- tablou, cinema, fotografie
piece -- bucată, piesă
pig -- porc
pillow -- pernă
pillowcase -- faţă de pernă
pin -- ac (cu gămălie)
pineapple -- ananas
pink -- roz, trandafiriu
pint -- pintă
pipe -- teavă, tub, pipă
place -- loc, locuinţă
plain -- cîmpie, clar
plan -- plan, a plănui
plane -- avion, suprafaţă plană
plant -- plantă, uzină, a planta
plate -- farfurie, plăcuţă, a auri
platform -- platformă, peron, estradă
play -- a (se) juca, joc, piesă de teatru
pleasant -- plăcut, agreabil
pleasure -- plăcere, dorinţă
plum -- prună
plumber -- instalator
plus -- plus
pocket -- buzunar
point -- vîrf, a arăta, a indica
poison -- otravă
police -- poliţie
police officer -- ofiţer de poliţie
police station -- staţie de poliţie
policeman -- poliţist
policy -- politică, poliţă
polite -- politicos
politics -- politică
poor -- sărac, insuficient
population -- populaţie
porch -- verandă
pork -- carne de porc
port -- port
porter -- hamal, portar
portrait -- portret, decriere
position -- poziţie
possible -- posibil
post -- stîlp, a afişa
postage -- costul trimiterii prin poştă
post office -- oficiu poştal
potato -- cartof
pots and pans -- vase de bucătărie
pound -- liră sterlină
powder -- pudră
power -- putere, capacitate
practice -- practică, obicei, exerciţiu
pray -- a (se) ruga
prayer -- rugăciune
precious -- preţios
prescription -- reţetă medicală, prescripţie
present -- prezent
president -- preşedinte
pretty -- drăgut/ă
price -- preţ
pride -- mîndrie
priest -- preot
principal -- director de şcoală
printer -- tipograf, maşină de tipărit
prison -- închisoare
private -- personal, particular, secret
prize -- premiu, recompensă
problem -- problemă
process -- proces
produce -- a produce
product -- produs
production -- producţie
profession -- profesie
professor -- profesor
profit -- profit, a profita
program -- program
progress -- progres
promise -- promisiune, a promite
proof -- probă, dovadă
property -- proprietate
propose -- propunere, a propune
protect -- a proteja
protest -- a protesta, protest
proud -- mîndru, încrezut, îngîmfat
prove -- a dovedi
provide -- a furniza
prune -- a reteza, a tăia
psychologist -- psiholog
public -- public
public school -- şcoală publică
publish -- a publica
pudding -- budincă
pull -- tragere, a trage
pumpkin -- bostan
punish -- a pedepsi
pure -- pur, curat
purple -- purpuriu, purpură
purpose -- scop, ţel, hotărîre
purse -- poşetă
push -- a împinge, împingere
put -- a pune, a aşeza

Read more...

The Onion on a sudden reversion to Anglo-Saxon sentence structure

The Onion just released a short piece of fake radio news on a sudden reversion to a more Anglo-Saxon sentence structure for English.



And to make it easier for people to parse, here's the script. Someone more familiar with Anglo-Saxon will be able to tell how accurate this is. This syntax resembles modern Persian quite a bit.

Rules grammar change, English traditional replaced to be new syntax. The Onion Radio News it's Redland Doyle I'm. The U.S. Grammar Secretary that no more will rules English follow announced today, the changes verbs, verb clauses and adjectives placing involved frequent with random shuffling or elimination conjunctions and prepositions of. Grammar Secretary to according:

Is mood structure loosely on obscure 800-year-old pre-Medieval Anglo-Saxon syntax based.

This week beginning America across, all dictionaries, highway signs and other books or objects writing upon revised to fit new syntax will be.

Read more...

Governor Bill Richardson endorses new White House plan for NASA

Here's an op-ed by Bill Richardson today endorsing the White House's new plans for NASA, specifically the extra investment in the private space industry. Nice to see that he chose the Huffington Post to write the column in, because even though the HP has some pretty deceptive titles on the front page (or simply annoying - remember the "Joe Biden should resign because of disagreement on Afghanistan" bit it hammered away at for a few days last year?) it still gets a huge amount of traffic, while an op-ed like this might otherwise be mostly ignored.

Read more...

Married... with Children...in Russian (Счастливы Вместе)

Looks like I'm already three years late to learn about this (not really knowing any Russian though I suppose that can be excused) but there's a show in Russia called Счастливы вместе that is exactly the same as Married... with Children from the 1980s in the United States, and is currently on its fourth season.



On a thread on Reddit about the series today there also appeared this helpful partial transcription of the above video. Considering how popular the original show was I wonder if this one couldn't develop a bit of a cult following in the U.S. if it were properly subtitled and released.

Read more...

English - Romanian phrasebook, English-Romanian dictionary: M - N

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Letters M and N of the English-Romanian dictionary section of the phrasebook. Other letters in the English-Romanian dictionary: A, B-C, D, E-F, G-H, I-L. Romanian-English dictionary letters: A, B-C, D-E, F-H, I-K, L-M, N-P, R-S, T-Z. Other chapters in the book: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19.




M

machine -- maşină, aparat
machinist -- maşinist
maid -- fată în casă
mail -- posta
make -- a face, a cîstiga
male -- mascul/in
man -- om, bărbat
manager -- menager
manufacture -- fabricare, a fabrica
many -- mulţi, multe
map -- hartă
March -- martie, mars
mark -- semn, notă
market -- piaţă
married -- căsătorit/ă
marry -- a se căsători
mass -- masă, grămadă
matches -- chibrite
material -- material
math -- matematică
matter -- substanţă
mattress -- saltea
may/May - mai; a putea, a fi posibil
maybe -- poate
mayor -- primar
meal -- masă/mîncare
mean -- a însemna; media; rău; cale de mijloc
means -- mijloc, intrument
measure -- măsură, mărime, a lua măsura
meat -- carne
mechanic -- mecanic
medicine -- medicamente, medicină
meet -- a întîlni, întîlnire, a face cunostiinţă
meeting -- şedinţă, adunare
melon -- pepene
melt -- a se topi
member -- membru
memory -- memorie
mention -- menţiune
metal -- metal
method -- metodă
middle -- mijloc, mijlociu
midnight -- miezul nopţii
mile -- milă
milk -- lapte
milkshake -- băutură din lapte şi îngheţată
million -- milion
mind -- minte, memorie
miner -- miner
mineral -- mineral
minimum -- minim
minister -- ministru, preot
minute -- minut
mirror -- oglindă
miss -- domnisoară
mistake -- greşeală, a greşi
mix -- amestec, a amesteca
mixture -- amestecare, amestec
modern -- modern
moment -- moment
Monday -- luni
money -- bani
money order -- mandat poştal
month -- lună
moon -- lună (astru)
mop -- spălător (de podele), a spăla podele
more -- mai mult
morning -- dimineaţă
motel -- motel
mother -- mamă
mother-in-law -- mamă soacră
motor -- motor
motorcycle -- motocicletă
mountain -- munte
mouth -- gură
move -- mişcare, a (se) mişca, mutare, a (se) muta, a (se) emotiona
(the) movies -- cinema, film
movie theater -- cinematograf
much -- mult
muscle -- muşchi
mushrooms -- ciuperci
music -- muzică
mustache -- mustaţă
myself -- însumi


N


nail -- cui
name -- nume
napkin -- şerveţel
narrow -- îngust
nation -- naţiune
nationality -- naţionalitate
nature -- natură
near -- aproape
necessary -- necesar
necessity -- necesitate
neck -- gît
necklace -- colier
need -- nevoie/necesitate, a avea nevoie, a fi nevoit
needle -- ac
neighbor -- vecin/apropiat
nephew -- nepot
nervous -- nervos
new -- nou
newsstand -- chioşc de ziare
next -- următor, viitor
nice -- drăguţ/ă, plăcut, delicat
niece -- nepoată
night -- noapte
nobody -- nimeni
noise -- gălăgie
noisy -- gălăgios/ă
none -- nici unul/a
noon -- amiază
normal -- normal
north -- nord
nose -- nas, bot
note -- notă, notiţă, a nota
notebook -- caiet
nothing -- nimic
November -- noiembrie
now -- acum
nowhere -- nicăieri
number -- număr
nurse -- soră, infirmieră
nursery -- creşă, camera copilului mic
nut -- nucă

Read more...

Prospective immigrants to Austria must have a basic proficiency in German

Here's an article in Turkish on a new law Austria has enacted requiring immigrants who have family in the country (i.e. family members that other immigrants bring over after settling in themselves) to have a certain level of German before being able to immigrate.

Family members immigrating to Austria must have a basic level of German

Austria has approved a package 40 pages in length aimed at immigrants called the Nationaler Aktionsplan für Integration (National Action Plan for Integration), in which family members of immigrants who want to immigrate to Austria must know German.

The most important item in the action plan is the requirement to know German. In the plan, immigrants that want to move to Austria to join their family members already there must pass a German language test, without which they will not be able to immigrate to the country.

This family reunification system is already in place in Germany, which served as an example to Austria in drafting the plan. Last year Germany began a law where those immigrating to the country needed to know German.

Green member of parliament Alev Korun said that the requirement for family members immigrating to the country to know German did not apply to EU citizens, and that it was done in order to prevent immigration from areas such as Turkey and the former Yugoslavia in particular. Korun criticized the new law for having many gaps and being inequal to immigrants.

So what level of skill is being aimed for with this new law? According to Austria's site it's A2 level German, which is a basic and practical proficiency in the language.


Here's the type of German one can expect to encounter at that level. This is the reading portion of a sample test.


The German in the test is not Was ist das? Das ist ein Leid-level basic, but still quite easy, with sentences like: Die Menschen wussten schon immer, dass Lachen gut tut - People have always known that laughing is good for you (i.e. laughing does good).

For information on the test used in Germany, see here.

Read more...

English - Romanian phrasebook, English-Romanian dictionary: I - L

Monday, February 22, 2010

Letters I to L of the English-Romanian dictionary section of the phrasebook. Other letters in the English-Romanian dictionary: A, B-C, D, E-F, G-H. Romanian-English dictionary letters: A, B-C, D-E, F-H, I-K, L-M, N-P, R-S, T-Z. Other chapters in the book: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19.



I

I.D. card -- carte de identitate
ice cream -- îngheţată
ice box -- răcitor
idea -- idee
identification -- identificare
illness -- boală
immigrant -- imigrant
impatient -- nerăbdător
impolite -- nepoliticos
important -- important
improve -- a îmbunătaţii, a dezvolta
inch -- incie
include -- a include
incorrect -- greşit
independence -- independenţă
industry -- industrie
influenza -- gripă
information -- informaţie
injure -- a răni
ink -- cerneală
insect -- insectă
inspect -- a inspecta, a controla
instructions -- instructiuni
insurance -- asigurare
intelligent -- inteligent
interest -- interes
interfere -- a se băga, a interveni
international -- internaţional
interpreter -- traducător, interpret
interview -- interviu, întrevedere
invent -- a inventa
invertigate -- a investiga
invite -- a invita
iodine -- iod
iron -- fier
island -- insulă
item -- articol


J


jacket -- jachetă, înveliş
jail -- închisoare, puşcărie
janitor -- portar, om de serviciu
January -- ianuarie
jar -- borcan, vas
jeans -- blugi
jewelry -- bijuterii
job -- serviciu, lucru
join -- a uni/lega, a deveni membru, a se asocia
joke -- glumă, farsă
judge -- judecător
juice -- suc, zeamă
July -- iulie
jump -- săritură; a sări
June -- iunie
jungle -- junglă
just -- just, corect
justice -- dreptate, justiţie


K


keep -- a ţine, a păstra
kerosene -- petrol
kettle -- ceainic, ibric
key -- cheie
kick -- a lovi, a da cu piciorul
kill -- a omorî/ucide
kilogram -- kilogram
kilometer -- kilometru
kilowatt -- kilowatt
kind -- blînd, bun
kiss -- a săruta
kitchen -- bucătărie
knee -- genunchi
kneel -- a îngenunchia, a sta în genunchi
knife -- cutit
knock -- ciocănit; a ciocăni
know -- a şti
knowledge -- cunoastere, pricepere, experientă


L


lab -- laborator
label -- etichetă
labor -- muncă, sarcină, treabă
lady -- doamnă
lake -- lac
lamb -- miel, carne de miel
lamp -- lampă, lanternă
land -- pamînt, uscat, moşie, ţară
lane -- potecă, străduţă, uliţă, culuar de circulaţie
language -- limbă
large -- larg
last -- ultimul/a, ultimii/le
last name -- numele de familie
late -- tîrziu
laugh -- rîs(et), a rîde
launder -- a spăla haine
laundromat -- spălătorie automată
laundry -- rufe de spălat
laundryman -- spălător de rufe
law -- lege
lawn -- iarba în jurul casei, pajişte
lawyer -- avocat
lazy -- leneş
lead -- plumb; a conduce
leaf -- frunză, filă de carte
learn -- a învăţa
lease -- contractul de inchiriere/arendare
leave -- a pleca, a părăsi, a lăsa ceva cuiva, permisiune, plecare, a omite, a înceta
lecture -- curs, conferinţă
leek -- praz
left -- stînga
leg -- picior
lemon -- lămîie
lend -- a împrumuta
length -- lungime, timp îndelungat
less -- mai puţin/mai mic
let -- a lăsa, a permite
letter -- literă, scrisoare
lettuce -- salată
level -- nivel, plan, neted
library -- bibliotecă
license -- licenţă, autorizaţie
lie -- minciună; a sta culcat
life -- viaţă
life insurance -- asigurare pe viaţă
light -- lumină; uşor, slab
lightning -- fulger
like -- ca, asemenea; a plăcea, a dori/vrea
lima beans -- fasole
lime -- lămîie verde
line -- linie, rînd, vers
linen closer -- dulap cu lenjerie
liquid -- lichid
list -- listă
little -- mic/mică
live -- a trăi; viu, real
living room -- cameră de zi
loan -- împrumut
lobby -- hol mare
lobster -- rac
locate -- a amplasa/stabili
lock -- broască, lăcat
locker room -- vestiar
locksmith -- fierar
lonely -- singuratic
long -- lung, îndelungat
look -- privire, aspect a privi, a arăta
loose -- liber, dezlegat
lose -- a pierde, a (se) rătăci
loss -- pierdere
lot -- mulţime, lot, bucată
loud -- tare, zgomotos
love -- dragoste, iubire
low -- jos, scăzut, slab
lubricate -- a lubrifica
luck -- noroc, şansă
lunch -- prînz, a prînzi

Read more...

SpaceX's Falcon 9 now on the launching pad at Cape Canaveral

This doesn't mean that the rocket is going to be launched right away, simply that the rocket has been moved to the launching pad and is standing vertical, after which SpaceX is going to run leisurely test after test and then finally a static fire. Though they haven't decided on a specific launch date as of yet, it looks like the March date many had predicted is going to be likely.


Two more photos can be seen at the article in the link.

Read more...

Korean through signs: tutoring advertisement on the street


Today's image is that of an ad for tutoring that you can see on the streets pretty much everywhere, where someone who is going to a certain university offers to tutor other (usually high school) students. Tutors are popular because Korea is all about university entrance (after getting accepted university is pretty easy), and people that have already been accepted to a university will often best be able to help prospective students get into the same one. Of course, the pressure on them from the parents can be pretty immense as well since they shell out good money for the expectation that their son or daughter will then be able to attend the university the tutor is from.

The style in these advertisements is similar to what one might find in a resumé, with lots of hanja-based vocabulary in order to make it more concise. The suffix 시 (時) for example is used to mean "when", but in conversation people use 때. 시 comes from hanja whereas 때 doesn't, so 시 fits in better with the terms used here.



과외 - tutoring
서울대학교 - Seoul University. The English name is Seoul National University, and it's the best public university in the country.
동아리 - group, crew. This is right in front of the phone number so it's probably the name of the group that sets up the tutoring sessions, kind of a recruiting group.
기초 - basic
부터 - from. 기초부터 means from the basics.
체계적인 - systematic. 체계 by itself means system.
반복 - repetition
선행 - performance
학습 - study
Put all those together and we have 기초부터 체계적인 반복, 선행학습, or "Systematic repetition and performance(-based)/progressive study from the basics"
학생 - student
과 - and. 와 when there is no 받침 (a consonant on the bottom) in the preceding word, so "school and" would be 학교와, not 학교과.
선생님 - teacher
의 - possessive marker. Put these together and you get 학생과 선생님의, or Student and teacher's...
맞춤 - ready-made. 맞추다 means to fit something, and removing the 다 and then adding a ㅁ to the bottom makes it into a noun. After that add 수업, class, and it means a class that has been made to fit the student. There is also a 1:1 before that so that means one teacher and one student.
무료 - free (as in cost)
시범 - test. Test as in to try something out, not to take a test (which would be 시험).
강의 - class.
후 - after
수업 - class again.
결정 - decide. Put all these together and we have 무료 시범 강의 후 수업결정, or (you can) decide (whether) to take the class after a free test class. IOW, go in there once for free and see if you like it before you pay.
책임 - responsibility
성실 - sincere
시간 - time
엄수 - strict observance
철저한 - thorough
수업 - class
준비 - preparation. Put all this together and we have 책임, 성실 시간엄수 철저한 수업준비, or "Responsible, sincere, punctual (i.e. strict observance to time) and thorough class preparation".
방문 - visit. Put a 시 after it and it means "when", or when the teacher visits.
재학 - studying, currently studying.
증명서 - proof, certificate
졸업 - graduation
제출 - give, provide. Put all this together and we have 방문시 재학 증명서 졸업 증명서 제출, or "When (the teacher) visits, (he/she will) provide proof of enrollment and graduation". IOW, proof of the teacher's credentials.

Read more...

The sneaky roundabout way to reintroduce a knowledge of Latin into every school

Let's begin with a note on mutual comprehensibility or mutual intelligibility, whereby two languages resemble each other enough that one language is understandable to a speaker of another language with very little effort. Due to the distance English has from other languages, English is in a bit of a no-man's land of its own, as English is a language with a Germanic base but a huge influence from French and Latin, placing it in an area where other Germanic languages look familiar at times (German Wasser and Dutch water) but unfamiliar at others (German Unabhängigkeit and Dutch onafhankelijkheid for the word independence), whereas Romance languages like French look quite foreign at times (in French Je crois qu'il y a une chose que vous avez pas compris (I think there's something you haven't understood) there isn't a single word except maybe vous that an English speaker would recognize out of hand) but very familiar at others (French c'est est un château de styles principalement Renaissance et classique, or It's a chateau/castle principally with Renaissance and classical styles).

Speakers of many other languages, however, will often interact both in real life and online without having to learn each other's languages. This can be seen in particular among the Scandinavian languages of Norwegian, Swedish and Danish. Mutual comprehensibility, of course, works best when two speakers want to communicate with each other. That is, learning Norwegian will not allow a person to magically walk into a bar in Denmark and follow what a group of people are saying amongst themselves in a rapidfire conversation between friends, but if you put a Dane and a Norwegian in a room with a task whereby they have to communicate with each other to solve a task only using their respective mother tongues and with a prize of 100000€ if they do it in ten minutes, then they would certainly have no problem in doing it.

Alongside mutual intelligibility also exists something on a less impressive but still important scale: simple passive understanding. A speaker of Spanish may be able to muddle through a document written in Italian or even French, for example. Though these languages are not 100% recognizable from the start, a speaker of one of these languages is well prepared to learn one of the others in a fairly short time.

Now let's get to the subject of Latin revival. Latin has actually been enjoying a modest increase over the past decade or so (see here, here and here for example), and with a proper strategy focused on areas where enrollment is relatively high, it may even be able to become a spoken language again. The ultimate goal of many Latin revivalists is the reinstitution of the language as a common language between peoples as was the case during the Middle Ages to the 17th century or so. After this French spent some time in its place as the language of international communication and diplomacy but failed to achieve a final victory, and since the beginning of the 20th century English has taken its place. Here's a newspaper from the early 20th century on the subject.



In the early 1990s when the Internet first became widely used, it looked for a while like English had achieved a kind of final victory as well, as the Internet at the time was largely English, multilingual support was hard to find, and the American economy was stronger than it was now (remember this from 1999 when the US was on track to pay off the debt by 2015?). Since then, however, other languages have shown surprising resilience and an increased presence both in real life and online. Miami has switched from a primarily English city into a primarily Spanish one and is continuing to do so, Trinidad and Tobago (official language English) is aiming to be fluent in Spanish by 2020 (also see here) and Brazil plans to increase the numbers of those that speak Spanish from 5 million to over 40 million, among other examples. English remains in the dominant position for now and no other language is poised to take its place, but neither is English just one step away from becoming the world's second language, and a language on the brink of doing so would not be ceding so much linguistic territory right in its own backyard.




We appear to be headed for a linguistic deadlock.

Back to the revival of Latin: the proponents of such a revival usually have two reasons for this:

- Practical and modern reasons - Latin has a long history of being used as a neutral second language, and can do so again. Even now it is sometimes used to solve linguistic disputes in a way that no other language can.
- Aesthetic and historical reasons - Latin's usage over 20+ centuries makes understanding it a necessary prerequisite to understanding history. Being able to read documents of the past in their original tongue is one of the best ways to retain this.

Reason #1 is shared by proponents of constructed languages such as Esperanto who argue for a common second language that has been created to be easy to learn, but reason #2 is specific to Latin only. The establishment of a language such as Esperanto would result in a common second tongue, but Latin would remain as dead as ever.



There is a language that can accomplish both of these goals, however; that is, a planned language that is both easy to learn, as well as one that provides a tie to the past in Latin. The name of that language is Occidental, and it was created in 1922. But before we take a look at that language let's look back to mutual intelligibility and passive understanding. Why exactly do advocates of a revival of Latin support the idea? Do they do so because it is strictly necessary that we begin to talk as ancient Romans wrote? Certainly not. What is most important for them is that we retain a link to this past, an ability to understand the writers and thinkers of old in the words they themselves used, the ability to understand our own history in the way it was written. This stretches from Roman times to fairly recent history, as even the first encyclopedia on Canada was written in Latin for example.

Back to Occidental: in order to demonstrate what the language looks like, let us first take a look at a very important document originally written in Latin, Newton's Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (The mathematical principles of natural philosophy). Here's the first paragraph in Latin, followed by English.






Now let's take the first four sentences from those, match them up (the English version is a bit more detailed because it's a translation of a later Latin version) and then add a translation in Occidental.
Aer duplo densior in duplo spatio quadruplus est. Idem intellige de Niue et Pulveribus per compressionem uel liquefactionem condensatis. Et par est ratio corporum omnium, quae per causas quascunque diuersimode condensantur. Medii interea, si quod fuerit, interstitia partium libere peruadentis, hic nullam rationem habeo. Hanc autem quantitatem sub nomine corporis vel Massae in sequentibus passim intelligo.

Thus air of a double density, in a double space, is quadruple in quantity. The same thing is to be understood of snow, and fine dust or powders, that are condensed by compression or liquefaction; and of all bodies that are by any causes whatever differently condensed. I have no regard in this place to a medium, if any such there is, that freely pervades the interstices between the parts of bodies. It is this quantity that I mean hereafter everywhere under the name of Body or Mass.

Aere con un duplic densitá in un duplic spacie es quadruplic. Li sam cose es inteligibil sur nive o polve compresset o condensat per liquification, e sur omni córpores, queles per qualcunc cause es diversimen condensat. Sur un medie, si un tal cose existe, quel líbermen permea li intersticies, yo have null regarde. Sur ti quantitá, sub li nómine córpor o masse, yo va intenter in omni loc in li sequent partes.
Comparing the three, one can see that Occidental is much more similar to Latin than English is. Let's take a look at the areas where this is the case.

(Latin - Occidental - English)

nive (nix) - nive - snow
pulveribus (pulvis) - polve - dust
corporum (corporeus) - córpore - body
omnium (omnis) - omni - all
quae - queles - which
per - per - by
quascunque - qualcunc - any
sub - sub - under

In addition to this there are many places where the English word is similar to the Latin one, but Occidental more resembles the original Latin (nómine for name, null for none, sequent instead of the English following).

Another example comparing Latin with Occidental and English comes from a post here, translating a simple Latin fable into both languages.

Latin Occidental English
In scholā nostrā linguam Latīnam discimus. Nunc in fābulā Latīnā dē rānīs discimus. In nor scole nos aprende li lingua latin. Nu in un fabul de latin nos aprende/discurre pri ranes. In our school we learn Latin. Now we learn about frogs in a Latin fable.
Incolae Graeciae saepe deās vident, quod deae saepe in silvīs Graeciae ambulant. Interdum Lātōna in silvīs ambulat. Fēminae Graeciae Lātōnam, deam pulchram, amant, quod Lātōna est fēminīs benigna. Grec habitantes sovente vide deessas, proque deessas sovente promena se in grec silvas. Quelcvez Latona se promena in forestes. Grec féminas ama Latona, li bell deessa, proque Latona es afabil (benigni) a féminas. Greek inhabitants often see goddesses, because goddesses often walk in Greek forests. Sometimes Latona walks in forests. Greek women love Latona, the beautiful goddess, because Latona is kind to women.
Nunc Lātōna in silvā ambulat. Cum Lātōnā sunt īnfantēs Diāna et Apollō.Nu Latona se promena se in li silva. Con Latona es li infantes Diana e Apollo.Now Latona walks in the forest. With Latona are the infants Diana and Apollo.
Agricolae Látōnam et īnfantēs spectant; deam timent. Dea agricolās videt; itaque agricolās vocat. Aquam ōrat. Lātōna aquam nōn dēsīderat; sed īnfantēs aquam dēsīderant.Farmeros specta a Latona e li infantes; ili time li deessa. Li deessa vide li farmeros; dunc ella voca li farmeros. Ella demanda aqua. Latona ne desira aqua; ma li infantes desira li aqua.Farmers see Latona and the infants; they fear the goddess. The goddess sees the farmers; therefore she calls the farmers. She asks for water. Latona doesn't want the water; but the infants want the water.
Est aqua in lacūnā, sed agricolae Lātōnae aquam dare nōn dēsīderant. Itaque in lacūnā ambulant; nunc aqua nōn est bona. Lātōna est īrāta quod agricolae sunt in aquā.Es aqua in li lago, ma li farmeros ne desira dar li aqua a Latona. Dunc ili se promena in li lago; nu li aqua ne es bon. Latona es iritat proque li farmeros es in li aqua.There is water in the lake, but the farmers don't want to give the water to Latona. Therefore they walk in the lake; now the water is not good. Latona is angry because the farmers are in the water.
Dea īrāta clāmat.Li deessa, iritat, clama.The angry goddess shouts.
Nunc agricolae sunt rānae. Nunc agricolae in casīs nōn habitant; in lacūnā habitant, quod sunt rānae.Nu li farmeros es ranes. Nu li farmeros ne habita in domes; ili habita in li lago, proque ili es ranes.Now the farmers are frogs. Now the farmers do not live in houses; they live in the lake, because they are frogs.


Good, so we've established that Occidental vocabulary is closer to Latin than English. But what about grammar? Well, first bear in mind Latin grammar actually doesn't resemble either English or even other modern Romance languages a great deal: Latin uses no articles (English and all Romance languages have articles), and it has a great deal of declension (only Romanian has kept some of this) as well as three grammatical genders (once again only Romanian still has three), causing its grammar to more often resemble Slavic and Baltic languages than Romance or Germanic languages, except for German itself and of course Icelandic. So to attempt to create a planned language that resembled Latin in these ways as well when the large majority of those in Europe and North America are used to using languages with articles and without cases would probably be going a bit overboard.

However, Occidental does use derivation that comes from Latin, in something called De Wahl's Rule (De Wahl was the creator of the language), an interesting way to retain regularity while still giving the language a naturalistic character. The rules go as follows:

  1. If, after the removal of -r or -er of the infinitive, the root ends in vocal, the final -t is added or the final y is changed into t: crea/r, crea/t-, crea/t/or; atiny/er, atin/t, atin/t/ion
  2. If the root ends in consonants d or r, they are changed into s: decid/er, deci/s-, deci/s/ion
  3. In all other cases, with six exceptions, the removal of the ending gives the exact root: duct/er, duct-, duct/ion.
These six exceptions are
  1. ced/er, cess-
  2. sed/er, sess-
  3. mov/er, mot-
  4. ten/er, tent-
  5. vert/er, vers-
  6. veni/r, vent-

This rule shows how Latin words are derived from verbs. ducter to duction is what gives reduction from reduce, and decider to decision is what gives decision from decide. Due to the large influx of vocabulary from Latin, English speakers have an unconscious understanding of how this derivation works most of the time.

And of course, being a constructed or planned language, Occidental is laughably simple to learn. Here are some examples.

Verbs do not conjugate by person:

yo ama, il ama, tu ama, noi ama (I love, he loves, you love, we love)
yo amat, il amat, tu amat, noi amat (I loved, he loved, you loved, we loved)
yo vole amar, il vole amar, tu vole amar, noi vole amar (I want to love, he wants to love, you want to love, we want to love)
yo ha amat, il ha amat, tu ha amat, noi ha amat (I have loved, he has loved, you have loved, we have loved)
yo ha esset amat, il ha esset amat, tu ha esset amat, noi ha esset amat (I have been loved, he has been loved, you have been loved, we have been loved)

Comparative is formed with plu, superlative with max or maxim:

grand - plu grand (big - bigger). Li max grand libre - The largest book.
inteligent - plu inteligent (intelligent - more intelligent). Li max inteligent presidente - The most intelligent president.

Adverbs are formed with -men (originally from Latin mente):

rapid - fast, quick. Il furtet li diamant rapidmen - He quickly (rapidly) stole the diamond.
lent - slow. Il lentmen consciet que il hat devenit un object de rision - He slowly realized that he had become a laughing-stock.

To see a complete grammar of the language, see here (or here on Scribd). Even languages that are simple to learn need a comprehensive grammar to show exactly how they work. Don't believe anyone that claims the grammar of a language can be explained in a single page.


Occidental could probably best be explained as a streamlined and standardized Western European, and it is one of the few constructed languages that is capable of 1) being understood by a large number of people at first sight, and 2) disguising itself as a "natural" language. Point #2 is very important, as the uncanny valley found in robotics seems to be present in languages as well, as often the idea of a constructed language is met with revulsion or ridicule, while languages that are capable of disguising themselves in the way Occidental can usually result in a pleasant surprise when the reader realizes that the language he has been reading with little difficulty isn't some obscure Romance language, but rather a constructed language less than a century old.

Finally, what about a user base? Do people actually use Occidental? Certainly. Here are a few quick examples: here's a site run by a user of the language, here's another one, and another one, another user of the language is here, a blog in the language is here, here are 17 users on Wikipedia that know the language, the language has its own Wikipedia, and just yesterday a user wrote about how impressed he is by the language. Many more examples of the language in use are easy to find. Occidental doesn't have a huge community, but it does have a stable and active one.



And how does one say Romanes eunt domus in Occidental? Romanes, ea al dom.



What would a world with Occidental as a common second language look like? This video of Barack Obama's first YouTube address with Occidental subtitles gives some idea.



Thus concludes the basic presentation of the language and the idea behind it. Please leave any questions in the comments section below.



Notes

* Mutual intelligibility: there actually is one language that is quite mutually intelligible with English, namely Scots (see their Wikipedia here). The Scots Wikipedia is a pretty good example of what languages like Danish look like to Norwegians, or the other way around. And as always, written languages are much easier to understand than spoken. The Scots Wikipedia is easy to follow, but stumble across two people chatting in Scots and your average North American wouldn't have a clue.

** Interlingua: Many readers will know about this language, a constructed/planned language that looks quite similar to Occidental and also claims to be a modern Latin (Latino moderne). Why not support Interlingua instead of Occidental? There are some good reasons for this:

- Interlingua is quite easy to read, but in writing can often be long and cumbersome. I had been there is Io habeva essite illac (Occidental: Yo ha esset ta), He played happily is Ille jocava felicemente (Occidental: Il ludet felicimen), and You can read this course, preferably with other people as if you had a conversation with them is Vos pote leger iste curso, preferibilemente con altere personas como si vos habeva un conversation con illes (Occidental: Vu posse leer ti cursu, preferibilmen con altri persones quam si vu havet un conversation con les).

- Interlingua has an irregular accent that is not indicated. Suddenly in Interlingua is either subitemente or subito, but subito has the stress on the first syllable (súbito). Kilometre (kilometro) is stressed on the second syllable (kilómetro), but as with English (e.g. I presént you this présent, and a photógrapher takes phótographs) the accent is not indicated. In other words, even Spanish is easier to read properly than Interlingua. Occidental indicates irregular stress with an accent.

- Interlingua vocabulary is based on a model whereby any word that is present in at least three of the source languages is considered to be Interlingua. This often results in users of the language creating their own vocabulary based on their personal preferences. The word for I is io, but one can see it written as ego, yo, or even eu. Interlingua is both so naturalistic and lacking in a strict formula that users will often not only make up their own vocabulary but also use irregular verbs as well, such as illes son (they are) instead of illes es, or era for the past tense instead of the regular esseva (esser + past tense -va).

In short, Interlingua feels like a natural language to the student, but without the benefits of a large community of users.

*** Would Latin revivalists really support a language like Occidental? Latin users differ from IAL (international auxiliary language) supporters in that many of them are simply interested in the language itself; they like Latin and Roman history and perhaps are not as eager to promote the language to others because they are aware of how much of an investment learning the language is. With all the time and effort it takes to properly learn Latin, the idea of lending support to another language is simply not possible to most. However, given the similarities in vocabulary and derivation between the two one would assume that a Latin revivalist would prefer a world in which everyone spoke Occidental as a second language to the current situation, as that would give everyone a leg up on both understanding and learning the language they love.

**** What about people of a non-European linguistic background, like Chinese or Uzbek? Occidental isn't immediately comprehensible to them, nor is Latin a part of their history. Both true points. However, nobody is stopping Turkic language speakers from making their own pan-Turkic language, and Occidental would be a smashing success even if it was limited to being the second language of the European Union. Also bear in mind that people in Asia and other parts of the world already learn Western languages in spite of their difficulties, and in that sense a language like Occidental is actually more respectful in recognizing the effort that has already been put in to learn them.

***** Hasn't the idea of a constructed/planned language already failed? The easiest way to explain the idea of a constructed language is to compare it with something like Linux, or perhaps the Dvorak simplified keyboard. The user base is smaller, but those that use and promote it swear by it and see it as a better and more efficient solution to the status quo. New and more efficient ideas are not always doomed to failure either: the metric system is used officially in nearly every country throughout the world. Of course, the difference between these and a language like Occidental is that Occidental is an auxiliary language, and thus is not meant to replace natural languages but rather is meant to be used between two people that would otherwise have no way to communicate. No IAL promoter advocates natural languages being replaced with a planned language; on the contrary, one advantage to a language that is easy to learn is that it protects other languages given that 1) being a neutral language, speakers are on a more even playing field, and 2) being easy to learn, students do not need to spend years abroad in order to learn it.

****** Can languages that aren't spoken as a mother tongue really be revived or brought to life? Certainly. Hebrew did it. "The process of Hebrew's return to regular usage is unique; there are no other examples of a language devoid of native speakers becoming a national language with millions of first language speakers." Latin can be revived, and Occidental can be turned into a living language. All that is required is will and a sense of necessity.

******* Would learning Latin really be that much easier in a world where everyone spoke Occidental as a second language? Certainly, and here are four examples (here, here, here and here) of what a Latin textbook in Occidental would look like. Also keep in mind that Occidental would be a second language, so the knowledge gained by knowing it would be in addition to any other language(s) students would know.

Read more...

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

  © Blogger templates Newspaper by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP