Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Book review: You are what you speak

I’ve just finished reading an interesting book You are what you speak by Robert Lane Greene and as the cover states it’s all about grammar grouches, language laws and the politics of identity. I would recommend it just for the first couple of chapters.

I thought I would share with you some of the things that stood out for me, using a few quotes from the book which made me think even more about the power of language.

Talking about the tower of Babel:

But the most interesting part of this story is what it shows about the power of language in the eyes of its authors. God worries that with one common language for human kind, “nothing will be restrained from them”. This, remember, is God: He can flood the world, rain frogs on the Egyptians, turn rivers to blood, and raise the dead. Communication through language must be mighty indeed to worry the Supreme Being into doing something about it. (2011:4)

The idea that “rules” were more important than history, elegance, or actual practice – a zombielike prescriptivism that mindlessly sought out so-called mistakes – held writers and speakers in terror of making them. (2011:34)

Let the meaning choose the word and not the other way around. (Orwell)

Have you read this book?

Thursday, 9 August 2012


I thought I would share with you some resources today.

Free Oxford bilingual dictionaries for Chinese/English, French/English, German/English, Italian/English, Russian/English and Spanish/English

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary free online

Electropedia (IEV Online) is a comprehensive online electrical and electronic terminology database
containing more than 20 000 terms and definitions in English and French, organised by subject area, with equivalent terms in various other languages (including Arabic, Chinese, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish). It is managed by the International Electrotechnical Commission:

Multilingual apiculture dictionary (equivalent terms in English, Spanish, Italian, French and
Portuguese, although the site is in Spanish)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made several of its publications available in foreign languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Simplified Chinese)

The Swiss Institute of Comparative Law provides a multitude of links to legislation, case
law, official gazettes, institutions, etc. in more than 100 countries

Almost everything you ever wanted to know about translation is an e-book freely available at, written by Lola Bendana, director at Multi-Languages Corporation, and Alan Melby, professor of linguistics at Brigham Young University. The book focuses on the business side of translation and one of the contributors is Brian Mossop

The Routledge Translation Studies Portal features a growing range of resources that include video
interviews with leading scholars, sample chapters from important publications, workbooks, glossaries, links, etc.

Writers and Editors is a website dedicated to connecting writers and editors with each other, resources, markets and audiences.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

A shocker of a typo

I've been doing some maintenance on the PC I use, running updates etc. I was uninstalling a program and thought you might like to see the typo that nearly caused my heart to stop for a second. I didn't know that Windows® 7 would ever have a typo but there's a first for everyone! ;)