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Sideliner


Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
Using translation software, we translated "My pet does tricks and rolls over on his back" into the Italian "Il mio animale domestico trucchi e rotola sopra su sua la parte posteriore".

We then translated "Il mio animale domestico trucchi e rotola sopra su sua la parte posteriore" back into English.

This resulted in "My domestic animal makes up and rolls over on its posterior part".

Conclusion: phone the circus!


  • "I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people."

    Dan Quayle


  • "If language is not correct then what is said is not what is meant and what ought to be done remains undone; morals and the arts will deteriorate; justice will go astray; and the people will stand about in helpless confusion."

    Confucius

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    Archived language related articles in the Media

    Germans build web 'bridge' to Beijing. Students in China have attended their first online lectures at a foreign university, courtesy of a highly sophisticated virtual bridge between Beijing and the German town of Trier ...More from the BBC

    Immigrants told to speak English - even at home. David Blunkett faced a backlash from race groups after he said that parents should speak English to their children - at home - to prevent "schizophrenic rifts" between generations of their families ...More from The Times

    Learning the new language of labor. Spanish instruction increasingly geared to the workaday world. Back when he was a kid in Loudoun County, Robert Scott paid little attention to Spanish class. "How many people you knew even spoke Spanish in the '70s? Nobody," he said. "I thought I'd never use that." Today, Scott looks out his office window and sees a demographic revolution ...More from the Washington Post

    UK Budget flights boost GCSE Spanish. A boom in budget flights to the Costas has led to a surge of nearly 7 per cent in the number of pupils studying Spanish at school, compared with a sharp drop in other languages ...More from the Times

    Stepford Child. Even though she's just 5 years old, Cindy Smart speaks five languages. She's a good reader. She can tell time and do simple math, including multiplication and division. She's not a prodigy. She's just good programming ...More from Wired News

    Hard lessons in learning a common tongue. You say tomayto, I say tomahto; what if you say automobile and I say car? Or you say truck andI say lorry? Oryou say money and I say cash? In conversation, these ...More from the Financial Times

    Canada's Web Address: French, Too. A Canada official says foreign embassies should create bilingual websites as a show of respect for the 25 % of Canadians who speak French ...More from Wired News

    Can You Say Adios in Ainu? There are 6,000 languages in the world, and 3,000 of them are headed toward extinction, a new study says. Ainu, spoken on Japan's Hokkaido Island, may be enjoying a slight revival, however ...More from Wired News

    Language lessons for UK primary schools. The government is set to announce targets which will introduce modern language lessons to all primary schools in England ...More from the BBC

    Outcry over plans to drop languages and science. British pupils might be able to drop languages and science at 14 under plans to shake-up secondary schools and bring in a baccalaureate ...More from the BBC

    From Chimp to Chatterbox: Was language ability a leap or a hop in human evolution? Talking is a uniquely human trait. But scientists have long debated how sophisticated human language grew out of the primitive vocalizations of our ape-like ancestors. The most common theory has been that a dramatic evolutionary leap in brain design bestowed linguistic savvy ...More from Discover.com

    US company launches 'smart' translator. A US tech company claims it has launched the world's first 'smart' handheld speaking translator, designed to translate spoken English into foreign languages ...More from Silicon.com

    London school plans to teach in 'up to 65 languages'. A London school whose pupils speak 65 different languages between them is hoping to teach subjects in each child's mother tongue. Teachers at White Hart Lane School are being encouraged to learn at least one other foreign language for lessons like maths and science. Headteacher David Daniels, who is learning Somali and Albanian, says it will help foreign pupils settle into the curriculum while they learn English ...More from Ananova

    Anatomy of a Word: Harvard Professor Hopes to Take Away a Racial Epithet's Sting. The word is the most supercharged word in American society. It has started fights and ended careers. It has been used maliciously by some people and lovingly by others. It is forbidden for some to use, and permitted for others. Now it's the title of a Molotov cocktail of a book by Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy - "Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word". It is likely to bring on a storm of reaction ...More from the Washington Post

    IT: A Language From Beyond India. Defenders of traditional culture fear that a proposal to make information technology a "second language" elective in Maharashtra could hasten the death of the region's mother tongue, Marathi. Manu Joseph reports from India ...More from Wired News

    Israel's Online Bridge to Arabic. Israeli Arabs can now read literal translations of content from the country's most popular daily newspaper, which some hope can help breed more understanding ...More from Wired News

    Chinese tipped as main language of web by 2007. Chinese will outrank English as the most-used language on the worldwide web by 2007, according to forecasts cited at a United Nations symposium on multilingual internet addresses ...More from the Financial Times

    Teacher's dog understands commands in three languages. A Belgian woman's pet dog understands commands in English, Dutch and French. Monique Pacco is a teacher who suffers from a muscle-wasting condition. Her golden retriever, Easy, helps Ms Pacco with simple tasks at home and at school ...More from Ananova

    First Language Gene Found. The first gene for human language may have been identified by a team of British scientists. But some scientists argue that complex behavior like language can't be reduced to individual genes ...More from Wired News

    Teachers sacked for not learning ancient language. More than 500 teachers have been sacked in Spain for failing to learn an ancient language. The teachers have lost their jobs in the last year in the Basque region because they cannot speak Euskara. Teachers were given two years paid leave to learn the language which is compulsory in Basque schools and government bodies ...More from Ananova

    The European Commission to propose mandatory use of Latin in fish shops. The EC Fisheries Management Committee has suggested that it would be easier if everyone across the EU called fish by the same names, reports The Sun. "If barmy Brussels bureaucrats get their way," writes consumer correspondent Paul Crosbie, "baffled Brits will have to ask for hippoglossus hippoglossus instead of plain halibut" ...More from What The Papers Say

    The Tower of Babel Is Crumbling. Soon, nobody will speak Eyak. The same goes for as many as 6,100 languages that experts say will become extinct this century ...More from Wired News

    First word from Asia's lost civilisation. A lost civilisation may have developed a previously unknown written language more than 4,000 years ago ...More from the Times

    'Konglish' replaces good English. How bad can bad English get? Very bad indeed, in the view of a commentary published in the Korea Herald, in which the writer laments the state of "Konglish", the hybrid of jazzy Korean and messy English that, "like heavy traffic is an unpleasant but tolerable side of life" in the East Asian capital ...More from the Guardian

    Email is double Dutch to UK firms. Only 8% of British companies are able to respond correctly to foreign language emails, and significant business is being lost as a result, according to a new survey. British companies performed much worse than French or German firms but better than American ones when 247 test emails were sent in different languages. Australian companies came bottom of the league with a zero score ...More from the Guardian

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    Speaking in tongues

    Since 3000 BC, when the first forms of language were written down in Sumeria (modern Iraq) translators have had a daunting task. Misunderstandings due to mistakes in translation are often costly or even disastrous. The problem is not only still very much with us, but even more so. With the arrival of on-line translation software the human race has reached a whole new level of confusion. Just use them as aids and do not rely on their accuracy.

    Languages and the Web

    A disproportionate 80% of the world's electronically stored information is in English. This is mostly due to its use by the world's business community, scientists and academics. In addition, throw in the influence of Hollywood, TV and popular music and it is not hard to understand that figure.

    However, only just over 15% of the world's population can communicate in English, with only 5% claiming it as their mother tongue. Therefore 80% of the world's population do not speak it proficiently and consequently have difficulty using it to navigate the web.

    There also appears to be a statistically significant proportion of IT professionals who seem to be speaking English, but nobody really understands what they are saying :)

    Enter the dragon

    It is interesting to note that there are slightly more native Spanish speakers than native English speakers and that Chinese, already spoken by over 20% of the world's population, is predicted to become the predominant language of the web by 2007.

    Have you seen our homework helpers page yet? Click here.

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