Translators without Borders and changing the world

Sometimes I get really discouraged about all the stuff that’s wrong with the human race… the arguing, the senseless violence, the control-freak posturing and the corruption in every direction. Why don’t people see how stupid all of that is? Why don’t they listen more, put themselves in the shoes of their fellow human beings, tryContinue reading “Translators without Borders and changing the world”

Language, IQ and firstborns

For the past couple of decades, I’ve come in and out of contact with articles saying that firstborn children tend to have better verbal skills, on average, than their younger siblings. This, of course, gelled with my own experience as a preternaturally linguistic firstborn child — my mother recorded my early verbal expressions faithfully, reportingContinue reading “Language, IQ and firstborns”

The art of non-romantic conversation

The best conversation, I think, is serious but jovial, drawing in ideas and reference to some shared joke or reference, sometimes rejoined with a sly observance, contradiction, further witticism, or self-deprecating but hearty laugh. Talking even of the weather leaps from the mundane to the sublime. Whether or not you are equals, you meet asContinue reading “The art of non-romantic conversation”

On joue au couteau

I have a few songs by Coeur de pirate, a female French Canadian singer-songwriter, and recently, a few lines of “Corbeau” (Raven — an omnivorous bird considered an ill omen due to its propensity to feed on flesh, also regaled as an intelligent trickster) caught my ear. C’est dur d’être libre comme toi? Is thisContinue reading “On joue au couteau”

Affirmative responses: not always so clear cut

English, though not exactly on the same context level as Chinese, can still present problematic nuances to second-language learners, even advanced ones. Consider the following possible affirmative responses (said in a fairly neutral voice) to the rather nerve-wracking request “Would you like to go out with me on Friday? To see that show? I hearContinue reading “Affirmative responses: not always so clear cut”

The non-localizable language

Watching a documentary on the practice of rumspringa (“running around,” sometimes also referring to the whole period of adolescence), when 16-year-old Amish kids release themselves from their normal boundaries and go out into the world (or out into the back field) to taste and see if they want to live as others do, or elseContinue reading “The non-localizable language”