Blog Archives

Commas in English and Spanish

In English, we generally use a comma in front of the conjunctions “and” and “or”. The structures in English allow for us to skip the comma when working with other conjunctions. In certain sentences, the pause indicated by the comma will not be enough and a semi-colon must be used instead. Subordinate adverbial clauses between […]

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Is 1,000,000 words possible?

The Global Language Monitor, which was born from the ashes of yourdictionary.com, focuses on trends in the use of language, primarily through automatic algorithmic readings of texts on the web. The latest news from the site (and you’ll notice, should you visit the site, that most of the “news” on the homepage is articles where […]

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Legal Translations

The following are the most important aspects of legal translations: The might contain the ambiguities that arise from terms, concepts, or institutions that do not coincide between the legal systems of the source and target languages. In order to properly complete the translation, the translator must use a reliable manual or dictionary that clearly defines […]

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Obama and the Grammar Police

While President Obama has long been lauded for his eloquent speech (see my post “Obama and Power of Words”), as well as his intellect and professionalism, he has also been slammed for his grammar. Obama’s most widely criticized “mistake” is doubtlessly his “misuse” of pronouns. Like so many American English speakers, myself included, Obama often […]

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Split Infinitives and the Monster of Prescriptive Grammar

Yes, the Monster of Prescriptive Grammar has reared its ugly head, and boy did it choose the occasion to do so – the inauguration of the first African-American president of the United States. For those who watched President Obama take the oath of office, I’m sure you found it awkward, ridiculous, shameful or just bizarre […]

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English-only hurts immigrants and translators

Last month, voters in the City of Nashville, Tennessee went to the voting booths to decide whether to make English the city’s official language. And, thank goodness, they voted against the proposal that would have made “Music City” the biggest U.S. city with such official language legislation. This is good news, not just for the […]

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The Economist cracks down on Americanisms

The Economist is the well-known and acclaimed magazine newspaper(!) about…well, economics…that is published in the UK. One of its proudest principles is how it likes to take stands on issues and argue in favor of or against topics. It is read by important, influential, and intelligent people throughout the world. So as I was thumbing […]

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New Words in English 2008

The Oxford English Dictionary, whose corpus of texts now contains over 2 billion words, recently released its list of new words for inclusion in the Eleventh edition in the Revised Edition of its Concise Oxford English Dictionary. http://www.askoxford.com/worldofwords/newwords/?view=uk Some of my thoughts: “Best”, as used in phrases such as “best of breed” is now in […]

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