Blog Archives

The Importance of Language in Diplomacy

The United States government has a high demand for linguists. President Obama’s administration is looking to put more emphasis on diplomacy through more effective multilingual communication in all areas: intelligence, defense, State Department agencies, etc. The ILR (Interagency Language Roundtable) was created and includes several agencies of the State Department. Its main focus will be […]

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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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President Obama, the Power of Words, and Official Chinese Translation

Following up on my post from last week on President Obama and the power of words, it’s interesting to note how the words in President Obama’s inauguration speech were evidently deemed by the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China to be too powerful for the people of China. Not only was the live […]

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President Obama and The Power of Words

Tuesday night, at some moment during my CNN and BBC viewing marathon of inaugural activities and the apparent zenith of Obamamania, one of the many political analysts/commentators referred to “the power of words”. Although I’ve read one of Barack’s books and seen dozens of his debates and speeches, never underwhelmed by the man’s use of […]

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“Yes, we can” Translation

I was reading an article about Obama and the Spanish speakers in the States and I found that the journalist translated, the “YES WE CAN” campaign slogan as “si se puede” (if we can), instead of “Sí, se puede!”  (Yes we can!). What a difference an accent mark can make! The funniest thing about this […]

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