Writing indigenous names in Taiwan

This month, Taiwan’s legislature decided that indigenous (non-Chinese) people in Taiwan can present their names using only romanised letters. The will no longer need to use Chinese characters instead (or as well). Chinese characters no longer required for Taiwan Aborigine names | Pinyin News I first picked up this story from Language Log » A…… Continue reading Writing indigenous names in Taiwan

Endangered Alphabets Sudoku

The Endangered Alphabets project is about to publish Endangered Alphabets Sudoku. This is a book of Sudoku puzzles. Instead of numerals, it uses letters from endangered languages. Other items produced by the project include: Endangered Alphabets Word Search Puzzles Glagolitic Abbey—a clue-based board game introducing the ancient Glagolitic script in the context of a treasure-hunt…… Continue reading Endangered Alphabets Sudoku

Street names’ apostrophes

A mini-row has erupted for the umpteenth time about the removal of apostrophes from street names on English road signs. The latest belligerence revolves around St Marys Walk (a street formerly known as St. Mary’s Walk) in Harrogate. Harrogate is a spa town in Yorkshire. I would love to describe Harrogate as genteel. That word…… Continue reading Street names’ apostrophes

Sail in on a shrimp sandwich

It’s always fun to hear odd-sounding idioms and proverbs in other languages.  Anita Shenoi’s nicely illustrated book Sail in on a shrimp sandwich … and other curious Swedish sayings (2017) lists 63 Swedish sayings. Here are 5 of them, with a literal translation, followed by a description of the meaning. Segla in på en täkmacka…… Continue reading Sail in on a shrimp sandwich

Languages differ in what they MUST say

There is a popular belief that some things can only be expressed in some languages and not in other languages. The linguist and literary theorist Roman Jakobson (1896-1982) took issue with that belief in his well-known statement: ‘Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey’. That statement appears in his short essay…… Continue reading Languages differ in what they MUST say

Copilot is aware that it has no self-awareness

Me: Would you pass the Turing test? Microsoft Copilot: I appreciate your curiosity! However, I’m an AI language model, and while I strive to assist, I don’t have consciousness or self-awareness. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! 😊 At least Copilot wasn’t ‘hallucinating’. When the machines started hallucinating – Language Miscellany