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

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

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

Hello, universe

After several months of producing unintelligible data, NASA’s spacecraft Voyager 1 has recently started sending usable information back to Earth again. Voaygers 1 and 2 departed from Earth in 1977 on tours of the outer planets, before heading off from the Solar System into inter-stellar space. Greetings, non-earthlings Among other things, the Voyagers carry a…… Continue reading Hello, universe

How much are AI tools writing out in the wild?

A recent paper suggests that between 6% and 16% of the text of peer reviews for some major recent conferences on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) may have been written with substantial help from Large Language Models (LLM), such as ChatGPT. The paper makes these estimates in illustrating a method for estimating how…… Continue reading How much are AI tools writing out in the wild?

Schock prize for linguists

The 2024 Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy has been awarded jointly to Hans Kamp (University of Stuttgart, Germany) and Irene Heim (MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology). It as awarded ‘for (mutually independent) conception and early development of dynamic semantics for natural language.’ The laureates are selected by collaboration between three Swedish royal academies: the Royal…… Continue reading Schock prize for linguists

Japan to change official romanisation?

Recent press reports suggest that the Japanese government is thinking of changing the officially recommended system for romanising Japanese. Romanisation is writing Japanese in roman characters (known in Japanese as rōmaji). There are 2 main romanisation systems for Japanese: Hepburn, devised by an American Missionary James Curtis Hepburn (1815-1911). Kunrei, issued by the Japanese government…… Continue reading Japan to change official romanisation?

ISOs on translation

In February 2024, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published ISO 5060 Translation services, Evaluation of translation output—General guidance. It gives guidance on evaluating human translation output, post-edited machine translation output, and unedited machine translation output. I searched the ISOs online store for other ISOs dealing with translation. I have prepared summaries below from the…… Continue reading ISOs on translation

Still using unhelpful headlines … and still talking about batsmen

I’ve complained before about the unhelpful and misleading headlines The Times uses when an inside page continues an article that started on the back page. Their style seems to be to invent a new headline for the rest of the article, rather than keep the original headline. Please keep the same headline throughout – Language…… Continue reading Still using unhelpful headlines … and still talking about batsmen

British sign language will be a GCSE subject

Schoolchildren will soon be able to study British Sign Language (BSL) as a GCSE. The target is for schools to be able to teach it from September 2025.   As part of the GCSE, students will be taught at least 750 signs and how to use them to communicate effectively with other signers in work, social…… Continue reading British sign language will be a GCSE subject