Articles for Languages/Linguistic curiosities

“Fabricius”, Google’s new AI tool, unravels the symbols of Ancient Egypt

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Google launched "Fabricius", a web based AI tool to let users interact with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, on July 16, 2020, to coincide with the anniversary of the Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta stone was the first Ancient Egyptian bilingual text (Egyptian/Ancient ...

“A poem a day”, 365 poems in 34 languages by 279 poets: a tribute to the many languages of India

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Sampooran Singh Kalra (b.1934), known as Gulzar, is an Indian lyricist, poet, author, screenwriter, and film director. His anthology of 365 poems, one for every day of the year, has just been published by Harper and Collins. He describes it ...

The origins of idioms are lost in the mists of metaphor and meaning: they are “the fossilized poetry of language”

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Chi Luu, a computational linguist and natural language processing researcher, writes about idioms and their special power to draw people together in a recent article for JSTOR Daily. The origins of idioms, she says, are most often frozen in time, ...

Should the “Académie française” continue to safeguard the French language’s antiquated purity or try to instill new life into it?

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village The members of the Académie française are referred to as "the Immortals". Many French-speaking linguists who respect the talent and authority of the Académie and use Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie française will occasionally refer to the Immortals as "dinosaurs", says ...

New English version of Camus’ “The Plague” during Covid-19: how historical context can affect translation

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Publishers around the world are reporting booming sales of "The Plague" (La Peste), an allegorical tale set in a town at the mercy of an epidemic, written by French Nobel prize writer Albert Camus in 1947. Penguin is rushing through a ...

Translating “The name of the Rose”, an example of a linguistic quality assurance process applied to literature

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village In 1983 Italian academic, historian, semiologist, journalist and author Umberto Eco published his first novel, Il nome della rosa (The name of the rose). The book became a literary event almost overnight and was on the best-seller list practically everywhere ...

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theory of language made simple – and fun – by philosopher Alain de Botton

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Much has been said and written about Ludwig Wittgenstein and his theory of language, but the video narrated by British philosopher and author Alain de Botton provides a fresh and playful take on his complex background, life, philosophy, and vision ...