This blog’s reading level: high school

Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 0:04 | Posted in languages, Web tools | Leave a comment
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I found a link to this automatic testing tool at Jaanus. It instantly analyzes the level of education needed to understand the language of a blog.

I am happy to land at the high school level (I take it that this means the American high school). Since most of what I write is not intended to or even suitable for children, it is more than likely that most of my regular readers are above high school level.

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What are you sinking about?

Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 11:51 | Posted in languages | Leave a comment
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It is important that people understand each other. It may even be a matter of life and death.

via Seanchai Stories

Politically correct

Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 7:12 | Posted in languages, USA | 11 Comments
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Violent Acres is sick and tired of politically correct language as it appears on the worse side of the Bond. I have not bothered to mind my language for years. I just cannot motivate myself to be updated on the politically correct expression of the week.

That said, just out of curiosity: what is the politically correct expression for a white skinned person? European American, perhaps? Would that make me European European or just European?

What country are we talking about?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 1:51 | Posted in great britain, languages | 2 Comments
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It is a benefit in the job market in any country if your English is fluent. I have hard time imagining that a person with poor English would have much of a chance to find an employment in many branches, IT for one, no matter where in the World they are. Which is why I was raising my eyebrow when I saw this:

Up to 40,000 jobless people say their poor English is a barrier to finding employment, ministers say – and £4.5m is spent on translators in job centres.

BBC News

I had to check and double check. Yes, it was about England. They are spending millions on learning the jobless English in England and they are spending millions on translators in job centres. In England. Which was the first country in the World to have English as their language.

Beats me.

Freedom of speech beats personal rights

Friday, November 17, 2006 at 12:38 | Posted in Freedom of speech, google, Not serious | 5 Comments
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Thomas has evaluated the importance of the German terms for freedom of speech and personal rights in a Google fight. Much to amusement of the blogging community, freedom of speech scores higher. The difference is much clearer if you put the English terms against each other.

Any conclusions to be drawn about this? Sure, freedom of speech seems to be a more important value in the English speaking World than in the German language room. Just as I have been trying to explain.

The Mission Song a.k.a. Den gode tolk

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 8:41 | Posted in Denmark, languages, literature | 5 Comments
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John Le Carré’s new book The Mission Song will be published the 21st September. But there is a chance you may get to read it already on 28th August. That is if you read Danish.

John Le Carré is very popular in Denmark. His books sell more than 50.000 copies which is a very high figure, baring in mind that the population of Denmark is 5,4 million. According to Berlingske Tidende, the author is happy with the popularity of his books, so much so that he finds it an exellent idea that the Danish translation will be published weeks before the English original.

Maybe as a token of appriciation of his Danish audience, Le Carré has written a part of the plot to take place on a Danish island. But the real appriciation is to be seen in the fact that when the rest of the World will get hold of John Le Carré’s latest novel, it is already yesterday’s news for those who read it in Danish.

The grammar hurdle overcome by GFW

Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 4:36 | Posted in Blogosphere, internet, languages, Personal | 3 Comments
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Have you ever tried to run the 110 meter hurdles in a track and field tournamnet? Neither have I and I am not likely to try that. I was a pretty good runner for 30-35 years ago but jumping the hurdle was never my pint of bitter.

But I have done something that resembles running the 110 meter hurdles. I have sometimes tried to write a sentence in German that would make sense but nevertheless try to overcome the hurdles set up by the rules and regulations of the German grammar. To make your point you would have to write a sentence at least 110 meters long but if you manage to jump the grammatical hurdle you may not remember what you wanted to say once you reach the end of your sentence.

I have no problem with understanding the langauage, neither spoken nor written. Most of my grammatical and vocabular errors can also be hidden by swallowing some endings in an oral conversation with a native German. But it is practically impossible to hide your lack of linguistic skills if you communicate with a native German in writing.

And being caught on such an error would be fatal. You are not being taken seriously if you happen to misspell a word like Verleumdung and accidentally write Verleubnung. That would make you the laughing stuff of the blogosphere.

Which is why I tend to avoid doing that. But sometimes you just find a blog or two with interesting posts that just cry out to be commented. So you boost up your vocabulary with a good web dictionary and try to remember those remote years on the school bench to make it match with that grammar.

And you spend 10 minutes writing a two sentence comment. OK, would you believe 5 minutes writing a three sentence comment? How about 30 seconds translatind Das Kapital by Karl Marx into English?

No matter what you would believe but writing understandable comments that would also make sense (as if any of my comments would make sense) can sometimes be a time consumer. Which is why I am delighted that two German GFW’s (Good Fellows of the Web) have officially and on the record granted me a permission to post comments in English in their blogs. I call that an effort to promote understanding, in particular as it suggests that they want to make my comments more understandable. 😉

Give or take a few, there must be somewhere around a hundred million native German speakers around the World. This makes German a language strong enough not to be flushed as English and later Chinese is invading the World Wide Web. But I am glad to notice that the idea of GFW is getting ground to promote understanding amongst the Good Fellows of the Web.

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