Archive for the ‘Language’ Category

Adverb of the Day

13 June 2013

Spotted on Wikipedia:

Saturday Review reached its maximum circulation of 660,000 in 1971. Ironically, its decline began in the same year.

Dictionary Definition of the Day

18 February 2010

From the Chambers Dictionary, definition 3 for the noun potato:

Someone who sits or lies about by the hour in vegetable-like inertia, as in couch potato, beach potato (slang)

No, Not That Kind of Chinese Radical

5 August 2009

There are a whole bunch of good Chinese-English dictionaries for the iPhone, but as far as I know we don’t have one with a decent way of looking for a character by its radical. (A radical is a component of the character.) I can look up a character on any of my iPhone Chinese dictionaries by its English meaning, or by its pinyin transliteration, or I can draw it. But if I see an unfamiliar character on a sign, say, then I don’t know what it means or how to say it, and when I draw it I’m such a beginner that it can take me several tries to get the right stroke order, and that’s crucial to the recognition software.

So it would be great if I could look it up on the iPhone by radical and number of strokes, as I can in most of the dictionaries I have at home.

But so far the only iPhone Chinese dictionary that has that feature is the Oxford Beginner’s, and that one is very poorly implemented and has a limited number of characters anyway, being meant for beginners.

Those Wacky, Inscrutable Chinese and Their Crazy Language!

11 September 2008

From today’s Contra Costa Times:

The Chinese language does not have a word for “puzzle”. The characters for “enhancing”, “intelligence”, and “games” must be fitted together in a specific order to create a close translation.

Um, that means the Chinese language has a word for “puzzle”, and it’s made up of three characters. That’s how Chinese works. It would make equally good sense to say

The English language has no word for “tablespoon”; instead, the words “table” and “spoon” must be fitted together in a specific order to create a close translation.

Come on.

Tech Writers Say the Darndest Things

1 November 2007

According to Wikipedia,

The German version of Microsoft Windows XP will inform the user of the fact that it is currently downloading updates with the words:

Updates werden gedownloadet: 16%

But shouldn’t that be downgeloadet?


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