Language and Reality – How language is used during times of crisis

Language and Reality – How language is used during times of crisis

The connection between language and reality When we think about the relationship between language and reality, the following question arises: does language shape reality or is it the other way round? There’s a philosophy, called “direction of fit”, according to which both statements are true. This philosophy distinguishes two directions of fit. The first one is that language reflects reality. According to this direction, called the “word-to-world” direction of fit, the words match reality. For example, in the sentence “there is a pen on the table”, these words immediately match the world around us. In this case, language creates statements that can be true or false according to the reality they match. The second direction, the one we are going to explore in this blog post, is when we use language to change reality. This is the “world-to-word” direction of fit because the world is shaped to match the words. In other words, we can say that language is extremely powerful and individuals often use it to manipulate and control. In this blog post, we’ll see how this happened during periods of war and how it is happening today during the COVID-19 pandemic. The language in political speeches during the war and times of crisis: World War I When World War I broke out, politicians gave speeches to persuade citizens to fight for victory. These speeches were not just words. Rather, they were a smart way to brainwash citizens and lead them to think that fighting was the best choice. An example is the speech of Woodrow Wilson, the then United States President. In 1917, the United States declared...
Halloween and Religion – How do they relate around the world?

Halloween and Religion – How do they relate around the world?

It’s October, Halloween’s month. You can’t say October without thinking of pumpkins, witches, ghosts, and all the other words connected to Halloween. In this blog post, we’d like to explore the relationship between Halloween and religion around the world. So, where does Halloween come from? About 2,000 years ago, the Celts who lived in England and Ireland introduced this festivity. They celebrated it on October 31st. This day marked the end of the summer and the beginning of the cold winter. Halloween was associated with their religion. Indeed, the Celts believed that, on this day, the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. Their return made it easier for the Druids, the Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. However, at that time, this day was known as “Samhain” (a Gaelic word pronounced sow-win). The word “Halloween”, instead, has Christian origins. In fact, it comes from the Scottish word “Hallowe’en” which means “All Hallows’ Eve”, and in Western Churches, on November 1st, it is All Hallows Day. In the 1800s, thanks to Scottish and Irish migrants, this celebration spread to America, where it is still hugely celebrated today. Halloween in Europe As much as Halloween seems to be an international festivity, people around the world have different ways to commemorate their beloved dead. Starting in Ireland and England, Halloween is especially celebrated by kids. They love dressing up in Halloween outfits and knocking on doors asking for “trick- or-treat”. In England, on November 5th, there’s another celebration:  Guy Fawkes Day. This day commemorates the execution of an English traitor, Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the Houses...
Language Teaching and the Importance of the Role of Translation

Language Teaching and the Importance of the Role of Translation

Language teaching theories and methods September has come and, in many countries, its arrival ushers in a new scholastic year. In schools, many students are involved in language learning. Indeed, they study one or more languages, other than their native one. Foreign language teaching refers to the teaching of a language that is not native. Firstly, it is important to make a distinction between foreign language and second language, especially if we think about English language teaching. The terms English as Second Language (ESL) and English as Foreign Language (EFL) are not synonymous. Indeed, the difference between ESL and EFL lies in the environment in which it is taught. We refer to ESL when we learn English in a country where it is spoken. In this case, students can practice it outside of the scholastic context. EFL, instead, is taught in countries where it is not spoken outside of the scholastic context, with little chance of practising it. This is true also for the teaching of other languages. However, as English is increasingly becoming an international language and is used as a lingua franca in countries that do not speak it, the distinction between ESL and EFL is so blurred that it is not always easy to differentiate them. Language teaching methodologies Over the years, different theories of language teaching have emerged, resulting in different language teaching methodologies. We can think of the innatist theory, according to which children have an innate ability to discover language rules. This would explain why we are able to learn complex grammar rules. If we shift to the behaviourist theory, instead, we discover...
Chinese to English Translations of Ancient Chinese Poetry

Chinese to English Translations of Ancient Chinese Poetry

Invitation to Classical Chinese Poetry has been one of the most ancient and significant genres of literature all over the world. One of the reasons is its ability to express millions of delicate feelings. Chinese poetry is written in a way that enables readers to enjoy the beauty of the language. There have been many attempts to translate poems from Classical Chinese to English. As a result, these poems have become more popular around the world. In this blog post, we focus on Chinese poetry and try to explore its depth through a poem from a prominent Chinese poet so read on! What is Chinese poetry and why is it so attractive? With its long history, China has one of the richest cultural backgrounds in the world. Some of the very first elements of their cultural heritage appeared in the form of poems. Those poems used Classical Chinese (also known as Literary Chinese). They are far different from any modern form of the Chinese language we know today. So why haven’t they all been forgotten by now? In fact, many people still love and study these poems today. It is due to the sophisticated and beautiful way in which they express ideas and provide profound insights into life and beauty. Classical Chinese to English Although translating Chinese ancient poetry is an extremely challenging task, there have been many attempts to translate poems from Classical Chinese to English. Thanks to those contributions, we now have access to the world of old Chinese poetry. We’ve picked one of the highly appreciated poems translated from Classical Chinese to English so that you...
Literary Series and Their Influence on Language and Culture

Literary Series and Their Influence on Language and Culture

Some literary series enjoy more success than others… We assume you all know Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, or Narnia? In this blog post, we focus on two of these literary series to dig deeper into how much success they’ve had and how they’ve influenced us all. The Worldwide Success of Literary Series Harry Potter Translations Some literary series have seen worldwide success. Even if you’ve never watched their film adaptations, you may have heard a lot about them! We all know Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire aka Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia. These are indeed four of the most renowned ones. But do you really know how they became so successful? Their worldwide success is due, without a doubt, to their numerous translations! Without the translated versions, they would have probably become successful in their original language and country but not worldwide. Do you know how many translations there are for each famous book series? Let’s focus on Harry Potter, probably the best example here. J. K. Rowling, a British author, wrote the Harry Potter fantasy series. She published her seven novels between 1997 and 2007. The books became immensely popular. They’ve received endless positive reviews and have met commercial success worldwide since the release of the first novel. As at February 2018, the book series has won multiple awards and sold more than 500 million copies worldwide. It’s the best-selling book series in history and it was translated into 80 languages! The first volume was even translated into Latin and Ancient...
The Bengali Language and the History of its Evolution

The Bengali Language and the History of its Evolution

Some data about the Bengali language The Bengali language, also called Bangla, is the official and national language of Bangladesh, but not the only one. “Bangla” is written বাংলা in the Bengali script. This writing system (brahmic script) is the 6th most widely used one in the world. The original inhabitants of the Bengal region of Southwest Asia are the Bengalis. 98 % of Bangladeshi people speak Bengali as their first language. It is also one of the official languages of India. Indeed, 7.1 % of Indians speak it. It is the most widely spoken of the 22 languages of India, after Hindi. Other communities speak it, for example in Pakistan, in the UK or in the USA. In a nutshell, it is the 5th most spoken language by native speakers in the world. It is also the 7th most spoken language by the total number of speakers. There are around 267 million speakers, of which 230 million are native. The evolution of the Bengali language The Bengali language can be traced back to 3500 B.C. to the Indo-European language family. Many assume that it was born from Sanskrit. But scholars and linguists believe that it derives from Indo-Aryan languages like Magadhi Prakrit and Pali. Modern Bengali uses words taken from Turkish, Portuguese, Persian or English, for example. We can divide the evolution of the Bengali language into three stages: Old Bengali, Middle Bengali and Modern Bengali. Old Bengali dates back to around 650 A.D. when priests and scholars widely used Sanskrit in literary works in Bengal. However, this is a bit of a dark area in the history...
Are women of colour in France leading the fight against racism?

Are women of colour in France leading the fight against racism?

The problems women of colour face in France… France is a country rich in cultural diversity, partly shaped by its immigration. In this article, we shine the spotlight on women of colour in France, the problems they face and their struggle. It will allow you to understand why, increasingly, women of colour are leading the fight against racism in France. Women of colour in France, and around the globe, are victims of both sexism and racism. In society, on social media, at work… Being different is stigmatized when it should be seen as something positive… A study published by France Stratégie (an institution planning the social, economic, environmental and cultural development of France) has shown that, in France, men have more working opportunities than women. And among all these men, Caucasian men have more opportunities than the others. So what about women of colour? Mentalities might be evolving but, unfortunately, racial and gender discrimination in the world of work is still deeply rooted. An example of discrimination against women of colour at work The French website Abenafrica contains numerous stories testifying to this sad reality. A 23-year-old woman from Martinique – a French overseas territory – explained that she had a team meeting at work. She entered the room and was about to close the door. Her boss said “Oh no, please, don’t close the door! It’s really hot today, just like in your country!” Her name is Émilie. She was born in Paris. France IS her home country. This is just one of the many examples witnessing the discrimination women and people of colour face every day. And...
LingoStar Language Services Projects – Versatile Translations

LingoStar Language Services Projects – Versatile Translations

At LingoStar, we aim to broaden our comprehension of the world by using our knowledge of languages and cultures. We believe that translation is the key to understanding each other better and thus, to bring people from all around the world closer together. This is why we offer a wide range of services in a multitude of languages. We could go on and on about what kind of services we provide and why we are the right company for your translation needs, but we’ll let our Lingostar Language Services Projects speak for themselves. Minority and extinct languages we have worked with Inuktitut Translation Did you know that Inuktitut is one of the minority languages in Canada? It is one of the main Inuit languages and is spoken by 39,475 natives. “In Canada, the word Inuktitut is routinely used to refer to all Canadian variants of the Inuit traditional language, and it is under that name that it is recognised as one of the official languages of Nunavut and the Northwest.” “Inuktitut comes from inuk “person” and -titut “like” or “in the manner of”. Many Inuit live in the northern regions of Canada, for the most part, along the Arctic coast. Inuit Nunangat in Inuktitut means “lands, waters, and ices of the [Inuit] people”. Inuit Nunangat is composed of the Northwest Territories and Yukon (Inuvialuit), Nunavut, Northern Quebec (Nunavik), and the northeastern coast of Newfoundland and Labrador (Nunatsiavut). Latin Translation In regards to other rarely used languages, we also translate into Latin. Even though Latin is an extinct language, the film industry manages to bring it back to life for our greatest entertainment! Why would...
Lunar New Year of the Ox – Welcome!

Lunar New Year of the Ox – Welcome!

Who celebrates the Lunar New Year? China and other Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year, also referred to as Chinese Chunjie, Korean Solnal, Vietnamese Tet, Tibetan Losar, or more commonly as the Spring Festival. In 2021, we welcome the Lunar New Year of the Ox! The origins of the Lunar New Year festival take place thousands of years ago with the legend of the Nian. Nian was a terrible monster that devoured human flesh on New Year’s Day. The stories explain that the beast was afraid of loud noises, fire and of the colour red. Consequently, during the celebration, fireworks are lit, red lanterns are hung and a lion made out of several people in costumes walks the streets.  When does it take place? The festivities begin with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and end 15 days later, on the first full moon. The dates of the holiday vary from one year to the other as they follow the cycles of the moon. The holiday usually takes place between the 21st January and the 20th February of the Gregorian Calendar. In addition, a few days before the New Year, the sweeping of the ground starts: people fully clean their houses in the hope of getting rid of all the lingering bad vibes. It is customary for people celebrating Chinese New Year to give each other small red envelopes containing money. Furthermore, the Lantern Festival takes place on the last day of the Lunar New Year’s celebrations. If you are lucky enough to be in a place that celebrates it, you will find yourself amazed and...
European Spanish or Latin American Spanish Translation?

European Spanish or Latin American Spanish Translation?

How to Differentiate European Spanish and Latin American Spanish? After English and Chinese, Spanish is the third most-spoken language in the world. At LingoStar, a lot of our projects involve Spanish translation. However, these translation projects can be in either European Spanish or Latin American Spanish. Depending on whether a European Spanish or Latin American Spanish translation is needed, different translators will handle the project. We take pride in the fact that we make sure our clients are happy with their translations and recordings, and that our final Spanish translations are accurate. Latin American Spanish Translations and Recordings One thing to keep in mind is that there is not just one Latin American country with a Spanish speaking population. There are twenty individual countries where Spanish is the official language. Each country has different expressions and accents. Depending on whether you are targeting the whole of Latin America or just one country, it is important to ensure the right variety is used. We have dealt with a lot of Latin American Spanish projects recently, one of which was a voice-over project. The voice-over part is interesting because you can clearly hear the differences between the Spanish varieties. Indeed, a Spanish person can distinguish in seconds whether a recording comes from a European Spanish or a Latin American Spanish speaker. Therefore, depending on the version the client is looking for, it is extremely important to choose the right voice artist. What About European Spanish Translations? As mentioned above, selecting the right variety of a language is vital if you are looking to get into a certain market. And even though...