Language : on sensitive subjects

When learning a new language, there’s always the inadvertent chance of saying something inappropriate or offensive, mostly because euphemisms and politeness are hardly ever direct translations. Dictionaries will tell you both the nice words and the not nice words, without a characterization of their emotional quality. There’s a phenomenon, coined as “euphemism treadmill” by Steven…

Read More

Reading : On book proposals

I’ve been reading about writing book proposals. Because I’ve been writing a book. It started when, about a month ago, Daniel and I were talking about my obsession with learning Arabic.  It just doesn’t seem to align well with my work or life, and while knowing another language is a nice thing, I am spending…

Read More

journals

for the most part, this is how I write journals:  in languages I don’t know.  For some reason, it works for me.  I sit with the computer open to an online dictionary, translate the words I don’t know, and write whatever I’d like to write regardless of how complex the concept is. it does two…

Read More

how much to learn a word?

I’ll pay a cent. (actually, realistically, I’d pay a lot more. I mean, a decent-you-can-get-by-on-this vocabulary is only a few thousand words. plus grammar, argh) I listen to deutsch welle in french and german at the store- which prompts the tourists to ask me if I’m american. ( I’ve been tempted to claim I don’t…

Read More

currently

when life is in upheaval, I’m disinclined to post anything.  And actually, this trends through the rest of my work as well.  I work best, and most creatively, when my personal life has a comfortable status quo. hence the dearth of updates in the past couple months. We have this tendency to think of, and…

Read More

initial observations on arabic

well, the alphabet is pretty straightforward, and it uses spacing between words :) ! Here’s what I knew about arabic prior to last week: 1. it’s considered one of the most difficult languages for english speakers to learn, along with japanese, mandarin, cantonese, and korean. (aprox 2200 hours expected to reach speaking/reading proficiency-  not fluency.)…

Read More