Minding — and defining — your mother tongue

Each year on February 21st, people around the world celebrate International Mother Language Day. What is a mother tongue, and why does it matter so much? You might be surprised to learn how much this day really matters — and that people actually lost their lives fighting for their right to speak their native language.

On this day in 1952, four students were killed for campaigning to officially speak Bengali in the capital city of Dhaka, Bangladesh, which was once part of Pakistan. At the time, the only nationally recognized language was Urdu. However, the partition between East and West Pakistan caused tension and the urge for people to express their right to speak.

In 1999, the United Nations decided to honor this day in order to “promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.” It’s been celebrated every year since that time by people of many backgrounds — those who fight for language rights, people who teach foreign languages, and even individuals who work on multilingual projects, such as website translation, software localization, and so on.

Today, there are an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 languages spoken around the world. Half of the world’s population speaks the thirteen most spoken languages, which are Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, Javanese, German, Lahnda, and Telegu, while the other half speaks the rest.

So, what exactly is a mother tongue? It’s more complicated than you might think. Some define it as the language you learn first, regardless of who taught it to you. Others define it as the language in which your mother spoke to you as a child. Another definition simply equates a mother tongue with a “native language.” And, others regard it as the primary language of a person’s ethnic identity.

For example, as a South Asian American who was born and raised in America, the first language I learned was English. However, my parents spoke Hindi at home, and I picked it up quickly too. Some would refer to my mother tongue as English, while others would think it’s Hindi.

This begs the question, “Can you have more than one mother tongue?” As a child, I spoke both Hindi and English with similar frequency, but as I grew older, Hindi became less and less a part of my life, and I found myself not speaking it very often. So, can your mother tongue cease to be your mother tongue? And, is it possible to have a mother tongue that your mother didn’t speak? The definitions are not as simple or straightforward as they might seem.

My multilingual situation is a common one, throughout the world, and right here at Smartling. Many people live in a different country other than the one they were born or raised in. As a result, they often pick up a new language — or even just a new accent! They also pick up a more diverse set of cultural values in the process. Even if you do not speak your “mother tongue” as often as you used to, it’s still an important part of who you are.

International Mother Language Day highlights the fact that languages are a critical part of our cultural identity. So, we invite you to please take a moment today to reflect on the languages that shape who you are, which languages have been part of your journey, and how they will continue to be part of your life moving forward.

Source : smartling.com

The Oxford comma debate

Communicators are passionate about many things—jargon and linguistic mistakes rank high on any list—but few things rile communicators like the Oxford comma.

Also known as the serial comma, the Oxford comma sparks a clear divide between communicators. You’re either for or against it.

As an infographic from OnlineSchools.com explains, the Oxford comma got its name from the Oxford University Press, where printers and editors traditionally used it. When you use the comma before the conjunction in a series of words, its job is to clarify the meaning of the sentence.

For example, which sentence is clearer?

“I would like to thank my parents, Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.”

“I would like to thank my parents, Bill Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey.”

The second one, right?

But in sentences with more simple lists, that kind of confusion is absent:

“She wore tan shoes, pink shoelaces and a polka-dot shirt.”

The Chicago Manual of Style, Modern Language Association, American Medical Association, and others recommend the Oxford comma because it clears up ambiguity and makes lists easier to understand.

But the Associated Press, New York Times, and The Economist are against it because it can cause ambiguity and be redundant.

Where do your loyalties lie?

Fun fact: While the Oxford University Press still uses the serial comma, the Oxford University PR department does not.

Source : ragan.com

La mulţi ani!

Se apropie sărbătorile şi ne pregătim cu toţii să intrăm în sfânta atmosferă a Crăciunului.
Vă dorim un Crăciun liniştit, cu lumină, bucurie, sănătate, alături de cei care vă sunt dragi. Fie ca noul an să vă aducă tot ceea ce vă doriţi, să vă poarte în locuri frumoase, alături de oameni de suflet şi să fie liniştit şi aducător de bucurii!
La mulţi ani!


We wish you all a lot of joy, peace, health, prosperity and happiness!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



20 Common Grammar Mistakes That (Almost) Everyone Makes.

Who and Whom

This one opens a big can of worms. “Who” is a subjective — or nominative — pronoun, along with “he,” “she,” “it,” “we,” and “they.” It’s used when the pronoun acts as the subject of a clause. “Whom” is an objective pronoun, along with “him,” “her,” “it”, “us,” and “them.” It’s used when the pronoun acts as the object of a clause. Using “who” or “whom” depends on whether you’re referring to the subject or object of a sentence. When in doubt, substitute “who” with the subjective pronouns “he” or “she,” e.g., Who loves you? cf., He loves me. Similarly, you can also substitute “whom” with the objective pronouns “him” or “her.” e.g., I consulted an attorney whom I met in New York. cf., I consulted him.

Which and That

This is one of the most common mistakes out there, and understandably so. “That” is a restrictive pronoun. It’s vital to the noun to which it’s referring. e.g., I don’t trust fruits and vegetables that aren’t organic. Here, I’m referring to all non-organic fruits or vegetables. In other words, I only trust fruits and vegetables that are organic. “Which” introduces a relative clause. It allows qualifiers that may not be essential. e.g., I recommend you eat only organic fruits and vegetables, which are available in area grocery stores. In this case, you don’t have to go to a specific grocery store to obtain organic fruits and vegetables. “Which” qualifies, “that” restricts. “Which” is more ambiguous however, and by virtue of its meaning is flexible enough to be used in many restrictive clauses. e.g., The house, which is burning, is mine. e.g., The house that is burning is mine.

Lay and Lie

This is the crown jewel of all grammatical errors. “Lay” is a transitive verb. It requires a direct subject and one or more objects. Its present tense is “lay” (e.g., I lay the pencil on the table) and its past tense is “laid” (e.g., Yesterday I laid the pencil on the table). “Lie” is an intransitive verb. It needs no object. Its present tense is “lie” (e.g., The Andes mountains lie between Chile and Argentina) and its past tense is “lay” (e.g., The man lay waiting for an ambulance). The most common mistake occurs when the writer uses the past tense of the transitive “lay” (e.g., I laid on the bed) when he/she actually means the intransitive past tense of “lie” (e.g., I lay on the bed).


Contrary to common misuse, “moot” doesn’t imply something is superfluous. It means a subject is disputable or open to discussion. e.g., The idea that commercial zoning should be allowed in the residential neighborhood was a moot point for the council.

Continual and Continuous

They’re similar, but there’s a difference. “Continual” means something that’s always occurring, with obvious lapses in time. “Continuous” means something continues without any stops or gaps in between. e.g., The continual music next door made it the worst night of studying ever. e.g., Her continuous talking prevented him from concentrating.

Envy and Jealousy

The word “envy” implies a longing for someone else’s good fortunes. “Jealousy” is far more nefarious. It’s a fear of rivalry, often present in sexual situations. “Envy” is when you covet your friend’s good looks. “Jealousy” is what happens when your significant other swoons over your good-looking friend.


“Nor” expresses a negative condition. It literally means “and not.” You’re obligated to use the “nor” form if your sentence expresses a negative and follows it with another negative condition. “Neither the men nor the women were drunk” is a correct sentence because “nor” expresses that the women held the same negative condition as the men. The old rule is that “nor” typically follows “neither,” and “or” follows “either.” However, if neither “either” nor “neither” is used in a sentence, you should use “nor” to express a second negative, as long as the second negative is a verb. If the second negative is a noun, adjective, or adverb, you would use “or,” because the initial negative transfers to all conditions. e.g., He won’t eat broccoli or asparagus. The negative condition expressing the first noun (broccoli) is also used for the second (asparagus).

May and Might

“May” implies a possibility. “Might” implies far more uncertainty. “You may get drunk if you have two shots in ten minutes” implies a real possibility of drunkenness. “You might get a ticket if you operate a tug boat while drunk” implies a possibility that is far more remote. Someone who says “I may have more wine” could mean he/she doesn’t want more wine right now, or that he/she “might” not want any at all. Given the speaker’s indecision on the matter, “might” would be correct.

Whether and If

Many writers seem to assume that “whether” is interchangeable with “if.” It isn’t. “Whether” expresses a condition where there are two or more alternatives. “If” expresses a condition where there are no alternatives. e.g., I don’t know whether I’ll get drunk tonight. e.g., I can get drunk tonight if I have money for booze.

Fewer and Less

“Less” is reserved for hypothetical quantities. “Few” and “fewer” are for things you can quantify. e.g., The firm has fewer than ten employees. e.g., The firm is less successful now that we have only ten employees.

Farther and Further

The word “farther” implies a measurable distance. “Further” should be reserved for abstract lengths you can’t always measure. e.g., I threw the ball ten feet farther than Bill. e.g., The financial crisis caused further implications.

Since and Because

“Since” refers to time. “Because” refers to causation. e.g., Since I quit drinking I’ve married and had two children. e.g., Because I quit drinking I no longer wake up in my own vomit.

Disinterested and Uninterested

Contrary to popular usage, these words aren’t synonymous. A “disinterested” person is someone who’s impartial. For example, a hedge fund manager might take interest in a headline regarding the performance of a popular stock, even if he’s never invested in it. He’s “disinterested,” i.e., he doesn’t seek to gain financially from the transaction he’s witnessed. Judges and referees are supposed to be “disinterested.” If the sentence you’re using implies someone who couldn’t care less, chances are you’ll want to use “uninterested.”


Unless you’re frightened of them, you shouldn’t say you’re “anxious to see your friends.” You’re actually “eager,” or “excited.” To be “anxious” implies a looming fear, dread or anxiety. It doesn’t mean you’re looking forward to something.

Different Than and Different From

This is a tough one. Words like “rather” and “faster” are comparative adjectives, and are used to show comparison with the preposition “than,” (e.g., greater than, less than, faster than, rather than). The adjective “different” is used to draw distinction. So, when “different” is followed by a preposition, it should be “from,” similar to “separate from,” “distinct from,” or “away from.” e.g., My living situation in New York was different from home. There are rare cases where “different than” is appropriate, if “than” operates as a conjunction. e.g., Development is different in New York than in Los Angeles. When in doubt, use “different from.”

Bring and Take

In order to employ proper usage of “bring” or “take,” the writer must know whether the object is being moved toward or away from the subject. If it is toward, use “bring.” If it is away, use “take.” Your spouse may tell you to “take your clothes to the cleaners.” The owner of the dry cleaners would say “bring your clothes to the cleaners.”


It isn’t a word. “Impact” can be used as a noun (e.g., The impact of the crash was severe) or a transitive verb (e.g., The crash impacted my ability to walk or hold a job). “Impactful” is a made-up buzzword, colligated by the modern marketing industry in their endless attempts to decode the innumerable nuances of human behavior into a string of mindless metrics. Seriously, stop saying this.

Affect and Effect

Here’s a trick to help you remember: “Affect” is almost always a verb (e.g., Facebook affects people’s attention spans), and “effect” is almost always a noun (e.g., Facebook’s effects can also be positive). “Affect” means to influence or produce an impression — to cause hence, an effect. “Effect” is the thing produced by the affecting agent; it describes the result or outcome. There are some exceptions. “Effect” may be used as a transitive verb, which means to bring about or make happen. e.g., My new computer effected a much-needed transition from magazines to Web porn. There are similarly rare examples where “affect” can be a noun. e.g., His lack of affect made him seem like a shallow person.

Irony and Coincidence

Too many people claim something is the former when they actually mean the latter. For example, it’s not “ironic” that “Barbara moved from California to New York, where she ended up meeting and falling in love with a fellow Californian.” The fact that they’re both from California is a “coincidence.” “Irony” is the incongruity in a series of events between the expected results and the actual results. “Coincidence” is a series of events that appear planned when they’re actually accidental. So, it would be “ironic” if “Barbara moved from California to New York to escape California men, but the first man she ended up meeting and falling in love with was a fellow Californian.”


Undoubtedly the most common mistake I encounter. Contrary to almost ubiquitous misuse, to be “nauseous” doesn’t mean you’ve been sickened: it actually means you possess the ability to produce nausea in others. e.g., That week-old hot dog is nauseous. When you find yourself disgusted or made ill by a nauseating agent, you are actually “nauseated.” e.g., I was nauseated after falling into that dumpster behind the Planned Parenthood. Stop embarrassing yourself.

Source : litreactor.com

5 Tips for Coping with Freelance Isolation

If you tell a group of people that you work from home, they’ll probably be jealous.

Having the freedom to work through the night and not worry about setting our alarms in the morning is nice, but there are downsides. Those of us who have done it know that it can often be a lonely, isolating experience.

Don’t let the isolation of working from home lead to sloth and loneliness! Here are a few tips to help you stay focused and positive while working from home:

1. Make a Schedule, Stick to it, and Stay Busy

When your schedule is full, there’s little time for loneliness. Even designating time to eat lunch, do the laundry, or read a book will introduce some structure to your day and help keep your mind occupied.

First, you need to figure out when you get your best work done. According to our Freelancers Union Facebook community, most of you seem to get your work done in the wee hours of the morning or as you close in on the deadline.

From there you should be able to actually get work done during those peak creative hours that you’ve delegated for yourself. If you know that you have a hard time concentrating at a certain point in the day, why force it? You make your own schedule, so you’re responsible for setting your work hours.

Don’t attempt to get any mid-afternoon work done if you know it’s a difficult time for you to concentrate. It also might help to schedule specific tasks for certain points in the day.

Just as we all have our own peak creative times in the day, some of us can stay concentrated on our work for longer periods of time. If you’re losing focus, stand up, do something totally unrelated to work for a few minutes, and get back to it.

The most important thing is to never force yourself to work when your body and brain are telling you not to.

2. Work it Out

Exercise doesn’t have to be a 2-hour ordeal. It doesn’t even have to include a trip to the gym or a change of clothes. Taking 10 minutes out for some simple stretches, hopping on your bike for a ride around town, or a jog around the block will help you to clear your mind and return to work revitalized.

What if it’s too cold out or you just don’t feel like going outside? Meditation is a great way to clear your mind. It might feel a bit silly at first, but if you just work at it, it can make you more creative, smarter, and more focused.

Pushups? Situps? You could even get a pullup bar and put it in your door frame. Believe me, I don’t want to spend hours at the gym either. Quick 10 minute bursts sound much better, right? Your brain and body will thank you.

3. Remember Old Friends and Make New Friends

Whether you meet a friend for lunch, call your dad, go to a meet-up or networking event, supplementing your regular e-mail and IM chats with real face-to-face meetings or phone conversations is a great way to stay social while working from home.

You can also take this time out to reconnect with former co-workers and reach out to other freelancers in your area (our freelancer directory might be a good place to start). There are millions of freelancers just like you out there. Be sure to say hi! You never know what might happen.

4. Discover Your Hidden Talents and Interests

Regardless of the activity, keeping your mind active is a good strategy for combating loneliness. Maybe you want to learn how to play the guitar or just want to read more. If you’re working from home, chances are you have no obligation to be in one place for 8 or more hours per day, so take advantage of it.

Think about it, while most people are working in an office, yoga classes are basically empty, nobody’s at the museum, and you can ride your bike through the park without having to watch out for that sea of children, runners, and other bikers that you’d have to weave through on any given Saturday afternoon.

When you’re making that schedule we mentioned, be sure to pencil an hour in for developing a new interest or hobby!

5. Give Co-Working a Shot

If you didn’t get the memo, traditional office spaces are out.

Independent workers will account for 40% of the workforce by 2020, and as they grow, so has the number of coworking spaces. People aren’t just going for the free wifi and coffee; these spaces are providing opportunities for independent workers to gather, share ideas, discuss, and collaborate on projects.

If working from home blurs the lines between your personal and professional life too much for you, there is a community of people just like you sitting in a coworking space nearby. Try it out!

Has the isolation of working from home been an issue for you? What strategies have worked for you?

Source : Freelancers Union

Awakening the language and culture of Ancient Maya

It is estimated that by 2100, more than half of the 7,000 languages spoken on Earth will have disappeared. Throughout human history, languages have come and gone, but the rate at which languages are disappearing has accelerated dramatically in recent years.

Why does it matter?

National Geographic’s Enduring Voices project, which is documenting endangered languages, reminds us that each time the planet loses a language, humanity loses an important piece of its cultural identity. Many of the most vulnerable languages have yet to be written down because their culture and traditions are passed down orally.

One of the primary goals of the Genographic Project is to gather and analyze research data in collaboration with indigenous and traditional peoples around the world. Recognizing the importance of preserving indigenous languages and traditions, the Genographic Project developed the Genographic Legacy Fund (GLF) in 2005. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Geno 2.0 DNA Kits goes to the GLF, which distributes grants to indigenous and traditional communities requesting support for cultural and language revitalization projects. To date, 75 grants totaling more than $2 million have gone towards community-led projects.

Maya Mam taking action

In 2012, the Maya Mam community in Guatemala applied for and received a GLF grant to produce two children’s books for its preschool. The books are some of the first the community has written in its own language and are based on Mam legends.  The books will play an integral role in teaching the Mam language and cultural identity. The community’s local preschool, Xnaq’tz Nab’l Qchman (Teaching the Thoughts of Our Ancestors), is grounded in the Maya Mam culture and language. Children that attend the preschool are taught in the local Maya Mam language and learn Spanish as a second language. The school is having an impact on the wider community who feel a renewed interest in the Maya Mam’s people’s cultural heritage and the desire to preserve it for future generations.

An Update From the Maya Mam Community

The following is a reflection of the project “Transmitting Our Culture to the New Generations,” written by Eduardo Jimenez who is the coordinator and founder of the Association Grupo Cajolá and recipient of the GLF grant.

“We are Maya Mam people, one of the largest of the Maya ethnic groups located in Cajola, Guatemala. We speak our own language. Like the rest of the Maya people, we have suffered poverty, genocide, and racial discrimination ever since the invasion by the Spanish in the 16th century through today by the Guatemalan oligarchy state. As a result, our culture and language — and identity — have been under enormous pressure, and now worsened by the impact of immigration. Support from the Genographic Legacy Fund has helped provide materials and equipment for our new preschool Xnaq’tz Nab’l Qchman. The school is based on our language and culture, and has adopted the philosophy of the world-renowned preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, whose philosophy states that education is the work of the family, the school, and the community.

 Our preschool is already having an impact on the community, especially the parents. We host regular meetings for the parents and many have said they have learned better parenting practices, and in many cases have been awakened to their own identity and heritage. They often ask the teachers to explain something about their culture that their children are learning and having been sharing at home.

 The school is also having an impact on the wider community. The children impressed may of the adults with their traditional dance performance in front of the entire community during the annual “Festival of Santa Cruz of Cajola” which takes place from April 27 to May 5 each year. The children are frequently out in the community, visiting elders, the market, and learning about their world. The activity, which is the focus of our photos, was held in the main town plaza. The children and their mothers made rag dolls dressed in the traditional clothing of Cajolá and they interviewed people who passed by and asked them questions about their childhood toys and memories. One primary school teacher who saw the activity has even asked to enroll her child in our school!

 The two preschool books in Mam that we are writing are getting closer to publication. These are the first of an effort to build a body of literature in Mam. Although we have a written language, there are virtually no books written in Mam. We have made books by hand, but a published book will also make clear the value of written Mam.

 As we are winding up our preschool’s second year and preparing for our third, we can say that we are very proud of our school and the impact it is already having on the children and their families. The children’s activities have engaged the parents and taught many in the wider community to value their language and culture, and to understand the impact of their history.”

Source : News Watch – National Geographic

Interpreting is not translating

Interpreters are often referred to as “translators” and people are not always aware of the difference between the two professions. How are they different?

An interpreter works with spoken words in a particular context, conveying a message from one language to another, while translation refers to the activity of transferring a written text from one language to another.

Neither is simply replacing the words of one language by those of another, and there are similarities in the intellectual effort required. But there are significant differences between interpreting and translating.

The spoken word

Interpretation is spoken, translation is written. Interpretation therefore makes use of particular linguistic resources: the original speaker’s ideas are transmitted as spoken words, with a particular rhythm and intonation, making use of rhetorical devices and gestures.

Time constraints

Interpretation is carried out in real time (simultaneously) or very close to it (consecutively). The interpreter has no time to refer to the written resources available to translators. This makes preparation before each assignment all the more essential for an interpreter.

Another constraint is the extreme speed at which the interpreter has to receive, understand, manage, and reconstruct information. A translator may translate 2000-3000 words a day, while an interpreter has to keep up with around 150 words a minute.

The context of communication

In interpretation communication is immediate, involving an interaction between speakers, listeners, and interpreters. In translation there is always a gap between the writing of a text by an author and its reception by the readers.

Apart from this, translators often spend a long time working on one text, while interpreters, often working in a team, are faced with people speaking and communicating right now.

Interpretation is therefore not so much a linguistic profession as an information and communication profession.

Source : AIIC

Google Translate: 10 reasons why it’s no match for learning a language

Modern languages are in decline at British universities. Can Google’s translation service ever fill the gap?

The number of British universities offering specialist modern-language courses is in sharp decline. Is it possible that this collapse might be partly down to the rise of free software such as Google Translate? After all, why waste several years of your life perfecting every last conversational nuance of a second language when you can listlessly prod “CAN I HAVE SOME CHIPS?” on to your phone and then wave a screen reading “POSSO TER UM POUCO CHIPS?” in the face of a disappointed Portuguese waiter?

Obviously, this is terribly misguided. Google Translate will never be any substitute for learning a foreign language, and here’s why:

1 Google Translate is only good when there’s internet. Without seriously learning a language, all you could say to a French person offline is whatever you memorised at school. In my case this would amount to “bank”, “swimming pool” and “Hello my name is Stuart, I am 11 years old”.

2 If Google Translate had been responsible for the English version of The Girl From Ipanema (originally, in Portuguese, Garota de Ipanema), Frank Sinatra would have had to croon “Girl in the golden body, sun From Ipanema, The It swung its more than a poem”, which doesn’t really scan as well.

3 If everybody relied on Google Translate, exchange trips would become a thing of the past. You’d miss that mutely chainsmoking 14-year-old Belgian boy with a full beard who glowers at you from the kitchen table.

4 “Sixty Two” translated into Filipino on Google Translate comes out as the numerals “62″. This is clearly no use to anybody.

5 United Nations summits would slow to a crawl, because translators would have to type everything anyone said into the internet to figure out what was going on. The icy silences this would create between delegates would almost definitely result in all-out, planet-ending war.

6 Although Google Translate can teach you foreign swearwords, only a native speaker can show you the proper intonation and the right aggressive hand gestures to accompany them.

7 Even though it has improved a lot over the years, there’s still no real guarantee of accuracy. There’s still a worry that, if you visited a doctor on holiday with a sore throat and used Google Translate to list your symptoms, he would end up amputating your legs.

8 Who would present Eurovision if everyone used Google Translate? A robot? That would be madness.

9 The French phrase “Se taper le cul par terre” means to laugh uproariously. According to Google Translate, though, it means “Ass banging on the floor”. There is literally no end to the disasters that could arise from this misunderstanding.

10 By learning a language, you are guaranteeing yourself a lifetime of being able to walk past Rosetta Stone concessions in shopping centres without feeling like a horrible veiny blob of wasted potential, as I usually do.

Source : The Guardian

A brief history of newspaper lingo

The first issue of The New York Times was published 162 years ago, and to celebrate we’re taking look at a brief history of some of our favorite newspaper words and slang.

Before newspapers, there were government bulletins. The Acta Diurna or Daily Acts of ancient Rome were carved in metal or stone and posted in public places. In ancient China, tipao, news sheets produced by the government, were “handwritten on silk and read by government officials.”

In 16th century Venice, a monthly notice was published and sold for one gazeta, a small copper coin, which may be where we get gazette, another word for newspaper.

However, gazeta also means “little magpie,” so it’s unclear if we get the word from the paper’s “price or its association with the bird (typical of false chatter),” says the Online Etymology Dictionary. What we do know is that gazette predates the word newspaper by about 60 years.

By 1649, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), newspapers, journals, and periodicals were collectively referred to as the press. This of course comes from printing press, which was invented in the 15th century and quickly gained popularity in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. By the late 1860s press came to refer to journalists in general, and to journalistic coverage by 1908: “Mr. Leaf. . .has not had a good press lately.”

Both newsman and journalist came about in the late 17th century, says the OED. By then what’s considered the first American newspaper was published in Boston, although “only one edition was published before the paper was suppressed by the colonial officials.” A few years later, a weekly called The Boston News-Letter “became the first continuously published newspaper in the colonies.”

By 1734, you could insult a newspaper by calling it a rag. Know where the bodies are buried? You could make a living as a death-hunter, “one who furnishes a newspaper with reports of deaths,” says the OED.

Reporters weren’t called reporters until about 1776, as per the OED. By 1810, if you were a writer for hire, you might be called a hack, and in the 1870s, a story you got before a competitor was called a beat or scoop.

By the late 19th century, competition between papers was fierce. Some resorted to keyhole journalism, says the OED, with “allusion to the action of eavesdropping or spying through a keyhole.”

The term yellow journalism was coined around 1898 during the peak of the “circulation battles” between Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. Yellow journalism is “journalism that exploits, distorts, or exaggerates the news to create sensations and attract readers,” and comes from “the use of yellow ink in printing ‘Yellow Kid,’ a cartoon strip in the New York World.”

Pulitzer and Heart’s sensationalistic exploits were even blamed for the United States’ entry into the Spanish-American War, although historians have noted that “yellow journalism was largely confined to New York City, and that newspapers in the rest of the country did not follow their lead.”

In 1901, the term tabloid was being used to describe newspapers that gave stories in condensed form, “usually with illustrated, often sensational material.” The word tabloid was originally a trademark referring to a “small tablet of medicine,” says the Online Etymology Dictionary, and eventually came to refer to “a compressed form or dose of anything.”

Lead meaning the “introductory portion of a news story” is from around 1912. The spelling didn’t change to lede until 1965, perhaps “to distinguish this sense from other possible meanings of the written word,” such as the molten lead “used in typesetting machines.” The term bury the lead, beginning a story with secondary information and revealing the important points later, is from 1977, says the OED.

Lonely-hearts referring to lonely-hearts columns originated in the early 1930s while agony aunt, a British English term for the writer of an advice column, is from 1974. In 1950, if you wrote a story of “exaggerating praise,” you’d be writing a puff piece. Paparazzi, photographers who “pursue celebrities and attempt to obtain candid photographs,” comes from the “surname of the freelance photographer in Federico Fellini’s 1959 film La Dolce Vita.”

Supermarket tabloids arose in the 1960s, says Vanity Fair. Neighborhood newsstands and family-owned shops were closing as supermarket chains opened up. Generoso Pope, Jr., the creator of The National Enquirer, perhaps the most famous (or infamous) supermarket tabloid, “understood that the only way tabloids could thrive as their urban habitat declined was by being sold in supermarkets.”

We’re uncertain as to when the term supermarket tabloid originated exactly. The earliest citation we found was from 1980, and Google Ngrams shows its usage beginning around the same time. However, if anyone can antedate us, please do.

In 1971 journalist Hunter S. Thompson coined the term gonzo journalism, a kind of experimental journalism in “which facts are deemed to be less important than perceived underlying truth (especially where deliberately altered consciousness is involved).”

Such journalism could be full of factoids, which contrary to popular belief aren’t bite-sized facts but “unverified or inaccurate information that is presented in the press as factual, often as part of a publicity effort, and that is then accepted as true because of frequent repetition.” The word was coined by writer Norman Mailer in 1973.

Gotcha journalism, “journalism that seeks only to catch public figures in embarrassing or scandalous situations,” says Word Spy. The earliest citation is from 1988. (The gotcharazzi, in case you were wondering, are paparazzi who may say “Gotcha!” when photographing someone in an embarrassing situation.)

The charticle, an article that mainly consists of a chart or graph, is from 1996, while listicle, an article consisting of a list, is newer, from 2003 and apparently coined by a Gawker writer, according to researcher Barry Popik.

Red-top, a tabloid newspaper in the UK, is from 1996, and refers to the red banners often used by such papers. A marmalade dropper is “highly stunning information” that would, presumably, cause one to drop one’s marmalade. Word Spy says the term “has appeared almost exclusively in British newspapers and magazines” and originated around 1995.

A dead donkey is “a news item of no real significance, usually of whimsical or sentimental nature, placed at the end of a news bulletin or in a newspaper as filler.” Drop the Dead Donkey was a 1990s British television comedy set in a TV news company. It seems the term dead donkey comes from the title of the show.

Finally, churnalism, journalism that uses “ready-made press release material copied wholesale,” is from 2001, says Word Spy.

What are some of your favorite journalistic slang terms?

Source : The Week

About the Transcreation

Translation is the adaptation of content in one language to another whilst protecting the meaning of the words. It is right that any competent translation should reflect the need to make that message work in the target markets taking due account of cultural differences and preferences. Transcreation takes it a step further. It gets beneath the essence and the emotion of the brand. It takes values, concepts and key messages and recreates it in different markets. It takes account of tone, nuance, it may amend colour and style. 

Source : The Conversis