Tag Archives: language

Airbnb has biggest night ever – while guests stay on private islands, in castles, & on boats

Last Saturday Airbnb had a pretty amazing night:

 

Not long ago, we told you about the 10 million guest nights booked on our site. Little did we know that our community was just getting warmed up…After a few massive weeks of travel, plus a bit of excitement in London, we saw our biggest night in history take place last Saturday, August 4.

How big? Well, 60,000 people were staying on Airbnb that night. That’s five times the number of guests from August 4, 2011.

 

More than two-thirds of those travelers were from outside the U.S., coming from 174 countries. That’s pretty incredible.

The company put together a few graphics celebrating this feat:

 

 

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Discover the Welsh language

Closely related to Cornish, the native language of the English county Cornwall, and to Breton, the native language of Brittany, north western France, Welsh – or Cymraeg to its speakers – dates back to the 6th century, making it one of Europe’s oldest living languages. It evolved from the Celtic language spoken by the ancient Britons and was handed down through the generations until the 19th century, when the industrial revolution brought about an alarming erosion of the Welsh language.

Since then the battle to save Cymraeg has been inextricably linked with Wales’s national identity, and much has been done to promote its usage. At the uppermost level, political parties have been founded (Plaid Cymru began in 1925 with a primary mandate of promoting the language) and acts of parliament have been passed, but the future of the Welsh language has also been embraced by its people. A passion for keeping it alive has led to everything from adopting bilingual road signs to the Welsh television channel S4C.

Today Welsh is not the dead language many would have you believe (and indeed many feared it would become). Welsh is now growing again and, according to a survey by the Welsh Language Board, is spoken by 21% of the Welsh population, 62% of whom speak it on a daily basis.

Although many places in Wales now have English names, the Welsh language still appears in numerous village and town names and, although all the locals speak English, understanding a smattering of Welsh will help visitors understand the heritage of where they are visiting. Undoubtedly the most famous place name is the tongue-twistingLlanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which in English is translated as the fantastically descriptive “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool of Llantysilio of the red cave”.

Even the most basic knowledge of Welsh will inform a visit to this proud and heritage-rich country, so why not make a start with these simple phrases:

Hello Shw mae (“shoo my”)
Goodbye Hwyl (“hooil”)
Welcome Croeso (“croy so”)
Thank you Diolch (“dee-olck”)

 

Source: Discover Wales: The Living Language

 

Also, read about the 641 castles in Wales.

 

 

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History of Olympic Pictograms overcoming the language barrier

Pictograms for the 1968 Mexico Olympics, designed by Lance Wyman (image: Virtual Olympic Games Museum)

 

Of all the instances in which graphic communication is necessary to transcend language barriers, the Olympic Games are, if not the most important, probably the most visible. We take the little icons of swimmers and sprinters as a given aspect of Olympic design, but the pictograms were a mid-20th Century invention—first employed, in fact, the last time London hosted the games, in 1948 (some pictographic gestures were made at the 1936 Berlin games, though their mark on international memory has been permitted to fade because of their association with Third Reich ideology).

The 1948 London pictograms were not a system of communication so much as a series of illustrations depicting each of the competitive sports, as well as the arts competition, which existed from 1912 to 1952 and included architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture. In 1964, the Tokyo games took pictogram design to the next level by creating a complete system of typography, colors and symbols that would be applied across Olympic communications platforms.

In a paper on the history of Olympic design and national history, Jilly Traganou, an associate professor at The New School, writes:

Since Japan had not adopted the principles of the International Traffic Signs, introduced at the United Nations Geneva conference in 1949 and accepted by most European countries, the Olympics were regarded by graphic designers as an opportunity to establish a more unified and internationally legible symbolic language across the country. It was along these lines, searching for universally understood visual languages, that pictograms (ekotoba, in Japanese, a word used prior to the design of pictograms) were for the first time designed for the Olympic Games, embodying at the same time [founder of the International Olympic Committee] Baron deCoubertinʼs aspirations of universalism.

 

Keep reading: Smithsonian - The History of the Olympic Pictograms: How Designers Hurdled the Language Barrier

30 new programming jargon words – from Stack Overflow

I’ve collected the top 30 Stack Overflow New Programming Jargon entries below, as judged by the Stack Overflow community. Enjoy.*

 

1. Yoda Conditions

Yoda-conditions

Using if(constant == variable) instead of if(variable == constant), like if(4 == foo). Because it’s like saying “if blue is the sky” or “if tall is the man”.

 

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List of German expressions commonly used in English

  • Biergarten, open-air drinking establishment.
  • Blitz, taken from Blitzkrieg (lightning war). It is a team defensive play in American or Canadian football in which the defense sends more players than the offense can block.
  • Delicatessen, speciality food retailer, fine foods (German spelling Delikatessen)
  • Doppelgänger, literally double-goer, also spelled in English as doppelganger; a double or look-alike. However, in English the connotation is that of a ghostly apparition of a duplicate living person.
  • Ersatz, replacement; usually implying an artificial and inferior substitute or imitation.
  • Hamburger, sandwich with a meat patty and garnishments.
  • Hinterland
  • Iceberg (German Eisberg)
  • kaput (German spelling: kaputt), out-of-order, broken.
  • Karabiner, snaplink, a metal loop with a sprung or screwed gate, used in climbing and mountaineering; modern short form/derivation of the older word ‘Karabinerhaken’; translates to ‘riflehook’. The German word can also mean Carbine.
  • Kindergarten, literally children’s garden; day-care centre, playschool, preschool.
  • Kitsch, cheap, sentimental, gaudy items of popular culture.
  • Kohlrabi, type of cabbage.
  • Muesli, breakfast cereal (German spelling: Müesli or Müsli).
  • Neanderthal (modern German spelling: Neandertal), for German Neandertaler, meaning “of, from, or pertaining to the Neandertal (“Neander Valley”)”, the site near Düsseldorf where early Homo neanderthalensis fossils were found.
  • Nein — no.
  • Noodle, from German Nudel, a type of food; a string of pasta.
  • Poltergeist, literally noisy ghost; an alleged paranormal phenomenon where objects appear to move of their own accord.
  • Poodle, from German Pudel, breed of dog.
  • Pretzel (Standard German spelling: Brezel), flour and yeast based pastry.
  • Pumpernickel, type of sourdough rye bread, strongly flavoured, dense, and dark in colour.
  • Quartz (German Quarz)
  • Sauerkraut (sometimes shortened to Kraut), fermented cabbage.
  • Schadenfreude, joy from pain (literally harm joy); delight at the misfortune of others.
  • Schnaps, distilled beverage.
  • Spritzer, chilled drink from white wine and soda water (from spritzen = to spray).
  • Strudel (e. g. Apfelstrudel, milk-cream strudel), a filled pastry.
  • uber, über, over; used to indicate that something or someone is of better or superior magnitude, e.g. Übermensch.
  • verboten, prohibited, forbidden.
  • Wanderlust, the yearning to travel.
  • Wiener, hot dog (from Wiener Würstchen = Viennese sausage).
  • Wunderkind, literally wonder child; a child prodigy.
  • Zeitgeist, spirit of the time.

 

From Wikipedia

 

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Pinterest in spanish – ¡Qué Pinteresante!

 

¡Qué Pinteresante!: Pinterest en español

Gracias a los esfuerzos de nuestro equipo de traductores, tenemos el placer de anunciar que esta semana presentaremos Pinterest en español de América Latina.

Si hablas español y no encuentras tu cuenta de Pinterest en español cuando inicies sesión, no te preocupes. Esta semana implementaremos el soporte multilingüe. La implementación será gradual, de manera que posiblemente algunos usuarios obtendrán la versión en español antes que otros.

Si en una semana todavía no ves tu cuenta de Pinterest en español, haz clic en “Configuración”, en la esquina superior derecha de la página debajo de tu nombre.

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Learn how to speak a new language in a few months – from Lifehacker

A condensed version of the article, if this interests you read the full article.

Lifehacker reader Gabriel Wyner was tasked with learning four languages in the past few years for his career as an opera singer, and in the process landed on “a pretty damn good method for language learning that you can do in limited amounts of spare time.” Here’s the four-step method that you can use.

 

Stage 1: Learn the correct pronunciation of the language.
Time: 1-2 weeks

Starting with pronunciation first does a few things—because I’m first and foremost learning how to hear that language’s sounds, my listening comprehension gets an immediate boost before I even start traditional language learning.

 

Stage 2: Vocabulary and grammar acquisition, no English allowed.
Time: About 3 months.

This stage takes advantage of a few valuable tricks: First, I’m using Anki, a wonderful, free flashcard program that runs on smartphones and every computer platform. Second, I use a modified version of Middlebury College’s famous language pledge—No English allowed! By skipping the English, I’m practicing thinking in the language directly, and not translating every time I try to think of a word. Third, I’m using frequency lists to guide my vocabulary acquisition. These lists show the most common words in a given language, and learning those words first will be the best use of your time—after 1000 words, you’ll know 70% of the words in any average text, and 2,000 words provides you with 80% text coverage.

 

Stage 3: Listening, writing and reading work.
Time: This stage overlaps quite a bit with stage 2 and 4. Once you’re comfortable reading or writing anything, usually a month or two into stage 2, you can start stage 3

Once I have a decent vocabulary and familiarity with grammar, I start writing essays, watching TV shows and reading books, and talking (at least to myself!) about the stuff I see and do.

 

Stage 4: Speech

At the point where I can more or less talk (haltingly, but without too many grammar or vocab holes) and write about most familiar things, I find some place to immerse in the language and speak all the time (literally).

 

// Photo – Spree2010

Email in any language – auto-translate now available in Gmail

Did you ever dream about a future where your communications device could transcend language with ease?

Well, that day is a lot closer. Over the next few days, everyone who uses Gmail will be getting the convenience of translation added to their email. The next time you receive a message in a language other than your own, just click on ‘Translate message’ in the header at the top of the message:

 

 

and it will be instantly translated into your language:

 

 

Back when we launched automatic message translation in Gmail Labs, we were curious to see how people would use it.

We heard immediately from Google Apps for Business users that this was a killer feature for working with local teams across the world. Some people just wanted to easily read newsletters from abroad. Another person wrote in telling us how he set up his mom’s Gmail to translate everything into her native language, thus saving countless explanatory phone calls (he thanked us profusely).

Since message translation was one of the most popular labs, we decided it was time to graduate from Gmail Labs and move into the real world.

via – The Official Gmail Blog

 

// Thx – Mihai Ionescu, Photo – Eyesplash

144 places to educate yourself online for free

The most extensive listing of free online education I have ever seen. Bookmarking for later.

12 dozen places to education yourself online for free

All education is self-education.  Period.  It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop.  We don’t learn anything we don’t want to learn.

Broken down by subject and/or category, here are several top-notch self-education resources I have bookmarked online over the past few years.

  • Science/Health
  • Business/Money
  • History/World Culture
  • Law
  • Computer Science/Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • English/Communications
  • Foreign/Sign Languages
  • Multiple Subjects/Miscellaneous
  • Free Books/Reading Recommendations
  • Educational Mainstream Broadcast Media
  • Online Archives
  • Directories of Open Education

Click to start browsing

 

// Photo – Ed Yourdon

Inside the forbidden land – environmental photos of Russia from National Geographic

For an American, these photos are truly breathtaking. For most of our lives Russia has been an impenetrable vast region, indeed the largest country in the world, with millions of acres of natural wonders.

My own heritage brings me back to Belarus (the first photo below). Enjoy these photos from National Geographic Russia and their Google+ page.

I apologize for the captions since they are Google Translations from Russian (I’m also amazed that I can auto-translate a language in a browser with one click).

"Snow-white spring in the Belarusian forest." Photo by: Christine Lebedinskaya.

 

Fog in the mountains near Chemal, Altai. Photo by: Michael Evstratov

 

Moon. River Teriberka, Murmansk region. Photo by: Aleksandr Bergan

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