14 aprile 2014

Twitter provides 'selfies' of evolving language

Twitter and other social media are an immense resource that can offer linguists the opportunity to explore how our words and phrases are changing.

More and more researchers are beginning to work on projects consisting in analysing tweets to catch the next most popular word.

Why Twitter? 

Because its data is public and immediately available. A huge data consisting of around 340 million tweets sent every day, according to Twitter.

Twitter offers records of language mutating in real time and space. Many tweets provide location data and the time they were sent allowing thus to map out the way in which new words become popular and spread.

Because tweets tend to be rather informal, there are a lot of types of creative usages of words. Tweets appear similar to spontaneous speech, making them particularly valuable to the study of the spread of new words and expressions.

Linguistic researchers begin hunt for the next 'selfie'
Using social media to find English lexical blends, By P. Cook (PDF)

11 aprile 2014

Will terminology sharing be easier?

In this guest post I wrote for Termwiki, I'm describing a scenario where we will use an easy and intuitive tool for managing and sharing terminology: a kind of “Apple logic” applied to terminology.

Will  terminology sharing be easy like sharing documents on Google Drive?  Will Termwiki be able to develop such a tool where we don't need to have a PhD to use it? 

Good news, they are on the right way to create the translator's best friend.


31 marzo 2014

Word For That: the tip-of-the-tongue-eliminator

Words For That is a versatile site mirroring the versatile nature of language. It can be used in a number of different ways: A tip-of-the-tongue-eliminator, an informal reverse-dictionary, laugh at funny definitions or "scenarios".

Words For That was created as platform for pointing out and having fun with well-known situations which have never earned a name of their own. These "scenarios" can be anything - a feeling, a circumstance, a type of person, a coincidence. Anything where you've thought, "there should be a word for that!" Visitors can vote on each Scenario based on how well it rings a bell, or makes them laugh, or whatever. The best Scenarios are those where everyone can say "I know exactly what you mean!"

Scenarios are submitted and voted on by the site visitors. For each of these Scenarios, "words" can be submitted. These Words can be anything as well - a single word, a phrase, a clever pun, or an etymological masterpiece. Whatever's submitted, however, is also up to the mercy of the voting masses. Only the best Words have a chance at being the new coined term!

Source: Word For That

27 marzo 2014

Want to be amazing at neologisms seeking? Here’s how

The world of technology is shaping the English language, with innovative advances reflected in new terms. Of course the explosion of social media has accelerated the creation of new words as different cultures and languages interact.

Seeking neologisms is becoming harder and the risk of getting lost in information overload (or infoxication) is high! Wordphiles just need to develop strategies not to get lost.

Here some useful tips:

Twitter: Following someone on Twitter, it is possible to see a word at the moment of its coinage. Because tweets tend to be rather informal, there are a lot of types of creative usages of words. 57% of neologisms on Twitter come from blends.

Twitter is a newswire other than a social platform. Follow the social spotlights on Twitter and new words will pop-up! (See #Frankenstorm Sandy coverage, for example). To improve your search you can use the real-time social media search and visual discovery tools such as SeeSaw).

Don't know who to start following? Here my favourites Neologisms Twitstars:


Google alert: In looking through the terms gathered for my blog since 2009, I noticed that journalists, twitterers, and bloggers are foreseeable. They have a tendency to flag words that are new to their vocabulary with such phrases as “known as” or “as they call it” or “known to fans as” or even “new word” and of course, “neologism”.  The trick is, don't put only “neologism” on Google alert but also “known as”, “coined the word” etc. (Read more about how to detect neologisms here: Institutionalization of a neologism).

Serendipitous reading: I have to admit that very often I jump into a new word just by accident. I’m just reading a news and voila’, a new word is smiling at me! Love comes when you don't expect it.

  • Starter tool box - here a list of the most reliable and popular blogs and websites on neologisms:
  • Many newspapers and magazines include lists of new words to accompany articles, and quite a few , including Wired, Time, Newsweek,  and the Guardian, even include new word sections as a regular feature.

    By the way, consider that:

    1) Most words are new to most people most of the time. There are plenty of people who are culturally left behind, for some of them the word “blog” is a novelty (coined in 1999). 

    2) Websites are ephemeral. A special skill for neologisms seekers is to capture new words immediately, before websites archive their online content.


    15 gennaio 2014

    I neologismi della recessione

    La crisi economica degli ultimi anni ha dato vita a una lingua tutta propria, diffondendo divertenti neologismi finanziari che riflettono l'umor nero di chi deve affrontare i propri problemi economici.

    Quando creiamo un nuovo termine, mettiamo in atto un meccanismo di difesa: cerchiamo di prendere il controllo della situazione circoscrivendo il problema e cristallizzandolo in un neologismo. Se poi ci ridiamo su tanto meglio! :)

    15 novembre 2013

    Tablet is interpreter’s best friend

    Do you need to bring all your resources with you but you don’t have enough space in the booth?

     Do you need to check your glossaries and search your terminology while interpreting?

    Tablets will be your best friend!

    In his e-book, “The tablet interpreter”, Alexander Drechsel, staff interpreter at the European Commission, shows us how tablets can make a lot of sense for interpreters, both in the booth and on the go.

    They are small and light, they don't take up much space in your bag or in the booth. You can get the most out of them by using language apps, as well as file management apps, news reader other than the essentials like mail and the web browser.

    In this video, you can see Alexander in action!

    To stay updated on latest Alexander's tips and tricks, pls check his blogs and twitter account:

    10 ottobre 2013

    What's your word of the year for 2013?

    The WOTY fever is starting again. Are we ready for the new Word Of The Year competition? I'm afraid that the Word Of The Year 2013 will be "Twerk" but I definitely prefer "Selfie".

    Update - 11 November 2013: Fail, deficit, deadlock, stalemate - 2013’s most used words on the web.

    The Global Language Monitor claims ‘404’ - internet code for an online error - as the top word, ‘toxic politics’ the top phrase and Pope Francis the top name in its annual global survey of the English language.

    The rankings are based on how many times words, phrases and names were used online throughout the 1.8bn people in the English-speaking world across the last 12 months.

    To qualify, the words must have been used at least 25.000 times across all types of media.

    19 November 2013 - And the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013 is ‘selfie'! So, when I wrote this post my gut feeling gave me the right response! I'm a good Word detective..

    4 December 2013: Merriam-Webster just announced that “science” had seen the greatest increase in lookups this year.

    16 December 2013: Geek has been deemed the word of the year by the Collinsonline dictionary. Geek was chosen as a reminder of how an insult can be transformed into a badge of honour, according to Collins.


    02 agosto 2013

    Corpus Italiano

    This corpus of contemporary Italian texts from the web was created in the context of the project PAISÀ with the aim to provide a large resource of freely available Italian texts for language learning by studying authentic text materials.

    It constitutes a unique language resource for Italian in combining the following features: corpus of web texts (harvested in September/October 2010) composed entirely of freely available and freely distributable texts.

    Even though primarily created for language learning, the corpus also provides a rich resource for researchers and translators. The interface will offer different modes for accessing the corpus, ranging from precompiled searches to fully flexible search options for constructing complex queries, aiming to serve different user groups.

    For more detailed information, please check: Corpus Italiano

    'via Blog this'

    30 luglio 2013

    Infographic on neologisms

    The process in which a new word becomes part of the accepted vocabulary of a community is known as institutionalisation. The reason why neologisms have become embedded in every-day vocabulary so quickly is because they swiftly pass through all the stages of this process. First, they are used more and more frequently as they are spread via social media and various applications. Second, their meaning does not need a lot of definition since the pictures or applications are usually self-explanatory. Ultimately these words start appearing in various forms within common texts.

    I edited this quick-and-dirty infographic (using “Paint”) to provide an easy to understand explanation of how neologisms are created. I hope you enjoy it! A better quality is available on Pinterest.

    Infographic on neologims.TIF

    09 luglio 2013

    Terminology is UX and a Website Terminology Manager is what you need

    So you just realised that in the same website you found "Login", Log-in" Sign-in" ?

    The same button was labeled “Submit” in a page and “Save” in another?  Did you find “New” and  “Create” when uploading new content to your blog?

    New content has been labeled “New”, “Updated”, “Recently Updated” or “Modified”?

    If “module”, “plugin” or “extension” aren’t used to refer to one same concept, they might raise terminology inconsistencies.

    There are two different reasons why terminology is not consistent in websites.

    1.                   The use of the same term for different things is usually not intentional. 
    2.                   Developers simply don’t think about it.

    Honestly, my opinion is that developers just don’t care. They are too busy coding and it is not up to them to actually translate in plain language the above-mentioned labels. So the strategies are two: 
    1. the lazy approach, or to get familiar with their terrible jargon with the side-effect of making the English language ugly and inaccurate, other than difficult to understand.
    2. to turn yourself into a Website Terminology Manager - the only one who can really fill the gap between developers and users.

    The website has to speak the same language as its audience. Technical people tend to think terms like “stack overflow” and “fatal exception” make perfect sense. The Website Terminology Manager thinks about the users and thinks about what those buttons and words mean to them. He/she doesn't use acronyms or words that most people don't understand. He/she doesn't use internal lingo. Doesn't sound like an engineer talking to another engineer. The basic rule is:  Keep It Short and Sweet.

    So, to sum up, what are the requirements of a Website Terminology Manager?
    • When checking the interface, the Website Terminology Manager is always able to put him/herself in the shoes of the person who's reading the interface because is able to use a terminology that can be undesrtood by the users.
    • A Website Terminology Manager knows the end-user perfectly well.
    • A Website Terminology Manager knows the topic and the mission of the website.
    • A Website Terminology Manager knows technical standards: the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) and  the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
    • A Website Terminology Manager knows that standard terms and their definitions are given in platform style guides, such as the ones for Windows [Microsoft Corp., 2006], Macintosh [Apple Computer, 2006], and Java [Sun Microsystems, 2001] and the -standard User interface (UI) vocabulary for target platform (Microsoft Language Portal).


    25 maggio 2013

    The Cupertino Effect

    What happens when a computer automatically "corrects" your spelling into something wrong or incomprehensible.

    It's a sort of older cousin of the "Damn You, Autocorrect" error that infects even professionally edited text. 

    Everybody experiences that stomach-dropping moment when you realise what you sent
    wasn’t what you intended to send, and there are no takebacks. It was named by workers for the European Union who noticed that the word "cooperation" often showed up in finished documents as "Cupertino," the name of the California city in which Apple has its headquarters. 


    20 maggio 2013

    Microsoft Language Portal

    Microsoft Language Portal: a bi-lingual search portal for finding translations of key Microsoft terms and general IT terminology. It is aimed at international users and partners that need to know our terminology for globalization, localization, authoring and general discovery. 

    It contains approx. 25,000 defined terms, including English definitions, translated in up to 100 languages as well as the software translations for products like Windows, Office, SQL Server and many more.

    19 maggio 2013

    Terminology Forum

    Terminology Forum is a global non-profit information forum for freely available terminological information online. 

    The Forum was established in 1994 and is maintained by Anita Nuopponen with the help of her students at the Dept. of Communication Studies, University of Vaasa, Finland.

    You will find here information on terminological activities including terminology work, research and education, on online glossaries and termbanks from different fields as well as general language dictionaries in various languages.

    17 maggio 2013

    Dante: Database of Analysed Texts of English

    Dante is a lexical database which describes the core vocabulary of English. 

    It was created for lexicographers and computational linguists who are developing dictionaries and computer lexicons, either manually, with computer assistance, or automatically. The database medium is British English, but the corpus is not, and particular attention has been paid to ensuring equal coverage of American English orthography and usage.

    DANTE is not a dictionary. It is much more than this. 

    Dante: Database of Analysed Texts of English