Category: Other languages

Translator Valerie Minogue talks through the tricky decisions she had to make when translating two novels by Zola for Oxford World’s Classics.

Literary translation: problems and perils

Translating a literary work is a serious challenge. The translator somehow has to move a text into the target language while preserving as much as possible of the quality and character, the ‘spirit’ of the original. A tall order that involves the translator in the tricky task of carrying the distinctive character and rhythms of […]

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When you travel but don’t speak the local language at all, some situations can be quite frightening, and funny.

Hello and Konnichiwa to our Oxford Dictionaries blog readers. Today is World Tourism day, and we thought we’d ask our Twitter followers about some of their experiences with language whilst being a tourist. Needless to say, when you don’t speak the local language at all, some situations can be quite frightening, and funny… We picked […]

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Paris street

A rue by any other name… exploring the streets of Paris

David Parsons writes in his book on Shropshire place-names that street-names ‘reveal the layers of history in a place’ and ‘fill the imagination with the sights, sounds, and smells of the past if we attend to them.’ We learn, for instance, that a high street in Shrewsbury formerly went by the name of ‘gumbestolestrete’ – […]

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Money talks not just in English but in other languages as well. Find out in which country people 'buy the pig in the bag' and other money idioms.

Cost in translation: money idioms around the world

Money makes the world go round – every day we use it, think about it, talk about it. It is therefore no surprise that English uses it in a number of idiomatic expressions as well, but money also talks in other languages. The people over at gocompare.com looked at some money idioms from other languages recently and came up […]

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different ways to say hello in other languages

15 ways to say ‘hello’ across the globe

The main use of hello is, of course, to greet others, and it has many other variants which also are used to greet others, such as hi or hey. The first written recording of this spoken utterance was in 1853 in New York Clipper, ‘Hello ole feller, how are yer?’ ‘Hello’ is also used to […]

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Is Polish the most difficult language to learn?

Is Polish the most difficult language to learn?

How ethical is it to start working in a country where you don’t speak the local language? Before I started teaching English in Poland, this question didn’t trouble me in the slightest. When I taught in Sardinia, I spoke enough Italian to get by; and nobody in Cambodia expected foreign teachers to speak any Khmer […]

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Finnish: an origin story

Finnish: an origin story

Despite being a Nordic country (Scandinavia consist only of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark) and sharing Europe’s longest border with Russia, the Finnish language is the tall blond stranger in this company. On the origin of Finns As many of you will know, the origins of a language are not necessarily the same as the origins […]

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English words of French origins, and how to pronounce them correctly

English words of French origin and how to pronounce them

On 14 July 1789, the storming of the Bastille prison in the centre of Paris marked the beginning of the French Revolution. It was a major watershed in the history of Europe and is today still celebrated as a public holiday in France. The event gave the country a national motto as well: liberté, égalité, […]

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