56

There is no one-to-one correspondence between languages and their vocabularies. This means it is impossible for a computer translator to be invertible. The translator's task going from language A to B is fundamentally different from going from language B to A. To understand this, consider the French word "allumette", which in English is "match", that is, ...


13

The answer to the question about modern practice is 'convention'. In general awareness Native American names have the form of 'Epithet Object/Animal' such as 'Red Cloud' or 'Crazy Horse'. Therefore you will see activities like children picking 'Native American Names' in this format. This is puzzling (or possibly even traumatising) to actual Native American ...


11

As a translator, I can assure you that English is no more efficient than other languages. First, subtitles often miss out whole bits of dialogue and definitely leave out swathes of meaning. Second, there is no recognized measure of language efficiency. I did a comparative study of cohesion in English and Czech and found that word counts were very ...


10

I think, the names in the other languages like Greek or Arabic that have their meaning in those languages are standardized, for example 'Abdullah' meaning 'God's Servant' was and is given to millions of people, while the Native American names are unique and individual, they are given to just one person each.


10

Wilson's answer is great, but I'd like to clarify one point. As a general rule, hyphens separate morphemes in the source language, and dots separate morphemes in the target language that aren't separate in the source language. As an example, take the Latin word amō, "I love". I would gloss it as follows. am-ō love-1P.SING.PRES In other words, the single ...


9

The source of this mistranslation series was identified by Japanese internet users as parallel corpus data contaminated by a Japanese TV reality show program あいのり Ainori. According to this article, a number of "episodes" other than "78" were observed as well. トナカイさんの贈り物 → Episode 167 星の印 → Episode 58 砂漠の決断 → Episode 60 恋する勇気 → Episode 50 愛の泉 → ...


9

The term you are looking for (depending on etymological link) is cognate, or false cognate: False cognates are pairs of words that seem to be cognates because of similar sounds and meaning, but have different etymologies; A famous example is the Mbabaram (extinct Australian Aboriginal language) word for dog, dog. Some further examples are listed in the ...


9

This may sound weird, but it's not. Well, in fact, it is very weird indeed. –– With equal right one might say that Romania should correctly be called Wales. –– If that joke is lost on you, read the rest of this answer: there is nothing incorrect to observe. There is just a lot of culture and language evolution over quite a few centuries and thus a no ...


8

Some of your examples have switched the roles of dots and of hyphens. It seems like it.is.dot.separated to some degree That's right. We want to use spaces to mark word boundaries, so we need some other way to mark morpheme boundaries. The dots are suggesting boundaries between morphemes. I say suggesting, since it's not always clear where they are: gås (...


7

The kind of structure you ask about is known as an interlinear gloss. It consist minimally of three lines: the first line being the language being analysed, with segmentable morphemes separated out by hyphens; the second line is in the analysis language and has a gloss (usually a grammatical category label) for each morpheme in the first line and is spaced ...


6

The name in English (as used in the media) started as Cambodia, and changed briefly during the 70's and 80's after the fall of the Lon Nol government. The name "Kampuchea" went the way of the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese governments of the country, and can be seen as making a break with those regimes. English usage reflects French usage, so current "Kingdom of ...


6

That is the Westertoren Tower in Amsterdam, the Nederlands. The numbers are regular Roman numerals, but written in a fancy way. The first one is what looks like c|ɔ, but that is how M, 1000, is written, m with a tall middle mast. The second one is |ɔ, but that is actually D, 500, again, with a tall mast. Then go the usual Roman C, 100, and XXXVII, 37, which ...


6

The goal of the Hepburn system is to provide a more or less regular, unified system for writing Japanese using the Roman alphabet. Though superficially similar to English, it doesn't have to follow the particular rules of a specific language. This is most visible regarding the vowel system. Japanese vowels あ, い, う, え, お are spelled a, i, u, e, o in Hepburn; ...


6

These are called "false friends". Wikipedia: False friends are words in two languages that look or sound similar, but differ significantly in meaning. An example is the English embarrassed and the Spanish embarazada (which means pregnant), or the word sensible, which means reasonable in English, but sensitive in French and Spanish. (Nice when you meet ...


5

Assyriologists, Egyptologists and other students of ancient languages in the 19th and 20th centuries have successfully deciphered lots of long extinct languages solely on the basis of written texts. So in principle it is possible. Having said that, successful decipherment has been mainly with languages that are either cognate with already known languages, or ...


5

Does Bob risk learning inaccurate or plain wrong definitions of words by working this way? Yes, he does, in most cases. First, languages are often ambiguous. You may grasp the meaning by the context, but if there's no context, you don't know, for example, what is the meaning of refrain, is it a verb or a noun? If it's a verb, it can be to repeat or to stop ...


5

I think there are two big innovations that we would look to today. Computers able to analyze millions of patterns in minutes Cryptographic techniques that use what is known about patterns of a language to discover regularities in the seemingly random noise of a cipher However, the fundamentals would be the same. You always have to start from a fundamental ...


5

I don't know of actual research, but from my personal experience: I agree that word-by-word translations will on the one hand lack features that are not available in the target language and on the other hand introduce features that are not present in the source language, which is why I wouldn't rely too much on such strict word-by-word translations either....


5

"How do you go about deciphering a language without any spoken basis, no native speakers to converse with, or another other leads to go on besides ones provided by context alone?" You don't. With no inroads such as you've mentioned, all you can do is play a game of decipherment; but basically any solution you find will be something you have invented: you ...


5

This is a surname which is widespread in Eastern Europe, mainly in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. This word comes from Ukrainian and it is an adjective which means "barefoot, without shoes". In Ukrainian it is spelled Босий ['bɔsɪj], in Russian the surname is spelled Босый ['bɔsɨj] (the Russian word for "barefoot" is босой [bə'sɔj]), and in Belarusian it is ...


5

It tends to depend on the history on the name itself, not "historical importance" of the city per se, although it is definitely plausible that, generally speaking, cities with a more complicated naming history that spans various languages and civilization are in fact more important. There are no hard and fast "rules" at all, but I can provide some examples ...


4

I am myself a native speaker of Bengali. I also learned English at a very young age. I am really surprised at your comment, "Since I was a small child in a bilingual home I've been struck by how, despite having different vocabularies, the two languages seemed very similar - faithful word-by-word translations could be performed on sentences without need to ...


4

Apart from Scots, the closest languages to English in terms of lexical difference are probably the various English-based creoles, such as Tok Pisin, Bislama or Jamaican Patois. These have a mostly English vocabulary base, even though much of their grammar derives from from non Indo-European languages. Unfortunately I've not found many numbers to back this ...


4

This is due to one of the mayor disadventages of statistical machine translation systems as the one Google is using: In general nobody knows exactly based on which information a certain mistranslation was created on - so fixing is not a trivial thing. The algorithm just states: Based on hundreds of millions of lines of translated texts in my database A seems ...


4

Besides cognates, there are also chance coincidences (say, Maya vuh and German Buch "book") when clearly unrelated words have the same sound and meaning in different languages.


4

Europarl is a classic corpus for research papers, used at the main conference - WMT - and by some of the top people in the field. It would be useful for training a translation system specifically for European parliament domain. But Europarl, like any domain-specific corpus, is not ideal for training a production-strength open-domain machine translation ...


4

I see now… what was the reason that they blocked me if I did not have any rechasado would seem to come from (Latin American) Spanish (rechasado not being translated because it should be written with z instead of s; Latin Americans get this wrong because z and s both sound like /s/, unlike in Peninsular Spanish, where z sounds like /θ/). The original ...


4

What you're asking about is called zero derivation. Derivation is when you apply some process to a word to turn it into a new word: in English, for example, you can put -er on a verb to make a new noun. Zero derivation is when nothing obvious changes in the process. In English, zero derivation can be applied from adjectives to nouns, and from nouns to verbs....


4

I assume your concern is with regard to Norwegians and not compliance with some statutory requirement (if there is any such requirement, which I doubt, I am certain that it wasn't arrived at by opinion polls in Norway). The code "no" refers to any form of Norwegian, and "nb" refers to Bokmål, "nn" referring to Nynorsk which ...


4

The word pāqidūtum is not listed in the CAD, which suggests that it's likely not historically attested. But the word pāqidu(m) = "provider, overseer, caretaker", also included in the exercise you cited, is listed on CAD volume 12 (P) page 137. One page 35 of the lecture notes you linked, you will also find the abstractifying suffix -ūtum, used to ...


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