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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in lingua franca
  Tars drives the streets of Moscow in his Hyundai taxi twelve to sixteen hours a day, if he can. “Moscow is all work”, he says in broken English. Tars is from Fedorovka in Bashkortostan, some 1,400 kilometers away from Moscow. Back home he speaks Bashkir with his two brothers and his mother. He hopes to go and see them in June. It will be more than a day travel by train. In Moscow he speaks Russian. He also knows a bit of Mari and Tartar, two other languages that are spoken in his native country. Tars thinks we are from...
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“English Please” or Machine Translation? A debate between Lane Greene and Nicholas Ostler about the future. I am a big admirer of Nick's, let me say from the start! I am not as confident as Nicholas Ostler is in the future of machine translation as a replacement for a lingua franca.  Both speech recognition and translation have to make major steps forward before anything resembling the Star Trek universal translating device (or Douglas Adams's Babel Fish) is anything close to reality.  I spend a lot of time translating idiomatic phrases I find in German writing through Google Translate, and while the software...
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“English Please” or Machine Translation? A debate between Lane Greene and Nicholas Ostler about the future. We can take as common ground the position of English as the world's lingua franca of choice: it has the majority, and an ever growing majority, of inter-lingual use, when this occurs among present-day human beings. ("Inter-lingual" use means communication between two or more people who do not share a mother-tongue.) If this were the only relevant change occurring, the long-term dominance of English as an inter-lingual medium would be assured. But a number of other facts will serve, in the long-term, to undercut the...
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