The French translators’ organisation (the Société française des traducteurs, or SFT) recently asked me to write an article about the Scots language, the inspiration being Scotland’s independence referendum on 18 September 2014. The article – beautifully translated by Géraldine Chantegrel – will be published in the December 2014 issue of Traduire, the SFT journal. See below for details of […]

“English 3.0”, a 20-minute video by documentary film-maker Joe Gilbert, “explores how the internet has influenced the way we communicate today and whether the changes witnessed have had a positive effect on the language”. It features interviews with Tom Chatfield (author and cultural commentator), David Crystal (author and linguist), Robert McCrum (associate editor of The Observer), […]

As you’re probably aware (you certainly will be if you live in Scotland or one of the other UK countries!), on 18 September people on both sides of the Scottish independence debate – “Yes” voters, who want independence, and “No” voters, who want to stay with the United Kingdom – will be casting their votes. And in spite of their […]

Do you listen to music while you’re working? I’d love to be able to, but sadly I can’t – my brain just doesn’t work that way. When I’m reading or writing – even just a simple email – the music distracts me and I just can’t focus. I know that  lots of people do manage to […]

Gary Muddyman of Conversis has written an interesting blog post – Is Britain becoming a nation of monoglots? – on the decline in language learning in UK schools. The post includes links for further reading (and viewing) on this worrying subject. Is there anything we, as people who love language and languages, can do to encourage […]

A week or two ago I heard a recording on Radio Scotland of Dawn Upshaw singing ‪Baïlèro, one of the Songs from the Auvergne: a collection of folk songs from the Auvergne region of France arranged for soprano voice and orchestra or piano by Joseph Canteloube between 1923 and 1930 […] in the local language, Occitan. […]

…the phrase means: A person suited for one job may not be suited for another job. The practice of choosing the best person for a particular job. Once again, the Wikipedia family (in this case Wiktionary) refers to the translation profession to illustrate usage: The term is widely used in the foreign-language translation industry, where […]

The Scottish Government has just published the results of a poll to identify the nation’s favourite Scots word. The winner was “dreich”, which means “wet”, “cold” and/or “gloomy”. I’m not sure if that describes the Scottish weather, or just our character. Respondents were asked to choose their favourite from a list of 8 Scots language […]

Time for a poll, I think, what with David Cameron throwing the gatto among the piccioni with his planned referendum on membership of the European Union. For some of us, EU membership is a business/market access issue, for some it’s all about annoying rules and regulations, and for others it’s emotional — we feel European. A […]