Recent Blog Posts

Alabama gubernatorial candidate Tim James recently created controversy with his political advertisement titled Language. The advertisement focuses on one of James’ campaign promises to eliminate driver’s license exams in all languages except English. In the ad, James says, “This is Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, […]

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Malaysia, the South Asian country straddling the Malay Peninsula and the South China Sea is home to over twenty-seven million people. Malaysia was, until recently, one of the more stable economic powers in the region, even given its tumultuous history. However, the country is finding itself at a critical political […]

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The current debate over health care has some people in a panic, and many of the concerns being voiced (such as the concern over granny-killing government death panels), are unfounded and irrational. Judging by the news coverage of recent town-hall meetings, we have become a nation of health care phobics. […]

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Interpreter Kenji Nimura speaks four languages: Japanese, English, Spanish, and Baseball. Baseball is the all-American sport, right? When I think of the game I picture muggy summer nights, hot dogs, and lukewarm beer (served at a premium price, of course). What I don’t usually think about is translation—Japanese translation, to […]

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When a blurb about Cooking from the Heart: the Hmong Kitchen in America popped up in my Google Reader, I was instantly intrigued because it claims to be the first American cookbook detailing Hmong recipes. How is it possible that no other Hmong cookbook in America (or in English) exists? […]

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Following up with our look at the origins of words related to food and spirits, here is a brief history of the language of beer: One of the world’s oldest and certainly most well-loved beverages has a history that dates back thousands of years BC. Spread through Europe by Germanic […]

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In honor of Bastille Day, I’ve decided to dally a bit in the history of one of my favorite French exports: French bread. Just a refresher, Bastille Day is a French national holiday celebrated every July 14 (quatorze juillet) to commemorate the Fête de la Fédération held on the first […]

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Here is a little something to get the weekend started: a brief walk through the language of wine. The original nectar of the gods has a history – and therefore an etymology – that dates back to our ancient forbearers. Here you will find the sources of the popular names […]

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What do you think of when you hear the words “Family Production Responsibility System”? What? It doesn’t bring to mind carefully tended rows of corn, beans, and tomatoes? Acres of wheat, rice, and soybeans? Chickens running around a dusty side yard? I don’t think so either, but apparently the Chinese […]

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With the 2009 Tour de France gearing up for its start on Saturday I can’t help but question—beyond lodging, food, and transportation for all of the teams, media, organizers, and fans—what the language logistics of the race must be like. Since its beginning in 1903, the Tour de France has […]

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