A humorous article from The Economist explains how “Netflix is creating a common European culture” through their efforts of promoting shows from different European and translating/subtitling in all languages:

Umberto Eco, an Italian writer, was right when he said the language of Europe is translation. Netflix and other deep-pocketed global firms speak it well. Just as the eu employs a small army of translators and interpreters to turn intricate laws or impassioned speeches of Romanian meps into the eu’s 24 official languages, so do the likes of Netflix. It now offers dubbing in 34 languages and subtitling in a few more.

Read the full article here.

Paul Elie writes at The New Yorker on the uses of metaphors in relation the the Covid-19 virus. Based on the work of Susan Sontag he reminds us to be careful on our use of language when thinking and writing about the virus. He also makes an interesting point on how we use metaphors for illness for phenomena in society:

Rather than applying societal metaphors to illness, we’ve applied illness metaphors to society, stripping them of their malign associations in the process. It may be that our fondness for virus as metaphor has made it difficult for us to see viruses as potentially dangerous, even lethal, biological phenomena. In turn, our disinclination to see viruses as literal may have kept us from insisting on and observing the standards and practices that would prevent their spread. Enthralled with virus as metaphor and the terms associated with it—spread, growth, reach, connectedness—we ceased to be vigilant. Jetting around the world, we stopped washing our hands.

Een leuk lijste op, de “Top 50 Arabische woorden in het Nederlands”. Verrassend –of misschien ook niet– hoeveel alledaagse woorden als leenwoorden in het Nederlands zijn terechtgekomen.

Veel Arabische woorden zijn via de kruistochten (suiker bijvoorbeeld), scheepvaart (admiraal, magazijn) en handel in voedselproducten (koffie, limoen, aubergine, spinazie, andijvie, abrikoos) in de Nederlandse taal terechtgekomen. Opvallend is de hoeveelheid Nederlandse woorden beginnend met ‘-al’ (in het Arabisch een lidwoord) die ontleend is aan het Arabisch, zoals alcohol, albatros, alchemie, algebra of almanak.

In France there has been a change in gender marking in job titles. A large part of previously traditional masculin job titles did not have a feminine form. Via 7 jours sur la planète.

This is an interesting use of a so-called Sankey diagram (a type of flow chart) to visualise spelling mistakes, by Collin Morris.

Misspellings of 'Gyllenhaal' by Colin Morris
Misspellings of ‘Gyllenhaal’ by Colin Morris