Avibase is a multilingual bird database with 1.9 million entries on 10,000 species and 22,000 sub-species. In case you need to know that the Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark is called Saharanvarpuskiuru in Finnish.

The French version of the home page makes me smile. When they ask you to enter a “nom d’oiseau”, this is meant literally (scroll down to the very bottom of the page).

Merriam-Webster offers a collection of five search tools for download to access their free online dictionary and thesaurus directly from inside Firefox. There is even a “Get Firefox” button for those who still haven’t tried it. They have a solution for every taste: bookmarklet, the Firefox search field, a M-W toolbar, right-click search… Excellent!

Dictionary publishers outside the English-speaking world (Robert, Larousse, Duden…) are asleep on their catalogues.

Via mozillaZine.

Via Language Hat, a Cajun French-English glossary for the students at Louisiana State University.

I only regret that they don’t use IPA for the phonetic transcription. The system they do use is, frankly, unusable (except maybe for speakers of a particular variety of American English, which they don’t further specify).

Language power-games

The question of whether there will be a linguistic and, ultimately, intellectual dominance of English and English-language research and culture is a vast one. A small contribution to a transatlantic (virtual) dialogue between Jean-Noël Jeanneney, the directer of the French National Library and Mark Liberman, professor of linguistics, at Language Log.

This post (in French) is partly based on the way this issue is framed on the European side of the Atlantic. Re-reading the English commentaries on the web, it occurs to me that the mistranslation of défi(er) by defy (instead of challenge) in the article title has rather wide-ranging consequences. Mr Jeanneney’s goals are by no means in conflict with Google’s indexing of anglophone libraries. His article draws on the presuppositions that characterise the current state of this debate in France, and are not at all directed at or against anyone but French public and political opinion.

Il est légèrement embarrassant d’être aiguillée vers un article du Monde (un point de vue de Jean-Noël Jeanneney) en lisant un blog anglophone. Indépendamment de l’opinion exprimée par Mark Liberman, je le trouve plutôt rassurant de constater que le sujet n’intéresse pas que les français ou autres européens. La question du multilinguisme sur la toile […]

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… blogs are talking about society. And language, too, further down. Firstly, via Laurent at the beautifully redesigned Embruns, we learn from this post by Adrien/Bix that the french “pro-life” activists (they are called les anti-avortement here, by those who don’t agree with them) have found a rather insidious new way to send young women on a […]

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Still on multilingual blogging, I have recently met (thanks to IRC) Patrick and Luke, who are both interested in the linguistic and multilingual aspect of blogging and have good ideas to contribute. Luke, in particular, has an proposal for “distributed translation” of blog content by bloggers who typically blog about related topics in a different […]

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Locali(s|z)ation and internationali(s|z)ation

Quelques remarques au sujet de la localisation ou internationalisation linguistique, des outils et leurs failles, et du cas particulier des blogues.

  • 2005-01-22
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As wordlingo.com explains, localization (the US spelling seems to be dominant across varieties of English) is [t]he process of adapting text and cultural content to specific target audiences in specific locations. The process of localization is much broader than just the linguistic process of translation. Cultural, content and technical issues must also […]

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With Morgan Doocy — who, unlike me, actually knows how to code in PHP — I am working on a plugin to make WordPress comprehensively suitable for multilingual blogging. Of course, we have a lot of ideas what we expect from a mulitlingual blogging tool (you may have noticed that this blog is already bilingual-and-a-half). […]

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Transcribing another unknown language

Un autre quiz sur Language Log. On les adore.

Mark Liberman at Language Log has posted a second transcribe-and-guess-the-language quiz. I believe most readers of this blog interested in this sort of question, so you probably know this already. As one of those who got the first one right, I couldn’t resist of course. (More seriously, though, it’s an excellent exercise.) I have followed my […]

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More on dealing with unknown languages

Une autre livraison concernant le mystère des langues mystères.

First of all, I was right, and so was caelestis at (or le?) sauvage noble: the mystery language is Romansh. It is interesting to look at the differences between our approaches. Caelestis writes in his comment section: For the record, I should state that all I went on was the MP3, the exercise having […]

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