Communication

Language Family & Similarities

Similarities

When going on holiday or learning a new language, we often spot similarities between our own language and the foreign language. The similarities can either be big or minor – but why the similarities?IndoEuroean language_map

Language scientists have found out that many languages are connected and bear similarities, why they have been divided into language families. There are more than 1000 languages in the world, but not all are spoken by more than a couple of thousands people and not all have a so-called written language. Because of the similarities the scientists have been able to relate the languages to each other and divide them into families. One of the families, which English, German, Danish, Italian, Albanian, Greek etc. belong to, is the Indo-European language family. As the name suggests, then the languages in the family are detected in both India and Europe.

Indo-European Language Family

The Indo-European language family is the most widespread and studied of the families. It’s believed to originate from north of the Black Sea and then around 3500-2500 BC to have spread as people migrated west to Europe, north to Scandinavia, east to India and south to the Mediterranean. The language then developed in different directions and transformed into the way we know them today.

The Indo-European family is divided into 12 branches, of which only 10 consist today.

The branches are: Germanic, Latin, Slavic, Baltic, Hellenic, Illyric, Anatolian, Thracian, Iranian, Indic, and Tokharian. (To read more about the branches go to: http://www.krysstal.com/langfams_indoeuro.html)

Where has the Indo-European language spread to?

This world map shows the approximate distribution of Indo-European languages around the world. Within the red borders, the IE languages are the predominant or official languages. In addition to the nations within the red borders, most of the African nations have an Indo-European language (chiefly English or French) as a second official language. The map is only an approximation, but it gives you a good idea of where IE languages are spoken on the Earth. There are, of course other languages spoken within the IE area, such as American Indian languages, Basque, Hawaiian, the Australian aboriginal languages, and many others. Also note (hard to see on the map) that there is a red border around Hungary which excludes that nation. Hungarian is not an IE language, although it is completely surrounded by IE-speaking nations. The same applies to Finland and Estonia.

This world map shows the approximate distribution of Indo-European languages around the world. Within the red borders, the IE languages are the predominant or official languages. In addition to the nations within the red borders, most of the African nations have an Indo-European language (chiefly English or French) as a second official language. The map is only an approximation, but it gives you a good idea of where IE languages are spoken on the Earth. There are, of course other languages spoken within the IE area, such as American Indian languages, Basque, Hawaiian, the Australian aboriginal languages, and many others. Also note (hard to see on the map) that there is a red border around Hungary which excludes that nation. Hungarian is not an IE language, although it is completely surrounded by IE-speaking nations. The same applies to Finland and Estonia. (http://www.danshort.com/ie/ieworld.htm)

The Indo-European language Family Tree

Indoeuropean language family tree

This was just one of the many language families, of which can be explored further. I just wanted to give you a foretaste of the topic, so feel free to explore the topic even further.

/Sembach

Sources:
http://www.thisted-gymnasium.dk/klassiker/Sproghistorie.pdf
http://www.jensrasmussen.dk/sprogforstaaelse/familier.htm
http://www2.aasg.dk/asgaf/AP/03-Sproghistorie/index.htm
http://www.krysstal.com/langfams.html
http://grammar.about.com/od/il/g/languagefamilyterm.htm
http://www.danshort.com/ie/ieworld.htm

Copy-writing and Plagiarism

One thing you should always bear in mind, when doing copy-writing is to be aware of not plagiarizing someone else’s work. Your content always has to be unique and stand out from the crowd – and if you do find your self copying text, images, ideas etc. always remember giving proper accreditation to the rightful owner.

Personally, I prefer creating and reading texts that are not like the 10 other texts I just read on the topic – of course this can at time be difficult, when some topics, things etc. just are as they are : 1+1=2. In this case you need to think out of the box and write/explain it in a different way: 

en2 +  en1   = two

How to…

I came across this article, which describes, how to check for plagiarized content! This also come in handy for the one’s being copied, if you want to check whether you are being copied.

http://www.itechcode.com/2012/08/05/top-10-ways-to-check-for-plagiarised-content/

Have a read through and let me know what you think on the matter!

/Sembach

Right or Left?

In Denmark we usually say “we drive on the “right” side of the road”  – here referring to the double meaning of the word “right” – to be right and the right hand side! After having lived/visited several countries with left-hand driving I started to wonder, why we don’t drive on the same side of the road all over the world.

I found this homepage, which gave me a good explanation of, why we drive on either left or right!

http://www.i18nguy.com/driver-side.html#lights

So if you ever wondered – have a quick read through this!

/Sembach

Copy writing

How to start…

I recently had to create text for two new homepages: Knau and Adelberg. I had a month to finish the project, which at first seemed to be plenty of time. Before I could get going on the actual writing, I had to do some research about the two brands and about white goods, to get the wordings and information right. Luckily I had the resources on hand to gather information from. Another important point to remember is finding a common thread in one’s work to make the text coherent and of cause to remember the target audience.

You always have to modify the text for the target audience. If you want to sell a product, for example a car, you must keep in mind: what is special about my car, who am I communication to, what does this  group have in common and what is important for X.

The writing process

When writing it is often a good idea to start out writing, without worrying to much about the content, just to get going. Afterwards you can become more critical and focused on the content. As I was creating text on basis of few headwords and some background information, I was bound to be creative. My first couple of attempts to create the text lacked flattering adjectives and volume. But after getting the skeleton in place, I started working on the smaller details and getting some volume in the text.

As the homepage consisted of more pages, this was an ongoing process. As well as making sure the pages didn’t overlap too much information.

The hard part was to create around 10 small similar texts describing fridges and refrigerators, so that the text differed.

The next step: Translation

After completing the text it had to be translated into English and German. Most of the text was easily translated, but you always have to take cultural differences into account. And pay attention to, how for instance a German would express him selves.

Again, remember to do research about the topic in the language you are translation into. You might know a lot in your own language, but maybe the target language has another way of expressing a certain mechanism. Plus it is always good to get the wordings right, which is best done by finding similar text.

It can also be recommended creating a corpus within the field of work. This way you have 5-10 text to compare and to get an idea, how the structure and wordings are.

Finishing up

After creating the text for one homepage in three languages I started all over on the second homepage. After doing the first homepage the second was easier to get started with. You just have to get into the way of thinking and the working process gets easier and you more efficient.

The last thing to do, before pronouncing it finished, is to proofread. It’s also recommendable to get another pair of eyes on you work, before making it public.

Of course there are more aspects to discuss, when doing copy writing and translation. Why I’ll try to get around it in the future. You are always welcome to leave a comment either about this post or if you have a good idea for a new post/topic.

/Sembach