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Maybe you're travelling to Nunavut, maybe you've just seen Atanarjuat, but for whatever reason, you're keen to learn some Inuktitut. Where to begin? Take a course if one is available in your area. Listen to some words and phrases. But unless you're heading to a region (PDF map) where the Inuinnaqtun dialect is spoken (it uses the Roman alphabet), you're going to need to use Inuktitut's syllabics. Download some fonts (another source, and another) -- you'll need them for many sites, including this Inuktitut language reader. Or try out this handy converter. Finally, the Living Dictionary is the definitive reference to this language.
posted by mcwetboy on Nov 5, 2002 - 9 comments

 

A handheld device that translates simple spoken phrases.

A handheld device that translates simple spoken phrases. "American troops in Afghanistan are using a revolutionary device that instantly translates soldiers' voices into native languages. . . . The soldier speaks into the machine, which recognizes the words and translates them into another language." Simple phrases only — and a long way from a Star Trek universal translator — but kindling for the science-fiction-addled imagination nonetheless.
posted by mcwetboy on Jun 10, 2002 - 11 comments

The religious language used by the terrorists

The religious language used by the terrorists may suggest what they are really thinking, argues Robert Wisnovsky in Slate. His conclusions might not be what you expected: one, they're not particularly Islamic, but rather use Islamic terms to "attempt to lend religious weight to what is basically a political ideology"; and two, their real target is not America or the West (except indirectly), but the monarchies of the Arabian peninsula. Interesting insights from a linguistic perspective.
posted by mcwetboy on Oct 24, 2001 - 21 comments

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