quarta-feira, 17 de dezembro de 2008

You think English is easy???

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted.

But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth.

Why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel
at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people,
not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick' ?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'

It's easy to understand
UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP

the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, workUP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

And this
UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP ! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP...

When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.

When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so........it is time to shut UP!

Oh . . . one more thing:

What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night?

sábado, 6 de dezembro de 2008

Iraq translators' mask ban dropped

Unidentified Iraqi interpreter in file image from January 2006
Interpreters provide vital local knowledge, as well as language skills.

By Humphrey Hawksley
BBC News, Baghdad

The Pentagon has rescinded a controversial decision that banned Iraqi interpreters working for US troops in Baghdad from protecting their identities by wearing ski-masks.

The ban was meant to reflect the improved security situation - in which interpreters were no longer afraid of retaliation. But that is not the case.

"If anyone of my neighbours see me with this uniform I will get killed," said an interpreter working with the US 4-10 Cavalry Regiment, which patrols a large part of western Baghdad.

"Maybe they will kill my family. That's the issue", he added.

About 30 interpreters work with the 300 troops from a large camp that used to be a luxury shopping mall.

To be a successful linguist you have to act when you translate, to make the other side understand if they are serious or not serious

Zeeman, an Iraqi translator

Another interpreter, who only wanted to be known as Zeeman, said he had worked for too many years against too many different militia to feel safe.

"I am married and I have a family and we have to remember that these forces are leaving one day and we are staying here."

He explained further: "If these people here see the same faces as they see with the Americans and American is not here…?" The question was left hanging, with no doubt as to his fear.

Some 300 interpreters have been killed during the war in Iraq, and they are seen as a crucial link between the US forces and Iraqi communities trying to recover from the years of violence.

"It would have been tough to get where we are today without our interpreters," said the regiment commander, Colonel Monty Willoughby.

"We know that they get spooked and scared, and we try to protect their identity as much as possible."

'At grave risk'

Out on patrol with Zeeman, we called first at a local Iraqi police station where he translated an intelligence briefing.

We then headed to a empty building lot nearby where it was thought weapons might be hidden.

He apologised to the residents as our Humvees blocked the street and during the search - that yielded nothing - he liaised between the police and the US soldiers.

Finally, he introduced the patrol commander to Iraqi soldiers manning traffic checkpoints.

"To be a successful linguist you have to act when you translate - act exactly what's going on - to make the other side understand if they are sad, if they are happy, if they are serious or not serious."

US officials at first tried to defend the Pentagon ruling, saying interpreters could seek alternative employment if they were unhappy with it.

An Iraqi interpreter in Ramadi
Interpreting through interrogation in Ramadi, Iraq

But the issue was taken up by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden. He sent a Congressional petition to the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

"Preventing interpreters from concealing their identities puts their lives, as well as the lives of their families at grave risk," said the petition letter.

It went on: "The heightened threat could also reduce the numbers of interpreters available in Iraq, due to death and resignations, and put American service members and their missions in danger."

Col Willoughby said the mask ban had now been lifted and that decisions could be made at an operational level.

"We ask them not to wear masks," he said. "But troop commanders can make that determination."

Zeeman does not give his real name and does not want his face filmed.

He has worked without a mask for some time, realising that it helps the hearts and minds campaign. "But the decision needs to be in my hands, not in the hands of someone in Washington who knows nothing about how we work."

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