“The Epitome of Nonchalance and Cynicism” – Hungary’s Jewry Outraged by Flagrant Mistranslations

Ladies and Gents, you are about to be introduced to the funniest, yet perhaps the most serious translation scandal of the year! I remember how hard it would have been to ignore the enormous media coverage received by the fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s funeral last December. The story was all over the news, leaving audiences all around the world in a daze. A number of rather pathetic mistakes on a recently erected memorial in Budapest, however, managed to crank up the tension in the political upheaval which turned Hungary’s Jewry against the country’s government.

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Last Name First, First Name Last!

Finishing this post brought me so much satisfaction that I decided to have it proofread by a friend of mine immediately. He looked at me with a rather cold smile and said, “Yeah, it’s alright, but it’s quite similar to one of your older posts. In fact, it’s exactly the same!” And at that point I realised I had rewritten an article from 9 months ago. It’s 100% the same, have a look! (Excuse the joke, I’m just too busy to write a brand new article right now, so I thought I’d take an old one and give it a better name. Enjoy it, nevertheless!) Continue reading

Dear Santa Claus, Baby Jesus, Yule Goat… Christmas Log?

“Who brings gifts to Europe?” Thanks to a Redditor named rappzula, we now have a brief overview of European Christmas traditions – displayed neatly on a colourful map! Most cultures in Europe have an omniscient and omnibenevolent mythical creature – or in some countries, two or more – who is known to bring gifts to children at Christmas. Have a look at the map, it’s worth it! Continue reading

But Seriously, What Does the Fox Say?

“The secret of the fox, ancient mystery…” The Norwegian duo Ylvis, which consists of the brothers Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker, must be overjoyed to see that their newest video clip, named ‘The Fox’, has now become a viral hit after having been viewed nearly 250 million times in the last three weeks. Besides the catchy melody of the song and the hilarious animated fox that sings and dances like a grown-up man in the video, ‘The Fox’ also draws attention to a reasonably significant issue: “What does the fox say?”

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Halloween – What’s in a Name?

Interestingly, the majority of people believe that the celebration of Halloween has never had any religious significance, and that we must not draw a correlation between Halloween, All Saints’ Day (1 November) and All Souls’ Day (2 November). For those of you who fall into this category, here’s a brief summary. “Hallowmas” (originating from the Old English word hālig, but I’ll come back to this later) is a Western Catholic triduum that lasts from 31 October to 2 November – it includes all three observances mentioned above and is dedicated to remembering the dead. Continue reading

10 Celebrity Names You’re Probably Saying Wrong

Having your name pronounced the wrong way is never a good experience, believe me. But can you imagine what Ralph Fiennes, Zooey Deschanel, Matt Groening and many other celebrities have to go through when millions of people fail to pronounce their names every day? With the help of Nyest.hu, Business Insider and Wikipedia‘s pretty useful IPA transcriptions, I will now attempt to reveal the truth about some of the world’s most commonly mispronounced names. Continue reading

How Specific Are You? – Kinship Terminology across Cultures

“I saw your sister and your uncle yesterday!” Oh, really? Great, but was it my younger sister or my elder one? Or do you mean my cousin? And, by the way, which of my uncles: my mum’s brother or my dad’s? Actually, it could also be the husband of my mum’s sister! Can you please be more specific? I know, it’s not your fault, the kinship terminology of the English language is quite limited.

Languages use different systems of terminology to refer to the individuals a person is related to, due to their unique classification of kinship relations. Since the topic is too complicated to be explored thoroughly in an article like this, I don’t intend to go into much detail. Instead, I will just pick out a few interesting aspects and compare the way they appear in different languages and cultures. Continue reading