Thursday, June 26, 2008

global village

global village: aldea global

Segun wikipedia, "es un término posiblemente acuñado por el sociólogo canadiense Marshall McLuhan. Este concepto se refiere a la idea de que, debido a la velocidad de las comunicaciones, toda la sociedad humana comenzaría a transformarse y su estilo de vida se volvería similar al de una aldea. Debido al progreso tecnológico todos los habitantes del planeta empezarían a conocerse unos a otros y a comunicarse de manera instantánea y directa."

Of course lots of people don't have that kind of access. As one of my favorite geographers, Cindi Katz, argues, while the world is getting smaller for some, it's becoming much larger for others (see the recent hardening of Fortress Europe).

But really I blogged this term because I'm still mulling over vereda. Thanks to all who have commented on that post. My current favorite is rural township, but I'd love more thoughts. Anyways, when I saw aldea global in the paper the other day it struck me that it's odd that aldea seems to only get used figuratively in Colombia.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


miembra: member

yes, yes, I know, the Real Academia does not recognize this as a real word. and what do you know, there are hardly any women in the RAE. but doesn't it seem ridiculous to you to interpret for a large women's organization and have to call them all miembros? the joys of patriarchal language. well apparently I'm not the only one who'se annoyed. recently the Spanish Minister of Equality (how cool is it that there's a ministry like that?) used 'miembros y miembras' in a speech and set off a whole discussion about this word in Spain.

how we say the world shapes how we see the world shapes how we can be in the world.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

online tools

The Firefox search bar is a wonderful thing. I use Firefox because of the beauty of open source, but I also love it for making amazing translation tools easy to use. The search I use most is Wordreference. I set up a separate one for Sp>En and one for En>Sp. If you don't already have it you also must must set one up for the all powerful RAE. There's the obvious (actually, to get there in firefox you can just type dict and the word in the address bar), and There's also definr. For fun I like the urban dictionary. What I've given you so far are links to the main sites for these pages. Some of these, like wordreference (at the very bottom of a page once you look up a word), have quick links on their pages for adding it to your firefox search bar. The RAE search is here (huge kudos to the designer). For others go here and search for them under all add-ons (lots of other cool ones to get while you're there).

Not in the search bar but also cool: Visuwords graphs a word's relationship to other words. The visual dictionary is good for learning terminology for tests (in theory these types of dictionaries are also good for when you know what it looks like and not what it's called - though I've never had much luck using them that way). If, like me, you still wonder if you want to lie or lay down, check out confusing words. And for pronunciation dudas try the cool collective project of forvo.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Procurador General

Procurador General: Inspector General; Attorney General

I've usually seen Procurador General rendered as Attorney General, but on Colombia Reports I recently saw it as Inspector General. It got me to thinking. The mission of at least the Colombian procuraduría does seem more in line with the definition of an Inspector General that that of an Attorney General. Thoughts? Either way the procuraduría would be the Office of the ... And as if you needed one more sign of just how corrupt the Uribe administration is, the brother of the procurador was recently arrested.

wildcat strike

wildcat strike: huelga loca (Col)

A wildcat strike is a walkout that is not authorized (or supported) by union leadership. Often definitions say that for it to be wildcat it has to happen during a valid contract - but workers often claim that management or union leadership has broken the contract. I would also argue that if workers walk out after a contract has expired, but without elected leadership support, it would be wildcat. At any rate, in the US, under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), federal courts have held that wildcat strikes are illegal and that employers may fire workers participating in them. Some might argue wildcat is a derogatory term, though I think it's a fantastic fierce image. This Spanish version is more obviously derogatory. Anyone know better renditions?