…or even read my own writing

One of the many things that is embarrassing in a foreign language: not being able to read your own writing.  I recently wrote a paper with a couple of my fellow computational linguistics folks, one of whom is French.  I wrote the first draft; she translated it into French and then added more material, made it into a better paper, etc.  It was discouraging when Zipf’s Law struck in a translation of my own writing, and I couldn’t read my own paper!  Happily, the Poisson distribution struck, too, and the great podcast Coffee Break French had a segment on one of the words that I didn’t know: voire.  This word translates as something like or even or and even.  Here’s an example from my paper:

Les chercheurs qui ont organisé la campagne ont également été touchés, voire bouleversés par leur contact avec ce corpus.  “The researchers who organized the project have also been affected, and even devastated by the corpus.”  (A corpus is a collection of analyzed linguistic data.)

Or, le Web 2 a permis l’apparition de plate-formes de myriadisation du travail parcellisé (microworking crowd-sourcing), dont Amazon Mechanical Turk, qui proposent à des demandeurs (Requesters) d’accéder à une «foule» de travailleurs (Turkers), qui sont très peu, voire pas du tout, rémunérés.  “But, the Web 2.0 has allowed the appearance of microworking crowd-sourcing platforms, among them Amazon Mechanical Turk, which offers “Requesters” access to a “crowd” of workers (Turkers), who are paid very little, or even not at all.”  (Couillault, A., & Fort, K. (2013, July). Charte Éthique et Big Data: parce que mon corpus le vaut bien!. In Linguistique, Langues et Parole: Statuts, Usages et Mésusages (p. 4).)

Some Twitter examples:

Screenshot 2015-06-04 14.57.52

“I also commit myself to review a little bit every evening in order to pass excellently my bac (high school exit exam) on French, and even the science one.”

Screenshot 2015-06-04 14.58.47

“The only interesting courses are those on history and French–the English is at a kindergarten level, or even nonexistent.”

Screenshot 2015-06-04 15.00.25

“There is a chasm–or even two chasms–between the French YouTubers and the English-speaking YouTubers.”

Thanks to Coffee Break French for clearing this Zipf’s Law example up for me–if you’re interested in learning French at any level, from complete beginner to advanced, check out their podcast and web site.

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