English is the official primary language of many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
It is also a recognized language in many countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Puerto Rico, and the list goes on.
There are some songs that have had enough of an impact on people around the world to be translated into many languages. “It’s a Small World” started as a theme song composed by the Sherman Brothers in 1963 for Walt Disney when he was looking for a theme song for the attraction “the happiest cruise that ever sailed”. Walt wanted a song that could be played as a round song and easily translated into many languages. This song has been argued to be the single most performed and most widely translated song on earth.
An unbelievable conversation in 15 different languages:
A translator is a professional who has studied at least one other language to achieve perfection. We often struggle with the second language we learned in school and only manage a basic conversation in that language. Can you imagine somebody being able to speak more than 30 languages?
To keep up with new developments in the over 150 languages we offer, we need to rely on our translators to be top professionals in their trade and to make sure that they are always informed when reforms to their language occur.
The Council for German Orthography recently published revised German writing rules. This year, the change was made to the German Eszett, a letter that only appears in German and looks like this: ß. ‘Eszett’ stands for the two letters ‘s’ and ‘z’.
The Library of Babel is a website that contains every possible combination of characters in the English language. It is the vision of its creator, Jonathan Basile, that once completed, the library will contain every possible combination of 1,312,000 characters. This would mean that contained within the texts, would be every book, every play, every song ever written or that ever could be written; It even includes the exact description of your birth and death. Although the library is currently limited to text of 3200 characters (lower case English letters, the comma, period, and space), it still contains the entire text of this article, as if it were already written (but we’ll get back to that later).
The library is arranged in hexagonal rooms, each with 4 accessible walls. Each wall has 5 shelves and each shelf contains 32 volumes of 410 pages. The number of total volumes in the library is so large that it is difficult to understand, around 105000 (that’s 10 x 10 x 10…. 5000 times). To put this number in perspective, there are estimated to be around 1080 atoms in our observable universe. The library truly does contain every possible combination of English letters; Every paper you have ever written, song you have ever sung, every conversation you’ve ever had. I mentioned that the entire text of this article was contained in the library, if you don’t believe me, you can look it up for yourself. It’s contained on wall 4, shelf 2, in volume 13, on page 244 of hexagon:
You can also access the page using the following link:
As a final thought, here is an excerpt from an essay by Jorge Luis Borges, entitled “The Total Library”:
Everything will be in its blind volumes. Everything: the minute history of the future, The Egyptians of Aeschylus, the precise number of times the waters of the Ganges have reflected the flight of a falcon, the secret and true name of Rome, the encyclopedia Novalis would have constructed, my dreams and daydreams in the dawn of the 14th of August in 1934, the demonstration of Pierre Fermat’s theory, the unwritten chapters of Edwin Drood, those same chapters translated into the language of the Garamantes, the paradoxes Berkeley cerebrated concerning time and never published, Urizen’s books of iron, the premature epiphanies of Stephen Daedelus which before a cycle of 1000 years will signify nothing, the gnostic gospel of Basilides, the song the sirens sang, the faithful catalogue of the Library, the demonstration of the fallacy of that catalogue. Everything, but for a rational line or just notion there will be millions of nonsensical cacophonies, of verbal farragoes and babblings. Everything, but the generations of men can pass without finding among the vertiginous shelves – the shelves that obliterate the day and in which the chaos dwells – a single tolerable page.
Library of Babel
Use the link below to view the full text of the Summer 2017 Newsletter.
The 2017 Tour de France starts in Düsseldorf, Germany, July 1. On July 2, the second part of the tour passes through the Neanderland. This area, after which the Neanderthal was named, will be showcased via a renowned French artist, Pierre Duc, with the help from students from Düsseldorf and Mettman. Pierre Duc is a “land artist”; to commemorate the tour de France in 2012 he and Thierry Gallibour created the image of a cyclist in a field made from various herbs, straw and wood, and the needle of the rear wheel clock was moving during the passage of the racers and helicopters.
The artists are building a giant Neanderthal wearing a cycling helmet with a speech bubble that says “Ich bin ein Neanderthaler. Et en plus, je parle français!” (I am a Neanderthal and I also speak French). He is supposed to be finished for the “grand départ”. The great work of art is 1,500 m² (16,145.86 ft² or 0.4 acres²) and will be visible from the air. The message is intended to express the importance of the place where the Neanderthals originated. It is also supposed to represent common origins and values, the joy of cycling, and the French influence of the area. The tour helicopters will be filming him and making him world famous. The event will be shown in over 190 countries, thus giving the region a once in a lifetime chance to be seen by the world.
The art can be seen in this German newspaper:
French eco designer Isagus Toche presented on June 23 her eco-clothing creations as part of an ecological forum in Kiev, Ukraine. Her dresses were all made from recycled material and from simply discarded materials. Unlike other designers that use material that has been recycled, processed or turned into new material, like plastic waste is being turned into usable yarn, Isagus Toche uses discarded items, cleans them and creates her fashion designs out of them.
There is a fascinating paragraph with jumbled letters on the internet that you may have run across:
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
(According to a researcher (sic) at Cambridge University, it doesn’t matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as a whole.)