Basic Dictionary of the Spanish of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay

Posted 11 July 2021 by Brian Steel
Categories: 1


This posting offers a sample of my 72-page dictionary and, if required, a downloadable PDF of the whole Dictionary.)

Category: Spanish Language

(TAGS: Basic Dictionary of Argentinian Spanish, Basic Spanish Used in the Southern Cone)


As the first example of the sorts of material that I propose to make available on this (newly) multi-purpose website, I offer a PDF version of a short e-book on the Spanish of Southern Latin America. It is only 70 pages long but may be of interest to Spanish language students as a quick survey of the principal local lexical preferences in those three countries.

The examples in this publication are taken from my 1990s Database of  Latin American Spanish, which I also used to compose my other Latin American Dictionaries and to contribute to 2 editions of the Collins Spanish and English Dictionary, the 1971 landmark lexicographical innovation by an admirable Hispanist, gentleman and lexicographical mentor, the late Colin Smith.

If the following sample is of interest, please download the enclosed PDF for the full version.

(And I promise that my next offering will be of more general interest to readers.)

Muestra / Sample:

Diccionario Mínimo de Argentinismos, Uruguayismos y Paraguayismos

[Basic Dictionary of the Spanish of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay]

Brian Steel


achura(s) nm (QCH) RPl =menudencias // A Traveler le empezó a dar hambre y pidió unas achuras. (J.Cortázar, Arg, 1970:264)

offal; guts

adición nf (FR) RPl =cuenta de restaurante

(restaurant) bill; (US) check

aeroparque nm Arg =aeropuerto pequeño // El Aeroparque local [el Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, de Buenos Aires] funcionó a un tercio de su nivel habitual, según el gremio de aeronavegantes.      (El Español en Australia, Sydney, 9-8-94:9)

small airport

aerosilla nf RPl =telesilla


agarrar(se) vt/vr esp RPl =coger // …anoche le hice tomar una aspirina… La agarró y se puso a mirarla. (J.Cortázar, Arg, 1970:83)

to take; to pick up

agauchadoa adj esp RPl

like a gaucho

agaucharse vr esp RPl

to become like a gaucho

alambre-carril nm Arg =teleférico

cable railway

alcaucil nm RPl


almacén nm RPl =tienda (de comestibles)

(grocer=s) shop; general store

ambiente nm esp RPl =habitación


ananá(s) nm(TUP) RPl =piña tropical


asado nm Arg =barbacoa


asado de tira nm Arg =chuleta

chop; ribs

austral nm Hist Arg =unidad monetaria argentina, 1985-1991

monetary unit of Argentina (1985-1991)

balón nm Arg =vaso grande para cerveza

tall beer glass

Banda Oriental nf Hist esp Ur = la República Oriental del Uruguay; actualmente sinónimo de Uruguay

Formerly, all Spanish possessions to the East of the river Uruguay, including (Brazilian) San Pedro, Río Grande do Sul, and Santa Catalina. Now, a synonym for Uruguay.

bandoneón nm Arg =acordeón grande

large accordion

bife nm

1. RPl =filete


2. fam RPl =bofetada


biógrafo nm ant RPl =cine


birome nf [a veces nm] Arg =bolígrafo

(ballpoint) pen

blancoa adj y nmf Ur =relativo al Partido Blanco

belonging or pertaining to the Blanco Party

boleadoras nfpl RPl


boliche nm

1. RPl

small grocery store

2. boliche (bailable) RPl =bar; discoteca

bar; discotheque

boludez nf esp pl vulg RPl =gilipollez

crap! (vulg); rubbish

boludoa adj y nmf vulg RPl =gilipollas

stupid idiot; (US) jerk

bombacha(s) nf(pl) RPl

1. =pantalones gauchos

Gaucho breeches

2. bombacha(s) =bragas

knickers; panties

bombita nf Arg =bombilla


bonaerense adj y nmf invar Arg =gentilicio de Buenos Aires

(person) from Buenos Aires

botija nmf invar fam Ur =chaval; chiquillo


botiquín nm Arg =armario de tocador

bathrooom cabinet


A downloadable full version is available in PDF format.

Background Information on my proposed new use of this Website

Posted 10 July 2021 by Brian Steel
Categories: Uncategorized


July 2021

The following details about my career and writing record are offered to explain the nature and origins of the new postings that I propose to offer on Brian’s Soapbox.

My main academic writing was researched, written (on a typewriter) and published in specialist articles and books as part of my duties as a University Senior Lecturer in Spanish Language, with special interest in Lexicography and Translation (and Catalan literature).

Two years before my application for Early Retirement, I began to struggle with the intricacies of the new-fangled PC. Then after 24 years, I began a new career as Translator and editor (Spantrans Pty. Ltd.). Fortunately, this was soon to be supplemented by an invitation to apply for an examinership in Spanish Translation and Interpreting for NAATI (The Australian Government Agency for such matters).

The new home-based career offered far more time and freedom to travel and research a wider area of subjects and, in the early 1990s, with the aid of a computer, to produce faster results.  In 2005 I set up my Spanish website ( and wrote several e-books for sale on the site. In 2008, I set up this WordPress site to cater for my other writing and developing interests, including the study of Hindi as a Foreign Language, on which I have published many popular teaching aids, and an online e-book.

In this final phase I have decided to concentrate all my efforts on this WORDPRESS https website (which is far easier for me to use than my old-fashioned and non-SEO-friendly http site ).

I intend to select my best research and to re-publish, rearrange, or re-edit it for practical use by those interested. I hope this will include offering a few of my e-books in PDF form free of charge. Like the short one on an aspect of Latin American Spanish, which I shall offer as my first contribution soon after publishing this notice.

I am hopeful that the venture will be a fruitful one.

Finally, I offer a list of my published work as evidence of my life-long devotion to scholarship in several fields.


Brian Steel. Published work

Books and e-books   Updated 2021

1. A Manual of Colloquial Spanish, Madrid, S.G.E.L., 1976.

2. Translation from Spanish. An Introductory Course, Madrid, S.G.E.L., 1979. [3rd Printing, 1997]

3. Ejercicios de traducción del español. Nivel superior, Madrid, Edi-6, 1983.

4. Textbook of Colloquial Spanish, Madrid, S.G.E.L., 1985. [3rd Printing, 1997]

5. ABC of Latin American Spanish.Diccionario de americanismos, S.G.E.L., Madrid, 1990 [445 pages].

6. Consultant on Latin American Spanish for Collins Concise Spanish Dictionary, Glasgow, HarperCollins and Madrid, Grijalbo, 1993.

And for French edition;  Le Robert et Collins Dictionnaire Franc ais sp Esp- Franc   sp, Ediciones Grijalbo, 1994

7. Glosario de ecología y afines, inglés-español, Madrid, Eds.Istmo, 1994. 447 pages.

8. (ed.)The Sathya Sai Baba Compendium. A Guide to the First 70 Years, York Beach, Samuel Weiser, 1997.

9. Breve diccionario ejemplificado de americanismos, Madrid, Arco Libros, 1998.

10. Teach Yourself Colloquial English, Delhi, B.R.Publishing, 1999. [Publisher’s title]

My Title: Keys to Understanding Spoken English. Advanced Exercises in Comprehension and Translation

11. Breve diccionario ejemplificado de mexicanismos [e-book],, 2005.  

12. Spanish Translation Exercises and Tests [e-book],, 2006. [STET]

13. Colloquial Spanish [e-book],, 2007.

14. An Annotated Bibliography for Research on Sathya Sai Baba, 2007. (For the first Part and links to the other two Parts, see

15. English Loanwords, Abbreviations, and Acronyms in Hindi. A Romanised Guide to Hindi Media Usage, March 2016 (e-book available for purchase on


1. Translation from Catalán: Manuel de Pedrolo, Situaciò bis: a) Full Circle, Modern International Drama [U.S.A.], 4, No 1 (Fall 1970), pp. 61-94. b) Full Circle , in Wellwarth, G. E. (ed.), Three Catalan Dramatists, Montreal, Engendra, 1976, pp. 95-139.

2. Intrahistoria de una traducciớn  inédita and Almost Nobody, an English translation of a short story by Manuel de Pedrolo: Gairebé Ningú, in Antípodas , No. V (December 1993 61-79).

3. ‘In Memoriam: Manuel de Pedrolo, escritor catalán. Intrahistoria de una traducción inédita y Correspondencia’,


1. ‘A New ‘loísta’ – J.M.Gironella’, Hispania, 51 (1968), 866-867.

2. ‘Observaciones sobre el uso periodístico de los afijos adjetivales en los grupos nominales’, Español Actual, No. 12, (noviembre 1968), 1-6.

3. ‘Los estilos funcionales y la enseñanza del idioma’, Español Actual, No 18 (junio 1971), 9-18.

4. ‘Contrasting Approaches to Spanish Lexicography’, Hispania, 54 (1971), 46-53.

5. ‘Headline Classes in Journalistic Spanish. An Exercise in Register Analysis’, Iberoromania, 2/1971, 174-187.

6. ‘Two Recurring Structures in Cela’s ‘Prólogos’’, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, 6, 1972, 249-264.

7. ‘A Landmark in Bilingual Lexicography’, Hispania, 56 (1973), 511-521.

8. ‘Notas para una bibliografía del hispanismo en la Unión Soviética’, Yelmo, No. 12 (junio 1973), 18-21; No 13 (agosto 1973), 17-20.

9. ‘La muralla y La camisa: dos mundos y dos lenguajes distintos’, Yelmo, No 16 (febrero 1974, 34-36; No 17 (abril 1974), 23.

10. ‘El español coloquial para estudiantes de habla inglesa. Sobre Beyond the Dictionary in Spanish, de A. Bryson Gerrard’, Yelmo, no. 14 (octubre 1974), 14-16.

11. ‘Español avanzado para estudiantes de literatura’, Yelmo, No. 21 (diciembre 1974), 14-19.

12. ‘Checklists of Basic americanismos and castellanismos’, Hispania 58 (1975), 910-921.

13. ‘Inglaterra, primitiva colonia española’, Yelmo, No 24 (agosto 1975), 26-27.

14. ‘Errors in the Translation of Spanish Literary Texts’, Vida Hispánica [Inglaterra], 24, No 1 (Winter 1976), 9-16.

15. ‘Indicios culturales en el idioma español’, Yelmo, No. 27 (enero, 1976), 16-21.

16. ‘Pequeñísimo suplemento a un gran diccionario’, Español Actual, No 31 (enero-dic. 1976), 39-47. ** [On the Diccionario de uso del español by María Moliner]

17. ‘Algunos apuntes para un nuevo diccionario de americanismos’, en M.Perl (ed.), Estudios sobre el léxico del español en América, Leipzig, Enzyklopädie, 1982, 176-197.

18. ‘Adventures in Françoz’, The Bulletin, Sydney, 15 January, 1991

19. ‘Un nuevo espanglish: el de Australia,’ Lecture given in Spain at the University of La Coruña and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, May and June, 1994.

20. ‘Esbozo del Espanglish de Australia’, en Nueva Revista del Pacífico (Chile), No. 38-39, junio de 1995, Homenaje al Profesor Félix Morales Pettorino, 213-227.

21. Review: ‘Modern Miracles: Sathya Sai Baba. A Modern-Day Prophet by Erlendur Haraldsson.’ Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 79.2, No. 919, April 2015.


See also:

Please Watch This Space for Basic Changes

Posted 8 July 2021 by Brian Steel
Categories: 1

After a lot of rough planning, I have decided to change the nature and content of this moribund Website. Deo volente.

As a first necessary chore I have just finished selecting and deleting over half of the articles published on this site since 2008. (That still leaves 110 and I have rough plans for a few groups of them.)

My next much bigger project is to sort and select for transfer or modification those articles from my (dormant) professional website ( which seem worth saving as well as some of the Spanish and Hindi language e-books which used to be offered for sale (plus free Samples) on that site.

(Please Note: Brian’s e-books are LONG PDF files which readers have to print for their use. Many of my existing — surviving — WordPress articles are also long, or very long, as some patient readers will have noticed.)

That’s all I can say at the moment but it’s a great relief and and added stimulus to have said it.

I hope some of my changes and additions will be of interest to my readers, old and new.

Hasta pronto. Phil milenge.

Brian (at ompukalani // hotmail)

The Audio Version of Blindness for Beginners. Now Available.

Posted 16 April 2021 by Brian Steel
Categories: 1

Two years after the publication of Maribel Steel’s book Blindness for Beginners, the Audio Version has just been launched by (8 April 2021)

It was recorded by Harry Williamson of Spring Studio and the skilled reader is Alice Hermans.

This 8-hour version  of Maribel’s self-help memoir will be particularly welcome for its more effective accessibility and potential for people like herself, with impaired vision.

To get a basic idea about the audio book, try this:

In the 2 minute, 55 seconds SAMPLE (offered below the cover page on THAT website), the reader presents Maribel’s original ‘Dear Reader’ Introduction (pp.2-3) to her life-changing experience of going blind with Retinitis Pigmentosa and the complex process of adjusting her life, from age 17 on, to allow her to lead a full life and bring up four children, before creating her own career as a writer and mentor.

The 3 balanced Parts of the work are clearly identified:

Part 1: her personal biography, from the diagnosis (of Retinitis Pigmentosa), to acceptance and the long struggle to independence

Part 2: the types of practical strategies and attitudes that a visually-impaired person can adopt

Part 3: how other people can learn appropriate ways to assist visually-impaired persons.


To give potential purchasers a little more evidence of how the Audio book Blindness for Beginners may be of interest and use to them, I offer some relevant previous material and notes from the original book launch.

After the 2019 book launch there were four media appearances in Melbourne and Sydney (Australia). Three of these are still available to download, all showing how visual impairment does not make cooking impossible or too dangerous, providing very strict procedures are observed.

First came the two audio recordings by Australian ABC Radio National (RN), in its series Life Matters: April 10 and April 16, 2019.

‘Blind Inside a Tactile Kitchen’ 

Cooking demo with Michael McKenzie (in 2 parts)

Audio versions at:


The well-known presenter Michael McKenzie, wearing his blindfold, as instructed, was very brave, and completely empathetic. Guide dog, Dindi, was, as always, in attendance.

A week later in a follow-up TV interview with Studio 10 in Sydney, the studio audience and viewers  at home were treated to a 10 minute visual presentation of (briefly famous) Maribel’s blind cooking on the popular morning programme of Studio 10 TV. With assistance and a barrage of questions from her 2 amazed and nervous interviewers, she prepared the ingredients for Huevos a la flamenca (in memory of her mother).

This is now preserved on You Tube as: TV: Cooking ‘Blind’:

What I remember most vividly of this video is the apprehension on the faces and in the questions of those two glamorous interviewers as they stood beside visually-impaired Maribel briskly cutting up onions, with a large knife and a high degree of nonchalance.

That dramatic episode is just one example of Maribel’s very detailed repertoire of procedures built up during 40 years of learning to cope with practical life (including, of course, bringing up – and cooking for – a family of 4 kids).

Her hope and ambition is that her work will help other people facing different degrees of visual impairment to experience an easier but rewarding journey to success and personal fulfilment. And that family members, friends, institutions, and the general public will be able to relate more helpfully to visually-impaired persons.

Media Interest in Maribel Steel’s Blindness for Beginners

Posted 4 May 2019 by Brian Steel
Categories: 1

*April 2021: Please note that the Audio version of “Blindness for Beginners” is now available. See

Since the 8 January blog announcing the publication of my daughter’s simpático handbook, interesting things have happened – especially in the past hyperactive week.

Book Launch

Writers Victoria, Melbourne, 26 April 2019

Media Appearances

April 10 & 16, 2019

ABC RN, Life Matters:

‘Blind Inside a Tactile Kitchen’  Cooking demo with Michael McKenzie (in 2 parts)


30 April:  ABC Radio 774, Writs and Cures, Steve Ellen and Bill O’Shea: Interview

*Choose 30 April session in this group and slide timer to c 1:27:50. Till about 1:50 [14 mins.]

2 May: Studio 10 TV, Sydney, 2 May: Blind cooking demo. Huevos a la flamenca (10 mins)  This url seems OK for a month from 2 May 2019


More Details:

The Launch of Blindness for Beginners on 26 April took place at the Melbourne offices of Writers Victoria, under the guidance of resident Writeability specialist and editor, Lyndel Caffrey.

In addition to more detail about Maribel’s life, career and work, elicited by a probing interview by Lyndel, we were given an audio recital of a few pages by Alice Hermans, who is at present completing the audio version of Blindness for Beginners with sound engineer and recordist Harry Williamson (Maribel’s partner).

The TWO blind cooking programs speak for themselves:

ABC RN, Life Matters:

‘Blind Inside a Tactile Kitchen’  Cooking demo with Michael McKenzie (in 2 parts)


Michael, with his blindfold on, was very brave, and completely empathetic!

2 days ago, we were treated to a 10 minute visual presentation of Maribel’s blind cooking on the popular morning program Studio 10 TV, Sydney. She prepared the ingredients for Huevos a la flamenca (in memory of her Mum):

Of special interest (for me at least) was the understandable look of fear and horror on the faces of the two glamorous Studio 10 presenters as they watched visually-impaired Maribel cutting up onions, with a large knife and a high degree of nonchalance. That image alone shows how Maribel’s depiction of her 40 years of learning to cope with practical life (including bringing up – and cooking for – 4 kids) may be of inspiration to many other people. That is her hope and ambition. But please spare a moment of sympathy for Maribel’s new guide dog, sleek and beautiful Dindi, who had to endure an uncomfortable flight to and from Sydney with her owner.

The interview on 30 April (ABC Radio 774 [Victoria]), Writs and Cures, with Steve Ellen and Bill O’Shea, touched very empathetically on various aspects of blindness and Maribel’s 40 years of coping and triumphing over the odds.

Maribel is now gearing up for more interviews and lectures, as is her indefatigable partner, Harry Williamson, sound engineer, recordist, photographer and polymath. Together, they have a great life. That makes me happy too!

Apology: Some of the URLs given will not work outside of Australia. And others may not last for long. But Harry will soon fix the latter! And maybe even the former.

For Maribel’ s other writings and activities, see

Which Type of (Spanish) Language Student are You?

Posted 23 March 2019 by Brian Steel
Categories: Spanish L:anguage Learning


Whatever the teaching method used, it is a (sometimes annoying) fact that some people seem to learn foreign languages much more quickly and more efficiently than others: “Type A” students and “Type B” students. Here is a brief presentation of the two types.

[(If, after reading this introductory article, you wish to access many Samples of useful information about contemporary Spanish, a further visit to my Spanish website might be interesting and beneficial. You will find it Here.) ]

“Type A” language students are endowed with the following basic characteristics or abilities:
interest in the target language;
good hearing;
good verbal memory;
acute powers of observation;
an ability to mimic (and a lack of fear of ridicule);
a willingness to make intelligent guesses;
a flexible mental attitude to language.

“Type A” students are quick to identify and register the ‘facts’ of a foreign language (not only its bare vocabulary, syntax and idioms but its idiosyncratic features, semantics, syntax, and patterns). Such students derive benefit from any oral, aural or visual sources of the target language. They can usually also distinguish between authoritative and up-to-date bilingual and monolingual dictionaries and specialist dictionaries (for example, of synonyms, and, particularly in the case of Spanish, of national regional usage) and other less accurate and up-to-date dictionaries, even if the latter are published and publicised by prominent publishers.

Type A students are quick to observe and note real correspondences between the foreign and the native languages in speech, books, magazines, films, and videos and they quickly become good and accurate translators of meanings rather than just words.

Type B students (who appear to be more numerous) lack some of the above characteristics. They tend to show an inflexible attitude to the target language, expecting it to conform more or less to the syntactical patterns and semantic fields of their native language/mother tongue – in this case, English. They are usually uncomfortable when these patterns do NOT conform to those of English and they frequently misdirect a lot of time and energy wondering or asking themselves or their teachers why a word, idiom or pattern is different from the expected (English) one. Type A students simply note that the difference EXISTS and move on.

Type B students not only suffer from weak linguistic observation but they also tend to be literal in their interpretation of the foreign language and undiscriminating in their use of dictionaries. If for example the dictionary suggests as a translation for “He kept on (doing something)”: “Continuaba + gerundio”, they are capable of accepting this advice uncritically and producing totally incorrect (but to them logical) sentences like “*Continuaba gerundio estudiando” [* denotes an incorrect version] They may even compound the waste of time by blaming the dictionary when told their version is wrong, instead of listening to (and internalising) the correct versions: “Continuaba estudiando” and even “Siguió estudiando”. Or, if “the lowlands” is translated by the same (European?) dictionary as “las tierras bajas de Escocia”, then some Type B beginners may mechanically translate “the lowlands of the Amazon Basin” as “*las tierras bajas de Escocia de la cuenca *Amazón”.

The difficulty in understanding what is wrong with such usage, even when told, may persist with such students. In fact, whereas Type A students usually grasp a correction the first time, Type B students tend to contribute to their own demoralisation and to prejudice their linguistic progress by sticking to their errors through thick and thin, especially if these are the result of translating or transposing literally from their mother tongue rather than OBSERVING what native speakers do, or checking (carefully) in a reputable dictionary. These common sorts of ‘errors by analogy’ in translating from or into Spanish are usually termed ‘false friends’ (to be dealt with in a later article), e.g. ‘actually’ for ‘actualmente’ instead of ‘currently’ (or, in the opposite language direction: ‘actualmente’ for ‘actually’, instead of ‘en verdad’ or ‘es que’); ‘depender *en algo’ instead of ‘depender de algo’, etc.


Before I lose my linguistically Type B readers, let me hasten to add that, once you can recognise the extra difficulties you are creating for yourself, it is up to YOU to imitate what these lucky Type A students are doing in order to narrow the unfair gap between you and them and to improve your accuracy in Spanish – as well as having MUCH more fun and satisfaction, and fewer hassles learning Spanish – or any other language. No guarantees, but please TRY IT!

An example. By observing real Spanish on videos, films, or in real life situations, Type A students will soon discover that a strong agreement pattern in colloquial Spanish is the machine-gun repetition of “Sí, sí, sí, sí, sí”, (note also the negative counterpart “No, no, no, no, no!”), whereas, for the same type of emphasis, Type Bs will tend to say “Ah, sí”, with strong unSpanish stress on the “sí”, thus transferring a familiar English stress habit into what they think is Spanish. And such habits can quickly become firmly fixed if the speaker does not take on board a teacher’s correction. The whole question of stress in Spanish is quite complex yet easy enough when you have OBSERVED what native speakers (and writers) really do. More on a later occasion, maybe.

OK! It’s Decision Time! To see if you are basically a linguistic Type A or Type B, complete the following elementary exercise, orally or in writing, in the presence of a Spanish-speaking friend or a teacher. It may be the shortest test you have ever done.

1. Pronounce the following names:
Plácido Domingo. Miguel Induráin. Gabriel García Márquez. Andrés. Vicente.

2. As two Spanish speaker pass in the street, you hear them say to each other:
-Adiós, Juan.  -Adiós, María.
Just that. What have you learnt about Spanish if you have noticed that?

3. Someone knocks at the door: ¡Toc, toc!
-¿Quién es? -Soy yo. -Voy.
What have you learnt from this exchange?

4. -Buenos días, señor. -Buenos días, señora.
This is very basic Spanish usage, but uncommon in everyday English. Explain.

5. Put the following telephone numbers into the Spanish sentence:
Mi número es el ….
2376776; 2543674; 7992626; 4315278; 4792135; 9203581.
How did you divide the number up? What exactly did you say?
Yes, trick question! You have to have heard a Spanish speaker say a telephone number and to have registered and remembered the fact that they tend to break up the long number into pairs of digits, often with an initial SINGLE digit, thus:
Mi número es el dos-treinta y siete- sesenta y siete- setenta y seis (2-37-67-76); … el dos-cincuenta y cuatro- treinta y seis- setenta y cuatro (2-54-36-74), … etc.)

6. In what ways are the following different from English sentence patterns and words?
a) Me gusta este libro.  Me duele la cabeza.   No nos conviene su oferta.   Me hace falta dinero.   Me hacen falta 200 pesetas.

b) el coronel; el cocodrilo; Gerardo; Federico; la propiedad; Catalina; el peligro; la escolta; Argelia; temblar; el tesoro.

Now you should know whether you are basically Type A, Type B, or somewhere in between. But there is still a LOT to learn, so I’ll leave you to it! ¡Suerte!


Blindness for Beginners, by Maribel Steel

Posted 8 January 2019 by Brian Steel
Categories: Books

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Over the past decade, Maribel Steel’s steady and determined progress as a visually-impaired Internet writer, blogger and counsellor has given me great pleasure as her admiring dad.

The recent publication of her self-help manual, Blindness for Beginners (based on 40 years of effort, experience, and experimentation), marks the beginning of a new phase for her writing and teaching. As a very proud old dad, I have therefore decided to contribute in a modest way to her present and future success by blogging about her new book as described by her and her friends and colleagues in the book itself.

Privileged disclosure (kos I kan):
As a permanent background witness to Maribel’s life, family, and career, I would like to reveal 5 important serendipities which have especially supported or enhanced her own character and Taurean, er, determination.

Learning to touch-type at the age of 16 (before the Retinitis Pigmentosa took over).
Her 4 children: Claire, Russ, Sharon and Mike.
Meeting her present partner and soulmate, Harry Williamson. (A tech wizard and musician, as you probably know.)
Having as a friend and mentor the prolific writer Hazel Edwards (from whom we shall hear more in a minute or two).
Finding a brilliant and empathetic editor for this book and other writing: Lyndel Caffrey.

Information available in the book:

From the back cover
“Losing sight is a life-changing experience which happens to more than 1 in 50 of us in Australia. What would you do if this happened to you? This book reveals how to turn such a life-challenge into a lifestyle you can fully manage and enjoy.
By offering a realistic picture of the possible, Blindness for Beginners will help you to adjust emotionally, adapt in practical ways, and enhance your sense of self-confidence.

Discover how to:
Overcome emotional hurdles
Adapt your home with simple modifications
Trust your intuition and other senses
Live well and travel more independently
Work and play alongside people with low vision

Maribel Steel’s heart-warming story is part-memoir, part-guide. She demystifies what it means to be blind and provides her unique set of tools to enable you to forge ahead with tenacity.

Her insights will give a clearer vision of the realities and possibilities – for ‘ blind’ and sighted readers alike.”

Excerpts from the empathetic Foreword by Hazel Edwards:

“A great title, Blindness for Beginners. This applies to those losing their sight and those who need insight into how to live or work effectively with a person who is blind.

Maribel’s writing strength is the day-to-day anecdotes of creative problem-solving, and the humour with which it is shared.

Maribel’s approach is to capitalise on her strengths. And we all need to do that.

The most uplifting self-help book I’ve read this year. […] Courage is about being prepared to try within the limitations you are given. And Blindness for Beginners gives insight.”
What Readers Say:
‘I am so excited about this book for those who really need to share Maribel’s journey so that they can start their own on good footing with solid, heartfelt advice.’
Pris Rogers, Ageing and Vision Specialist, USA

‘In Blindness for Beginners, Maribel Steel takes us along her “journey of discovery where sight loss really can become a renewed vision of the possible”. […] Maribel’ s story will resonate with readers facing similar uncertainties. This book offers a creative approach for people facing challenges.’
Peter and Nancy Torpey: Hosts of Eyes on Success Podcast Show

‘I don’t know where to begin! I enjoyed Maribel’s stories so much I didn’t want them to end. Her descriptive ability is so rich it makes her stories jump off the page.’
Leanne Gibson, Canada

‘A really superb writer, I’m sure this book will open another door for others.’
Stella de Genova, Co-Founder, Vision through Words.

Further information is available at

A short Audio excerpt read by Maribel is available here:
The book’s ISBN number is 578-0-9874461 (231 pages)
An audio version is planned.

Learning and Dieting with Dr John Beaney

Posted 1 September 2018 by Brian Steel
Categories: Health & Diet

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dr John Beaney, a retired GP, has become one of the new breed of medical researchers and activists who are devising radical diet programs to combat an exponentially growing series of current health crises, notably obesity, Diabetes 2, and heart disease. In doing so, they also pose serious questions not only about medical orthodoxy on dieting over the past half century but on other relevant matters.

Beginning in 2013, along with his wife and fellow human guinea-pig, Beryl, John followed the example of other pioneers by researching and experimenting with a basically Low Carb Low Sugar diet. He also recommends the 5:2 Fasting régime. By practising what he preaches, both John and Beryl achieved impressive weight loss and control in 9 months.

Since late 2015, based on his initial and ongoing research, Dr Beaney has given many informative and entertaining lecture courses (attended by several hundred people). He has also carried out private diet consultations over the past 4 years. Many who have followed his fasting régime as well as the low carbs low sugar change of diet have impressive stories to tell.

His current website is:

In the past few months, John has taken his work to a new stage by adding more background and depth to his brief informative audio Podcasts.
IMO these congenial chats are exemplary for their crisp clarity and cogency.

I am a personal friend of Dr John Beaney as well as a beneficiary of significant weight loss since early 2016 through a radical change of diet based mainly on his research recommendations. Although applying my own self-indulgent interpretation of his dieting advice (and eschewal of the fasting), in 6 months my weight dropped from 78 kilos to 67 (two trouser sizes) and has remained constant since then.

In order to share my privileged new knowledge with others who might benefit from exploring Dr Beaney’s research findings and recommendations, I placed Dr Beaney’s website in first place on my Blogroll on this website many months ago – even ahead of the essential PBS Newshour, which is priceless, especially in the current surreal political climate, but may not contribute to prolonging our lives.

Translation 60. A Brief Update on the continuing Gap in Machine Translation Quality between Google and Microsoft BING. Hindi to English. September 2017

Posted 9 September 2017 by Brian Steel
Categories: Hindi Language

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Based on 2 very short extracts from

Extract 1:

shiv senaa ne aaj bhaajapaa ke netritv vaalee keNdra sarkaar par karnaaTak kee patrakaar gauree laNkesh kee hatyaa ke saNbaNdh meN taanaa maarte hue kahaa hai ki vah jaannaa chaahtee hai kaheeN is desh meN ek nishchit vichaaradhaaraa vaale logoN ke khilaaph bolne vaale logoN ko chup karaane ke lie ek gupt sisTam to naheeN chal rahaa hai.

1. Google Translate

“The Shiv Sena today taunted the BJP-led central government about the murder of Karnataka journalist Gauri Lankesh and said that he wants to know whether to silence those who spoke against people with a certain ideology in this country. A secret system is not running.”

2. Microsoft BING

“The Shiv Sena has today said the BJP-led centre on the government to assassinate the murder of Karnataka journalist Gaurī Lankesh, he wants to know that he is nowhere to make a secret system to quiet people who speak against a certain ideology people in this country is running.”
Extract 2.
soshal meeDiyaa par log likh rahe haiN ki kisee vichaaradhaaraa ke khilaaph likhne vaalee mahilaa patrakaar kee is tarah se hatyaa loktaNtra kee hatyaa hai.

People are writing on social media that a woman journalist who writes against any ideology is killing the democracy like this.

Microsoft Bing:

People are writing on social media that murder of a female journalist who is murdered by a ideology is killing democracy.
So, although raw Google Translate is still quite clearly ahead of Microsoft BING, the promised improved new Google system does not seem to have been activated. Please bring it on a.s.a.p. And Microsoft, please keep up the worthwhile competition.

[Reference to my previous comparison of Google and Microsoft Hindi to English Translation]

Translation 59. The use of English Loanwords in Narendra Modi’s 70th Independence Anniversary Address

Posted 21 August 2017 by Brian Steel
Categories: Hindi Language

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In February 2016, as part of my ongoing research on Hindi lexicography, I published an e-book and separate blogs about the history of the relationship between English and Hindi in India.

Since then I have continued my study of Hindi media and my already large collection of English loanwords in contemporary Hindi has increased by a further 1,500. At the time I made the point that the list is so long and the constant additions so frequent that important English loanwords should be considered by Hindi lexicographers as relevant additions to be included in future Hindi to English Dictionaries (or Hindi to German / French / Chinese, etc.).

Last week’s official preliminary transcript of the Indian Prime Minister’s 56-minute Hindi Address on the 70th Anniversary of Indian Independence offers fascinating evidence for further consideration of the phenomenon of English loans and also of the current relationship between Hindi and English in India (as well as other major Indian languages and English).

Since his successful years as Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made excellent use of Information Technology and social media to communicate with his supporters and the general public. His predilection for pithy Hindi slogans and maxims is supplemented by a penchant for examples in English, like his annual international “vaaibraNT gujaraat” Global Summits. During the three years of his current Prime Ministership of India, P.M. Modi has increased his IT contributions and his involvement with social media.

Although P.M. Modi’s choice of Hindi as his main channel of public communication in India is justified by Hindi’s status as official language, it should also be remembered that there are hundreds of millions of Indians who do not speak or understand that language. For these citizens (and also for many Hindi speakers), English, as the de facto lingua franca of India, continues, after 70 years to play an increasingly important role. This is specifically noticeable in central language fields or registers like technology, sciences, administration and education, as well as in the media and the world of advertising. (As I have pointed out in my 2016 studies, and earlier, the basis of most Hindi abbreviations and acronyms is English phonetics: pee em, en Dee Tee vee, aar bee aaee, bee je pee, etc.)

In the Devanagari version of the 6,500 word, 56-minute Address, P.M. Modi includes the following standard English loans in Hindi, adapted, as is usual, to Devanagari script (which is here transliterated into my basic system of roman script for easy keyboard use and reading). Newcomers to the topic cannot fail to notice the extraordinary versatile nature of Hindi phonetics in adapting quite closely to the English sounds.

aspataal, baiNkoN, eyarporT (or earporT), garaNTee, gais griD, iNTarvyoo, kaMpaniyoN, keroseen, kilomeeTar, naurth eesT, ek nayaa iNDiyaa, noTbaNdee, noTis kiyaa, peTrol, phaiktarariyoN, phaurm, rajisTreshan  (rej-?), rel, relve sTeshan, rikaurD, skool, Taiknaulojee, Tan (ton or tonne), TauyleT, Tren, ‘van raiNk – van peNshan’, yoonivarsiTiyoN.

Such borrowings are typical of daily media (and general) usage in India. However, what  really drew my attention to the official published Devanagari version of P.M Modi’s Address was that:

He chooses a larger number of less familiar English words and phrases to refer to concepts which he wishes to emphasise in his political agenda. These consist mainly of technical management terms, new proposals and coinages. As stylistic choices by the author (presumably for highlighting the concepts), these English words replace common Hindi equivalents.


Curiously, on P.M. Modi’s website (and possibly on the tele-prompter?), these words are written not in Devanagari but in English letters, often with initial capital letters. This is a departure from the normal procedure for dealing with English loans in Hindi (as part of the language) by printing Devanagari approximations of their pronunciation in Indian English (as shown in the samples given above).

What some observers may conclude is that the inclusion of English terms (rather than Hindi words) in their English script could indicate the author’s special gesture to connect with those many Indians for whom the Devanagari is unintelligible. In other words, to get parts of his political message across in spite of the Hindi “barrier”. And also to benefit from the special status that English enjoys in contemporary Indian life.


The terms presented in this way in the Address are as follows, in English alphabetical order. A number of traditional transliterations from Devanagari in my roman system are listed in square brackets. This is how the borrowings would usually be presented in the print media.

99   (pronounced “naaiNTee naain”)


Bank Accounts khulate haiN  [baiNk akaauNTs]

banking system [baiNkiNg sisTam]

Cancel kar diyaa [kaiNsal]

cash vaalee arthyavyavasthaa  sp? [kaish]

check-post [chek-posT – recently superseded by the Government’s jee es Tee]

Co-operative Federalism aur ab Competitive Co-operative Federalism [koauparaTiv feDaralizam aur ab kaMpeTiTiv koauparaTiv feDaralizam]

Cyber ho yaa Space ho  [saaibar / spes]

Debates [DibeTs]

Demand aur Technology

Dialysis [Daaiailisis]

Digital [DijiTal]   Also: Digital Currency and Digital Transaction

Double (se bhee zyaadaa!) [Dabal]


expert [eksparT]

Foreign Direct Investment

form [faurm]

formal economy

Gallantry Award

GEM naam kaa Ek porTal banaayaa hai

Good Governance (an old favourite with CM and PM Modi)  [But the transliteration guD gavarnaNs is more usual.]

Governance kee process ko simplify karnaa [proses or prosais  / siMplifaaee] Here, and elsewhere in this list, one notices examples of the very frequent hybrid loanword + karnaa Conjunct Verb structure, endlessly productive, as Professor Rupert Snell has pointed out.

GPS System [jee pee es sisTam]  (Note the English phonetics which dominate the majority of Hindi acronyms and abbreviations. I have a collection of 600.]

GST [jee es Tee]

hamaare desh ke In Uniform meN rahane vaale logoN ne balidaan kee paraakaaShThaa kee hai

income tax return [iNkam Taiks riTarn]



Is prakaara se roll-out honaa [rol-aauT]

IT [aaee Tee]

labour field [lebar feelD]

Labour laws

LED Bulb [leD balb or el ee Dee balb]

Left-Wing Extremism [lefT viNg eksTreemizam]

loan  [lon]

Maternity Leave

nature of job

New India [nyoo iNDiyaa] (used several times to announce the author’s project)


Prepaid bhugtaan [preepeD] (a hybrid phrase)

uske dvaaraa government procure kar rahee hai

Quit India Movement  [Bhaarat chhoro aaNdolan]

research [risarch]

RuPay Card [kaarD]

shell kaNpaniyaaN

Smart City

Soil Health Card [for farmers]


supply: apnaa maal supply kar saktaa hai, apne product supply kar sakataa hai

supply chain [saplaaee]

Surgical Strike [sarjikal sTraaik. Much used this year in the Indian media.]

surrender kiye

Team India [Teem iNDiyaa]

Technology kee madad se

Technology ko intervene karte huE

Technology meN Ek miracle hai,

to sirph vo projekTee vilaNb naheeN hotaa [elsewhere: projekTaa]

training [TreniNg]

Transparency [TraaNspareNsee]   and transparency laane meN saphalataa milee hai

Transport  and Transportation

har Uniformed Forces, koEE bhee ho, sirph Army, Air Force, Navy naheeN, saare Uniformed Forces


website launch kar rahee hai

Women Empowerment

maanav working hours

World Class Universities


Other references:

The Doordarshan video of the Narendra Modi 70th Anniversary Address on 15 August 2017 is available on You Tube.

On Hindi transliteration.