Posted tagged ‘Internet’

Translation 55. English Loanwords in Hindi. Addendum on Demonetisation (noTbaNdee)

14 December 2016

In the past 5 weeks of turmoil in India, the following English loanwords or phrases have been  heard or read in the Hindi media. They offer important additional evidence of the ever-present influence of English on the use and development of the Hindi language. Contributions (and corrections) from readers would be most welcome.

More background information on my Loanword collection is available here:

baileNs, (bank) balance

chek, or chaik, cheque, check (USA)

DebiT kaarD, debit card

ekaauNT, account

eTeeem, ATM (Automatic Teller Machine)

haaee kamaan, High Command (military)

haaee Deenomineshan (noTs), high denomination (notes)

haaipothesis, hypothesis

haikar, m, hacker

haiNDlar, m, handler (military, etc.)

iNkam Taiks, income tax

kaishles sasayaTee, f, cashless society [Also: les-kaish, less cash]

kareNsee, f, currency

kreDit kaarD, credit card

laain, line, queue, laain karnaa, to queue (EH) [English/Hindi hybrid form] [Hindi: qataar]

manee, money; remiTens manee, remittance money (from Indians abroad)

manee aurDar, money order

manee lauNDariNg, money laundering

noT, note, banknote

noTbaNdee, f, (bank)note cancellation, “demonetisation” (EH)

prauparTee, property

railee, political rally

rizaarv baiNk auf iNDiyaa, Reserve Bank of India (Also: aarbeeaaee, RBI)

sarkooleshan, circulation

smaarT fon, smart phone

Taiks, tax

vaaTs aip, or vhaaTs aip, WhatsApp (message softwARE (Int.)

vauleT, wallet

yoojars, or yoozars, users

(More to follow soon on English loanwords observed in the Hindi media between February and December 2016.)

Favourites on this Blog – for Holiday Reading

27 December 2011

Of the one hundred and eleven blogs posted here since 2008, these are the 16 that have attracted most attention. Unlike other more ephemeral blogs, the subject matter seems to remain of interest.

With my good wishes for the New Year.

General
1.
New Hope for Disempowered Women

2.
‘The Fragmentation of Information in Wikipedia’

3.
‘Please dress up the Em dash’

4.
‘Global warming debate. 1’

5.
‘Global warming debate. 2’
‘Global Warming Controversy. Part 2. Global Warming Scepticism: Some Basic Data & Chronological Notes’

6.
‘Julia Owen and bee stings in Bromley’

7.
‘Julia Owen, Retinitis Pigmentosa, and the Media. Part 1’
(Part 2 will follow in the New Year.)

Languages

1.
Of 33 offerings on Translation and Interpreting topics, this item has captured most attention:
‘Translation 8. Fluency in foreign languages. The case of Dr Condoleezza Rice’
(See also ‘Translation. 30’.)

2.
‘Translation 32. David Bellos’s Revealing Book on Translation and the Meaning of Everything’

3.
‘Spanish Pronunciation in the Media’

Spain

1.
‘The European Union’s verdict on the Franco Régime in Spain (1939-1975)’

2.
‘Justo Gallego – the lone twentieth century Cathedral Builder’

India

1.
‘Contemporary India. 1. Basic Sources of Information’

2.
‘A Visit to Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram in October 2008’

3.
‘Sathya Sai Baba: Questionable Stories and Claims. Part 1’

4.
‘Fuzzy Dates in the Official Biography of Sathya Sai Baba. A Re-examination’

Screen culture may be changing our brains

19 March 2009

This theory of Professor Susan Greenfield (and ongoing research by her and, presumably, others) deserves the widest circulation especially among those concerned about the effects of prolonged interaction with computer games and the many social networks which have proliferated on Web 2.0.

This important interview by the eminent TV journalist Kerry O’Brien has just been screened on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7.30 Report (ABC TV) on Thursday, 19/03/2009.

Introduction: “Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield, an eminent brain expert who commands enormous respect in her field has sounded a cautionary note about the screen culture of the computer age that she says may be changing our brains, in ways that could have a serious impact on personality and behaviour. As a pioneering scientist she heads a multi-disciplinary Oxford University team investigating neuro-degenerative disorders and also the Oxford Centre for the Science of the Mind, exploring the physical basis of consciousness. Professor Susan Greenfield speaks with Kerry O’Brien from Adelaide.”

Here are some excerpts from the lengthy interview.
Kerry O’Brien: “Susan Greenfield, you’ve warned that screen culture may be changing our brains. You obviously believe that it’s not a change for the better. First of all, what do you mean by screen culture?”

Susan Greenfield: “By screen culture, I mean literally that; a world of two dimensions where for six hours a day or more, people in the western developed world, more particularly kids, are spending time either playing games or on social networking sites and thereby putting themselves in an environment that is very much in the here and now, that has very strong audio and visual sensations, where at the press of a button you get instant feedback from whatever you’re doing.

“But at the same time, you’re perhaps removed from some of the aspects that we take for granted. Those of us who are older or those of us who are born in the 20th century, that we taken for granted. Things like metaphor, abstract concepts, logical narrative, conceptual frame works, long attention spans, imagination. The kind of areas we can explore in more detail, if you like.

“But it’s primarily a world of a small child, a world of the here and now, a world of a sound byte, a world of an instant frozen moment where nothing has consequences, and where everything is literal. Where nothing has a meaning, you’re not saying one thing in terms of something else, you’re saying literally, what you see is what you get.”
*
Read or view (13 minutes) the rest of this fascinating and alarming dialogue at:

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2009/s2521139.htm, or directly from the 7.30 Report website.

There is also a further 2 minute video clip of a web extra: ‘Extended interview with Susan Greenfield’.
Just another two appetisers in case you have not already opened the link:
Susan Greenfield: “What we know in neuroscience and this is getting really exciting, is that the brain is what we call plastic. That’s to say it’s very sensitive to the environment and that’s why human beings are so brilliant at occupying ecological niches than any other species on the planet. We don’t run fast, we don’t see particularly well, we’re not particularly strong – but what we do fantastically, more than any other species, is that we learn, we adapt.

“And because of this so-called plasticity, this means that your brain is different from anyone else’s for the last hundreds of thousands of years we’ve stalked the plan and it will be never the same again. And every moment you’re alive it’s modified and changed and revised by every little experience, literally leaving its mark on your brain.

“So if that is the case, it follows that the environment in which that brain is developing will be very much influenced by the kind of features of that environment. And if, for the first time – and this is my reasoning – that environment has changed in an unprecedented way, if it’s bombarding you with boom bang and bang images, what I call the “yuck and wow” scenario where every moment you’re having something flash up in your face and bombard your ears. All I’m suggesting is that that might drive brain connections and drive the configuration of your brain cell circuitry into the kind of mindset that mandates a short attention span.”
*

Susan Greenfield: “I think it can be a problem, like everything, if it’s done to excess. I personally don’t have a social networking site but I certainly communicate, like most people now with access to computers, through email.

“Of course, that’s not a problem. It becomes a problem if it’s your main form of communication. I met a young person who boasted they had 900 friends. And that made me rather sad as to what he thought a friend really was and what kind of quality of relationship that you might have with one, if there’s any one of 900. And how often, if you have 900 friends, how much time of the day do you spend in sustaining a friendship with 900 people when there’s only 24 hours of the day. And however advanced or slick the culture, the inescapable fact: you only have 24 hours a day and if you spend six hours doing one thing, that excludes you, by definition, of doing other things.”

*

Quantity versus Quality on the Internet

14 April 2008

Is the frenetic Internet party coming to an end? It is becoming less user-friendly than it was. As it has morphed into a huge hustling bazaar, the Web (2.0) has become more bewildering and intrusive. Most of the alluring and very useful products on offer are free (of monetary cost, at least). So many goodies: email, web browsers, information, chat groups and all sorts of forums, social network membership, video entertainment (YouTube), maps, blogsites, ping sites and myriad other facilities to spread knowledge about millions and millions of blogsites (like this one), and so on, and on, and on. Free services are being thrown at us from all sides. Since it’s Christmas every day in cyberspace, wannabe party poopers can hardly yell “Caveat Emptor!” or “Buyer beware!, but perhaps for many services, especially the free search engines and the well populated social networking empires, “User, take care!” may be a timely warning.

The sheer quantity of information exponentially available as the ‘bots’ dig deeper is so overwhelming and of such varying quality that new initiatives are sorely needed to sort it all in a more qualitative way, rather than offering the spectacular choice of 1 million superficially sorted search results in 0.15 seconds.

Google’s search results are highly praised and in the past I have found them useful, but, in my recent experience, the ranking system seems increasingly crude and uniquely vulnerable to clever manipulation by hundreds (thousands?) of specialised “Search Engine Optimisation” (SEO) companies and smart or unscrupulous invidivuals who can ‘play’ the vital backlinks game and skew the top ranking search results (especially the first page), often on the basis of a popularity count almost as artificially manipulated as an election in a dictatorship. (To get an idea of how big this booming SEO business is becoming, search for “SEO Services”. Yahoo served up 109 million results in 0.30 seconds.)

Although the Google Search engine is still well in front of chief rival Yahoo in numerical terms (5.6 billion searches in December 2007, compared with Yahoo’s 2.2 billion), Yahoo (which is possibly about to fall into the hands of salivating Google rival, Microsoft) has the edge (IMO) on Google in ranking quality and greater resistence to the arcane industry-condoned massage techniques which lead to highly profitable Search Engine Optimisation. In my recent experience, Microsoft, with a mere 940 million searches in December 2007, also often comes higher than Google in the quality of its rankings. In fact, between Yahoo or Microsoft plus the Metasearch engine Dogpile (which includes Google results), one could probably bypass Google’s current offerings with little noticeable loss, at least in the wide areas over which I hunt and gather.

Google hit the headlines when it announced that it regarded its countless billions of individual Searches as valuable archival material, to be carefuly stored, sifted and marketed as it sees fit. The mind boggles over what they might do with all that fascinating and basically private information. Although I do not lose any sleep worrying about my Search habits becoming known, I did recall the company attitude when hearing of Google’s free Gmail service with its virtually infinite storage space (their storage space), free organisation and search facilities for members’ emails. It seemed such a generous, almost philanthropic, gift to humankind in return for the money Google has made and rightfully expects to make from its advertising. Nevertheless, before leaping in to claim my 6 Gigabytes of storage space, and a Search facility on all my emails from cyberNanny Google (who adds the further bizarre promise that “you’ll never need to delete another message”), I actually READ the Terms of Service and was deterred by the image conjured up by Condition 4.4: (as well as utterly bewildered by Conditions 11 and 13).

4.4.: “You acknowledge and agree that if Google disables access to your account, you may be prevented from accessing the Services, your account details or any files or other content which is contained in your account.” (All my emails! All six Gigabytes? What would Google do with them? What would I do without them?) So I decided to continue to trust my own Hard Disk, my friendly Mozilla, and carry on deleting to my heart’s content for a while longer.

So much for the tentacular multi-billion dollar Google information empire. They have made it – BIG-time! Others are still starting up with similarly ambitious plans to attain algorithmically-derived financial nirvana. Take, for example, the Dredgers of Information on People (for People Profiles). This new set of cyber entrepreneurs are now following the Internet money trail, inspired by Google’s spectacular success in the mass farming and marketing of information. This sub-group of new IT companies are hoping to make rich pickings out of the simple automated process of massive robotic web searches for all scraps of information about people (and companies). Whatever their robots dredge up from cyberspace is then presented in a bundle under a person’s name. As simple (and as primitive) as that.

If you think about the ongoing problems of highly experienced Google in ranking their data results in a really helpful way, you may begin to get an idea of the potential for glitches and weirdness in the resulting mixtures of personal profiles. How many other people have YOUR name? Profiles for the Bill Smiths, even perhaps the George Bushs, of this world may become hopelessly mixed up in the ‘hands’ of the bots. As an experiment, try the two people search companies named below. Feed in any names you know and see how much of the resulting profile is relevant to that specific person. Check also to see if the robot profile gives a reasonably balanced portrait. Don’t forget to try your own name because that is where you may get the biggest surprise, perhaps seeing yourself ‘profiled’ along with “body parts” from others with the same name. Well, with only the robots to sort out the information and no human intervention (which is what the companies at present offer), what do you expect. Very scary!

1. Zoominfo.com

Zoominfo offers a subscription service to companies interested in other companies. It also offers free information on “People”. The People profiles offered are not restricted to businesspeople. The basis of Zoominfo’s presentation of its personal data farming operation is explained in a separate disclaimer statement, titled ‘How did Zoominfo get this information?’ One of the paragraphs is the following:

“Please note: ZoomInfo does not fact check its profiles and aggregation errors are possible. Additionally, ZoomInfo does not verify user-submitted information. Errors to your own profile can be corrected by updating your information. [They mean “correcting”.] Other errors or inappropriate content can be reported to ZoomInfo using our support form.” [There is something Orwellian about this “support form”, which is surely a reference to a complaint about the personal information found against a correspondent’s name.]

The nature and extent of the additional “user-submitted information” is nowhere explained. When I questioned Zoominfo on this, they declined to explain, several times. And when questioned on how robots had managed to compose several unbalanced profiles containing negative or disparaging references, the Support team was evasive and dogmatic. On most of these profiles, Zoominfo repeats the blanket disclaimer that it does not verify the information presented.

All in all, this seems an unsatisfactory offering in its present stage. When you check them out, if you don’t like what you see about yourself, or others, let them know. They may resist at first, or wave their disclaimer and robots in your face, but if you insist, they will remove any garbled or unwelcome information.

2. Pipl.com

This apparently newer kid on the block offers a similar service with the same sort of mixed results, but seems to cater for a younger demographic, especially targeting, with “deep searches”, the social networks and specialising in phone numbers, emails and information on old schoolmates. As with Zoominfo, I found the results mixed. There is no disclaimer. According to one IT blogger: “Pipl, a people search engine mentioned here a few days ago, also searches social networking sites. The usual cautions apply: You can’t assume anything you find is true, and you’ll have to find verification elsewhere.” (Mark Schaver, at http://www.depthreporting.com/2007_05_01_archive.html)

Although Pipl’s deep searches tempt us with “most of the higher-quality information about people” which “is simply ‘invisible’ to a regular search engine”, I also found oddly unbalanced (lower-quality) negative profiles about a number of older people.

The initial “Quick Facts” did not always refer to facts and the remainder of Pipl’s information on the names that I looked up was simply the Google result for that name. The Support team responses to my queries were slow, evasive, and basically unfriendly but I know of one or two colleagues who have had their profiles removed after lengthy exchanges of correspondence. Again, there was no satisfactory answer to the question of how the one-sided information was obtained in these selected cases. Another cyber mystery to be solved.

Perhaps the promised Web 3.0 will be able to offer us some overdue improvements in Internet quality, accuracy, and privacy protection.