Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Speaking in tongues and other experiments

Friends, you may have noticed the frequency of posts is now every few days (rather than a few per day!) and this will likely continue to be so for the next few months due to work and other commitments. After comically declaring in the past that I’d have to go into blog hibernation only to come back to continue posting, I think this is a nice compromise.


I’ve added a languages feature on the left-hand sidebar — while it is only an auto-translator with all the limitations that implies, I hope it may come in handy for speakers of other languages. A dear friend and work colleague tested it out with me today in Russian and Spanish. The syntax worked fine in Russian, and he was reading and translating it back to me perfectly to my pleasant surprise. The Spanish auto-translation seemed fine inasmuch as my friend could read through it, though the translation for the word ‘Qu’ran’ was memorably mixed up as I think I misplaced the apostrophe– it had interpreted it as Qu’ran — translating the ‘ran’ as a separate word. Let me know what y’all think if you speak a language other than English.


Another new feature is my continued experiment with featured article links. I have tried a Press Picks page in the past, but it was rather high maintenance—the social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Newsvine, Reddit et. al. do the same thing and also have feeds. Since the Delicious feed seems to work best with WordPress, I’ve chosen it to stream my selected article links on the right-hand sidebar, under the heading PG Picks. It is regularly added to and updated regardless of blog posts, so do feel free to check out whatever catches your eye.

In addition to this, I’ve added some selected RSS site feeds (eg Electronic Intifada) which features links to that particular site’s most recent articles, also on the right-hand sidebar.

map.jpgI’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank everyone who has written to me with article finds and helpful suggestions. I really have been warmed by the correspondence and by the solidarity, generosity of spirit and excellent feedback and the wonderful friends around the globe I have been fortunate to meet. Thank you, and here’s to more (just less frequent posts!) ;)

13 comments on “Speaking in tongues and other experiments

  1. psparrow
    27 July, 2007

    Works ok in German. Not so sure about the Arabic though… I enjoy your writings. Phil.

  2. psparrow
    27 July, 2007

    oh… I see you speak Arabic!

  3. Ann El Khoury
    27 July, 2007

    Hi Phil,

    Thanks very much for that. I speak Arabic colloquially but not exceedingly well. I’m hoping to take up study of formal Arabic in a year or two. Appreciate the feedback on the German translation (another language I’d love to learn more of).

  4. Ann El Khoury
    27 July, 2007

    oh…and I see you speak Dari and worked in Afghanistan. ;)

  5. Anne O'Brien
    27 July, 2007

    Hey Ann,

    I have just discovered your blog, and I love it!!!
    I am also from sydney and finished university- geography honours at usyd last year.
    I’m in awe of your honours thesis…. geography at its best integrates great complexity with elegance, and I think you do that well.

  6. Ann El Khoury
    27 July, 2007

    Hi Anne!

    Lovely to meet a local and fellow geographer :)

    Thanks for the kind words about my hons. thesis.

    I also had a look at your great blog just now and I’ll have to bookmark it for future visits.

    That byline blog description is music to my ears: “working for that day when the air of sydney is filled with the euphoria of participatory democracy and social change … and when local communities bloom like the jacarandas in november.” Terrific stuff.


  7. miche
    28 July, 2007

    It seems ok in french too. (Though I must admit my french is poor.)

  8. Dave Bath
    28 July, 2007

    Have you tried dialect?: (which includes redneck, moron, hacker, Elmer Fudd and Swedish Chef)
    Here is the link to your home page in “Jive”:
    (The format’s screwy – you have to scroll down to get to the post). Here is THIS Post in jive, enjoy

    Cuddies, ya’ may gots noticed da damn frequency uh posts be now every few days (rada’ dan some few puh’ day! Right on!) and dis gots’ta likesly continue t’be so’s fo’ de next few monds due t’wo’k and oda’ commitments. Afta’ comically declarin’ in de past dat I’d gots’ta go into blog hibernashun only t’come back t’continue postin’, ah’ dink dis be a supa fine compromise.


    I’ve added some languages feature on de left-hand sidebar — while it be only an auto-translato’ wid all de limitashuns dat implies, ah’ hope it may mosey on down in handy fo’ rapers uh oda’ languages. A dear homey and wo’k colleague tested it out wid me today in Russian and Spanish. Lop some boogie. De syntax wo’ked fine in Russian, and he wuz eyeballin’ and translatin’ it back t’me puh’fectly t’my pleasant surprise. De Spanish auto-translashun seemed fine inasmuch as mah’ homey could eyeball dough it, dough de translashun fo’ de wo’d Qu’ran wuz memo’ably mixed down — it had interpreted it as Qu’ran — translatin’ de ‘ran’ as some separate wo’d. Let me know whut y’all dink if ya’ rap some language oda’ dan English. Lop some boogie.


    Anoda’ new feature be my continued ‘espuh’iment wid featured article links. ah’ have tried some Press Picks page in de past, but it wuz rada’ high maintenance—de social scribblin’markin’ sites likes Delicious, Newsvine, Reddit et. Man! al. do de same doodad and also gots feeds. Since da damn Delicious feed seems t’wo’k best wid Wo’dPress, I’ve chosen it t’stream mah’ selected article links on de right-hand sidebar, unda’ de haidin’ PG Picks. It be regularly added t’and downdated regardless uh blog posts, so’s do feel free t’check out whuteva’ catches yo’ eye.

    In addishun t’dis, I’ve added some selected site feeds (eg Electronic Intifada) which features links t’dat particular site’s most recent articles, also on de right-hand sidebar. Ah be baaad…

    I’d likes t’snatch dis oppo’tunity t’publicly dank everyone who gots written t’me wid article finds and helpful suggesshuns. ah’ real gots been warmed by de co’respondence and by de solidarity, generosity uh spirit and ‘sellent feedback and da damn wonderful homeys around da damn globe ah’ have been fo’tunate t’meet. Man! Dank ya’, and here’s t’mo’e (plum less frequent posts! Right on!) ;)

  9. Ann El Khoury
    28 July, 2007

    Miche, I’m sure its much better than mine and thanks for checking the French.

    Dave, what a hoot Jive is! Wow! Very funny and danks for de link, Man. In addishun t’dis, your name in Russian is Дэйв ванная and in Japanese it is デーブの浴室 (is there a service for ‘strine, mate?) ;)

  10. psparrow
    28 July, 2007

    so how does it read in Arabic grammatically? I can read it, but I cant tell how well the grammar is rendered?

  11. Ann El Khoury
    29 July, 2007

    Phil, the grammar is rendered pretty good according to one of my parents (while I speak Arabic, my writing and reading is below Dr Seuss level!). Some of the words don’t come up correctly; most notably the ‘el’ in my surname, itself transliterated from the Arabic into English, comes up as something else altogether! The first paragraph was 90% in terms of grammar and translation quality, the second paragraph about 70% so some of the meaning was distorted. How did you find it?

    With that caveat, I’m pleased to be able to offer min. 70%+ translation, it really helps make things more accessible to non-Anglophone readers. It also translates any pages you link to while still in the translation frame so if I go to your blog from mine it will translate there too.

  12. Dave Bath
    30 July, 2007

    Stole all your hard work. I’d been swapping in other languages, one at a time, but you’ve inspired me to go the whole hog. Unfortunately, “bath” being a fairly common noun, I’m surprisingly not “Dave Bain” en francais but am “Dave Bad” in German :-(.

    Weird: I thought Italian would be closer to Latin.

  13. Ann El Khoury
    30 July, 2007

    That’s great, go for it. Democratising media is made moreso if its accessible in other tongues methinks. I really like your stylised Random post feature, btw, as well as the fact you’ve got what features each column sidebar contains atop the sidebars — good idea.

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This entry was posted on 26 July, 2007 by in Blogosphere, Gender, Languages, US Foreign Policy, Web Resources.

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"