Author Topic: [rant]why do english/chinese companies don't give a damn about other languages..  (Read 17305 times)

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Offline GlennSprigg

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Just for fun, Cerebus, the longest current 'word' in German is...
"Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft", meaning...
"Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services"
Clear as mud!!   :-+
 

Offline Tepe

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Just for fun, Cerebus, the longest current 'word' in German is...
"Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft", meaning...
"Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services"
Clear as mud!!   :-+

German does not stand alone:

"speciallægepraksisplanlægningsstabiliseringsperiode"


Og Skorsteensfeiren talte fornuftig for hende, talte om gamle Chineser og om Gjedebukkebeens-Overogundergeneralkrigscommandeersergeanten, men hun hulkede saa gruelig, og kyssede sin lille Skorsteensfeier, saa han kunde ikke andet end føie hende, skjøndt det var galt.
    -- Hans Christian Andersen, 1845
« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 09:20:14 pm by Tepe »
ceterum censeo systemd-inem esse delendam
 

Offline tooki

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Well you took your time to turn up, I was expecting you days, perhaps weeks ago.
But honey child, I did show up long ago! My first reply in this thread was from 2016!  ;D

I reeeeeaaaallllllly hope you’re being sarcastic there, because linguistically speaking, British claims of Americans not speaking English are complete and utter nonsense, both from a modern linguistic perspective and a historical perspective. (British English diverged from our common ancestral English more than American English has. And nearly every characteristic of American English that the British love to criticize is, in fact, found in various dialects of British, Scottish, and Irish English.)

Well, what do you think? Look at what I'm commenting on.
But I have an only minimally functional sarcasm detector. Hence the disclaimer!

As to the rest, well. Poor old Tooki gets his knickers in a twist every time this comes up.
And with good reason, since some snooty Brits just can't let it go.


But he is a linguist, well that's what he calls it.
Of course that's what I call it, because that's what it's called!


Of course most of us when we hear 'linguist'  think "somebody who studies languages" which seems reasonable.
Most people, frankly, have ZERO clue what linguists do. They mostly think it means "learning a language", which is absolutely incorrect.


Until you get into things like this whole pronunciation shifts and so on. Then you realise that what's meant is theoretical linguist because that's all they have, a theory.
Theoretical linguistics is actually a distinct subfield having nothing to do with what you are talking about.

Like any reconstructive science, historical linguistics has to propose hypotheses and theories.(Remember, in the sciences, a "theory" does NOT mean what "theory" means in everyday usage.) But like any real science, it's not pulled out of thin air. There are rigorous methods used to attempt to reverse-engineer older versions of a language. And of course, the farther back you go, the larger the margin of error becomes. No controversy there.

Play me a sound recording of someone speaking Chaucerian English or Elizabethan English and you might have some actual evidence.

But it's all based on written works from a time where two equally well educated men couldn't agree on the same spelling of the same word.
Yep, which is why it's no easy task.

I didn't get a chance to delve into historical linguistics as much as I'd have liked, so to be honest, I don't actually know how they do it exactly.


Oh look, I can see steam coming out of his ears!
It's not steam, and those aren't my ears! :P


I am, of course, ragging you, but there is some merit in pointing out that this is not hard, objective, science
Nobody ever said it was. My point wasn't a claim of absolutism in linguistics, but rather that the common British arrogance about English, is absolutist, while being based on nothing but national pride and disdain for the US, not evidence.


but very much a 'soft science' (or 'zaft science' and they would say in the Black Country dialect) and the evidential basis is not one that would make the average empirical scientist particularly happy - I think a hard scientist would be talking "hypothesis" not "fact". Just to take a single instance, where is the cut-off between a dialect and a different language?
"A language is a dialect with an army and navy.;D

Is this well defined, or is it a matter of opinion?
Yes. ;)

Actually, it's a matter up to significant debate, because it's so sociopolitical, too. (For example, how Serbo-Croatian was split into Serbian and Croatian following the Balkan conflict.)

But it's also something where it's categorically impossible to create a single definition. One of the most common criteria is mutual intelligibility: if fluent speakers of one dialect are able to readily communicate with fluent speakers of another, then they're likely just dialects of the same language. If they can't (even just being able to communicate, but with difficulty), then they're likely to be considered distinct languages. But it gets muddied by dialects of different languages which, in turn, are similar to each other. (For example, while standard German and Swiss German are only mutually intelligible with difficulty if one has no exposure to the other — it typically takes a German immigrant about 3 months to become proficient at just understanding Swiss German — the dialect of (standard) German spoken in Baden-Württemberg is much, much closer to Swiss German, such that they have a much higher degree of intelligibility.) This is why linguists also group languages and dialects into families.

Nonetheless, there are various criteria used in linguistics to try and answer this question. The aforementioned mutual intelligibility is probably the biggest one. But this is something where the line is broad and very blurry.

(As an interesting side note, referring back to a very old reply of yours in this thread where you mention Indian English, IMHO, Indian English is almost straddling the line at times, insofar as it is sometimes no longer readily mutually intelligible by native speakers of other dialects of English, especially when spoken. Then again, I suppose one could make the same argument about the most extreme dialects in the UK and US!!!)


If the former it's a science, if the latter then best probably move the linguistics school offices over to the faculty of social science.
Hah, linguistics is usually such an underfunded, misunderstood discipline that it's often a miracle they have offices at all! Usually they're housed within the language department (as in, lumped together with language instruction). At my university, I think there were a grand total of a dozen linguistics majors, versus several dozen students per language of numerous languages.

(I actually only minored in linguistics, because though I had about 90% of the classes needed for the linguistics major, the remaining classes were offered so infrequently that taking them would have delayed my graduation by 1 year at minimum, possibly longer. So I settled for having it as a minor alongside my IT major.)


(I'm ragging him again aren't I? Sorry, it's the absence of sociologists to bait - there are some things I really miss about being at university.)
It's sorta somewhere in between. There are areas of linguistics that are much "softer" than others. Ultimately, since language intersects with all areas of the human experience, including the hardest of hard sciences and the softest of phoney-baloney soft "sciences", linguistics has areas covering everything.

I'll admit to the guilty pleasure of hating on social sciences. Like… I'm gay, but holy baloney, don't get me started on "queer studies" and its ilk. Those departments should just be honest and rename themselves "colleges of professional victimhood". :::ducks:::


My only genuine grievance in all this is exemplified by the following:

(British English diverged from our common ancestral English more than American English has. And nearly every characteristic of American English that the British love to criticize is, in fact, found in various dialects of British, Scottish, and Irish English.)

Only an American would qualify British English to describe the English spoken in modern Britain. (Yes, I realise that I've picked on the one place where the qualification is justified for clarity, but it's a convenient place to hang my argument.)
Well, it really is in no way arrogant or uniquely American to refer to British English as British English when referring to a specific dialect to the exclusion of the others. That is how language teachers, scholars, etc. refer to the dialect of English spoken in Britain. (This is not controversial.) "English" refers to all dialects, and a demonym prefix specifies a specific dialect. So if you ask me "what language is spoken in England", the answer is simply "English". But if we need to distinguish it from, say, American English or Australian English, then we add the specifier.

What is arrogant is for Brits to insist that only their dialect may be called "English", and that all the others must be prefixed. The fact that we can understand each other with perfect clarity is proof that we speak (well, in this case, write) the same exact language.


(Food for thought: some people, both American and British, refer to American English as simply "American" (without the "English"). Now, factually this is wrong, since clearly it is a dialect of English, but whatever. The puzzle is this: some think it's arrogant for Americans to call their language "English". But at the same time, Americans also get ragged on — almost exclusively by people who are not from the Americas, both North and South (and Central) — for having the demonym "American", since Canadians, Mexicans, and South Americans are also from the Americas. So it's arrogant for Americans to not call their language "American", but also arrogant for them to call themselves "American". :P (Some languages refer to Americans by names that translate to "United Statesian", but this also collides with Mexico, which is officially the United Mexican States!) )


He wouldn't qualify any language other than English in that way but leave the variant unqualified (e.g. Use "French" for the variant spoken in Algeria and "Frankish French" for the version spoken in France).
Balderdash!

"French" is the name of the language spoken in all French-speaking countries. If I need to refer to one specifically, then I prefix it.

I speak Spanish, too. Specifically, I speak Latin American Spanish (Guatemalan, specifically). Linguists routinely refer to the kind spoken in Spain as Iberian Spanish or European Spanish, and "Spanish" unqualified to mean all dialects of it.


Even though they hate to admit it, most Americans take a proprietorial attitude to the English language that, if any one has the right to take, it is the English themselves.
Except you don't actually have the right to "take" it. English is the native language of hundreds of millions of people outside of England, far outnumbering you. There is absolutely no question that English originated in England, but since it is the native language of people outside, you can no longer claim it as exclusively yours, not even just the name — but nor does any other country!


This is exemplified by language choices in American written software where "English" (meaning the North American version) and "British English" are offered as choices. That is what gets us British riled and thus deriding 'merkin English in retaliation. I am English, and as such claim the same right as the Irish and Welsh are granted, to call my own language after the name of my people.
The prior reply notwithstanding, I agree with you for the most part. If a program's user interface offers both British and American dialects, then the American one should be "American English" and the British one "British English". (Or, as is most common these days in software, "English (US)" and "English (UK)".)

But that's mostly in the past now, as it's become more common to have hierarchies of languages, e.g. "English" as the overall language, and within it, the various dialects. (For example, in Apple and Microsoft products, "English" is the main language, and all the dialects exist, too. Moreover, the software understands the relationship, so if you set "English (US)" as your preferred language, it will use that if available, but will use a generic "English" if not.)

What I would not agree is that if a program is written in (American) English, and offers only one dialect of English, that it must be called "American English". If only one dialect of English user interface is provided, then calling it "English" is absolutely fine, regardless of which dialect it uses.

On the other hand, when it comes to the names of spell check dictionaries, I'm entirely in favor of being explicit about which dialect is intended, since this is the largest area of difference between the dialects, and one where it is typically mandatory to use one or the other consistently.



To bring this full circle, the only thing that really genuinely annoys me, as opposed to merely irking me, is the sheer arrogance of a certain type of Norteamericano towards languages other than their own Inglés norteamericano exemplified by the original message that sparked the whole sub-thread off.
I'm not even sure which message that is at this point! :P

Oh, and for the record, no normal person in England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales calls a kitchen tap a "faucet", curtains "drapes", the boot of a car "the trunk", nor says "gotten".
That's OK, nobody's perfect! :P

Actually, what's weird to me is that the British think we don't use words that we do, in fact, use. Some are true (like the boot of a car), but sooooo many of the words the British believe Americans don't use, we actually do use as well! Tap vs. faucet vs. spigot is a largely regional thing in USA, but anyone will understand both. (And we universally say "tap water" — the terms "faucet water" and "spigot water" don't exist). We mostly call curtains curtains, and we are happy to refer to the season following summer as either "fall" or "autumn" interchangeably. In other words, just because the UK uses only one word for something doesn't necessarily mean that the US only uses the other word.

Faucet vs. tap reminds me of a contrived tale I tell to illustrate the hardcore Baltimore accent: Suppose you were in an accident. The ambalanz picked you up and took you to the hospital. So she goes to the florist and picks up a bowkay of flahers with money she took out of her pockeybook. When she gets to your room, she takes the flahers and puts them in a vase, then goes to the zink and fills it up with wooder. While visiting, you agree that once you're well again, you'll pack up the car and drive downy ayshin to enjoy the beach.

(Translation: Suppose you were in an accident. The ambulance picked you up and took you to the hospital. So she goes to the florist and picks up a bouquet of flowers with money she took out of her purse. When she gets to your room, she takes the flowers and puts them in a vase, then goes to the sink and fills it up with water. While visiting, you agree that once you're well again, you'll pack up the car and drive [down] to [the] ocean to enjoy the beach.)

Also:   :-DD

Yes, much of American English does seem to be much closer to Elizabethan era English than modern English. That doesn't lend it any more or less authenticity.
Of course. It's just a very real response to the common, but totally incorrect, belief that contemporary British English is somehow more authentic to the "original" English and that American English is a corruption of (modern) British English. American English is, frankly, a very obvious mix of all the different Englishes that it evolved from, with the later arrival of Irish English having a significant influence on modern pronunciation, but with Scottish and Welsh English also coming into play in addition to old British English. Meanwhile, British English actually evolved away from the common ancestor English more than American English did. So none of them are "authentic", since they all evolved since the point of separation.
 

Offline tooki

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Just for fun, Cerebus, the longest current 'word' in German is...
"Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft", meaning...
"Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services"
Clear as mud!!   :-+
Well, that's one of many contrived fake long German words. ;)

The current longest word in actual use is Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften, meaning "prepaid legal insurance companies", and the longest dictionary entry is the somewhat shorter Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung (motor vehicle liability insurance).

One former longest real word was part of the name of a since-rescinded law, the Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, meaning the "beef labeling supervision duties delegation law", itself merely a single word of the short form (!) title, the Rinderkennzeichnungs- und Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, meaning "cattle marking and beef labeling supervision duties delegation law". The long-form title was Gesetz zur Übertragung der Aufgaben für die Überwachung der Rinderkennzeichnung und Rindfleischetikettierung ("law on delegation of duties for supervision of cattle marking and beef labeling"). It is not lost on me that the "short" form is only about 10% shorter than the long form! But the initialism just rolls off the tongue: RkReÜAÜG

And people say the Germans don't have a way with words! :P
« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 10:33:01 pm by tooki »
 

Offline tooki

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Also:


 ;D
 

Online Cerebus

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I'm not even sure which message that is at this point! :P

The fellow who thought the whole world ought to be made to speak English for the benefit of lazy Americans.

So she goes to the florist and picks up a bowkay of flahers with money she took out of her pockeybook.

So wot's wrong wiv dat? Dat's aah ya say 'bowkay' and 'flahers', only aah reckon ere's anuver aay in flaahrs. I fort you was a Linguist, but it saands like ya ain't got a clue wot proper English saands like, and by 'at nacherly aah means Lunun English a caus. Aah naa 'at ere's em oo'll claim that air's uvver sorts ov English, but they ayn't propa if ya gets me drift. U av naa idea ow 'ard it is to write like wot aah talks like.

Bloody 'ell, I'm naa officially exausted! Sod is fa a game ov soljers.

Or "Sod this for a game of soldiers". It's struck me more than once that if you could pull just the layer of generic American accent off the top of a Baltimore accent you'd get something very like the London accent. A lot of the words whose pronunciation appears to seem atypical to an American would seem normal to a gor-blimey Londoner like me, like flaahrs, pretty flaahrs.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Online Cerebus

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 ;D

After watching that I can say that the English and German are completely comprehensible, the lass from Zurich marginally comprehensible, the lad from Valais completely incomprehensible except when he basically spoke French. Oh, well at least the Valais have the best sheep in the world:

Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
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Offline blueskull

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Just for fun, Cerebus, the longest current 'word' in German is...
"Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft", meaning...
"Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services"
Clear as mud!!   :-+

Be glad. Chinese, Japanese and Korean don't have white spaces at all. You have to delimit words after knowing their meanings.
 

Offline tooki

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I'm not even sure which message that is at this point! :P

The fellow who thought the whole world ought to be made to speak English for the benefit of lazy Americans.
Oh, that. That post was so dumb I didn't deign to respond.

With that said, it must be acknowledged that Americans and Brits are equally, um, "revered" around the world for being the boorish tourists who authoritatively expect everyone in every country to speak English.


So wot's wrong wiv dat? Dat's aah ya say 'bowkay' and 'flahers', only aah reckon ere's anuver aay in flaahrs. I fort you was a Linguist, but it saands like ya ain't got a clue wot proper English saands like, and by 'at nacherly aah means Lunun English a caus. Aah naa 'at ere's em oo'll claim that air's uvver sorts ov English, but they ayn't propa if ya gets me drift. U av naa idea ow 'ard it is to write like wot aah talks like.
Oh, believe me, I do!!!

Wanna see something impressive? Read Stephen King's book "Dolores Claiborne". Yes, the movie is great, because Kathy Bates makes anything great. (And the movie is extremely faithful to the book.) If you've seen the film, you might recall that it's actually Dolores recounting the story. No biggie as such. What's insane is that the book also follows that format, and the entire book is written in the Maine accent!!  :o I remember that when I first read it, it took me about 30 pages to actually figure out the accent, upon which I started the book from the beginning again to make sure I picked up all the details I missed the first time around.

So yeah. An entire book written like that. And it's a King book, so not exactly a low page count.

Almost as impressive as the dude who wrote a book (in English) that doesn't use a single letter "e".


Bloody 'ell, I'm naa officially exausted! Sod is fa a game ov soljers.

Or "Sod this for a game of soldiers". It's struck me more than once that if you could pull just the layer of generic American accent off the top of a Baltimore accent you'd get something very like the London accent. A lot of the words whose pronunciation appears to seem atypical to an American would seem normal to a gor-blimey Londoner like me, like flaahrs, pretty flaahrs.
:P

FYI, though, I don't think "flahers" is pronounced the same in London and Baltimore, the latter pronunciation actually steps on the toes of the word "flares"!
 

Online Cerebus

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Wanna see something impressive? Read Stephen King's book "Dolores Claiborne". Yes, the movie is great, because Kathy Bates makes anything great. (And the movie is extremely faithful to the book.) If you've seen the film, you might recall that it's actually Dolores recounting the story. No biggie as such. What's insane is that the book also follows that format, and the entire book is written in the Maine accent!!  :o I remember that when I first read it, it took me about 30 pages to actually figure out the accent, upon which I started the book from the beginning again to make sure I picked up all the details I missed the first time around.

I'll pass. Reading stuff written like that gives me as much of a headache as trying to write it. The only exception was the Nadsat in Clockwork Orange, which was so well done that I could just pick up the language as I went along. For all the other writers I've encountered trying to do it I'd rather have a tolchock in the yarbles that have to get through a whole 200+ pages of the stuff.

Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline tooki

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Wanna see something impressive? Read Stephen King's book "Dolores Claiborne". Yes, the movie is great, because Kathy Bates makes anything great. (And the movie is extremely faithful to the book.) If you've seen the film, you might recall that it's actually Dolores recounting the story. No biggie as such. What's insane is that the book also follows that format, and the entire book is written in the Maine accent!!  :o I remember that when I first read it, it took me about 30 pages to actually figure out the accent, upon which I started the book from the beginning again to make sure I picked up all the details I missed the first time around.

I'll pass. Reading stuff written like that gives me as much of a headache as trying to write it. The only exception was the Nadsat in Clockwork Orange, which was so well done that I could just pick up the language as I went along. For all the other writers I've encountered trying to do it I'd rather have a tolchock in the yarbles that have to get through a whole 200+ pages of the stuff.
200pp? Come on. The current paperback edition is 336 pages, so it's just a short story, really!  ;D

(As a teen, I read most of King's novels to that point, most of which were 600-1000 page paperbacks!)
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Be glad. Chinese, Japanese and Korean don't have white spaces at all. You have to delimit words after knowing their meanings.

TheearlyRomanscriptdidnthavespacesoranykindofpunctuation. Later·they·developed·these·dots·to·separate·the·words, then finally dropped them altogether leaving the spaces we know today.
 
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Offline TheHolyHorse

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Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Uh. Do you find any other language disgusting (  :-// ), or do you just find the translations themselves usually so poor that they are disgusting?

It's not that the translation it self is bad, it's just that the swedish language just doesn't work well with certain subjects. Like talking about computers, programming, cars, electronics etc most technical things, the translations are just bad and you can't do much about it.

So because computers, programming, cars and electronics are all things I spend my free time on and thus read, write and talk alot about over the internet and IRL. That's why I really don't want websites translated, if it's written in English it should stay in English.

Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Yes you are. Websites should be on the local language. It would be VERY boring if everything was in english.

They should be in whatever language they were initially written in with options to translate it to whatever language someone would want to.
 

Offline Gromitt

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Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Uh. Do you find any other language disgusting (  :-// ), or do you just find the translations themselves usually so poor that they are disgusting?

It's not that the translation it self is bad, it's just that the swedish language just doesn't work well with certain subjects. Like talking about computers, programming, cars, electronics etc most technical things, the translations are just bad and you can't do much about it.

So because computers, programming, cars and electronics are all things I spend my free time on and thus read, write and talk alot about over the internet and IRL. That's why I really don't want websites translated, if it's written in English it should stay in English.

Swedish works very well in those areas, It is just that some people automatically assume this regarding Swedish. English has polluted the minds of many in Sweden, just hear how many pronounce the word 'Euro' wrong.
 
 

Offline tooki

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Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Uh. Do you find any other language disgusting (  :-// ), or do you just find the translations themselves usually so poor that they are disgusting?

It's not that the translation it self is bad, it's just that the swedish language just doesn't work well with certain subjects. Like talking about computers, programming, cars, electronics etc most technical things, the translations are just bad and you can't do much about it.

So because computers, programming, cars and electronics are all things I spend my free time on and thus read, write and talk alot about over the internet and IRL. That's why I really don't want websites translated, if it's written in English it should stay in English.

Swedish works very well in those areas, It is just that some people automatically assume this regarding Swedish. English has polluted the minds of many in Sweden, just hear how many pronounce the word 'Euro' wrong.
What is the correct Swedish pronunciation? The pronunciations I'm familiar with are English ("your oh"), Spanish/Italian/etc ("eh oo ro"), French ("er oh"), and German ("oy ro").
 

Offline Gromitt

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Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Uh. Do you find any other language disgusting (  :-// ), or do you just find the translations themselves usually so poor that they are disgusting?

It's not that the translation it self is bad, it's just that the swedish language just doesn't work well with certain subjects. Like talking about computers, programming, cars, electronics etc most technical things, the translations are just bad and you can't do much about it.

So because computers, programming, cars and electronics are all things I spend my free time on and thus read, write and talk alot about over the internet and IRL. That's why I really don't want websites translated, if it's written in English it should stay in English.

Swedish works very well in those areas, It is just that some people automatically assume this regarding Swedish. English has polluted the minds of many in Sweden, just hear how many pronounce the word 'Euro' wrong.
What is the correct Swedish pronunciation? The pronunciations I'm familiar with are English ("your oh"), Spanish/Italian/etc ("eh oo ro"), French ("er oh"), and German ("oy ro").

The correct Swedish pronunciation is something like "eh uh ro" or "eh v ro" (both are correct) but people often pronounce it like in English.
 
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