May 2024


Whatchamacallit 91: Renouncement

This hanger was attached to a window somewhere in Germany – it is dual language with a terrible, almost literal, translation of the German text on the other side:

Liebe Gäste,

Sie verzichten gern auf ungebetene Besucher?

Dann halten Sie bitte dieses Fenster geschlossen!

Vielen Dank


Learning English: I’m OK in OK

A couple of months ago, one of my colleagues told me about a book that he’d read in grade 8 English: I’m OK in OK: The Diary of My Year in Oklahoma.

I decided to read the book.

For those of you familiar with the EU ranking of language skills, the book is rated A2 […]

Note to somebody in my life…

I recently corrected the grammar of somebody who was writing “your welcome” whenever I thanked her for doing something over email. Instead of thanking me for pointing out her error and preventing her from looking like an uneducated idiot to a multitude of others, I’ve been treated poorly.

Maybe this comic will help her […]

Email from a “professional” translating firm…

View from Yerevan

Over the weekend I received a request from a professional translation agency to use one of my photos out of my Flickr stream on their new website.

Unfortunately my initial thought was that the professional translating firm should work on improving their English before they work on their website. I wouldn’t […]

Englisch, Englisch über alles

With living in an international city I’ve become accustomed to the fact that there are multilingual signs everywhere you would expect to find them: the train station (German, English, and French), the airport (German and English), and the Turkish Supermarket (Turkish and German).

However, I’m not offended when something is solely in German – say, […]

Favorite Disclaimer of All Time

I read several blogs that are devoted to issues of public transport which naturally includes discussion of the MTA, the public organization in charge of the New York City subways, buses, and trains.

All of the blogs are making note that on Wednesday, the MTA is going to unveil a new website.

While I’m sure […]

always hard 2 red

I must come out of the closet: I am a spelling and grammar Taliban.

Maybe that’s a bit too dramatic. I’m not perfect and I do take shortcuts along the way.

Ultimately my goal is to communicate ideas—and each as clear as possible.

I’ve ceded some strict middle- and high-school rules. I’m not as insistent […]


In the last few weeks, since my last trip to the UK, my media diet has changed slightly.

It’s become more British. Obviously I’m coloured by my investment in fantastic British television shows on DVD, but also by my listening to Guardian podcasts.

My main new addition is the 30 minute Guardian Daily, a newscast […]


Guess what it says in all the other languages!


I’ve always known that there are differences between US and British English—quaint differences that make the English’s English sound funny to the American Ear, and I’m not just talking about the accent—the accent only serves to make me drool.

Take for example the fact that British people put their groceries in a boot—I don’t know […]