Language faux-pax of the week goes to American pop princess, Katy Perry. The Vivienne Westwood dress she wore to the American Music Awards has stirred up some controversy due to the Chinese characters printed on the front. The mistake was not in the lettering, as the phrase is spelled correctly, but in the meaning behind it. The characters translate as “Green Economy,” an inoffensive term, some might say. However, this has caused uproar in cyberspace, as it is the slogan of the Chinese Communist Party. Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, made use of the phrase in a speech given in Hawaii last week, in which he pledged that he was committed to developing a green economy in China.
We can wildly speculate on the reasons Perry chose this dress; it may be that she simply didn’t fully understand the connotations behind the slogan; it may be that punk designer Westwood fully did understand it, however neither have given any explanation in a statement. Westwood’s Spring/Summer 2012 Gold collection, which the dress belongs to, includes several Chinese inspired pieces.
This years’ Maori Language Awards ceremony was held on Friday night at the Energy and Events Centre in Rotorua.
27 finalists were shortlisted to compete for awards in 12 categories, including education, government and broadcasting. Each finalist had to incorporate the theme of manaakitanga (hospitality) into their respective entries.
Reo advocate Dr. Te Huirangi Waikerepuru was awarded the Supreme Award, Taku Toa Takimano; the award to recognise an individual’s contribution to the language. Dr. Waikerepuru is renowned for his campaign to ensure the survival of te reo Maori.
Other winners included the Department of Corrections, for helping contribute to the regeneration of the language in the prison system.
A 15 year old has developed an app which reduces text to a maximum of 1000 words, and can even produce a 140 character line ready for use on Twitter. Student Nick D’Aloisio says he got the idea whilst doing some homework, and wading through information which he thought could be better condensed. Australian born D’Alosio moved to London five years ago, and taught himself how to use various computer software, before setting up his own app development company, last year.
The app, Trimit, uses an algorithm that uses the structure of a sentence to class its importance within the text. It pays particular attention to factual information such as dates, places and figures. It will also convert parts of words to numbers, as used when texting, such as “4get” and “in2,” in order to further shorten sentences.
“We are basically trying to parse the English language,” D’Aloisio says, “which is almost impossible.”
Trimit is available free in Itunes App store.