What to make of a migrant who doesn’t learn her new country’s language properly?

by Rashmee

Posted on June 25, 2018


Here’s a woman who came into a western country, worked, got naturalized, married, bore a child, and 22 years later, still speaks halting English, with a strong foreign accent. What’s her name? Magda? Maha? Mina? Mehbooba? Marium? Madeeha? Mallika? Actually, it’s Melania. Mrs Trump. The US First Lady. Had a Magda, Maha, Mina, Mehbooba, Marium … Continue reading “What to make of a migrant who doesn’t learn her new country’s language properly?”

Read More

Junior Trumps’ divorce statement shows how language is mangled but does the job

by Rashmee

Posted on March 26, 2018


  Note the words Donald Trump Jr, the US president’s oldest son, and his wife Vanessa used in their joint statement as they filed for divorce: “After 12 years of marriage, we have decided to go our separate ways. We will always have tremendous respect for each other and our families. We have five beautiful … Continue reading “Junior Trumps’ divorce statement shows how language is mangled but does the job”

Read More

Is the Japanese concept of Komorebi (see pic) really culturally untranslatable?

by Rashmee

Posted on February 24, 2018


Someone posted a blog that listed “11 beautiful Japanese words that don’t exist in English’, which made me think of all the culturally untranslatable concepts we carry around to the eternal bewilderment of other people. (In English, that should include gobbledygook, trade-off and spam.) The 11 “untranslatable” Japanese words that Marie Sugio listed included some … Continue reading “Is the Japanese concept of Komorebi (see pic) really culturally untranslatable?”

Read More

Dictionaries have never been so political and this may be unsatisfactory (adj)

by Rashmee

Posted on December 31, 2017


Just consider the way dictionary-publishers ended 2017 and rang in the year. Merriam-Webster, the American publisher, declared that its word of the year was “feminism”. This, in recognition of the January 21, 2017 Women’s March, as well as the #MeToo movement denouncing sexual harassment. Nothing too wrong with that one might think. After all, the Women’s … Continue reading “Dictionaries have never been so political and this may be unsatisfactory (adj)”

Read More

Donald Trump has changed the way we speak and that is, to coin a presidential phrase, sad

by Rashmee

Posted on July 18, 2017


It is a sign of the times that a potential columnist pitches an idea to an editor as follows: “…this is to coin a presidential phrase, sad.” Yup, folks. Donald Trump has changed the way we speak and write. Both personally and professionally. And linguistic purists don’t like it just as much as those who … Continue reading “Donald Trump has changed the way we speak and that is, to coin a presidential phrase, sad”

Read More

Shouldn’t it be Islamodiumic rather than Islamophobia?

by Rashmee

Posted on July 15, 2017


Type the word “Islamophobia” into an internet search engine and Mr Google comes up with 5,480,000 results in a mere 0.44 seconds. The results include searching questions such as ‘Islamophobia: The New Anti-Semitism?’ and declarative headlines such as ‘It’s not just Fox News: Islamophobia on cable news is out of control’. Without going into the … Continue reading “Shouldn’t it be Islamodiumic rather than Islamophobia?”

Read More

It’s a shame for Modi to be dismissed as a paper tiger in the same week as Trump

by Rashmee

Posted on June 30, 2017


The coincidence was remarkable. US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on Monday (June 26) in a week that has seen both men described as paper tigers. The dismissive phrase was applied to Mr Trump by a senior member of his Republican party. The president and his political operation, said the … Continue reading “It’s a shame for Modi to be dismissed as a paper tiger in the same week as Trump”

Read More

After Paris withdrawal, covfefe is explained. It is the confusion in Trump’s mind

by Rashmee

Posted on June 2, 2017


On Wednesday, just hours before Donald Trump announced his decision on the Paris Climate Change Agreement, I stood outside the White House with a 20-strong crowd of red #MAGA-cap wearing young Americans. And I thought of “covfefe”, the secret language of Trumpism, and a “small group” of people who are said to understand the 45th … Continue reading “After Paris withdrawal, covfefe is explained. It is the confusion in Trump’s mind”

Read More

The art of labelling: What is politics that’s not quite left and not quite right? ‘Light’

by Rashmee

Posted on May 24, 2017


What on earth do you call a far-right politician who speaks for working-class concerns? Would that be “light”, a portmanteau of left and right? Someone who’s not quite left and not quite right might be “light”, n’est-ce pas? Or how about this handy list of likely terminology from Justin Fox @foxjust of Bloomberg View. Click … Continue reading “The art of labelling: What is politics that’s not quite left and not quite right? ‘Light’”

Read More

Part II – What’s got a jazzy label and is confusing? The new politics of our age

by Rashmee

Posted on May 23, 2017


Here’s the second lot of new political labels, properly parsed. (Click here for Part I on the first five labels.) ** Losers vs Winners Those who don’t think globalisation is good for them and those who do. That said, most of the people who want to pull up the drawbridge (leave trade blocs and shut off … Continue reading “Part II – What’s got a jazzy label and is confusing? The new politics of our age”

Read More

Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, UK and US