LINGUIST List 10.1691

Sat Nov 6 1999

Qs: Translate Greek/Chinese, Vulgarism, 'As Follow'

Editor for this issue: Lydia Grebenyova <>

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  1. Mark Irwin, Statistical Analysis of Translation/Greek Roots - Chinese Characters
  2. A. Pawlowski, Vulgarisms: Polish/English
  3. lc22, Original Form: "As follows"

Message 1: Statistical Analysis of Translation/Greek Roots - Chinese Characters

Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1999 13:35:39 +0900
From: Mark Irwin <>
Subject: Statistical Analysis of Translation/Greek Roots - Chinese Characters

Statistical Analysis of Translation Between Greek Roots and Chinese

I am currently carrying out some research aimed at providing an improved
pedagogical method for teaching English medical vocabulary to Japanese
learners of English. My question is this:

Given a set of Greek-based medical roots commonly found in medical English
lexical items (= X) and a set of the direct Chinese character equivalents of
these individual roots (= Y), does there exist a statistical method to
measure the 'correctness' of the Chinese character output (Y) against the
'real' translation (= Z) gained from looking up the word in a dictionary?

For example, an English medical word composed of two Greek roots, AAAA-BBBB,
is input into X and the Chinese character output is 1-2. The 'real'
translation (Z) of AAAA-BBBB is, in fact, 1-3. Can a 'correlation of
correctness' between 1-2 and 1-3 be measured in a quantifiably statistical
way, given that the Chinese characters 2 and 3 may be very similar in
meaning or totally unrelated? Again an input CCCC-DDDD outputs the Chinese
characters 4-5, but the Z is in fact 5-4 (correct characters, reverse
order). Or UUUU-VVVV-WWWW-XXXX outputs 6-7-8-9, but the Z is actually
6-7-0-9-8, (i.e. an extra Chinese character and a reversal of the last two
characters). Each of the Ys shown as examples above differ from their
respective Zs in ways that affect the user's ability to grasp from the
output Y what the real translation (Z) may be and it is this I am seeking to
quantify in some way.

Any help would be much appreciated. Please reply off-list.

Mark Irwin
Dept. of Language & Culture, Hokkaido University

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Message 2: Vulgarisms: Polish/English

Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1999 07:04:43 +0100 (MET)
From: A. Pawlowski <>
Subject: Vulgarisms: Polish/English

Dear Subscribers, 

I write on behalf of my colleague who's now preparing her PhD dissertation
on vulgarisms in Polish and English and would like to collect more material
for her comparative study of that aspect of language. She would be really
happy, if some of you could fill her questionnaire:

She promised to post a summary.

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Message 3: Original Form: "As follows"

Date: Sat, 06 Nov 99 09:58 EST
From: lc22 <>
Subject: Original Form: "As follows"

A question was recently raised in our English dept. concerning why, in a
sentence like (1), "as follows" is used rather than "as follow."
(1) The people in attendance were as follows: . . . .
It seems clear enough that "as follows" is at this point simply idiomatic; I
have been able to find no evidence that "as follow" is even a possibility. The
question is, does anyone know, or can anyone suggest, what the (or an)
original full form might have been? Presumably there's a missing empty _it_,
in the phrase, but the question then arises: why is a form that usually
deals with listing of several items frozen in the singular?

Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions, similar examples, would be welcome.
Please reply privately to


Linda Coleman
Department of English
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
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