A spat over language erupts at the World Bank

But arguments over an excess of conjunctions may miss the point A WAR of words has flared up at the World Bank. Paul Romer, its new chief economist, has been stripped of control of the research division. An internal memo claimed that the change was to bring the operations department and research arm closer together. But many think that it was because Mr Romer clashed with staff over the Bank’s writing style. He had demanded shorter, better-written reports. In the most recent spat, Mr Romer questioned the excessive use of…

Influence of English is fading, says EU chief Juncker

By Crispian Balmer | FLORENCE, ITALY European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker took a swipe at Britain on Friday, saying he would not give a speech in English because the language was becoming less significant following Brexit. “Slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe,” Juncker told a conference in Florence before switching into French and drawing applause from his audience of EU officials, local leaders and Italian students. Juncker, who hails from Luxembourg, speaks several European languages fluently and regularly uses English at international gatherings. He said he also…

Toxic words and political discourse

By Graham J Noble | Mar 7, 2017 Anyone who spends time on social media platforms or in the comments sections of any media website has learned that if one expects a civil discussion – better stick to sports. The level of animosity between online political foes has reached almost fever-pitch. Even news stories not directly related to political issues have become fertile ground for bashing President Trump or clobbering Democrats, depending on your point of view. This verbal punching has gradually become more and more toxic. It’s no longer…

Sarcasm SIGN: Sarcasm interpretation corpus

We are happy to announce the release of the Sarcasm SIGN corpus: a parallel corpus of sarcastic tweets and their non-sarcastic interpretations, as created by human experts (3000 tweets annotated by their authors with the hashtag #sarcasm, 5 human translations per tweet). The corpus was created as part of the paper: Sarcasm SIGN: Interpreting Sarcasm with Sentiment Based Monolingual Machine Translation, Lotem Peled and Roi Reichart, ACL 2017 (https://arxiv.org/pdf/1704.06836.pdf) The corpus and the project details can be found at: https://github.com/lotemp/SarcasmSIGN Sarcasm SIGN dataset, a parallel corpus of sarcastic tweets and their non-sarcastic…

Unseen Mark Twain fairytale to be published

By Danuta Kean A 16-page note about a fairytale told to Mark Twain’s daughters is to be published this year, on the 150th anniversary of the Huckleberry Finn author’s first book. The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine is based on handwritten notes by Twain of a story told to his young daughters one night in Paris in 1879. In the story, a young boy who can talk to animals recruits some creatures to help him save a kidnapped prince. The long-lost tale has been completed and illustrated by author and illustrator team Philip and…