30 Jun 2015
As someone who’s had a passion for language since I was a child, I’ve always enjoyed the nuances of language and how different people use it in different ways. While the subjectivity of language may at times be a source of miscommunication and even frustration in our personal and professional relationships, it’s also reflective of the plurality of expression, the variances in thought patterns, and the differences between cultures.
Welcome to the very first Language Ninja column of the summer! Let’s pour ourselves a frozen peach iced tea, relax by the pool, and start tacklin’ some rules of grammar and syntax!
Q: Is “close proximity” redundant?
16 Jun 2015
It may be a familiar trope in crime stories, but having a dead body in the trunk is a lousy selling point for an automobile. When Ford launched its ad campaign in Belgium, they wanted buyers to appreciate their excellent manufacturing and came up with the slogan “Every car has a high-quality body.” However translated into Dutch, one of Belgium’s three official languages, the ad became “Every car has a high-quality corpse,” which was less than persuasive. Thanks to a translation error, Ford’s new model sounded as if it was an accessory to a crime rather than something you’d willingly drive off the lot.
Q: What do landing the perfect job, finding your ideal mate, and winning friends all have in common?
A: They all require you to know how to market yourself.
Yes, it’s the reason people sweat interviews (and first dates), spend hours drafting cover letters, and even pay others to assemble their résumés — we don’t always know the best way to sell ourselves. Marketing yourself is an essential skill to get where you want to go, but the process is often easier said than done.
02 Jun 2015
If you are someone who enjoys writing, you probably take pride in using your skill and knowledge of the language to craft a message that communicates exactly the intended point. The raw materials at your disposal—words—are not unlike those of a sculptor; some are easier to work with than others. So when you can master the harder materials—more obscure words—you might feel a special satisfaction.