Wonder about mother tongue vs. fatherland? Ask a terminologist!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/05/31 12:16 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/05/31/8566811.aspx

There are some fascinating aspects of language that cross into the practical needs of software products.

One of them is the field that that the terminologists occupy.

There is even an alias within Microsoft that I used to belong to for terminology issues.

I say "used to" because I realized what I was interested in was conversations about and behind word choices, and the alias had reached a very practical pinnacle which mainly amounted to someone asking What's the word for ________? and having people chime in, usually one per language, giving the word or phrase in their language.

Although this is obviously a practical requirement being fulfilled and although occasionally disagreements about the best term to use when more than one person had different opinions within the same language, on the whole this wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

But the area is still one I find interesting. :-)

Anyway, I was recently pointed to some (externally available) blogs from various language Microsoft terminologists that I thought I'd share:

From the English one, a question about Fatherland vs. Motherland came up that kind of had me wondering about the forces in culture that have me associating where I live with "father" and what I speak with "mother" -- thus the question in the subject of this blog....

Plus someone pointed out a minor Wikipedia error in the comments, which is always fun.

That made me wonder what the word is to describe a Wikipedia error? Wikipederror seems unlikely to catch on, but the dynamic nature of Wikipedia kind of implies of a constant state of motion that usually, hopefully moves into accuracy should have a word for that phenomenon before or between accuracy where something can be not quite right....

This blog brought to you by ߡ (U+07e1, aka NKO LETTER MA)

Anna on 17 Aug 2010 5:51 AM:

It's a pity the Microsoft terminologists' team (Language Excellence) was eliminated during last year's cuts and the blogs are no longer available, some of them were really enjoyable and full of interesting insights.

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