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Bonjour tout le monde !

Après 2 années d'activité molle, le site web fullfocusfrance.com ferme ses portails. Véritable usine à gaz, sa gestion est devenue trop chronophage pour trop peu d'intérêt.

Néanmoins, pour ne pas tuer tout le travail, j'ai sauvegardé les coordonnées des «loueurs de salles» et les ai transférées sur le présent site :

Paris
France, hors Paris

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Le but des abréviations est de raccourcir des mots, principalement lors de réutilisation fréquente. Dans un document scientifique ou technique, l’étiquette ou la règle veut que l’on définit une abréviation la première fois qu’on l’utilise (TEG : Taux effectif global, etc.). Comme on voit – etc. – pas toutes les abréviations se valent. Certaines sont tellement courantes qu’on peut s’en servir sans spécifier le sens, c.-à-d. SVP, TVA, NB, BP…, d’autres, telles op. cit, f° ou adj., sont plus spécialisées, mais facilement comprises dans leurs domaines habituels. Les cas des acronymes – CAF, OTAN, laser, etc. – est intéressant. Ce que nous voyons ici est le désir très humain de rendre une désignation familière et facile à prononcer. Le monde des essais médicaux en est particulièrement friand, avec des noms allant du basique, ACCORD : Action To Control Cardiovascular Risk In Diabetes, à l’humoristique, BBC ONE : British Bifurcation Coronary Study: Old, New, And Evolving Strategies, jusqu’au franchement barjo : BATMAN : Biodivysio 'Bat'Imastat Sv Stent Versus Balloon Angioplasty For The Reduction Of Restenosis In Small Coronary Arteries. En dehors d’être MMMMM : a major malady of modern medical miscommunication, le but est néanmoins de simplifier et de rendre plus mémorable. L’abréviation est donc une fonction d’économie naturelle. Dans beaucoup voire la majorité de langues, les mots les plus fréquents sont aussi les plus courts : mère, père, eau, pain, caca. Il semble alors que l’essence d’une abréviation « réussie » et d’être à la fois courte et facile à lire et à dire. Un échange récent sur Twitter (avec @Horreurstypo et ‏@sderrot) tournait autour de la « mauvaise » abréviation « 13ième », là où celle-ci devait être « 13e ». @Horreurstypo a parfaitement raison de rappeler la forme correcte, mais si la forme dite « correcte » est en retrait par rapport à la version plus intuitive « 13ème » comme suggère la comparaison suivante sur Google…

7e art
405k
7ème art
502k
7ième art
9.2k
5e république
40.8k
5ème république
68.2k
5ième république
1.5k
3e Reich
39.8k
3ème Reich
46.5k
3ième Reich
8.7k
IIe Guerre
12.8k
IIème Guerre
11.1k
IIième Guerre
1.8k

… peut-être la règle peut-elle être changée ? D’autant plus que a) la version « correcte » du dernier exemple (espérons-nous), IIde Guerre, n’obtient que 232 résultats, et b) 6e, 10e, 12e et 15e veulent aussi dire demi-douzaine, dizaine, douzaine et quinzaine. L’argument « Si personne ne rappelle les règles et recommandations, un usage (fautif) continuera son cours » est certes juste mais en même temps il freine l’évolution naturelle de la langue. L’histoire du français et de son évolution à partir du latin est précisément le non suivi des règles. Et quant on lit que « Seuls les ordinaux indéfinis formés à partir des lettres N et X s'écrivent Nièmes et Xièmes » on se dit, ils inventent… Pour moi, bien qu'elle n’est pas la formulation préférée des Français (loin de là), « 13ième » réunit assez de qualités pour le rendre parfaitement acceptable comme abréviation : il est clair et sans ambiguïté, il reflète la prononciation, il est court. Mais ça c’est mon avis :o)

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Flag_of_Esperanto.pngEsperanto is what’s known as a conlang, or constructed language, invented by L. L. Zamenhof in the 1870s/1880s. Living in a divided community of Russians, Poles, Germans, Old Believers, Catholics, Protestants and Jews, where everyone hated everyone else, Zamenhof believed a common language could bring people together.

In itself, it was a good idea but, as various other conlangs have discovered, it doesn’t really work. Esperanto may boast the greatest number of speakers, about 2,000,000, but in its 125-odd years of existence has only spread to about 0.03% of the world population. Today, it might have a couple of hundred native speakers (poor buggers).

What other qualities does it not bring to the table?:
• Other than the occasional novel or poem, it has nothing written in it. Everything has to be translated
• Based on Western European languages, it is of no help to Asians, Africans…
• Where place names help us understand the Celts or Etruscans, Esperanto has none
• Where probably every driver in the world recognizes “Stop!”, who the hell knows “Ĉesu!”?
• Where 80% of scientific papers are published in English (www.scopus.com), Esperanto has essentially none
• Where 80% of websites are in English, there are at least 19 in Esperanto
• Where the world population has gone from an approximate 1.325 billion in 1875 to some 7.350 billion today (up 550%) and the English-speaking world from about 50 million to 1 billion (up 2000%), it is clear that Esperanto has no future other than that of a tiny group of learners who have failed to understand the concept of sunk cost fallacy…

So, to reiterate what I said in a recent tweet: “Esperanto is a game”. It’s a Lego house compared to a capital city, a stick man compared to Rembrandt. It is useless.

Nice flag though.

 

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Just been reading Robert A. Day’s How to write and publish a scientific paper. Still a good book despite it age, although not to every reviewers’ taste, as one commented: “Day is a writer for the ages–for the ages of four to eight”.

Here’s a passage I loved about a foreign student arriving in the US:

Unfortunately, he had had few opportunities to speak the language. Soon after his arrival in this country, the dean of the school invited a number of the students and faculty to an afternoon tea. Some of the faculty members soon engaged the new foreign student in conversation. One of the first questions asked was “Are you married?” The student said, “Oh, yes, I am most entrancingly married to one of the most exquisite belles of my country, who will soon be arriving here in the United States, ending our temporary bifurcation.” The faculty members exchanged questioning glances, then came the next question: “Do you have children?” The student answered “No.” After some thought, the student decided this answer needed some amplification, so he said, “You see, my wife is inconceivable.” At this, his questioners could not hide their smiles. So the student, realizing he had committed a faux pas, decided to try again. He said, “Perhaps I should have said that my wife is impregnable.” When this comment was greeted with open laughter, the student decided to try one more time: “I guess I should have said my wife is unbearable.”

Funny, but not very helpful. As the saying goes, “don’t laugh at foreigners’ mistakes, especially if you don’t speak a foreign language yourself”. What might be helpful is a social sharing website I recently discovered called lang-8.com (from Heyse Li’s Amazon Kindle book Hack Your Language Learning: The Simple Starter Guide for Beginners on How to Learn and Remember Any Language, which has a couple of good tips in it) which allows people to submit sentences in a given language and have foreign natives correct it.

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image of Neo Espresso podNow I have no particular axe to grind here, but come on...

This brand of coffee pods to fit the Nespresso machines has come up with the wonderfully stupid idea of over-packaging its product in what must be the most imbecilic attempt to convince consumers that it keeps the coffee flavor in... Yes, you tear open the plastic, wasteful and probably hard-to-recycle pouch and out pours a smell of coffee. “You see, it tries to say, if we didn’t do this all the coffee flavor would disappear! Aren’t we clever?!”

If anything, it’s the opposite that happens: if the coffee can be smelled before the pod is inserted into the machine and made, it means you’re getting less flavor going into the coffee drink itself (whether to any significant degree or not is another kettle of fish). Of course, it’s also possible that both the original and the copycat brand have pods that release an odor, but the only one that tells you that the odor once inside the pod is no longer there is the copycat.

English-speakers with poor taste in jokes will understand the title...

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