Oct 28th 2013

Halloween Words

Trick or Treat – Halloween’s Just Around the Corner

For those of you who didn’t know, Halloween is just a few days away! Halloween is a particularly interesting holiday with activities that call for costume parties, trick-or-treating and jack-o’-lanterns. Say what? Yes, that’s right there are special words connected to this holiday that need some explanation for those of you who didn’t grow up with this tradition.

Halloween – This word is at least 250 years old, and is derived from a Scottish term, All Hallows’ Eve  which means “the evening before All Hallows’ Day”. All Hallows’ Eve took place the night after All Hallows’ Day. So how was such a long collection of words cut down to just one?  In the Scottish language, the word for “eve” is “even”. Over the years, even was contracted to een. So it’s not so hard to see how All was dropped as well as the letter “s” creating the new word Halloween.

Summary: Halloween means the evening before All Hallows Day.

Trick-or-Treating – This custom has children dressed up in costumes going from house to house to ask for candy. In most cases, the simple question “Trick or treat?” will be awarded with a handful of sweet goodies. Now you’re probably asking yourself how such a silly phrase has become perhaps the most highly anticipated question for kids all over the world… Basically it’s a (hopefully idle) threat implying that if there are no treats, some sort of mischief happen.

Summary: Trick or Treat means give me some candy or I’ll play a trick on you!

Jack-O-Lantern – A Jack-O-Lantern is a form of decoration used on Halloween. It is often placed on the steps leading to a door or outside on a porch. A Jack-O-Lantern is made by carving a face onto the surface of a pumpkin (or turnip or beet in some places). The insides of the pumpkin are usually scooped out and some sort of a light (usually a candle or electric light) is placed inside to create a flickering light effect at night.

Summary: If you see a scary face flickering light towards you on Halloween, don’t panic it’s probably just a Jack-O-Lantern.

Make sure your writing is perfect with Ginger Software.

2 Comments

Oct 17th 2013

Why you need good English to make it as a journalist

Are you thinking of becoming a journalist? One of the most indispensable tools for journalists is knowledge of other languages so you can access all sorts of information from around the world.

However, in today’s world, the international language is English and most prominent journalists have at least some knowledge of English. If you want to distinguish yourself from the pack then you should make an effort to learn English. Let’s take a closer look at why English is an essential tool for any journalist.

English: The International Language

Languages connect people, and English will connect you to a wealth of information, whether it’s news, entertainment, and politics in the English-speaking world. Major organizations like the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund also publish works in English. Being able to access and understand these forces at play in our world will allow you to add depth and richness to your stories.

Furthermore, if you want to travel and produce work in the English-speaking world then you will absolutely need to speak English. Not only will you need to be able to understand your sources, but you will also need to make contacts and get around.

Ways to Learn English

Aside from taking a class, there are many ways you can learn and practice English. One way is to arrange to spend a few months in an English-speaking country taking a class and immersing yourself in English. Another way is to download apps for android mobile phones (where you are most likely to find a greater variety than those made for the iPhone) so you can access vocabulary and grammar lessons. There are also apps out there to help you with grammar check, proofreading and spell check.

Nevertheless, learning English will give you a definite edge in your journalism career. Even just a working knowledge will set you ahead of the pack!

Helene Leroux is an aspiring journalist from Paris, France.

Leave a comment

Oct 10th 2013

The Case for Learning English

 

English is without a doubt, the international language of the 21st century. Originally spread throughout the world by British colonialism, the rise of English was solidified with America’s ascension as the world’s predominant superpower.

There are many other examples of  nation states whose rise on the global stage spearhead the introduction of their language as an international standard (French, Latin, Greek to name just a few). However the use of these languages quickly rose, and then fell, as fast changing world politics upended the status of the nation which introduced the latest “Lingua Franca”.

The reason that English is here to stay is that it is the language of the internet – the first text to go online was in English and to this day the overwhelming majority of website domains, email addresses and content is in English.  The internet is perhaps the single greatest catalyst of change in the last 100 years, transforming the world in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine . And it’s all happening in English.

Considering the above, it’s no wonder that English is the most widely learned language in the world. International success in almost every sphere is hinged foremost on one’s ability to write, and speak, well in English. While not necessarily a requirement, the ability to write and speak at the level of a native provides a huge advantage over those who learned English as a second language.

With Ginger’s suite of language enhancement products, even non-native speakers of English can easily create well-written English text. Learn more on our website.

Leave a comment

Sep 29th 2013

Sentence Rephraser for Android Mobile Devices Now Available

As you may or may not know, we released Ginger Sentence Rephraser for Android mobile devices recently. The news was widely distributed in the media, some of the more prominent pickups included:

GigaOm
TechCrunch
CNN Money

The big splash this new tool made is no small feat. It really changes the way you can use your Android to type. Sentence Rephraser analyzes text sentence by sentence to identify more linguistically stylized, enhanced ways of getting the original message across. Enhancement here means that Sentence Rephraser adds synonyms, idioms and missing words to enrich the text, therby adding more depth to the original message and optimizing communication. Sentence Rephraser leverages Ginger’s NLP platform, which is based on a corpus of more than 1.5 trillion sentences from the web, to identify phrases that have similar context to that of the user’s original text. It then presents the most prevalent phrases to the user as options for rewriting the text.

Obviously non-native English speakers will love the ability to write like a native, using local idioms and phrases. But we are confident that even native English speakers who want to quickly write their messages using abbreviations will find value with a tool that transforms “plz” to “please” with a tap on the keyboard.

Download Ginger Keyboard (free) from Google Play store.

Read the PR here.

Leave a comment

Sep 22nd 2013

The Importance of the Cover Letter

Getting the job of your dreams requires that you have the right education, the right experience and the right recommendations. All of this critical information needs to be neatly presented in your CV so that recruiters can quickly understand that you are potentially their dream candidate and call you in for an interview. However, there are many candidates with education, experience and CVs that are similar to yours, so you have to stand out! Your best chance to show off your advantages over the competition is your cover letter.

What is a Cover Letter?

Cover letters are freehand text documents that are sent to potential employers along with a job seeker’s resume. Cover letters for resumes are in essence, essays about yourself and your career.  Good cover letters sample the candidate’s specific skills and experience as they relate to a desired position. In fact, serious job seekers rewrite their cover letter to suit each particular job they are applying for. One good practice is to create a cover letter template which can be tweaked to suit different jobs.

Cover Letter Rules to Remember

  1. Always make sure your cover letter addresses the requirements detailed in the job posting.
  2. Always remember to thank your readers for their time and to provide your email address and phone number. 
  3. Never send out your cover letter without first checking it for spelling and grammar errors with Ginger’s Grammar Checker. You can also use the Sentence Rephraser to find more professional, sophisticated ways to write your text.
 Sample Cover Letter

A good cover letter starts by greeting the hiring manager.

The next step is writing the body of the cover letter. In the body you should try to immediately associate yourself with the desired position by stating who you are, what you do an what job you’re applying for. The rest of the cover letter body should tailor your qualifications and experience to the requirements listed in the job posting. A short message about why you are personally drawn to the company or company industry would also be appropriate here.

In the last paragraph of the cover letter you should discuss the next steps.

Cover Letter Examples

Cover letter examples can be found all over the internet. One good source is About.com.

1 Comment