Actually, I do this about five days a week. I catalog foreign language books for my university library, and my job is to match them with the appropriate records in the OCLC catalog, an online database used by libraries around the world. Today I am mainly working with Japanese and Turkish books that have been donated. I don't speak either language, although I know a little bit of both. For older Japanese and Chinese books, I keep a file of frequently-used characters to help me approximate titles (due to budget constraints I don't have a scanner), and occasionally get to narrow down my choices by entering page numbers or publication years.

You all are about to convince me to ask for a raise.

From: Constructed Languages List [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Gary Shannon [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2014 12:53 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: THEORY: Recognizing languages without really learning them

This would be easier, I think, if you only had to teach how to recognize
them in print. The foreign language section of one of my local used book
stores often has books filed in the wrong language, but it's easy to see
how a few simple rules would go a long way toward separating, say, Spanish
and Portuguese. If it looks like Spanish, but there's a "ã" anywhere in he
text, it's Portuguese.

It would probably be pretty easy to come up with a list of words or letter
sequences that are very common in one particular language but do not occur
in any other language. And of course, you could include "shapes" in that
list for Cyrillic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Burmese, Arabic, etc.

Take a look at


On Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 3:06 AM, Leonardo Castro <[log in to unmask]>

> Hi, everyone!
> If you were offered a one-billion-dollars job to teach 007 how to recognize
> the top 100 most spoken languages with no doubt, but still not having to
> speak all of them, would you accept it? What would be your teaching method?
> Suppose you have six months to accomplish the goal and that 007 is a good
> student with full time available to do whatever you want to learn it during
> those 6 months.
> And what if the 20 most spoken sign languages were included in the list,
> would you still accept that job?
> If you don't have those skills yourself, suppose that they give you an
> additional month before beggining teaching for you to develop them. :-)
> Até mais!
> Leonardo