Web Awards 2015, we've been nominated

Web Awards 2015, We’ve Been Nominated!

Web Awards 2015, we've been nominated

The awards are back and we’ve been nominated for the Web Awards 2015.

Our entire website has been chosen under the category or Best SME Website (20 employees or less). See the full list of all the nominees, and other categories in this year’s biggest Web Awards since it first began in 2008.

This year will also see a new addition to the categories list: Most Influential Irish Website Ever. That should grab everybody’s attention. Public nominations for the “most influential website” will result in a shortlist for a panel of expert judges to pick a finalist. Follow this special category on Twitter with #greatestIrish.

Follow Along

Judging has already begun on the other categories and we hope to make the shortlist too. Wish us luck!

The official Web Awards 2015 hashtag: #webawards15.

Graham,
The STAR Team

The Magic E in English spelling.

Magic E: Silent but Useful

The Magic E in English spelling.
English spelling rule: The Magic E.

Better English: The Magic E

We’re continuing our Better English blog with the Magic E. Also known as a silent E. This important and popular vowel can change the sound of other vowels, thus lengthening the sound of a word.

Rule of Thumb

If a word ends with a vowel and then a consonant, adding the letter E at then end can change the sound of the previous vowel. The Magic E changes the sound and meaning of a word, yet remains silent. For instance: by changing the sound from short: tap, to a long vowel sound: tape.

We’ve got some examples of words ending with E.

WORD ENDING WITH E
On One
Hat Hate
Bit Bite
Cub Cube
Breath Breathe
Tap Tape
Cod Code
Slim Slime
Win Wine
Sit Site
Quit Quite

Academics refer to the silent E as a marker, which means it doesn’t represent a sound but tells us the sounds of the other letters in the word. A marker makes the nearest vowel to it say its name — its alphabet name — A E I O U.

But there are always exceptions to every rule, especially in the English language.

More examples

  • love
  • glove
  • above
  • have
  • come
  • some
  • none
  • oven
  • cover
  • to live

It would seems like the academics who added the Magic E to lengthen the sound forgot about the old words above.

If you think we’ve left any words out of our lists, or just want to show us how much you know, then let us know in the comments below.

The STAR Team

Letter Q in spelling

Letter Q in Spelling, English

Letter Q in spelling, English

Master the Letter Q in Spelling, English

Q is one of the trickier letters to learn about in English spelling, as it’s often confused with C and K in phonetics. Here are the Q spelling rules to help you use it correctly and improve your spelling in the English language.

The letter Q is always followed by the letter U; at the start of a word, or after an S; it makes a sound like KW…

Examples

  • quick
  • quite
  • quiz
  • queen
  • quote
  • quantity
  • queue
  • squid
  • square

Some words end with QUE — these words with QU make a K like sound.

Examples

  • technique
  • cheque
  • unique
  • plaque
  • mosque
  • antique

These examples come from our Spelling Rules game, which helps improve your spelling skills. It was designed to help people with dyslexia improve their spelling in English. The game Spelling Rules created by Claire McNelis as part of her Master’s thesis in Digital Media at NUI, Galway. She wanted to create an application that would teach spelling rules in a way that was simple and accessible for dyslexic people.

Play the Spelling Game

Play the game for free by selecting the letter Q at the beginning. There are other games available too.

The STAR Team

Start-up Ireland

Ready, Set, Start-up Ireland!

Start-up Ireland

Start-up Ireland — 5 Days · 5 Cities · 5 Industries

Start-up Ireland

The most comprehensive map of Ireland’s start-up ecosystem has been produced by the guys at Start-up Ireland. The “gathering” is being dubbed as one of the biggest national events in the world and will take place across five Irish cities over five days and includes five industries …

The Start-up Map displays, for example, more than 844 start-ups, 132 multinationals and 71 sources of funding.

The gathering commences on the 5th to the 10th of October 2015, with over 50 events being planned so far.

If you’re a start-up and haven’t registered your place on the map, then contact [email protected].

Start-up, The Five Cities

The events will run in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford with the aim of channelling and growing the start-up sector throughout Ireland.

The gathering’s theme is “Start, Scale and Succeed from Ireland”, and it will mainly promote entrepreneurship, and develop world-class regional “start-up hubs” around existing industry strengths in Ireland. This will provide fuel for potential start-ups and those already in the market may scale up!

The Gathering is set to showcase Ireland as a leading start-up sector for multinational entrepreneurs, investors and R&D teams. The initiative is backed by the Irish government and may attract up to 15,000 people. Its creators aim to make Ireland a “start-up-hub” by 2020.

Follow the latest updates using #StartUpIRL.

If you’re a new company starting up, STAR can help you Start, Scale and Succeed in international markets. We provide translation services for websites, documents and apps in over 70 languages. Let’s start something big together.

Graham,
The STAR Team

New words enter OED, 2015

OED Unveils 500 New Words in English

New words in English enter OED, 2015

New Words in English Enter OED, 2015

OED, New Words in English Language

The OED, otherwise known as the Oxford English Dictionary, has recently announced 500 new words and over 900 newly revised and updated words that will be added.

Seems like there are so many that it’s almost impossible to imagine. However, many of the newly updated ones are new senses of the word, go, with about 603. Gosh! Although it’s 51 senses fewer than the longest OED entry, run, according to the OED itself.

One to make headlines though is twerk: a blend of of twitch or twist and jerk. Twitter almost exploded when it was revealed that twerk was, in fact, a pre-existing word — describing a dance that emphasizes the performer’s posterior, it has its roots in the early 1990s New Orleans ‘bounce’ music scene.

Even Older

Twerk goes back farther to its first possible usage in 1820 when it was spelled as twirk: referring to a twisting movement; a twitch. Then it reemerged in 1848 and again in 1901 when it was spelled the way we known it today. Its origin in unclear but the OED believe its influence is from quirk and work “in reference to the dance”.

What else is new?

We’ll cut to the chase and list ones already known, fo’ shizzle!

Along with guerrilla, that has already been established in the Dictionary here are some other phrases incorporating this compound word:

  • guerrilla theatre (1966)
  • guerrilla art (1970)
  • guerrilla gardening (1973)
  • guerrilla knitting (also known as yarn bombing or yarnstorming)

Then there’s that one we “slipped in” — fo’ shizzle (adjective), a slang term originated in the language of rap and hip-hop (2001) and means ‘for sure’.

Others:

  • ecotown (noun): First recorded in 1974. Any new town designed to have a minimal impact on the environment and to facilitate an environmentally responsible lifestyle for everybody.
  • freegan (noun): A person who eats discarded food, typically the refuse of shops and restaurants, for ethical or ecological reasons. It can also be used as an adjective and was first spotted in 1997.
  • e-cigarette (noun): A cigarette-shaped device, first noted in 2007, containing a nicotine-based liquid that is vaporized and then inhaled; simulates the experience of smoking.
  • voluntourism (noun): Tourism in which travellers spend time doing voluntary work on projects, usually for a charity. It was first recorded in 1991.
  • hyperlocal (adjective): Extremely local; first used in 1900.
  • meh (interjection): And interjection, expressing indifference or a lack of enthusiasm and popularized by The Simpsons, but already in use online by 1992 — two years before the series used it.
  • hot mess (noun): A hot mess referred to ‘a warm meal, especially one served to a group’ in 1818, but it’s more commonly used as a slang term for something or someone in extreme confusion or disorder.
  • lipstick (noun): In the world of darts, this is a slang term in use since 2003 for the treble twenty on a dartboard.
  • fratty (adjective): Relating to a college fraternity; typical or characteristic of such a fraternity or its members, especially with reference to rowdy behaviour … has its origins in 1898.
  • twitterati (noun): Users of the social networking service Twitter collectively, typically referring to the group of prolific contributors or those who have high numbers of followers. [2006]
  • webisode (noun): A short video, especially an instalment in a drama or comedy series, which is presented online rather than being broadcast on television. And surprisingly dates back to 1996.
  • SCOTUS (noun): An acronyms for (The) Supreme Court of the United States. [1879]
  • FLOTUS (noun): An acronym for (The) First Lady of the United States. [1983]

Check out the OED’s other new entries such as cisgender and intersectionality, fo’ shizzle! OK — it’s out of my system now.

Graham,
The STAR Team

Arrow pointing at the dots over both i and j, known as tittle

Just a Tittle

Just a title: arrow pointing at the dots over both I and J, known as tittle.
Just a tittle

Just a Tittle Bit

For every jot and tittle in life, there’s an app! Tittle: I really like the sound of this word although I don’t remember the last time I used it. It’s fallen into an abyss where words go because they sound a tad dated. Perhaps the younger generation has never even heard it. You never know though; it sounds like it could be the name of an upcoming app and the word itself is slingshot back into modern usage.

The OED states the meaning of tittle, a singular noun as a tiny amount or part of something. Although there is another meaning of tittle! One I never knew until now. The tittle, or the superscript dot, is the distinguishing mark that appears above both lowercase i and j in writing and print. Yes, there’s a word for those small dots. Amazing!

Origins

Tittle, as a word, has its roots in Late Middle English where it originated from the Latin titulus: small stroke or accent. Tittle is rarely used in modern English and its first known use was recorded in the Christian Bible (Matthew 5:18).

Hold on! I thought the tittle was a diacritic.

Diacritic

The tittle is also referred to as a diacritic, but this is a broader term as diacritics can appear on other letters in the alphabet. This is true for many European languages where diacritics appear as accents, macrons and graves over both vowels and consonants like these guys here: ä, ë, İ, ė, á, â.

Dotted and Dotless

There are several languages that use both the dotted and dotless I in uppercase and lowercase. Modern Turkish uses both dotted (İ i) and dotless (I, ı) as well as Azerbaijani and the Tatar language.

In Irish, bilingual road signs show the dotless lowercase ı to distinguish it from the buailte overdot that appears over consonants: ġ, ċ. Nowadays, an h replaces the diacritic and is thus written as gh and ch.

In some of the Dene group of languages from the Northwest Territories in Canada, both dotted and dotless I are used to distinguish the differences between tone-marked vowels, like í and ì. And in the French speaking province of Quebec in Canada, there are road signs that show the uppercase I with a tittle rendering one such place, Longueuil as LONGUEUİL.

There’s got to be some brands out there that use dotless I in their designs, fonts and logos. If you come across any, please do leave a comment below.

The STAR Team

Speech bubbles containing names of languages

Guess that language

Speech bubbles containing names of languages, Guess that language

Guess that language!

Have you ever found yourself trying to read a piece of text to figure out what language it is?

I do this quite a lot when browsing online and when I come across unidentified words: those that aren’t English or Portuguese (the ones I know!). Or, if I’m travelling, I try to read some words in any given language despite not knowing how to pronounce them. It’s kind of fun, well, for someone who’s really interested in languages.

It’s always good to have something to base your educated guesses on; I’ve gathered some phrases from well-known languages to help you revise. You know, for testing yourself. This way, you’ll be mastering the art of guess that language!

Arabic نحن ننتمي إلى منظمة عريقة ذات تاريخ طويل مكلل بالنجاح. بدءا من نش أتها قبل ما يزيد على 011 عام كم نع محلي للمنتجات
Chinese 我们是这家历史悠久、业绩辉煌的公司的一员。自 100 多年以前当地的一家小型金属产品制造商到如今收入
Estonian Selle autoga saate kaasa tasuta juhi 16 järjestikuseks tunniks. Sõidate professionaalse juhiga, kes tunneb kohalikke…
Filipino Kasama sa espesyal na presyong ito ang libreng proteksiyon ng Personal na Seguro para sa Aksidente.
Greek Με αυτό το αυτοκίνητο παίρνετε δωρεάν σοφέρ για 16 συνεχόμενες ώρες Θα ταξιδέψετε με επαγγελματία οδηγό που γνωρίζει
Hebrew חירה באפשרות זו תזין את הכתובת הרשומה שלך. הכתובת שתוזן אוטומטית תחליף את כתובות החיוב והמשלוח שהזנת
בעצמך
Hungarian Ehhez az autóhoz 16 órányi folyamatos sofőrszolgálat is jár. Helyismerettel rendelkező, profi sofőrrel utazhat.
Icelandic Með þessum bíl færðu flýtiafgreiðslu við innritun, sem þýðir að þú getur farið fram fyrir röðina og þannig sparað tíma.
Indonesian Kita adalah bagian dari sebuah organisasi yang memiliki sejarah panjang dan sukses. Sejak awal berdiri lebih dari
Japanese ユーザー名が既に使用中です。パスワードの確認入力がパスワードと一致しません。ユーザーの追加
Korean 사용자 이름이 이미 사용되고 있습니다. 암호가 필요합니다. 최소한 하나의 시스템 계정이 필요합니다.
Latvian šo automašīnu jūs saņemsit ātrās registrēšanās pakalpojumu — jums nebūs jāstāv rindā un varēsit būt starp
Lithuanian Su šiuo automobiliu nemokamai galėsite naudotis vairuotojo paslaugomis. Keliausite su profesionaliu vairuotoju…
Malay Maklumat berkenaan topik seperti:etika, keselamatan, kerahsiaan, diskriminasi, budaya syarikat dan
Mongolian Ялангуяа GPХ цувралын илрүүлэгч төхөөрөмж олборлолтын БҮХ нөхцөлд бусад ЯМАР ч илрүүлэгчээс илүү гүнд алтыг олдог
Polish To oznacza szczere postępowanie, zgodne z przepisami prawa oraz zasadami CLARCOR Zgłaszaj wszelkie podejrzenia złamania zasad
Russian При заказе этого автомобиля Вы бесплатно получаете дополнительную подушку сиденья
Tagalog
Parts of Indonesia
Estratehiya at Teknolohiya – Pangmatagalang Kaunlaran
Ukrainian При замовленні цього автомобіля Ви безкоштовно отримуєте дитяче крісло (для дітей від 9 місяців до

Graham,
The STAR Team

Irish Culture

Gaeltacht sees Irish in decline

Irish in decline in Gaeltacht

Irish in Decline, Gaeltacht

Irish is in swift decline and may become a secondary language in the Gaeltacht communities, a report states.

It was filed in a report on the 29th of May, that Irish will no longer be the primary language of any Gaeltacht community in ten years from now. Commissioned by the State agency Údarás na Gaeltachta and based on census figures from 2006 to 2011, the language has been declining faster than expected. And declining more rapidly than suggested in a similar report from 2007.

Findings

Confined to a mostly academic setting, those of classrooms … Irish is less spoken in social environments. The report which announces its findings by authors of the publications lacks any methods of preserving the language. This is now in dispute between Údarás na Gaeltachta and the authors. However, Údarás has agreed to file a second report for the recommendations on how to preserve Irish in the Gaeltacht communities.

The Figures

Despite all this, the research in the original report shows that of 155 electoral divisions within the Gaeltacht, only 21 are communities where Irish is spoken on a daily basis by 67% of its population. 67% is regarded as a tipping point for language survival among experts.

Rónán Ó Domhnaill, the Irish language commissioner has expressed his concerns over the declining use of Irish in the Gaeltacht. Ó Domhnaill commented, “currently, there is no requirement in the Languages Act, that the state should conduct its business through Irish, and that this needs to be looked at.”

The STAR Team

Source: RTÉ News

The Make or Do Quiz

Make or Do Quiz, Better English

Make or Do Quiz, Better English

Take the Make or Do Quiz

When it comes to learning English, the infinitive verbs to do and to make follow a set of rules similar to each other. Let’s explore the definitions of do and make, and their subsequent collocations… Then, take the quiz!

DO

The rules are a little obscure and not so easy to follow. The verb do describes activities and are placed with words such as what, nothing, anything, thing, etc. People generally use do to talk about leisure activities, duties, tasks, jobs and so forth.

Examples*:

  • ‘What shall we do now?’ ‘You can do what you like. I’m going home!’
  • ‘He didn’t do anything. He just sat there.’
  • ‘You expect me to do everything around the house. Well, I’m fed up!’
  • ‘I did all my homework last night so tonight I’m going to do the housework.’
  • ‘I did a lot of research and I think I did a good job on that essay. I did my best anyway.’
  • ‘I intend to do lots of walking on holiday this year, and perhaps some bird-watching too.’

MAKE

The use of the verb make describes when someone is constructing, creating or performing something.

Examples*:

  • ‘I made three suggestions and left it to him to make the final decision.’
  • ‘I’ve made all the arrangements for the trip and I’ve made a great effort to get it all right.’
  • ‘I’m afraid I’m going to have to make my excuses and leave.’
  • ‘I have to make three phone calls.’

QUIZ TIME!

Time to test your knowledge now. It’s not an easy task for an English language learner; it takes time, knowing your usage, learning more and knowing which verbs collocate with which nouns. Give it a try.

Possible Verb Sentence (imperative)
do make …the washing-up and the cleaning
do make …your homework now!
do make …an application for your driving licence.
do make …an impression.
do make …something worth being proud.
do make …a fortune, a mess or a profit.
do make …business (with somebody).
do make …a cake for your sister’s birthday, will you?
do make …an effort to be nice (to someone).
do make …amends for your bad behaviour.
do make …the right thing tonight and be polite to her.
do make Can you…the dinner this evening as I’ll be out until late?
do make …an announcement or a speech.

*Examples taken from the BBC, Learn English online programme.

The STAR Team

Introducing the new Search Console

New Google Search Console Announced

Introducing the new Google Search Console

Introducing the new Google Search Console

Google Search Console, Farewell Webmasters Tools

Google’s Webmasters Tools has been providing webmasters with useful features to help them make their websites more findable and useful for almost ten years.

But Google wants to rebrand and rename Webmasters Tools: Introducing the new Search Console!

Why?

Since change is always a good thing, well, most of the time, Google’s reason behind the rebranding is that webmasters aren’t the only people who use the app. Inclusion is the keyword! As Google has stated, “the traditional idea of ‘webmaster’ reflects only some of you.” There are all kinds of webmaster out there from hobbyists, small business owners, SEO experts, marketers, programmers, designers, app developers, and, of course, webmasters as well.

The one thing they all have in common, apart from using Webmasters Tools of course, is the desire to make all their work available online.

Google posted this update on their Webmaster Central Blog on Wednesday 20th of May. They’ll also be rebranding the new Search Console over the coming weeks. Make sure to bookmark it for future developments on all things Google!

The STAR Team