I love the English language. Yes, I understand I have a lot to learn, and it isn’t as romantic as French, but neither is it as barbaric sounding as some of the Slavic languages (not saying these people are barbarians, just the sound to me grates a bit).

English, to me, seems for some reason (I am obviously no linguistic expert) to be one of the easiest languages to twist and turn for modern usage. I have a vendor that manufactures their products in Germany. The manuals come in several languages, and you can see heavy English usage in the foreign languages, mostly for technical terms. I asked my wife about this – she is fluent in German. Her response is typically that “there isn’t a word for that in German”.

Does anyone remember slide projectors? Of course we do. Such a hit they were in the sixties and seventies and eighties. You could actually put a slide in a slide projector and project an image on a screen of the Pyramids, or a product, or a photo of good old Aunt Sally from that vacation you took at Niagra Falls.

Today, we have Power Point to replace the pictures and modern ways to project images on a screen. But we still call the separate pages of the presentation “slides” and the unit is still a “projector”. I have some young admin assistants that on occasion help me to create Power Point presentations and I have asked them before if they have ever seen an actual “slide” or a slide projector. Most of the time the answer is no.

20 thoughts on “Slides”

  1. “The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

  2. Years ago while at UVA I had a German teacher who was most interesting. One day he was talking about the history of English and German – German underwent a “sound shift” to the point it differentiated itself from the old Saxon.

    Then you get Wm the Conqueror coming across the channel introducing more “foreign” words to the English – that is why today many times we have 2 very different words meaning the same thing “Pork” and “Swine” for example – no need to tell you which came from where ;-)

    But in the old English you can still see traces of the old German – “Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie….

    The modern German, of course, linguistically still counts like that.

    English has one of the largest vocabularies of any language – over 400,000 words I believe, and still growing. Or stealing ;-)

    But many other languages still borrow from English.

    Years ago (seems most of my stories start with that preface) – but in Germany I knew enough German to get around but the natives knew I wasn’t one of them. Anyway on Radio Luxembourg (which was at 500,000 watts, a legend) – but I kept hearing this strange term – spelling it phonetically – “dee hit paarada ”

    Of course I eventually figured that it was “the hit parade”

    But I believe English is one of the more difficult languages to learn because there are so many exceptions to the rules. Most languages – even if you don’t know what the word means you can pronounce it. Not so with English. Our “school” for example – pronounced as German with the “Sch – Sh – but schedule? (I realize in some areas of the country they will pronounce it as “Sh” – not SK”

    On the sound of languages to untuned ears – I have heard Dutch described as a |throat disease”. The Romance languages – I told a young woman the other day – with the Spanish name Berenicia – that in Spanish – or most of the romance languages – one can say the crudest most vulgar things and they sound – beautiful.

    Say something crude in German – and even if you don’t know any German – it sounds crude.

  3. Mencken in the American Language is very good on this. English allows you to use a small vocabulary of one and two syllable words,, without noun or verb endings or gender to muck things up. This allows you to make yourself understood with a very barebones vocabulary. This allowed it become a lingua france for trade and commerce: “No ticket, no shirt” or “you pay me now”. That sort of thing. And, of course, on the other end, it has fantastic literary and poetic capacities due to its mongrel nature and hence its variegated vocabulary, and its many clusters of near-synonyms. This is much different from the purebreds” like French, Spanish and German — so sayeth Borges, who was an expert on these things. So English is a multi-purpose tool kit, which can work at whatever level you need it to.

    A favorite of mine on this subject is Logan Pearsall Smith, The English Language (1912).

  4. Once upon a time typewriters had a physical “carriage” and when you pressed the carriage return key (or banged it smartly, on a manual), it physically returned to its previous position. Computers still have a “return” key.

  5. I’m in the process of scanning a bunch of old slides taken by my parents between about 1958 – 1976. Kodachrome and Ektachrome. For an obsolete information storage format, and one stored away in a almost never-opened cabinet in the most anemically air-conditioned room in the house, they both retain an astonishing amount of vibrant color and all-round fine detail.

  6. BTW the topic going from English to slides a couple of years ago I got a Nikon Coolscan – a slide scanner to convert to JPG – I converted so far about 7,000 slides – one at a time.

    Takes about 20-30 seconds per slide but it does a pretty good job.

    But what a job.

  7. The Nikon scanner will do it – it even has adjustable |filters” to account for the dust – you just have to have a TV program on while you are doing it is USB 2.0 – if they come out with a USB 3.0 it would probably be exponentially better –

  8. One of my favorite topics, for sure. I’ve always wanted to get to the level where I could write a sentence with only the “German” English words, or only the “French” words – I’ve often wondered if ‘good’ sentences (rhythm, phrasing..) have to do with choosing non-incongruous words, which would be determined from their root language source.

    * For all you programmers out there, of course you’re familiar with the ASCII table and the hex conversion – CR vs LF (carriage return, x0D, or line feed, x0A) :)

    But seriously, from my [short] time in Russia in recent years, after learning the alphabet, I was surprised how much I could read; my Russian friends estimated that since Russian culture became more open to the West [hem hem..], they’ve imported English words willy-nilly, maybe 20% of their words are just phonetic English. She theorized that it was due to the existence of many things in the West that were not in everyday life, that with the discarding of their planned economy, suddenly they had – like Supermarkets. I was reminded of this on the NY metro – there is some construction going on, with a notice posted in English, Russian, and Chinese, so I can double check myself.. Tri Ooeekende – Three Weekends.

  9. DG – I have a conversational ability with German – not fluent – was surprised traveling though Holland and Scandinavian I could “read” a lot of the signs – at least get the idea of the meaning of many

  10. Nikon and the other major manufacturers no longer produce slide scanners. Used models are expensive on eBay. There are new scanners from Plustek and perhaps other brands of uncertain quality. There are many discussions about scanning on, and similar forums. You get the best scans by doing them yourself but it requires skill (which you quickly acquire by doing) and is very time consuming. You can pay services to do the scanning for you. Some of these services send your slides to be scanned in India or other places where labor is relatively inexpensive.

    If you can find a scanner with a batch feeder for slides it is probably worth paying up for, assuming the scanner itself is of adequate quality. Some of the Coolscan models had available attachments for scanning entire uncut rolls of 35mm film. I don’t know if there was also an attachment for batch feeding slides. If it were me, I would probably try to find a late-model Coolscan and batch feeder (if available for slides), do the scanning and then sell the scanning equipment. If you have a moderate quantity of slides (say, a few hundred) this won’t be too hard even without a batch feeder. You could always try it without the batch feeder and see if you can tolerate it.

  11. Jonathon – I bought my scanner with the intention of selling it when I was done – since it cost $700 it would be an expensive toy to keep if all my slides were scanned. Even kept the original shipping boxes, and photographed the placement of them.

    But I am only halfway into the “job” – I seem to have taken (so far) a 6 month hiatus.

    And as far as I know it was only tested to Win XP (and the equivalent Mac).

    So technology may obsolete it.

    It has done a great job and I think – if you wanted to spend even more than $700 they had a model that fed slides automatically (you don’t have to feed each slide).

    One little problem I cam across was making sure the slide was fed on the right side – otherwise, of course, you’d see things backwards.

    Had to redo more than a few….

  12. There’s a phrase in boxing: “fighting in a phone booth,” where you’re in tight, clinched up, trading short body shots and hooks, etc.

    As I pointed out to someone in the gym the other day, one day young boxers are going to ask, “What’s a phone booth?”

  13. @Percy – I couldn’t figure out why the 19 year old son of a friend was laughing at my cell phone. Then I learned because it is a “flip phone”. Heck, I just started to use its scheduling feature.

    Cutting edge on consumer electronics.

    That’s me.

  14. I believe English is one of the more difficult languages to learn because there are so many exceptions to the rules

    There are rules?


    Just because. Also note the second “b” is silent in “bomb”, like in “bomber” but unlike “bombard”.

    from my [short] time in Russia in recent years, after learning the alphabet, I was surprised how much I could read

    A long time ago I taught in a high school that had a large Russian population. Virtually none of the teachers spoke the language, which put us at a real disadvantage. One day I saw a book on a girl’s desk with the title, “A-something-something-A K-a whole bunch of letters-A”. I nodded sagely and said, “Anna Karenina – that’s a good book”. Her widened eyes, the ensuing nervous conversation among her friends, and the week of caution exercised by all my Slavic students until they figured out I was bluffing are some of my fondest memories of that job :)

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