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insight by wfx

Welcome to Wordwide FX's new enterprise!

Insight by WFX is a synthesis of our passion for languages and the financial markets. Here you will find technical and fundamental analyses from our clients, media partners and contributors in different languages, as well as discussions on languages and translation. And of course we will keep you updated on what is happening inside Wordwide FX Financial Translations. Hope you enjoy it! Greetings from the Wordwide FX team!

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03/11/2020

Billion-Dollar People: George Lucas

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By Wordwide FX Financial Translations

What does it take for a middle-class, self made moviemaker to become a billionaire and rank #107 in the Forbes list 400? Talent - of course; lots of luck to be in the right place at the right time - probably; insight or vision to tell what people want to read, or see, or listen to - yeah, that too. But among all, I think, is this rare ability to be totally in tune with your generation, even with the children of your generation, to believe, to sense, or to be certain of that what you want to see -or read, or listen to- is basically the same as you yourself want. 

In 1977, George Lucas wanted to see stuff like Star Wars. Science fiction was "B" - b-movies, b-literature, b-everything. It was considered low-quality and underground at least until 1968 when Stanley Kubrick showed that, like replicants, science-fiction could be either a benefit or a hazard, that it could be frivolous but that it could also had a place in art and culture. But in spite of the undeliable excellence of 2001: A Space Odyssey, when George Lucas, then in his early 30s, started looking for a studio to fund what would later be the most commercially sucessful saga in movie history, science fiction films were still quite on the "B" side of the Hollywood executive's table. The same executives who were scared to fund Star Wars. Lucas got 8 million dollars from Fox, that were later increased to 11 million. The first movie, Star Wars IV, A New Hope, grossed 700 million dollars in the theaters worldwide.

The Fox ejecutives felt Lucas' salary was too high for a project that no one really believed in. He was offered to lower it in $500,000 in  return for the ownership of whatever merchandising came from the project. Lucas accepted. Was it talent, was it luck, was it vision, was it being in tune with everyone on earth - except evidently those Hollywood executives? 

In 1996, Lucas was already worth $2 billion. In 2012 his sold his Lucasfilm to Disney for $4,1 billion in stock and cash and he retired from filmmaking. He is now focused on philantropy and on his Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, that will open in Los Angeles this year.

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21/02/2020

The World’s Most Efficient Languages

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By Wordwide FX Financial Translations

Via The Atlantic.com

By John McWhorter

How much do you really need to say to put a sentence together?

Just as fish presumably don’t know they’re wet, many English speakers don’t know that the way their language works is just one of endless ways it could have come out. It’s easy to think that what one’s native language puts words to, and how, reflects the fundamentals of reality.

But languages are strikingly different in the level of detail they require a speaker to provide in order to put a sentence together. In English, for example, here’s a simple sentence that comes to my mind for rather specific reasons related to having small children: “The father said ‘Come here!’” This statement specifies that there is a father, that he conducted the action of speaking in the past, and that he indicated the child should approach him at the location “here.” What else would a language need to do?

Well, for a German speaker, more. In “Der Vater sagte ‘Komm her!’”, although it just seems like a variation on the English sentence, more is happening. “Der,” the word for “the,” is a choice among other possibilities: It’s the one used for masculine nouns only. If the sentence were about a mother, it would have to use the feminine die, or if about a girl, the neuter das (for reasons unnecessary to broach here!). The word for “said,” sagte, is marked with a suffix for the third-person singular; if it were “you said,” then it would be sagtest—in English, those forms don’t vary in the past tense. Then, her for “here” means “to here”: In German one must become what feels to an English speaker rather Shakespearean and say “hither” when that’s what is meant. “Here” in the sense of just sitting “here” is a different word, hier.

This German sentence, then, requires you to pay more attention to the genders of people and things, to whether it’s me, you, her, him, us, y’all, or them driving the action. It also requires specifying not just where someone is but whether that person is moving closer or farther away. German is, overall, busier than English, and yet Germans feel their way of putting things is as normal as English speakers feel their way is.

Other languages occupy still other places on the linguistic axis of “busyness,” from prolix to laconic, and it’s surprising what a language can do without. In Mandarin Chinese, a way of saying “The father said ‘Come here!’” is “Fùqīn shuō ‘Guò lái zhè lǐ!’” Just as in English, there is no marker for the father’s gender, nor does the form of the word shuō for “said” indicate whether the speaker is me, you, or him. The word for “here,” zhè lǐ, can mean either “right here” or “to here,” just like in English. But Mandarin is even more telegraphic. There is no definite article like “the.” The word for “said” lacks not only a suffix for person, but is also not marked for tense; it just means “say.” It is assumed that context will indicate that this event happened in the past. Much of learning Mandarin involves getting a sense of how much one can not say in an acceptable sentence.

Moreover, anyone who has sampled Chinese, or Persian, or Finnish, knows that a language can get along just fine with the same word for “he” and “she.”* And whereas Mandarin can mark tense but often doesn’t, in the Maybrat language of New Guinea, there’s pretty much no way to mark it at all—context takes care of it and no one bats an eye.
If there were a prize for the busiest language, then a language like Kabardian, also known as Circassian and spoken in the Caucasus, would win. In the simple sentence “The men saw me,” the word for “saw” is sǝq’ayǝƛaaɣwǝaɣhaś (pronounced roughly “suck-a-LAGH-a-HESH”). This seems like a majestic monster of a word, and yet despite its air of “supercalifragilisticexpealidocious,” the word for “saw” is every bit as ordinary for Karbadian-speakers as English-speakers’ “saw” is for them. It’s just that Karbadian-speakers have to pack so much more into their version. In sǝq’ayǝƛaaɣwǝaɣhaś, other than the part meaning “see,” there is a bit that reiterates that it’s me who was seen, even though the sentence would include a separate word for “me” elsewhere. Then there are other bits that show that the seeing was most significant to “me” rather than to the men or anyone else; that the seeing was done by more than one person (despite the sentence spelling out elsewhere that it was plural “men” who did the seeing); that this event did not happen in the present; that on top of this, the event happened specifically in the past rather than the future; and finally a bit indicating that the speaker really means what he’s saying.

The prize for most economical language could go to certain colloquial dialects of Indonesian that are rarely written but represent the daily reality of Indonesian in millions of mouths. For example, in the Riau dialect spoken in Sumatra, ayam means chicken and makan means eat, but “Ayam makan” doesn’t mean only “The chicken is eating.” Depending on context, “Ayam makan” can mean the “chickens are eating,” “a chicken is eating,” “the chicken is eating,” “the chicken will be eating,” “the chicken eats,” “the chicken has eaten,” “someone is eating the chicken,” “someone is eating for the chicken,” “someone is eating with the chicken,” “the chicken that is eating,” “where the chicken is eating,” and “when the chicken is eating.” If chickens and eating are à propos, the assumption is that everybody in the conversation knows what’s what. Thus for a wide variety of situations the equivalent of “chicken eat” will do—and does.

So does the contrast between Riau Indonesian’s “chicken eat” and Kabardian’s “they saw me and it affected me, not now, and I really mean it” mean that each language gives its speakers a different way of looking at the world? It’s an intriguing idea, first formulated by anthropologist and linguist Edward Sapir and amateur linguist (and fire inspector!) Benjamin Whorf. If it were correct, an English-speaker would generally think about the past more than a Chinese-speaker would, while Germans would think more about movement than Americans or Brits.

Experiments have shown that this is often true to a faint, flickering degree a psychologist can detect in the artifice of experimental conditions. But does this mean a different way of experiencing life? Is a Kabardian shopkeeper in the Caucasus more exquisitely attuned to the nuances of experience than a Riau Indonesian-speaking fisherman in Sumatra? If that Kabardian shopkeeper’s jam-packed verbs mean that he vibrates in tune to the jots and tittles of life, then doesn’t one have to say that the Riau Indonesian speaker, whose grammar directs his attention to so few details, is something of a limp string on the guitar? We would run into similarly hopeless comparisons around the world. The Zulu speaker would be hypervigilant given the complexities of his language, the Samoan speaker inattendant given the less obsessively complicated nature of hers.

If thought and culture aren’t why some languages pile it on while others take it light, then what is the reason? Part of the answer is unsatisfying but powerful: chance. Time and repetition wear words out, and what wears away is often a nugget of meaning. This happens in some languages more than others. Think of the French song “Alouette, gentille alouette …” (“lark, nice lark”) in which one sings “ahh-loo-eh-tuh.” In running speech the word has long been pronounced just “ah-loo-ett” with no -uh at the end. That –uh in the song today is a leftover from the way the word actually was once pronounced normally, and it indicated the word’s feminine gender to the listener. Today, beyond marginal contexts like that song, only the final e in the spelling of alouette indicates its gender; hearing it in a sentence we’d have to rely on the definite article la alone to know that the word is feminine.
In a language where final sounds take the accent, such sounds tend to hold on longer because they are so loud and clear—you’re less likely to mumble it and people listening are more likely to hear it. In Hebrew, “Thank you very much,” is “Toda raba,” pronounced “toe-DAH rah-BAH.” The sounds at the end of the word mark gender in Hebrew, too, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon because they are enunciated with force.

When a language seems especially telegraphic, usually another factor has come into play: Enough adults learned it at a certain stage in its history that, given the difficulty of learning a new language after childhood, it became a kind of stripped-down “schoolroom” version of itself. Because all languages, are, to some extent, busier than they need to be, this streamlining leaves the language thoroughly complex and nuanced, just lighter on the bric-a-brac that so many languages pant under. Even today, Indonesian is a first language to only one in four of its speakers; the language has been used for many centuries as a lingua franca in a vast region, imposed on speakers of several hundred languages. This means that while other languages can be like overgrown lawns, Indonesian’s grammar has been regularly mowed, such that especially the colloquial forms are tidier. Lots of adult learning over long periods of time is also why, for example, the colloquial forms of Arabic like Egyptian and Moroccan are somewhat less elaborated than Modern Standard Arabic—they were imposed on new people as Islam spread after the seventh century.

In contrast, one cannot help suspecting that not too many adults have been tackling the likes of sǝq’ayǝƛaaɣwǝaɣhaś. Kabardian has been left to its own devices, and my, has it hoarded a lot of them. This is, as languages go, normal, even if Kabardian is rather extreme. By contrast, only a few languages have been taken up as vehicles of empire and imposed on millions of unsuspecting and underqualified adults. Long-dominant Mandarin, then, is less “busy” than Cantonese and Taiwanese, which have been imposed on fewer people. English came out the way it did because Vikings, who in the first millennium forged something of an empire of their own in northern and western Europe, imposed themselves on the Old English of the people they invaded and, as it were, mowed it. German, meanwhile, stayed “normal.”

Even if languages’ differences in busyness can’t be taken as windows on psychological alertness, the differences remain awesome. In a Native American language of California called Atsugewi (now extinct), if a tree was burned and we found the ashes in a creek afterward, we would have said that soot w’oqhputíc’ta into the creek. W’oqhputíc’ta is a conglomeration of bits that mean “it moved like dirt, in a falling fashion, into liquid, and for real.” In English, we would just say “flowed.”
 

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19/02/2020

How Much is the Lord of the Rings Franchise Worth?

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By Wordwide FX Financial Translations

Via Moneyinc.com

By Nat Berman

Since it was first published, in 1957, The Lord of the Rings has given a solid stream of income for author J.R.R. Tokien and his heirs. And when Peter Jackson fulfilled his life-long dream to see a filmed version of the cult novel and rocked the box office with over USD 3 billion, the books sales saw a new revival. And from there, video games, action figures and other merchandise exploded around the world. How much is the Lord of the Rings franchise worth? To ascertain anywhere near a close estimate, all of the limbs of the entertainment branch of the LOTR tree must be analyzed. Here they are:

The Tolkien Estate

Before  Tolkien's death in 1976, his heir The Tolkien Estate, ran by the author’s son and literary heir, Christopher Tolkien until his death two months ago at age 95, is still making money hand over fist. The Telegraph estimates that book sales alone for 2001 were up to 50 million pounds worldwide. That’s before they sat down with Houghton Mifflin to discuss further rights stemming from future book sales. In 2001, it was reported that Christopher was quite upset that the family would not be making cash directly from the movie deals.  It’s also been reportsedthat John Ronald Reuel Tolkien Tolkien was worth 500 million pounds when he died in 1978. His son Christopher, who oversees the family business of wheeling and dealing agreements about his Dad’s masterpiece, and also edits and annotates the notes and stories his famous father left behind, Christopher, who is not a fan of the movies, perhaps because they didn’t directly make him a dime, balked at some of the merchandising, and successfully stopped a Lord of the Rings slot machine that was developed by Warner Brothers.

Houghton Mifflin, the official U.S. publisher of Tolkien’s work for more than 60 years, has a lot to smile about. They took a risk and had paid a hefty sum to acquire the rights to the movie tie-in volumes. The company had made lots of cash from JRR Tolkien’s work with Lord of the Rings movies in 2001,2002, and 2003 and then expanding The Hobbit into a trilogy over ten years later. There were opportunities for endless publications that explained and highlighted the settings and characters of “The Nerd Bible”, or Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Online MBAaverages the figure of new and used book sales to be $2.25 billion.

It’s not a good idea to mess with the Tolkien’s literature, as one Russian author Kirill Eskovm found out when he was threatened by the estate because he wrote his version of Lord of the Rings, The Last Ringbearer, giving fans a glimpse of how the story would be told if Orcs were the good guys. This book could not be released in English because the Tolkien estate does not approve, but fans everywhere have downloaded underground translated copies.

Box Office Movie Sales

Despite purists who are upset about the deletion of Tom Bombadil, fans who never even heard of the book were won over by Peter Jackson’s award winning film trilogy. According to The Minute MBA, the movies are the sixth highest grossing movie franchise of all time, making close to $4 billion.

Game Wars

In 1982 a little computer game called The Hobbit was introduced. It was popular with die hard LOTR fans, but did not strike gold. The story of a cute little hobbit with a bunch of grumpy dwarves did not have much appeal for anyone, except for those who still have their “Frodo Lives” tee shirt from their college days in the 1960s, and kids who had seen the cartoon version of the movie. Electronic Arts (EA), paired some action packed and rather violent adventure games based more heavily on the movie plots than literary cannon. One game ruled them all, from PS2 to Xbox and Gameboy.

Not to be outdone, the Tolkien estate licensed their own game with Universal Interactive, closely based on the plot of the first book,  The Fellowship of the Ring. As it was more for hard core book canon fans than die hard gamers, the game based on the second book never made it to the shelves. Another video game based on the Hobbit was released by Vivaldi Universal and Sierra, but as the movies had not yet brought Thorin and Company back to life in cinematic glory, it didn’t break any sales records. With franchises, timing is everything. If they had waited ten years and made Thorin’s avatar look like Richard Armitage, who played the lead dwarf in the films, it would have flown off the shelves.

The Tolkien estate finally gave in to EA games to use book material that was not included in the movie so that the characters and plot could be more richly developed. Because of this, there are so many games that sprang from the movie and films, and estimate of sales would be impossible. If EA games is worth 34 billion dollars then it can be assumed that part of it was made from sales of The Lord of the Rings games like The Battle for Middle Earth series. The Lord of the Rings: Conquest was the last game to be released by EA and then Warner Brother’s bought the license to turn out more games before the release of the blockbuster Hobbit movie trilogy.

Merchandise

Action figures, Legos, jewelry, drink cups, and even Hobbit doll houses rode the coattails of this massive mix of literature and film adaptations, so the entire worth of the Lord of the Rings franchise grows with every new movie release, including extended video editions of the theater versions, with commentary from the cast and crew plus deleted scenes. Fans are clamoring for Peter Jackson to finish the job and make the Silmarillion, which if this happens, will give the other stories a new revival.

The big winners in this endeavor are Peter Jackson and the movie cast, Houghton Mifflin Publishing, and of course the Tolkien estate, even if they dispute the fact. New Zealand has also benefitted from tourism resulting from the film’s location, although much of the filming, particularly for the later films, was done on green screen. So in the end it can be said that the entire Lord of the Rings Franchise is more valuable than all of the Mithril in the Mines of Moria.

All tolled?  A specific number is extremely hard to guess but an estimate of $10-$15 billion is not entirely out of the question.

 

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07/05/2019

Nuevos mínimos de sesión para la GBPUSD: desconfianza por el Brexit

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By Greg Michalowski @GregMikeFX, Director of Client Education at ForexLive. Translated by Wordwide FX Financial Translations

La GBPUSD se opera hoy en nuevos mínimos de sesión. Hay cada vez menos confianza en la primera ministra y en el proceso interno que sacará al Reino Unido de la Unión Europea.

Desde el punto de vista técnico, el par ha tratado hoy de escalar durante la sesión asiática, pero tras superar la zona de 1,3110-22, se ha detenido cerca del máximo swing del 12 de abril en 1,3132  Luego, el par perdió terreno y cayó bajo 1,3100, el mínimo de ayer y el máximo del 2 de mayo en 1,3079-81 (ver círculos rojos), y la MM de 100 horas en 1,3007.

Ahora, el par corrigió un 38,2% de la escalada que arrancó en el mínimo del 24 de abril en 1,3057, zona de profit takers. Y allí se ha detenido el precio - al menos eso parece.

El siguiente riesgo para los cortos es la MM de 100 horas y el mínimo de ayer en 1,3077-81. Yo esperaría que los vendedores se apoyen en esta zona o que realizaran una acción de corrección durante esta mañana de la sesión de Nueva York. 

Si crece el impulso bajista que lleva al par a superar el 38,2%, los objetivos serán el máximo del 3 de mayo en 1,30428 y el retroceso del 50’% de la acción que se inició el 24 de abril en 1,30203.

Los compradores han tenido una buena oportunidad hace unas horas, pero el precio terminó por estancarse. Los vendedores bajo la MM de 100 horas notan que tienen el control mientras el par regresa a la zona de la semana pasada, antes de iniciarse la remontada.

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22/03/2019

"Lenten ys come with love to toune..."

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By Wordwide FX Financial Translations

Yesterday in the Northern hemisphere we waved so long to winter and welcomed spring. at least in countries using the astronomical and solar reckoning, because in others countries, like Sweden, the beginning of spring is defined as the first occasion when the average daytime temperature exceeds zero degrees for seven consecutive days, so typically spring comes later in the north than in the south.

In early medieval Engand the usual word for this season was "Lenten", a word that comes from the shortening of "lengthing days" and which Dutch still keeps ("lente"). The word "spring", that didn't catch on until the 16th century, is related to the verb "spring", which in English means "to move or jump suddenly" and in Swedish it means "to run" ("springa"). If you have ever felt that in this season everything seems to move faster, the Germanic languages had already captured this feeling from the very beginning.  

In Old English the word was "springan", meaning "to leap, burst forth, fly up; spread, grow", and further back, in the protolanguage shared by all Germanic tribes, the word was *sprengan (the asterisk means it is a reconstructed form), source also of Old Norse and Old Frisian springa, Middle Dutch springhen, Old High German springan, and German springen). We can even trace the origin to the times of Indoeuropean with the form *sprengh, meaning "to move, hasten, spring", source also of Sanskrit sprhayati "desires eagerly" and Greek sperkhesthai "to hurry".

In other languages, the season name is related to the word "fore" or "early", like in German Frühling (from Middle German vrueje, "early",) or in Swedish "vår" ("before", related to Dutch "voorjaar", literally "fore-year".

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06/03/2019

Hey, America: Y’all need to start saying y’all, linguist says

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By Wordwide FX Financial Translations

Via ai.com

By Greg Garrison

Across America, it’s becoming increasingly common to hear the use of the Southern contraction “Y’all,” a linguistic fusion of the words “you” and “all.”

It may be partly because of the spread of Southern influence nationwide, but it also fills an important need in the English language, said Southern linguist Thomas Nunnally.

“It’s being adopted all over the country, because it needs to be,” said Nunnally, a retired professor of linguistics at Auburn University who spoke at Samford University on Thursday. Nunnally is editor and co-author of “Speaking of Alabama: The History, Diversity, Function and Change of Language,” published by the University of Alabama Press. 

Linguists have noted that “y’all” addresses a gap in the English language left behind by the disappearance of the pronoun “ye,” the second person plural form of the pronoun “thou,” both of which have become stilted, archaic and fallen out of use.

The English language now generally uses the pronoun “you” to function as both singular and plural.

Regional adaptations include “youse” or “Youse guys” in the Northeast; “yunz” or “yinz” in Pittsburgh; the Midwestern “You’nes” a contraction of “you-ones,” or the upper Southern “You all.”

The phrase “you guys” fills the function, but can be seen as uncomfortable because of the masculine word guys.

Nunnally recalls he and his wife being addressed as “you guys,” and he took exception.

“To call my wife a guy, I was aghast,” he said.

Other variations seem to Southern ears to be inadequate.

But the spread of “y’all” shows its appeal and functionality.

“Y’all does it nicely and concisely,” Nunnally said.

“Y’all” is also part of Africa-American Vernacular English, which derives from black language in the South, so musical artists in rap, hip-hop and the larger entertainment culture can play a role in helping its spread.

“Y’all” can also be used in addressing one person, to politely include others, such as in the phrase, “How y’all doing?”

 

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