Saturday’s Smiles


Since it’s Waitangi Day:

Pictures speak every language


Buenas tardes, buona sera, and bonsoir.

That’s another token gesture towards International Languages Week and this a follow up from yesterday’s post about using pictures rather than words to get the message across to people who can’t speak your language.

When I put my card in the cashpoint machine today I was momentarily confused by what I saw on the screen.

Instead of the message I was used to, there were little dialogue boxes down the right hand side in English and an Asian script. The English said only use this if you want another language.

If you need another language it’s possible you can’t read English so how will you understand that instruction?

When we were in Europe, every cashpoint machine we used had flags denoting different language options. If you don’t understand what español, ingles,  italiano, alemán or francés meant, the flag beside the word told you it was Spanish, English, Italian, German or French so you didn’t have to understand the host country’s language to work out what to do.

How hard would it be to do that here?

A picture doesn’t just paint 1000 words, it does so in every language.

Apropos of International Languages Week:

 goNZoFreakpower shows us how Flight of the Conchords cope with French.

Jim Mora  interviewed Professor Cynthia White from Massey University’s School of Languages.

Have you he(a)rd the baad jokes?


The Aussies have noticed our sheep numbers have dropped and even in a serious story they throw in a couple of what can only be described as baad jokes.

The NZ Herald spotted the story and found a couple of comedians who’d come up with rejoinders:

Rhys Darby, back on our screens in Flight of the Conchords tomorrow night, and comedian Mike King, have the same killer comeback to the Aussie heckle. It involves pointing out that whatever Kiwis do to their sheep, it’s the Aussies who then eat them.

Bet that’s considered baad taste.

Key tops Listener power list


John Key is number one on The Listener’s 2008  power list, up two places from 3 last year.

He’s followed by Bill English, who was at 5 last year, Alan Bollard (6), Steven Joyce (new), Tumu Te Heuheu (13), Pita Sharples (9), Rodney Hide (new), Helen Clark (1), Michael Cullen (2) and another newcomer to the list Gareth Morgan.

For the past four years the list has been a comprehensive one ranking 50 people in a variety of fields, this year’s list has the top 10 with 11 different lists of five for other categories.

They are: heroes topped by Willie Apiata VC; business & economy where Graeme Hart is number 1; Maoridom led by Federation of Maori Authorities chief executive Paul Morgan; the law where Sir Geoffrey Palmer is at number 1; agriculture topped by Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly; health & medicine led by Health & Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson; arts, culture and entertainment with Flight of the Conchords in the top spot; science and technology where science entrpreneur Jim Watson is number 1; the media led by Dominion Post editorTim Pankhurst; environment with David Parker in the top spot; and sport topped by Sparc chair John Wells.

Some observations on the list:

*  The only woman in the top 10 is Helen Clark who’s slipped from 1 to 8 and as there’s usually nothing so ex as an ex-Prime Minister she is unlikely to be in the list at all next year.

* There are only seven women among the 55 people on the other lists.

* The environment list is led by a former minister followed by Jeanette Fitszimons and Russel Norman, all of whome are now in Opposition.

* David Farrar of Kiwiblog is in the So close but missed the list  category under media which reflects the growing influence of the blogosphere.

UPDATE: The list isn’t yet on line but the print edition says:

And yes, the panel did consider the bloggers, but was not convinced that any of those opinionated voices were yet having a marked influence on Main Street.

It also notes:

A total of 55 people have appeared in the Power List in the five years it has been published by The Listener. Only four people have been on all five lists: Helen Clark, Michael Cullen, Alan Bollard and Graeme Hart. Ths is the first year neith Labour supremo Heather Simpson nor All Blacks coach Graham Henry has appeared on the list.

Of the total, just 27 (17.4%) have been women. And only 16 of the total (10.3%) live in or are strongly associated with the South Island.

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