Weekly News Roundup, 8th August 2014: Slang-xplaining, Winning Prizes and Judging Them

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Prescriptive grammarians may enjoy this, even if it destabilizes their strict sense of right and wrong: Slate has detailed the 250-year-long grammatical quibble over the correct use of “hopefully,” that ever-present eye twitch of incorrect adverbial usage. Also related: the same website explains why certain adjectives just sound right in one way, and not the other. If your eyes aren’t tearing up with that twitch yet, take a look at io9′s ambitious compilation of the most disastrous typos in Western history.

Meanwhile, in the same spirit of chronological grammar-mapping, The Atlantic has compiled a web app history of the New York Times’ stiff slang explanations (example: “Diss, or a perceived act of disrespect”). And the game-side disputes can finally end: Scrabble has added over five thousand new terms to its updated player dictionary, including such witticisms as “sudoku” (shouldn’t that be a proper noun?), “buzzkill,” and “vlog.”

Hungarian literature is by no means impoverished—just take a look at the hubbub around most recent BTBA winner (and Asymptote alum) László Krasznahorkai—but quite a bit of this rich tradition has been overlooked, so if you’re a stranger to the nation’s lit, here’s a primer (to get a leg up, you could just read through our plentiful archives). If you’re in search of further reading, you could also do well to catch up on Argentine writer César Aira’s oeuvre as published in The New Yorker (this time, as a myth), or you could read about an upcoming English-language translation of OULIPO mainstay and French writer Georges Perec’s aphoristic not-quite-a-novel I Remember.

The 2014 National Translation Award, which, in contrast to other translation-focused prizes, compares the translation to its source text (strange) announced its longlist earlier this week, and the slate is peppered with Asymptote-rs: blog contributor Damion Searls is nominated for his translation of German writer Robert Walser; past journal contributor Eugene Ostashevsky’s translation from the Russian An Invitation for me to Think, by Alexander Vvedensky, was reviewed in our January issue; contributor Marilyn Hacker is nominated for her translation of French-language poetry by Habib Tangour, who we’ve featured in the journal as well (though in different translation); kind journal interviewee Heather Cleary is nominated for her translation of Latin-American-featurette (and blog spotlight!) Argentine Sergio Chejfec; and Asymptote-r George Economou is nominated for his translation of Greek poet Cavafy’s complete poems (of which you can read two for absolutely free, as published in our July 2011 issue). And in similar news of contests and Asymptote love: Denmark editor-at-large Katrine Øgaard Jensen has been named one of the judges of Three Percent’s Best Translated Book Award!