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So far Nova Languages has created 692 blog entries.

There’s a Weird Similarity Between Chimp Communication And Human Language

Behind this sentence lies a solid bedrock of mathematics, one that has been shown to govern all human languages. Linguists have found the hoots and hollers, gestures and expressions used by chimpanzees obey some of the same basic principles, demonstrating the foundations of language have deep evolutionary roots. A study led by the University of [...]

By |2019-02-14T13:37:16+00:00February 14th, 2019|Language|0 Comments

2019 is UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages. And we need it to be

Today, 28th of January 2019, the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL) will begin. And there are good reasons to spread awareness about the state of the world’s indigenous languages. As linguists, we are all too familiar with the depressing statistics surrounding indigenous languages. As is summarized on websites like Ethnologue, around 4,000 of the [...]

By |2019-01-31T16:15:21+00:00January 31st, 2019|Indigenous languages|0 Comments

Sign languages are fully-fledged, natural languages with their own dialects – they need protecting

We most often think of indigenous languages in the context of colonisation – languages used by people who originally inhabited regions that were later colonised. These are the languages that the UN had in mind when it stated a deep concern about the vast number of endangered indigenous languages. And rightly so. More than 2,400 [...]

By |2019-01-28T14:31:53+00:00January 28th, 2019|Sign language|0 Comments

We still have no idea why humans speak over 7,000 languages

The thatched roof held back the sun’s rays, but it could not keep the tropical heat at bay. As everyone at the research workshop headed outside for a break, small groups splintered off to gather in the shade of coconut trees and enjoy a breeze. I wandered from group to group, joining in the discussions. [...]

By |2019-01-26T14:21:45+00:00January 26th, 2019|Languages|0 Comments

How an Edmonton-based designer is using fashion to revitalize Indigenous languages

EDMONTON—When Brandi Morin’s kohkum (Cree for grandmother) passed away, her aunties were cleaning her house and found pieces of paper scattered throughout that had short stories and memories on them in their mother’s handwriting. They found the elongated, cursive writings on scrap bits, papers, and even flyers. They compiled all her writings in a mini [...]

By |2019-01-05T00:25:07+00:00January 5th, 2019|Indigenous languages|0 Comments

Did Humans Speak Through Cave Art? Ancient Drawings and Language’s Origins

When and where did humans develop language? To find out, look deep inside caves, suggests an MIT professor. More precisely, some specific features of cave art may provide clues about how our symbolic, multifaceted language capabilities evolved, according to a new paper co-authored by MIT linguist Shigeru Miyagawa. A key to this idea is that [...]

By |2018-12-27T13:38:15+00:00December 27th, 2018|Language|0 Comments

Linguistic variation in the Spanish-speaking world

In the modern and advanced world of the 21st century, a world that knows not only globalisation, but incredible advances in science, technology and media, in an era when everything is as easy as pressing a single button, we cannot help but ask ourselves: What would the effects of these developments be on interpersonal relations, [...]

By |2018-12-18T17:17:26+00:00December 18th, 2018|Linguistic, Spanish language|0 Comments

The Small Island Where 500 People Speak Nine Different Languages

On South Goulburn Island, a small, forested isle off Australia’s northern coast, a settlement called Warruwi Community consists of some 500 people who speak among themselves around nine different languages. This is one of the last places in Australia—and probably the world—where so many indigenous languages exist together. There’s the Mawng language, but also one [...]

By |2018-11-27T13:53:52+00:00November 27th, 2018|Languages|0 Comments

These Radio Stations are Reviving Indigenous Languages

In the struggle to preserve Indigenous languages, community radio stations have emerged as a key tool to help mother tongues that were crushed under the weight of colonialism flourish once again. What was once forbidden and punished by the Canadian government — the speaking of one’s own language — can be heard with a turn [...]

By |2018-11-21T15:53:15+00:00November 21st, 2018|Indigenous languages, Radio|0 Comments

Is the English language too powerful?

In 2016 I published the “Power Language Index”, a research note on the efficacy of languages. It was a systematic data-driven analysis using 20 indicators to compare the clout of the world’s languages. It tried to answer the question: which language best serves a person to engage in life from a global perspective? The index [...]

By |2018-11-06T16:24:03+00:00November 6th, 2018|English language|0 Comments