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So far Nova Languages has created 697 blog entries.

What Language Do People Speak in the Balkans, Anyway?

Imagine a situation in which an American defendant hires a British lawyer for a trial in an American courtroom. The accused then demands that a British interpreter be found. British-American legal interpreters are hard to find, so the demand could delay the case for years, possibly even long enough that the case has to be [...]

By |2019-04-18T13:18:45+00:00April 18th, 2019|Balkans, Language|0 Comments

Do You See What I See?

In a Candoshi village in the heart of Peru, anthropologist Alexandre Surrallés puts a small colored chip on a table and asks, “Ini tamaara?” (“How is it?” or “What is it like?”). What Surrallés would like to ask is, “What color is this?” But the Candoshi, a tribe of some 3,000 people living on the [...]

By |2019-04-10T00:18:29+00:00April 10th, 2019|Colors, Language|0 Comments

Canadian film made in language spoken by just 20 people in the world

Plenty of films are somewhat incomprehensible, but a forthcoming movie is in a language that only about 20 people in the world can speak fluently. With subtitles, audiences will be able to understand a feature film titled SGaawaay K’uuna, translated as Edge of the Knife, which has its UK premiere in April. It is in [...]

A change in our diets may have changed the way we speak

AS THE SAYING goes, we are what we eat—but does that aspect of our identity carry over to the languages we speak? In a new study in Science, a team of linguists at the University of Zurich uses biomechanics and linguistic evidence to make the case that the rise of agriculture thousands of years ago [...]

By |2019-03-14T19:10:07+00:00March 14th, 2019|Language|0 Comments

Linguists need preservation of languages to study human language

In a recent article here at ScienceNordic, we argued that this year’s UN initiative International Year of Indigenous Languages is urgently needed in light of the global decline of minority and indigenous languages. In this article, we will delve into how and why we study these languages. Besides the human rights aspect of language extinction [...]

By |2019-02-23T12:41:19+00:00February 23rd, 2019|Languages|0 Comments

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