Blog 2018-02-22T00:26:49+00:00

    Language News

    Is the English language too powerful?

    November 6th, 2018|0 Comments

    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 [...]

    On a Mission to Save Languages From Extinction

    November 5th, 2018|0 Comments

    NEW YORK—There are 800 different languages spoken among New York’s 8.5 million residents, and unfortunately, that number may be decreasing. One man is on a [...]

    How English words entered Arabic through the British empire in Iraq

    November 2nd, 2018|0 Comments

    The British “Mesopotamian Campaign” of the First World War took almost three years to get to Baghdad – and the occupying force faced many challenges [...]

    What is killing Mexico’s rich indigenous languages?

    November 2nd, 2018|0 Comments

    “I speak the sounds of the people of the rain” – If you ask the Mixteco people about their first language, the reply is just [...]

    These People Have a Mind-Bending Way to Navigate

    October 27th, 2018|0 Comments

    The door of Sivek’s house looks out on a rising slope. But when he walks away from the door toward the rear of the building, [...]

    Can the language of the Vikings fight off the invasion of English?

    October 18th, 2018|0 Comments

    “Coffee and kleina,” reads a large sign at a roadside coffee shop by one of the main roads in Reykjavik. Not so many years ago, [...]

    Millennial Aboriginal Australians Have Developed Their Own Language

    October 12th, 2018|0 Comments

    Millennials, in a way, are a firmly bilingual group, thanks in no small part to “textspeak.” With the rise of Web 2.0 at the turn [...]

    North America’s nearly forgotten language

    October 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

    Even before I saw the water, I heard the rumble. Sounding like a river or a waterfall, the noise was gently muffled by the sword [...]

    How the South Korean language was designed to unify

    October 2nd, 2018|1 Comment

    “Our husband is also a teacher,” my co-worker told me as she noisily slurped her soup. She was seated beside another colleague, who was slurping [...]

    Meet the Cultural Illuminati Guarding France’s Most Sacrosanct Asset: The French Language

    October 1st, 2018|0 Comments

    When you’re known as “the immortals,” as are the 40 members of the Académie Française, it’s hard to take yourselves lightly. Over the course of [...]

    The Little-known Language Spoken by Jews Across the Medieval Arab World

    September 27th, 2018|0 Comments

    When it was suggested to Joshua Blau, at the start of his professional career, that he study the letters of Maimonides, there were those who [...]

    Maori Language, Once Shunned, Is Having a Renaissance in New Zealand

    September 17th, 2018|0 Comments

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A teenage thrash metal band screams out Maori lyrics in its latest videos. A popular radio host is learning New Zealand’s [...]

    The language the French forbade

    September 12th, 2018|4 Comments

    On a cold night winter’s night nine years ago, I made my way along icy cobblestone streets, a howling wind at my back, into the [...]

    Don’t assume language or dialect is locked to a particular place

    August 29th, 2018|0 Comments

    In an age of globalisation with unprecedented levels of mobility and communication, the world is often described as a “global village”. But this metaphor has [...]

    The Mexican art of double entendre

    August 24th, 2018|0 Comments

    As a Brit living in Mexico, I’ve discovered that many people are intrigued by whether or not I eat spicy food. I once had an [...]

    Forensic linguistics gives victims and the wrongfully convicted the voices they deserve

    August 23rd, 2018|0 Comments

    "Most people take language for granted, but not you … You and I both appreciate the power and specificity of words." This quote, taken from [...]

    Hidden meanings: Using artificial intelligence to translate ancient texts

    August 13th, 2018|0 Comments

    The ancient world is full of mystery. Many mysteries, in fact. Many mysteries indeed. Who built the monolithic and megalithic structures found all over the [...]

    ‘Untranslatable’ words tell us more about English speakers than other cultures

    August 10th, 2018|0 Comments

    When the word “hygge” became popular outside Denmark a few years ago, it seemed the perfect way to express the feeling of wrapping yourself up [...]

    Can language slow down time?

    August 6th, 2018|0 Comments

    What if the language you spoke caused you to perceive time differently? Does that sound like magic realism? Close: it’s economics. Some recent research papers [...]

    Can these birds explain how language first evolved?

    August 2nd, 2018|0 Comments

    If you want a no-fuss, no-muss pet, consider the Bengalese finch. Dubbed the society finch for its friendliness, breeders often use it to foster unrelated [...]

    Can £27m a year bring a language back from near death?

    July 31st, 2018|0 Comments

    The feeling of walking barefoot across a beach in summer and the sun-warmed sand chafing my toes takes me the length of this sentence to [...]

    How Computers Parse the Ambiguity of Everyday Language

    July 27th, 2018|0 Comments

    If you’re one of the 2.4 million Twitter followers of the Hamilton impresario Lin-Manuel Miranda, you’ve come to expect a delightful stream of observations, including [...]

    How language shapes your thoughts – what researchers know

    July 26th, 2018|0 Comments

    Words work as a glue, allowing us to group together different experiences under one label. This is especially true for concepts that we cannot see [...]

    Welcome To The Era Of Big Translation

    July 22nd, 2018|0 Comments

    Despite the increasing ability to reach foreign customers, the lack of quality translation methods is still the most challenging aspect of global expansion. Currently, even [...]

    Explainer: how Tasmania’s Aboriginal people reclaimed a language, palawa kani

    July 19th, 2018|0 Comments

    Truganini’s death in Hobart in May 1876 attracted worldwide attention. She was widely, but wrongly, believed to have been the last Aboriginal person to have [...]

    How Deaf Children in Nicaragua Created a New Language

    July 13th, 2018|0 Comments

    Of all the changes within Nicaragua to come out of the overthrow of the Somoza regime by the Sandinistas in 1979, perhaps the least anticipated [...]

    Gurrumul and Indigenous languages offer windows into Australia’s past and present

    July 6th, 2018|0 Comments

    There’s a scene towards the end of the film Gurrumul, directed by Paul Daniel Williams screening in cinemas now, that stays with me. Set in [...]

    Why no-one speaks Indonesia’s language

    July 4th, 2018|0 Comments

    The woman stood in her roadside stall in a quiet neighbourhood in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, chopping tomatoes, beans and spinach, plus one red [...]

    Switzerland’s invisible linguistic borders

    July 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

    It was one of the shortest train rides I had ever taken: just 10 minutes and one stop from the Swiss city of Neuchâtel. Yet [...]

    Cwtch: The hug invented by the Welsh

    July 1st, 2018|0 Comments

    I’m a quarter Welsh. My darling grandmother grew up in the Rhondda Valley, a small mining town where her father was the school principal. She [...]

    Where Australians can’t understand English

    June 28th, 2018|0 Comments

    Traveller's Rest, the dusty farm where I spent a month climbing, lies 260km north of Cape Town in the bosom of South Africa’s rugged Cederberg [...]

    Broadcasts in a Native Language, Speaking to Every Corner of Peru

    June 25th, 2018|0 Comments

    The language of soccer games is ripe with phrases, metaphors and clichés that reflect modern life: a coach who parks the bus, a midfielder who [...]

    How Wikitongues is saving world languages from linguicide

    June 24th, 2018|0 Comments

    “In the next 80 years, 3,000 languages are expected to disappear.” That’s what it says on the homepage of the Wikitongues website. And then it [...]

    A New Accent Is Developing in Southwest Kansas

    June 22nd, 2018|0 Comments

    Say you're a young person living in Liberal, Kansas—a small town in the southwestern part of the state, home to about 20,000 people—and someone you [...]

    Why it’s okay for bilingual children to mix languages

    June 21st, 2018|0 Comments

    Few would consider mastering more than one language a bad idea. In fact, research points to a number of cognitive, economic and academic advantages in [...]

    How Language Hijacked the Brain

    June 10th, 2018|0 Comments

    I’m sitting in the sun on one of the first mild days of the spring, talking with a modern-day flintknapper about the origins of human [...]

    Emotions shape the language we use, but second languages reveal a shortcut around them

    June 5th, 2018|0 Comments

    A taxi driver recently cut me up on the motorway. Without hesitation, I machine-gunned a string of vulgarity at the poor man. What struck me [...]

    How does the brain process speech? We now know the answer, and it’s fascinating

    June 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

    Neuroscientists have known that speech is processed in the auditory cortex for some time, along with some curious activity within the motor cortex. How this [...]

    How AI is helping preserve Indigenous languages

    May 31st, 2018|0 Comments

    Australia's Indigenous population is rich in linguistic diversity, with over 300 languages spoken across different communities. Some of the languages can be as distinct as [...]

    Islands of Language Enter Virtual Reality

    May 30th, 2018|0 Comments

    There are almost 7,000 human languages spoken around the world, but by the end of the century almost half could be extinct, existing only as [...]

    Bringing back Languages from Scraps of Paper

    May 29th, 2018|0 Comments

    In 1904 Daisy Bates, an Irish-Australian journalist and ethnographer, sent out a questionnaire to squatters, police, and other authorities across Western Australia asking them to [...]

    More than 2,000 of the world’s languages are dying out

    May 24th, 2018|0 Comments

    As a child, Kanako Uzawa treasured her school vacations, when she traveled from Tokyo to her family farm in Nibutani, a remote village in northern [...]

    It’s Important to Know Your ‘False Friends’ in English and French

    May 23rd, 2018|0 Comments

    People learning a second language might have heard of the expression “false friend.” This term is used to describe words in different languages that look [...]

    Why teachers shouldn’t be afraid of other languages being spoken in the classroom

    May 23rd, 2018|0 Comments

    More than 20% of all primary school and 16% of secondary school children in the UK speak languages other than English. And there are now [...]

    Australia’s taste for translated literature is getting broader, and that’s a good thing

    May 22nd, 2018|0 Comments

    With today’s announcement of the winner of the Man Booker International Prize shortlist, translation again finds itself in the foreground of the literary landscape. This [...]

    How Do Languages Evolve? This Game Is Finding The Answer!

    May 21st, 2018|0 Comments

    A team of researchers led by Dr. Olivier Morin at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany have released [...]

    For too long, African languages have been defined by the European colonialists who wrote them

    May 17th, 2018|0 Comments

    The issue of mother tongue education has been fiercely but sporadically debated in South Africa since 1994. In the past two and a half years, [...]

    OED looks for words used worldwide to reflect global nature of English

    May 11th, 2018|0 Comments

    English has been spoken across the world for hundreds of years. And now the Oxford English Dictionary has launched a campaign to make sure its [...]

    Studying chimpanzee calls for clues about the origins of human language

    May 9th, 2018|0 Comments

    Freud, Wilkie and the other chimpanzees peacefully fed and rested in the sun-dappled Tanzanian forest. Mzee Hilali stood next to me, writing notes on the [...]

    Even after Brexit, English will remain the language that holds the EU together

    May 5th, 2018|0 Comments

    The British are quitting the European Union, but they’ll leave behind an enduring legacy: the English language. The European Commission confirmed as much in their [...]

    Climate Change Can Also Transform Language

    April 30th, 2018|0 Comments

    Language bends and buckles under pressure of climate change. Take the adjective “glacial.” I recently came across an old draft of my PhD dissertation on [...]

    Can genes change the way languages evolve?

    April 29th, 2018|0 Comments

    Languages are dynamic. After just a few hundred years, the English of Chaucer looks bizarre to today’s readers. The factors that drive language changes are [...]

    To Communicate With Apes, We Must Do It On Their Terms

    April 26th, 2018|0 Comments

    On August 24, 1661, Samuel Pepys, an administrator in England’s navy and famous diarist, took a break from work to go see a “strange creature” [...]

    The words that change what colours we see

    April 24th, 2018|0 Comments

    The human eye can physically perceive millions of colours. But we don’t all recognise these colours in the same way. Some people can’t see differences [...]

    Do words get removed from a dictionary when people stop using them?

    April 23rd, 2018|0 Comments

    The Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary is generally regarded as the single most comprehensive record of the English language to exist. Included in [...]

    Mamihlapinatapai: A lost languages untranslatable legacy

    April 21st, 2018|0 Comments

    It was spring when I reached the end of the world. On that mid-September day it was cold and raining in the city of Ushuaia, [...]

    Native Language Schools Are Taking Back Education

    April 20th, 2018|0 Comments

    For more than 150 years, the Wôpanâak language was silent. With no fluent speakers alive, the language of the Mashpee Wampanoag people existed only in [...]

    Bringing a dying language back to life

    April 18th, 2018|0 Comments

    It’s unlikely that many of his grade-school classmates would have predicted that Sunn m’Cheaux would grow up to be a Harvard instructor. “I remember being [...]

    The Race to Save the World’s Disappearing Languages

    April 17th, 2018|0 Comments

    On a residential block at the border between Brooklyn and Queens, Gottscheer Hall appears like a mirage from 1945. Blue awnings advertise the space for [...]

    Can Language Save Communities Under Threat From A Globalised World?

    April 11th, 2018|0 Comments

    As a child, Kanako Uzawa treasured her school vacations, when she traveled from Tokyo to her family farm in Nibutani, a remote village in northern [...]

    Saving an Endangered Language

    April 10th, 2018|0 Comments

    Walk past Abernethy Hall Room 102 on any given Friday afternoon during the semester and you’ll likely hear sounds of an endangered language wafting through [...]

    Scientists Probe an Enduring Question: Can Language Shape Perception?

    April 4th, 2018|0 Comments

    Picture a sunlit Grecian sea or the deep hues of Santorini’s rooftops. They’re both called “blue” in English. But to Greek speakers, the lighter hue [...]

    How America became a key market for foreign-language TV drama

    April 2nd, 2018|0 Comments

    Some say it was a Venezuelan terrorist who opened the door for foreign-language television in the US. Others credit a Colombian drug lord. Either way, [...]

    When Genetics and Linguistics Challenge the Winners’ Version of History

    March 29th, 2018|0 Comments

    Two conquering empires and more than 500 years of colonial rule failed to erase the cultural and genetic traces of indigenous Peruvians, a new study [...]

    Linguistic time capsule in South America sheds light on human migration

    March 26th, 2018|0 Comments

    Tiny Suriname, the smallest country in South America, punches far above its weight in linguistic diversity. Many people speak Dutch, but if you visit, you're [...]

    The decline of Chinantec whistled speech in Mexico

    March 26th, 2018|0 Comments

    The small village of San Pedro Sochiapam, deep in the mountainous region of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, is home to the Chinantec people. [...]

    The worldwide web of the Indo-European language family

    March 25th, 2018|0 Comments

    In 1786, an English judge then resident in Calcutta, Sir William Jones delivered a speech to the members of the "Asiatick Society", an institution that [...]

    Preserving culture through language

    March 22nd, 2018|0 Comments

    About 20 percent of the world’s population speaks English, according the language learning app Babbel, so it would be hard to imagine the world without [...]

    Tracking the spread of early hunter-gatherers through language

    March 22nd, 2018|0 Comments

    Scientists have further evidence that an ancient family of languages spread across most of the Australian continent over the last 6000 years, rapidly replacing pre-existing [...]

    Your Speech Is Packed With Misunderstood, Unconscious Messages

    March 21st, 2018|0 Comments

    Imagine standing up to give a speech in front of a critical audience. As you do your best to wax eloquent, someone in the room [...]

    Help Build a Database of Ancient Graffiti from Pompeii and Herculaneum

    March 15th, 2018|0 Comments

    When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE, burying Pompeii and Herculaneum in fatal volcanic ash, the destructive process famously entombed the remains of residents and [...]

    Hope for the Future: Alaskan Community Works to Revive Native Languages

    March 14th, 2018|0 Comments

    Terri Burr hopped in her car, turning on the wipers to sweep the rain from her windshield. She began to drive and talk, barely looking [...]

    How I discovered there are (at least) 14 different kinds of love by analysing the world’s languages

    March 10th, 2018|0 Comments

    No emotion, surely, is as cherished and sought after as love. Yet on occasions such as Valentine’s day, we can often be misled into thinking [...]

    New Evidence Fuels Debate over the Origin of Modern Languages

    March 9th, 2018|1 Comment

    Five thousand years ago nomadic horseback riders from the Ukrainian steppe charged through Europe and parts of Asia. They brought with them a language that [...]

    How do you say “smartphone” in Lakota?

    March 9th, 2018|0 Comments

    “Adorkable.” “Manspreading.” “Frenemies.” Coining new words to fit modern needs is a practice that goes back to the beginning of language; Shakespeare, for example, is [...]

    Calls for national legislation to protect Indigenous languages in Australia

    March 7th, 2018|0 Comments

    Craig Ritchie, CEO of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), suggests Australia could follow in the footsteps of New Zealand, [...]

    These Sámi Women Are Trying to Keep Their Native Skolt Language Alive

    March 4th, 2018|1 Comment

    Tiina Sanila-Aikio isn’t your everyday president. The 34-year-old is the head of the Sámi people in Finland, the only indigenous population recognized in the European [...]

    New paper links ancient drawings and the origins of language

    February 21st, 2018|1 Comment

    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 [...]

    How to decipher a 4,000-year-old tax return

    February 18th, 2018|0 Comments

    One day in 1994 Richard Salomon, professor of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington, received a small package in the mail. Inside [...]

    The Time the Oxford English Dictionary Forgot a Word

    February 14th, 2018|0 Comments

    When the complete edition of what would become the Oxford English Dictionary debuted in 1928, it was lauded as a comprehensive collection of the English [...]

    Does artificial intelligence have a language problem?

    February 7th, 2018|0 Comments

    Technology loves a bandwagon. The current one, fuelled by academic research, startups and attention from all the big names in technology and beyond, is artificial [...]

    Language Utilizes Ancient Brain Circuits That Predate Humans

    January 31st, 2018|0 Comments

    A new paper by an international team of researchers presents strong evidence that language is learned using two general-purpose brain systems (declarative memory and procedural [...]

    The Japanese words for “space” could change your view of the world

    January 22nd, 2018|0 Comments

    When you are the first person to arrive in a meeting room, do you think of it as being empty or full? If you were [...]

    Making history by saving it: UW groups keep indigenous languages alive

    January 18th, 2018|0 Comments

    When Alyssa Johnston and members of her tribe speak to one another in Quinault, they are often moved to tears by the knowledge that, at [...]

    Shor Cling To Way Of Life, Language In Siberia

    January 16th, 2018|0 Comments

    A phone booth, that rarely works, is about the only sign of modern life to be found in Ust Anzas, a remote village in Siberia's [...]

    The Incredible Linguistic Diversity of Tibet Is Disappearing

    January 10th, 2018|0 Comments

    Tibet may be best known for its bounty of ancient Buddhist monasteries and stark natural beauty—but it’s also blessed with a vast diversity of languages. [...]

    The battle to make French a “gender-neutral language” is emphasizing the country’s inherent sexism

    December 19th, 2017|0 Comments

    That the French language remains so central to the culture here wouldn’t surprise most people outside the country. Still, having two teenagers in French middle [...]

    Even if you’ve forgotten the language you spoke as a child, it still stays with you

    December 18th, 2017|0 Comments

    Natasha Mumbi Nkonde tells me she’s “haunted” by what she sounded like as a child. Nkonde, who was born in Zambia in 1984 and moved [...]

    Swearing helps us battle pain – no matter what language we curse in

    December 13th, 2017|0 Comments

    Swear words have many functions. They can be used for emphasis, for comedic effect, as a shared linguistic tool that strengthens social bonds and maintains [...]

    African Schools Weigh Teaching in Local Languages

    December 9th, 2017|2 Comments

    DAKAR — In Alieu Samb primary school, in a working-class section of Dakar, second-graders are learning to read in French. Like most children in Sub-Saharan [...]

    ‘Saluton!’: the surprise return of Esperanto

    December 7th, 2017|0 Comments

    In the village of Barlaston, just outside Stoke-on-Trent, a strange language can be heard. It’s not the friendly Potteries dialect, but something that sounds a [...]

    Keepers of a lost culture

    December 3rd, 2017|0 Comments

    Beulah Timothy is a ghost of history. So is her brother, Richard Snake, and their childhood friend, Alma Burgoon. Their home is the Delaware Nation [...]

    Ol’ Man River – how gendered language shapes the way we see the world

    November 30th, 2017|0 Comments

    But ol’ man river, He jes’ keeps rollin’ along! Is water male or female – and does it really matter? Unlike languages such as French, [...]

    Artificial intelligence goes bilingual—without a dictionary

    November 30th, 2017|0 Comments

    Automatic language translation has come a long way, thanks to neural networks—computer algorithms that take inspiration from the human brain. But training such networks requires [...]

    The world’s smallest language has only 100 words — and you can say almost anything

    November 28th, 2017|0 Comments

    In Chinese, the word computer translates directly as electric brain. In Icelandic, a compass is a direction-shower, and a microscope a small-watcher. In Lakota, horse [...]

    The Rise and Fall of the English Sentence

    November 22nd, 2017|1 Comment

    An iconic sentence, this. But how did it ever make its way into the world? At 71 words, it is composed of eight separate clauses, [...]

    Historically, men translated the Odyssey. Here’s what happened when a woman took the job

    November 21st, 2017|0 Comments

    The Odyssey is about a man. It says so right at the beginning — in Robert Fagles’s 1996 translation, for example, the poem opens with [...]

    Humans learn complex grammatical patterns even in extremely challenging circumstances

    November 14th, 2017|0 Comments

    A large-scale study of languages shows that the grammar of creoles - which emerged in multilingual situations of extreme social upheaval, like colonial slaveries - [...]

    Alberta teacher races to save dying Indigenous language before time runs out

    November 14th, 2017|0 Comments

    A teacher in northern Alberta is racing to piece together a dying Indigenous language before the last few people who speak it are gone. For [...]

    Finding the Words for Hope: The Fight for Endangered Languages

    November 9th, 2017|0 Comments

    “Iktsuarpok” is a word with no direct English translation. From Inuit, it best translates to “the frustration of waiting for someone to show up.” It [...]

    The Randomness of Language Evolution

    November 2nd, 2017|0 Comments

    Joshua Plotkin’s dive into the evolution of language began with clarity—and also a lack of it. Today, if you wanted to talk about something that’s [...]

    Pennsylvania Dutch: A language that persisted

    November 1st, 2017|0 Comments

    “Guder Mariye, liewe Kinner!” (Good morning, dear children!) I start most of my mornings with these four words. What’s most interesting about that statement is [...]

    Linguists digitise 1970s children’s storybooks to help preserve Indigenous languages

    October 30th, 2017|0 Comments

    During this time, bilingual education programs were rolled out in remote schools throughout the Northern Territory, allowing schoolchildren to read and write in their native [...]

    Found in translation: USC scientists map brain responses to stories in three different languages

    October 29th, 2017|0 Comments

    New brain research by USC scientists shows that reading stories is a universal experience that may result in people feeling greater empathy for each other, [...]

    Natural language processing will help humans and machines have more empathy

    October 25th, 2017|0 Comments

    With the current breakneck pace of innovation, it may seem like technology is on an aggressive mission to solve all of humanity’s most pressing problems. [...]

    Educators Try New Methods to Save American Indian Languages

    October 24th, 2017|0 Comments

    The United States is home to 562 federally recognized American Indian Nations, each with its own language. Yet the number of Native Americans with the [...]

    Carrying On His Great Grandfather’s Work, A Kansas Professor Helps Keep Their Language Alive

    October 22nd, 2017|0 Comments

    As a kid, Andrew McKenzie had an unusual affinity for languages. He took French in high school (because everyone else was taking Spanish). But that [...]

    How This Native Educator Is Keeping A Tribal Language Alive

    October 13th, 2017|0 Comments

    On the Omaha Native American reservation in northeastern Nebraska, one educator is working hard to keep the tribal language alive by helping kids to learn [...]

    How Italians influenced a South American dialect

    October 12th, 2017|0 Comments

    “Argentinian Spanish is sort of hard to understand,” said my sister as she plugged in a fan. It was hot and still in Buenos Aires [...]

    Evolutionary biology can help us understand how language works

    October 10th, 2017|0 Comments

    As a linguist I dread the question, “what do you do?”, because when I answer “I’m a linguist” the inevitable follow-up question is: “How many [...]

    Robert Macfarlane on the enchanted childhood words technology has disrupted

    October 7th, 2017|0 Comments

    In 2015, a published version of the first chapter in Robert Macfarlane's last book, Landmarks, went viral. In it, the nature writer and academic talked [...]

    Wisconsin School Works To Keep Native American Languages Alive Around The World

    October 6th, 2017|0 Comments

    In Hayward, Wisconsin, a program is working to preserve Native American language and culture in the state and across the world. Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Institute [...]

    Can translations save India’s endangered ‘mother tongues’?

    October 3rd, 2017|0 Comments

    In “Translation as Culture”, an article which theorises her work with Mahasweta Devi’s fiction, Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak writes of the irreducible emotional and ethical charge [...]

    Languages don’t all have the same number of terms for colors – scientists have a new theory why

    September 19th, 2017|1 Comment

    People with standard vision can see millions of distinct colors. But human language categorizes these into a small set of words. In an industrialized culture, [...]

    With fewer fluent speakers, demand for teachers of Indigenous languages is on the rise

    September 18th, 2017|0 Comments

    A trend toward "Indigenizing" programming in schools by bringing Indigenous culture and languages into the classroom has led to a demand for teachers who are [...]

    In Singapore, Chinese Dialects Revive After Decades of Restrictions

    September 11th, 2017|0 Comments

    The Tok and Teo families are a model of traditional harmony, with three generations gathered under one roof, enjoying each other’s company over slices of [...]

    Indigenous dictionary may save the Miriwoong language from extinction

    September 10th, 2017|0 Comments

    Miriwoong is considered critically endangered — on the brink of completely disappearing — but a group in the remote Kimberley is making sure that does [...]

    The Prospects for the Sum of All Human Knowledge in Wikipedia in Indigenous Languages

    September 7th, 2017|0 Comments

    Historically, indigenous languages have not only been minimized but also marginalized, and this spans every domain, including cyberspace. This has limited the possibility of appreciating [...]

    Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries

    September 6th, 2017|0 Comments

    Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a sacred Christian site nestled in the shadow of Mount Sinai, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuously used libraries. [...]

    Inventor of Kryptonian aims to revitalize endangered languages

    August 26th, 2017|0 Comments

    UBC-O’s Dr. Christine Schreyer — an associate professor teaching anthropology and linguistics — went to Krypton. At least, as close any of us will ever [...]

    Savoring the Spanish of My Youth, as the Language Marches On

    August 24th, 2017|0 Comments

    ALBUQUERQUE — Something about the languages we speak fascinates me. Roaming around Latin America as a correspondent for more than a decade, I wrote about [...]

    A New Life for Indigenous Languages in New York City

    August 16th, 2017|0 Comments

    José Juarez jots down notes in the last minutes before going on air. On the other side of a foam-padded wall, his colleague Leobardo Ambrosio [...]

    Seven decades after Independence, many small languages in India face extinction threat

    August 14th, 2017|0 Comments

    The last leg of the 15-km journey from Jalgaon Jamod in north Maharashtra to the tiny village of Sonbardi is arduous and nauseating, especially right [...]

    On Living, and Thinking, in Two Languages at Once

    August 12th, 2017|1 Comment

    People ask me whether I think in French or in English now that I’ve lived in the US a while. I lie when I answer [...]

    Do men and women really find different words funny? Here’s what the research says

    August 10th, 2017|0 Comments

    Is the word “booty” really funnier than “ass”? And does the word “bondage” raise a laugh more than “giggle”? A new behaviour research study looks [...]

    Why Do We Need To Save Dying Languages?

    August 9th, 2017|0 Comments

    Languages Around The World While it may seem like only a handful of languages are used around the world, the reality is that a vast [...]

    How the once-ridiculed word “finalize” slipped into mainstream American English

    August 8th, 2017|0 Comments

    “I found the class really impactful.” “I have no bandwidth for this conversation.” “Can you ping me when you’re leaving the house?” Lovers of the [...]

    400 Indian Languages Face the Threat of Extinction: Study

    August 7th, 2017|0 Comments

    Almost 10 percent of the world’s 4,000 languages that face the threat of extinction are spoken in India. Linguist Ganesh N Devy says that while [...]

    The Grimm Brothers’ Other Great Project Was Writing a Giant German Dictionary

    August 4th, 2017|0 Comments

    In 1837, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the brothers most well known for their eponymous collection of fairy tales, were kicked out of their home. They [...]