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Keeping Coast Salish Languages Strong

Technology plays an important role in helping Hul'q'umi'num' learners improve their fluency. Agnes Violet Sharon Seymour’s desire to learn Hul'q'umi'num' stretches back to when she was a girl, listening to her father and uncle talk in the Coast Salish language. I wanted to be able to communicate and understand them,” she says. Seymour wants that [...]

By |2020-03-31T13:50:12+00:00March 31st, 2020|British Columbia, Canada, Salish language|0 Comments

How the visual language of comics could have its roots in the ice age

Neil Cohn's love of comic strips began in his family's attic. In one of his earliest memories, he recalls his dad climbing the stairs and pulling down a box of 1960s Batman and Superman books that he had stashed away from his own childhood. To Cohn's four-year-old self, it was as if they'd been imported [...]

By |2020-03-25T23:27:32+00:00March 25th, 2020|Comic books, Language|0 Comments

Card game celebrates pre-colonial Filipino script baybayin, and creator hopes to help inspire its revival

A young Philippine artist and freelance illustrator has created a card game she hopes will inspire her countrymen to help revive the written language used by their ancestors. Patricia Ramos hopes her simple game will teach players across the Philippines how to read the ancient writing system of baybayin, widely used before the Spanish invasion [...]

By |2020-03-25T13:48:14+00:00March 25th, 2020|Baybayin script, Filipino, Language, Philippines|0 Comments

Forensic linguists explore how emojis can be used as evidence in court

Emojis have become ubiquitous in text communication – messages are peppered with smiley faces, hearts and other graphic icons. They were first drawn by graphic designer Shigetaka Kurita, and generated by a Japanese communications firm called NTT DoCoMo in the late 1990s. Now they’re everywhere. But would you be quite so quick to insert an [...]

By |2020-03-25T13:41:09+00:00March 23rd, 2020|Emojis, Language, Law|0 Comments

Talking about the future of teaching Indigenous languages

The Auditor General’s report on education in the territory released in February painted a dismal picture of Indigenous language education. “After our audit in 2010, the department acknowledged its need to review its policy for Indigenous language and culture-based education. It completed this review in 2014, which found that its model was not leading to [...]

By |2020-03-17T12:33:57+00:00March 17th, 2020|Canada, Education, Indigenous languages|0 Comments

How the loss of Native American languages affects our understanding of the natural world

Alaska has a “linguistic emergency,” according to the Alaskan Gov. Bill Walker. A report warned earlier this year that all of the state’s 20 Native American languages might cease to exist by the end of this century, if the state did not act. American policies, particularly in the six decades between the 1870s and 1930s, [...]

By |2020-03-11T21:47:45+00:00March 11th, 2020|Native American languages|0 Comments

Word nerds may be faster at learning to code than math whizzes

That’s because writing code also involves learning a second language, an ability to learn that language’s vocabulary and grammar, and how they work together to communicate ideas and intentions. Other cognitive functions tied to both areas, such as problem solving and the use of working memory, also play key roles. “Many barriers to programming, from [...]

By |2020-03-04T20:28:02+00:00March 4th, 2020|Language, Technology|0 Comments

How a child’s first language includes more than words

This International Mother Language Day (Feb. 21), Canadians celebrated their multilingual heritage by recognizing flexible uses of languages. According to UNESCO, "Mother tongue or mother language refers to a child's first language, the language learned in the home from older family members." As a linguistic anthropologist who studies language use in diverse communities, I know [...]

By |2020-03-03T14:41:34+00:00March 3rd, 2020|Language|0 Comments

‘The kids soak it up’: How Aboriginal language transformed a school

Aboriginal elder Michael Kulka overheard a conversation between students that stopped him in his tracks while on a recent visit to the local primary school at Mossman, an hour north of Cairns in far north Queensland. It wasn’t the topic of the discussion that struck him, but the fact that the children were speaking in [...]

By |2020-03-02T16:12:25+00:00March 2nd, 2020|Aboriginal languages, Australia, Education|0 Comments

Turkey’s endangered languages

Eighteen languages in Turkey are currently listed as endangered, vulnerable, or have become extinct, according to UNESCO. This is a result of decades of government policies that have not put other languages on an equal footing with Turkish, the first language of around 80 percent of the population. The history of forced Turkification targeting non-Turkish [...]

By |2020-03-01T18:41:15+00:00March 1st, 2020|Language, Turkey|0 Comments