Archive for the Category: Linguistics

Linguistic landscape

Last Saturday I went to a study day about the Isle of Man put on by the Centre for North-West Regional Studies at Lancaster University. One of the talks was about the Manx language and used quotes from my dissertation – it was great to be recognised like that, and the speaker was quite surprised […]

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Also posted in Language 13 Comments

Spoken language is a special type of music

According to an article I came across yesterday music might be what enables us to acquire language, and spoken language could be thought of as a special type of music. When acquiring language babies first hear speech as “an intentional and often repetitive vocal performance” and they learn to hear and mimic its emotional and […]

Also posted in Language, Language acquisition, Language learning, Music 4 Comments

Wiradjuri

I came across an interesting article today about the Wiradjuri language and how it is being revived. In 1981 only three people spoke Wiradjuri and by 2009 no native speakers remained, however since 1988 the language has been revived, thanks particularly to the efforts of Stan Grant Senior, a Wiradjuri elder, who worked with a […]

Also posted in Endangered languages, Language, Language revival 2 Comments

Aramaic revival with help from Sweden

I found an interesting article today about efforts to revive the Aramaic language in Israel. The Syriac variety of Aramaic is used in the Maronite Christian and Syrian Orthodox churches, where prayers are chanted in the language, though few understand them. Only the elderly members of the community still speak the language, which is the […]

Also posted in Language, Language revival 4 Comments

Dialect, vernacular, patois?

The other I found quite an interesting article about Shanghainese which suggest that’s it has become a bit more popular recently, and is being used for some announcements in public transport and on planes, and that children are allowed to speak it at one school, at least during breaks. The article says that about 10 […]

Also posted in Chinese, Language, Language revival 1 Comment

By hook or by crook

I went to two talks by David Crystal at Bangor University yesterday – one was entitled “By Hook or by Crook” and the other was on Shakespeare’s English, focusing particularly on original pronunciation (OP) – a reconstruction of the way people spoke in Shakepeare’s day. Both talks were fascinating and full of information and anecdotes. […]

Also posted in English, Language 3 Comments

Monolingual USA?

The other day I found an interesting article in the New York Times about monolingualism and multilingualism in the USA and elsewhere. There’s a widespread belief that most Americans are monolingual in English, and that elsewhere it’s common for people to know two or more languages. The article asks whether this belief is true. The […]

Also posted in Bilingualism, Language 4 Comments

Ryukyuan languages

Following on from Sunday’s language quiz, I found an interesting article about Language Loss and Revitalization in the Ryukyu Islands. There are apparently quite a few different languages spoken in the Ryukyu Islands – at least 10, and while they are related to Japanese, the percentage of shared cognates is 66% or less – 59% […]

Also posted in Language, Language revival 1 Comment

Languages in the news

Here are a few language-related articles I found recently: Tolkien and Made Up Languages – an article about Tolkien, whose 120 birthday it would be today if he was still around, his languages, and other fictional languages such as Newspeak and Nadsat. The secret to learning languages – Tips from the polyglots: Find out how […]

Also posted in Conlangs, Dictionaries, Language, Language revival 2 Comments

Ingrown languages

In an interesting book I read recently, What Language Is by John McWhorter, the author discusses why some languages appear a lot more complicated or ‘ingrown’ than others. He gives the example of Persian and Pashto, two Iranian languages spoken in a number of countries in western and central Asia. Whereas Persian has more or […]

Also posted in Arabic, English, Language, Language acquisition, Language learning, Spanish 7 Comments