Archive for the Category: Linguistics

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 […]

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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

Humboldt’s parrot

There’s a story that in 1799 the German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was exploring the Orinoco and Amazon rivers and documenting the languages and cultures of the tribes he encountered there. While spending time with one tribe of Carib people, he asked them about their neighbours and rivals, the Maypure, who he […]

Also posted in Endangered languages, Language, Language revival 3 Comments

Benefits of being bilingual

According to a study at the University of Haifa in Israel, children who grow up bilingually are able to learn a third language more easily than monolingual children. The study compared children who speak Russian and Hebrew with those who speak only Hebrew, and who are all learning English at school. It found that the […]

Also posted in Bilingualism, Language, Language learning 10 Comments