Beremma! Enter the world of Austronesian languages and cultures. Our thirteenth issue of Unravel still aims to open minds to word and world, specifically that of one of the largest—not to mention most spread out across the globe—language families in the world.
For the special feature, I’m proud to present a breakdown of the Austronesian art of replication in Assistant Editor Deborah Chua’s Reduplication in Austronesian languages, Analie Gepulani Neiteler’s moving and inspirational tale of her language-learning experience growing up in Germany but growing into Tagalog in Orphaned by my mother’s tongue, and Dorian “Dusty” L. Nicol’s uplifting profile and reflection on working in Papua New Guinea in Learning Tok Pisin. As for myself, I pay homage to a humble and well-versed ‘Austronesian otaku’ that I had the pleasure of meeting about a year ago (only a year?!) and interviewing now for this issue in Finding unity in diversity: An interview with Hafiz Rashid. The opening greeting in this foreword was the first Baweanese (also known as Boyanese) word I learnt from this young man who opened my eyes and heart to more than 10 of Singapore’s Austronesian languages unknown to me just a few years ago. There remains much more to unearth in terms of history, narratives, and artefacts that even feature in modern life — right under our noses!
Outside of the special feature, I am eternally grateful to the work of Assistant Editors Gregory Antono, who is happily on exchange in South America and penned a friendly profile of and reflection on the slang of Buenos Aires in El lunfardo; as well as Clara Miller-Broomfield, who starts a new chapter of her life in Tulle, France, where she teaches English and reflects on her language acquisition experience, sometimes penning them down in fun pieces like Learning Occitan.
In addition, we have questioning the sinister nature of language policing, Dora Uštulica, who ponders author George Orwell’s infamous dystopic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and its lessons for modern day life in Language, thought, and manipulation. Finally, we also have Michael Schmitz who considers his language teaching experience since 1999 and tells us Why German is the easiest language on earth — or why it should be.
A thousand thanks to the wonderful artists who created or photographed header images (and our gorgeous batik issue cover) for Issue 13: cakwe, Sébastien Bollens, Reza Afshar, Monika Schröder, Francisco Niño, and Srabon Arafat. Without them colouring and illustrating our world and work, Unravel would be much poorer.
To renew our efforts to promote the work of artists and showcase their work alongside our articles, we’ve created an Instagram account:
I invite you to follow our journey and work there and get your dose of linguistics on your Insta feed.
As a volunteer-powered effort, Unravel welcomes the advice, feedback, and general jolly comments from readers and contributors on our work. If you—or someone you know—is keen to work with a diverse team of passionate journalinguists as a media intern or a language roundup intern, please write to [email protected]! You’ll be immersed in the work behind such a global community effort focused on language, linguistics, and culture. Linguistics training not required.
That much said, we hope you enjoy Issue 13!
Frances Loke Wei