This week in languages: 12 Feb, 2016

by on February 12, 2016



Over in Bosnia, six-year-old Zejd Coralic is hearing-impaired, but his entire first-grade class has learnt sign language so that they can communicate with him. Bosnia adopted laws in 2003 to fully integrate children with disabilities into the classroom.

In Laos, manufacturers and importers are now required to label their products in the Lao language before distribution, in a new order by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The Nation reports that the new measures are to ensure local consumers are protected against expired, deteriorating, and low-quality products labelled in foreign languages; and also to better clarify the duties of product labelling authorities.

The Algerian government has passed a reform giving the Berber language official status. Although Arabic will remain the language of governmental proceedings, Berber will now be permitted to appear on official documents. The Berber people were already living in North Africa prior to the 7th century Arab invasion; today, they constitute 13 million of Algeria’s 39 million inhabitants.

Commentaries and Features

Bengali novelist Jhumpa Lahiri details her triumphs and travails of learning Italian in a new book “In Other Words”—in Italian, with an English version translated by Ann Goldstein in a bilingual edition of the book. Christina Thompson from The Boston Globe captures the effort of the writer in this review of Jhumpa Lahiri’s book of experiences, with its roots in college when she first started learning Italian. “Plenty of others have learned languages, even as adults, but not too many writers have undertaken to learn a language well enough to write in it. And fewer still—if, indeed, any—have left such a compelling record of what that was like.”

The profiled the endangered Kapampangan language and the Centre for Kapampangan Studies’ ongoing revitalisation efforts, especially the Kapampangan film Ari: My Life with a King, which premiered to critical acclaim last December.

Akhilesh Pillalamarri of The Diplomat explores the politics of “reclaiming” lost heritage from erstwhile conquerors and colonialists by renaming cities and towns. He argues that even though there are better things to do, this rectifies ahistorical nomenclature imposed on these peoples and allows them to reframe paradigms.

10 Responses to “This week in languages: 12 Feb, 2016”

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