This week in languages: 15 Jan, 2016

by on January 15, 2016



On Monday, China tested the first search engine in the Tibetan language! Launched in April 2013, the project, named “Cloud Tibet”—which would enable news, picture, video, and audio search options—is to be released in the later half of 2016, reports NDTV.

Last Friday, over in Rebkhong County in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a Chinese-owned and operated hotel, Hotel Shangyul, has reportedly banned employees from using Tibetan within the hotel’s premises. Non-compliant employees risk a 500 RMB fine and their job. Following this incident, local authorities have since made it compulsory for Tibetan to appear alongside Chinese in signs and notices, and in the same font size too—from Jan 13, 2016 onwards.

One of the four remaining Khomani San speakers, Ouma Magrieta, was cremated on Saturday after passing away on New Year’s Eve. Once thought to be extinct, Khomani San was discovered to have survived in South Africa in the form of eight speakers, whose numbers have since fallen. The leader of the group, Katrina Esau, spoke out about revitalisation efforts that are currently underway and how their own attitudes toward the language have changed.

A Hungarian state-owned news channel, M1, has launched a Mandarin news bulletin from 11:45pm to midnight daily, in order to allow Chinese nationals in Hungary  to keep abreast of Hungarian political and economic news, reported People’s Daily Online.

The South African Arts and Culture Minister dissolved the Pan South African Language Board for the promotion of multilingualism this week, citing the various difficulties it had faced in implementing its mandate. Plans to replace the board and how to continue promoting multilingualism going forward have yet to be articulated.

A U.S. Census Bureau survey released last year shows, for the first time, the extent of Hawaiian language and Hawaiian Pidgin spoken at home in Hawaii. The 2009-2013 American Community Survey shows that Hawaiian is the #5 most spoken language at home and also newly lists the languages of Hawaiian Pidgin and Pidgin.

The World Hindi Day was celebrated on Jan 10, 2016 around the world. In Nepal, local intellectuals argued that Hindi, spoken for centuries in Nepal, should be promoted alongside other regional languages and not considered a rival to Nepali.

New research suggests that the back and forth cooing and interaction between mother and child when reading, rather than just the sound of the words read from a page may be the key to a child’s language development. Researchers at the University of Iowa observed that babies made more speech-like sounds and mothers were more responsive to these sounds when they were reading together than in other activities like playing with toys.

Commentaries and Features

In a bid to reverse the falling number of Year 12 students taking on a second language, the Australian government has plans to expand its ELLA (Early Learning Languages Australia) trial, which was first initiated in 2015 in 41 preschools. The programme allows students to learn five different languages—Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian, French, and Arabic—through play-based and animated apps.

The New York Times ran a feature exploring the current state of Xibe in China, a language considered to be descended from Manchu, itself once upon a time “the official tongue of one of the world’s most powerful empires”. Although efforts to promote the use of Xibe are being supported by the government, it appears that the language—together with its culture and traditions—is nonetheless gradually losing ground to Mandarin.

Will the rise of the use of English in academia stifle scientific thought? In Germany, a campaign led by academics seeks to preserve German as a language of science because “languages use different patterns of ‘argumentation’,” while research suggests that for content to be published in English-language journals, they must generally subscribe to “established Anglophone theories.” International journals, moreover, rarely accept references to papers in languages other than English, meaning that alternative ideas developed in other languages are not as readily recognized than if translated or written in English.

Is Scots merely a “slang” of “proper” English? What role does it play in the modern nation of Scotland with its myriad of issues relating to identity and politics? Does it even have a future in Scotland? The New Statesman explores these questions in a fascinating commentary.

Lewk out world! Millenials now have a totes amazesh way of speaking and writing. Linguists Lauren Spradlin and Taylor Jones call this practice ‘totesing’—a way of abbreviating words to “effect a certain tone”—like turning ‘totally’ to ‘totes’, ‘ridiculous’ to ‘redic’ and so on. It’s not just a matter of abbreviation, however, The Washington Post dissects this phenomenon with the help of linguists and points out that another step in totesing (which is more complicated and creative than one would suppose) is to “cram consonants together” such that ‘homeboy’ becomes ‘homeb’ but ‘pregnant’ becomes ‘preg’ not ‘pregn’. Guess you can’t stop trying to make fetch happen!

Eylon Aslan-Levy discusses a new move by the Academy of the Hebrew Language to coin Hebrew words to replace English loanwords in the Hebrew language.

Language barriers are posing a challenge to the resettlement process of Syrian refugees into New Brunswick, Canada. The New Brunswick Multicultural Council is calling for volunteers who can speak Arabic, apart from English and French to help with the process. Said Mike Timani, president of the Multicultural Council, “When they do not speak the language that is a very difficult thing and it could be overwhelming … especially when the main focus is for them to find a job, to create a job or support their family.”

Over in Germany, Ankommen, meaning ‘arrive’ or ‘come across,’ is a new smartphone app that aims to help migrants and refugees entering Germany by giving them basic lessons on German culture, language and information about the government services they will have to apply for. Available in English, Arabic and German, the app is free on Google Play and will be available on the iOS system soon.


5 Responses to “This week in languages: 15 Jan, 2016”

  1. The point of view of your article has taught me a lot, and I already know how to improve the paper on gate.oi, thank you.

  2. Your approach to writing a blog is very clever, and I admire it very much.

  3. At this very moment, I am learning something completely new and challenging by reading really helpful articles or evaluations on websites.

  4. Wow, you’re great. No, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before in print.

  5. يمكن القضاء على الصراصير التي تخرج من المجاري، أو التي تتنقل في أرجاء المنزل بمواد طبيعية وفعالة في القضاء على تلك الحشرات، أو حتى طردها من المنزل
    يعتبر النعناع البري من أكثر العلاجات المنزلية الفعّالة في طرد ال고흥출장샵صراصير، وهو غالباً ما يكون متوفراً مما يسهل الحصول عليه في أي وقت، أما كيفية استخدامه فتتلخص في الخطوات التالية: غلي لتر من الماء في قدر. وضع النعناع البري في الماء، وتركه يغلي لمدة عشر دقائق تقريباً. ترك مغلي النعناع يبرد قليلاً. صب مغلي النعناع في المجاري، أو وضعه في زجاجة رذاذ ورش جميع الأماكن التي يشتبه بوجود الصراصير فيها.


Leave a Comment