This week in languages: Dec 18, 2015

by on December 18, 2015



Flüchtlinge (‘refugees’) is the word of the year for the Society for the German Language, in light of the exacerbated migrant crisis in many parts of the world today. Among the top 10 choices (German) this year was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s expression of conviction, “Wir schaffen das!” (‘we can do it!’) reports Spiegel Online. Since 1977, the Society has been choosing a single word that best captured the Zeitgeist of Germany that year.

John McWhorter writes for The Atlantic on the emergence of “multiethnolects” in communities of immigrants who do not speak a given language natively, and their children, who do. Some examples of multiethnolects are African American Vernacular English, the “Shaba Swahili” of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Kiezdeutsch—a simplified version of German spoken mostly by children of Arabic and Turkish-speaking immigrants. These language varieties, as McWhorter points out, are considered to be an entity separate from Pidgins, Creoles, and slang.

The New Yorker reports on the ongoing controversy in Nigeria over the government’s decision to render Hausa in Roman letters on Nigerian banknotes instead of in Arabic script as was previously printed, examining the dispute in light of the country’s religious and geographic divisions.

Canada has developed a new national font that can be used to represent not just English and French (the two official languages) but also the aboriginal languages such as Inuktitut and Cree. This font will now be used by all its government agencies.

Commentaries and Features

Over in Australia, the teaching of indigenous languages—specifically Barkindji—has been called into question by Ngiyampaa elder Dr Beryl Carmichael, reports ABC News. She argues that far west languages like Barkindji “should be developed further and learnt by the kids, all kids, from babies up, and toddlers,” but also with the respect for other indigenous language of the locale.

As Kenya marks 52 years as an independent state, Austin Bukenya at the Daily Nation considers the current place of Kiswahili and Sheng in the country—as well as the “slovenliness” of how many Kenyans speak the former—and calls for a wider understanding of how both will have a part to play in the Kenya of the future.

Nicolás Bartolomé Pérez reminisces about the Spanish autonomous region of Castilla y León’s deep and intricate historical and cultural links to Galicia in the past in a commentary piece (Spanishfor the Diario de León.

Peru’s Correo ran a profile on the country’s 47 indigenous languages (Spanish), especially those in danger of extinction, and highlighted in particular what Peruvian schools are doing to help revitalise and rejuvenate tongues like Resigaro, Arabela, and Amahuaca

Even though half of the Jewish population in Israel comes from Arabic-speaking countries, less than 10% of them can claim they are fluent in Arabic—one of Israel’s official languages. Meron Rapoport writes for Middle East Eye on the complex status of the Arabic language in Israel. For example, Arabic has ceased to be used as a daily language of communication among Israeli Jews of Arab origin, but has “evolved into a language without natural speakers,” and is studied in schools and military intelligence units almost as if it were a dead language like Latin.

Over in Tibet, the Dalai Lama remarked that “the Tibetan language is the medium that most accurately expresses knowledge of the mind and Buddhist philosophy.” Much of this has to do with the re-establishment of Tibetan monasteries that continue to uphold traditional Buddhist practices and the study and debate of its philosophy.

2 Responses to “This week in languages: Dec 18, 2015”

  1. أصبح تركيب المظلات الحديثة مطلبا كبيرا في الوقت الحاضر ولدينا متخصصون في تركيب وتنفيذ المظلات الحديثة
    نحن نوفر مظلات خشبية حديثة مصممة بشكل جميل طالما أن العملاء يحتاجون إلى نوع المظلات الحديثة ، سواء كانت للسيارات أو الفيلات أو القصور وما إلى ذلك.
    بدأنا بالتنفيذ على يد حداد كيربي الكو장흥출장샵يت والمنتج النهائي رائع.
    الشركة التي تقوم بتركيب مظلات حديثة عالية الدقة من أجلك ، فلا تقلق بشأن الخبرة أو الجودة أو حتى التكلفة.
    لأنه على الرغم من أن خبرة العمل وكفاءته لا يمكن وصفهما ، ولكن في نفس الوقت ، فإن التكلفة أيضًا رخيصة جدًا ، ضمن النطاق الذي يمكن للعملاء تحمله.
    للحصول على مظلة عصرية ومتميزة ما عليك سوى الاتصال بنا والاتفاق على الخدمة.
    سنصل في الوقت المتفق عليه دون تأخير ، لذلك نؤكد لك أن الوظيفة لن تسوء.
    كما نؤكد أننا نقدم أفضل التصميمات والتفاصيل للمظلات الحديثة لكل من يريد تخصيصها حسب ذوقه الخاص.

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