This week in languages: May 13, 2016

by on May 13, 2016



Syriac is being revitalised in Bengaluru, reports The New Indian Express. A group of university students and youth are now working to incorporate the language in various aspects of their daily lives, from church services to wedding invitations to WhatsApp.

In Guam, House Bill 19-143 aims to make instruction in local languages Chamorro and Carolinian a prerequisite for all public school students’ graduation. Board of Education Chairman Herman T. Guerrero, however, has called the bill “discriminatory” and believes that there are many potential problems with its content.

Language barriers can create significant problems at Iqaluit Hospital—the only hospital in the remote Canadian province of Nunavut, home to a French-speaking as well as to a sizable Inuktitut-speaking population. A new report on how to address these issues was recently made available, reports CBC News.

Commentaries and Features

The Klingon language saga continues: Quartz covers the controversy, noting that the final decision in the case will have far-reaching ramifications, including whether speaking any constructed language, like Esperanto and Dothraki, might become illegal without copyright holders’ permission in the USA, and the implications the decision also has for programming languages.

With English currently used as a dominant language of communication between European Union (EU) diplomats, Nikil Sonnad suggests in Quartz that if the United Kingdom leaves the EU, English will become really “weird“. The English of the EU, “Euro-English”, already features non-standard usage—including using “delay” to mean ‘deadline’ or ‘time limit’.

“Only 12% of 1,000 respondents answered that improper grammar (punctuation, capitalisation, etc) in a text message would bother them ‘a lot’,”Maddie Crum writes for The Huffington Post. In a new YouGov poll investigated how bothered people were by improper grammar in different genres: text, email, In line with current gender on being linguistically more self-conscious, the study shows that more women are bothered by wrong grammar (27%), in comparison to just 17% of men.

Taking cue from the anti-emotional abuse hashtag #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou, Tom Fordy at The Telegraph argues that using “He” is sexist and alienates men who are already against emotional abuse and support gender equality. His solution? Replace all gendered pronouns like “he” and “she” with singular use of “they”.

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