What happens if you get lost at one of the world’s largest religious gatherings? Not only are there millions of people, but among them they speak hundreds of mutually incomprehensible languages.
Some Americans think a VW ad to be broadcast during the Super Bowl is racist because it features a white guy speaking Jamaican patois. But Jamaicans seem happy that the ad is giving their nation and culture some free publicity.
The latest literary hit in China is a new translation of James Joyce’s notoriously difficult novel, Finnegans Wake. The original English version of the book has defeated many readers, but Joyce’s Chinese translator says Finnegans Wake is primarily a book about freedom.
Quebec’s new separatist government is promising to require French exams in English language schools and to ban bilingual newsletters in some municipalities. That’s enraging many English speakers. So the government is bankrolling a province-wide tour by a pro-English musician.
The World’s Patrick Cox reports on a bilingual iPad app that’s also a comic book. The characters are food snacks that speak English and Chinese, and get into kung fu fights. Dim Sum Warriors is being hailed as both a great comic book series and a great language-learning tool.
Linguist Mark Turin takes us on a whirlwind tour of New York City to explore a few of its 800 languages, and find out what happens to them over time.
Linguist Mark Turin reports from South Africa, whose post-Apartheid constitution designates eleven languages as official. English is more popular than ever, Afrikaans is re-inventing itself, while the government’s efforts to raise the status of languages like Xhosa and Zulu have succeeded– up to a point.
Many Mexican migrants are leaving the US and returning to Mexico. Their children often speak better English than Spanish. So back in Mexican schools, many struggle. In order to help these kids, some teachers in Mexico are now learning English.
Linguist Mark Turin returns to Nepal, where he learned and documented the Thangmi language. Spoken by 30,000 people, Thangmi has many unique expressions but it is imperiled. The Nepalese government is trying to protect minority languages by introducing them into schools, but it may be too late: the children of many Thangmi speakers are choosing to speak more mainstream languages.
A new study finds that boys’ voices are breaking at age 12, two years younger than in 1960. That’s bad news for boy sopranos and the choirs they sing in.
‘House names’ are nicknames that Ethiopian family members give each other. Traditionally multisyllabic and descriptive, house names are becoming shorter and more cutesy. Also, changes in Uruguayan surnames.
The US Army is reviving a program that offers immigrants with certain language skills a fast track to US citizenship. Many of the slots, including all those for Korean speakers, have already been filled.
Forget Klingon, Na’vi and Dothraki, and consider instead the invented languages of novels: Elvish, Pravic, the language of the Ariekei and Wardwesân.
The World’s Gerry Hadden has lived in Catalonia for eight years. He speaks English, Spanish, French and German. But not Catalan. No matter that his kids speak it, his neighbors speak it, the stars of mighty FC Barcelona speak it. Gerry doesn’t speak Catalan because he doesn’t need to.