Monthly Archives: May, 2012

Ukraine debates status of Russian language

In Ukraine, they take their languages very seriously. A parliamentary debate descended into fisticuffs last week when lawmakers debated the country’s official language policy. The state language is Ukrainian, which is spoken by people predominantly in the centre and the west. It’s been proposed that Russian is elevated to a second language, equal to Ukrainian.(…)


No bad words for bilinguals

Brains are complicated and odd things. Take new research from Bangor University in the UK. Researchers have found that an unconscious brain quirk dampens down people’s responses to negative words in their non-native language. Bilingual people thus respond less emotionally to words like ‘failure’ in their second language. Similarly they are less shocked to hear(…)


Inuit Bible translation completed

It may have taken 34 years, but the Inuit now have the Bible in their own language. A joint project of the Canadian Bible Society and the Anglican Church, the translation started in 1978. The project cost CDN$1.7 million, with the entire team made up of Anglican ministers who are Inuk. Unusually, the translation was(…)


California claims some phrases

When I think of California, I think sun, surf, beaches and fun times. I haven’t been there (yet!) but I can certainly image it as a place you’d have to invent new words for. And it seems my imagination is right – The Dictionary of American Regional English shows there are a few phrases Californians(…)


Online ASL dictionary

Are you learning American Sign Language? Need a way to learn new words and phrases outside of the classroom? Signing Savvy may well be the solution. Founded in 2009 by John Miller, a former teacher of deaf and hard of hearing children, the website is a video database of American Sign Language. The site is(…)


Old English

A few days ago I posted about colour coding languages, and mentioned that a lot of words seem to come from Old English. In case you’re wondering what exactly Old English sounds like, take a look at this video, which was filmed at West Stowe Anglo-Saxon Village in England. In addition to reconstructed Anglo-Saxon houses,(…)


Ancient language discovered in Turkey

An ancient language which could shed light on some of history’s first ‘barbarians’ has been discovered on clay tablets in Turkey. Archaeologists excavating the site of an Assyrian imperial governors’ palace in the city of Tusha uncovered the tablets, which reveal the names of 60 women. When studied in detail, archaeologists realised the names didn’t(…)


Colour coding languages

A fun item today comes from Ideas Illustrated, who have colour coded words according to their origin. This allows readers to quickly see the word origins of a block of text – from Old English to Classical Latin. It turns out that the texts ‘translated’ mostly contained words with their origins in Old English (represented(…)