Monthly Archives: November, 2012

Tlingit revitalisation

Tlingit is a native language of Alaska, spoken primarily by the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska and Western Canada. An interesting article in a Juneau newspaper explores the efforts to revitalise the language, and reasons why this might not be successful. Among the reasons is the shame people associate with the language and culture because(…)


Moscow has new English-language radio station

Russia is apparently not a very friendly place for the non-Russian speaker. All signs are in Cyrillic with no helpful English translation, although English is the most-spoken foreign language by its population. This may change though, with the launch of Moscow’s first 24 hour English language radio station. The station will mostly play international music,(…)


Gmail – now in Cherokee

Google search in Cherokee has been around for a while. Now Cherokee is available in Gmail too! Both include a virtual keyboard that you can use to type the writing system invented by Sequoyah. The project arose when the Oklahoma Cherokee population found that no one under 40 spoke conversational Cherokee. The Cherokee Nation decided(…)


Omnishambles named Word of the Year

It seems to get earlier every year… The Oxford English Dictionary has named its word of the year – omnishambles. Its meaning is “a situation which is shambolic from every possible angle” and derives from a British TV show called The Thick of It. Other shortlisted words include: Eurogeddon Games maker Mobot Second screening Fiona(…)


Diwali: English words from Indian languages

Happy Diwali everyone! I hope you enjoyed the festival of lights, even though I’m a little late in posting about it. I saw this post over at Wordnik on English words that have their roots in Indian languages and thought it was interesting. I was particularly intrigued to find the word ‘thug’ in their list(…)


Elephant learns Korean

Elephants are pretty great. They’re cute, they have long memories… and one of them can speak Korean. An elephant in Korea has started to speak the language by imitating his keeper. Koshik is 22, and scientists think he may have started imitating human speech because he is lonely. Take a look at the video of(…)


How quickly can you learn a language?

A fascinating article in The Guardian tracks how one man learned to speak a language in around a day. Joshua Foer’s learning was spaced out over a few months, using the system Memrise. But he found that he memorised around 1000 words pretty easily, and could put them into use when he was immersed in(…)


Canada’s languages

The results of the 2011 Canadian census have been released, and they make interesting reading for language lovers. New data shows that Canada is becoming a nation of many languages because of waves of immigration. Canada is officially bilingual (English and French) but the survey reveals more than 200 languages are spoken in the country.(…)