Language & linguistics news from around the world • Updated daily • Relevant stories, selected by humans (not computers)

Share this site!

Language: English

  • Apr 23, 2012
  • 05:53 PM

Foreign languages - Russian army officers’ weapon

Ilya Kramnik / Russia & India Report
For the first time in the history of the Russian Armed forces the All-army Olympiad on foreign languages among cadets of military universities is being held in the Moscow Military University on April 18-21. In the course of the military education reform, the number of hours assigned on the study of foreign languages, has considerably increased.
  • Apr 23, 2012
  • 05:17 PM

New centre for study of translation set up

Gulf Times
The institute will offer a comprehensive array of related linguistic activities, unique to the Gulf region, encompassing postgraduate education in translation and interpreting, high-level language training, research, and international-standard translation and interpreting services.
  • Apr 22, 2012
  • 05:55 PM

Timor Leste, Tetum, Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia or English?

J. Ramos-Horta / Jakarta Post
Timorese leaders and people, though islanders, are very outward-looking, open to cultural influences, eagerly learning and absorbing the good (and bad) we see, read and hear around us. We are among the most polyglot people in the world. A very large percentage of us manage as many as three to five languages — a native language, Tetum, Indonesian, English and Portuguese.
  • Apr 22, 2012
  • 04:43 PM

President responding to people's wishes through Trilingual SL

Disna Mudalige / Ceylon Daily News
The 10 year national plan for a Trilingual Sri Lanka provides the blueprint for the first determined effort by any administration since 1987 to seriously implement the provisions for a Trilingual Sri Lanka already available in the law with the passing of the 13th amendment to the constitution, said Presidential Adviser and coordinator of the Special Presidential Initiative for a Trilingual Sri Lanka, Sunimal Fernando.
  • Apr 20, 2012
  • 12:17 PM

Tanzanians debate if English is key to success

Anna Patton / Washington Times
Like the majority of Tanzanians, these students were taught in the Kiswahili language throughout seven years of primary school. But moving to secondary school means an abrupt shift to learning all subjects in English, which many educators, students and parents say affects how much learning actually takes place.
  • Apr 20, 2012
  • 12:13 PM

Quebec town in trouble over bilingual newsletter (video)

CTV News
A monthly newsletter in the city of Chateauguay, Quebec, has caused a stir and it has nothing to do with its content. A resident complained there was too much English in the newsletter and now, Quebec's language watchdog has launched an investigation.
  • Apr 19, 2012
  • 08:26 PM

Best Apps to Learn a Language

Julie Ashton-Townsend / Literacy News
Learning a new language is something that takes time and effort, but now you can do it on the move. This is a guide to the best android, iPhone and BlackBerry apps to help you learn a new language.
  • Apr 19, 2012
  • 08:05 PM

French language activists find 850 violations in Montreal
Led by the Societe Saint-Jean Baptiste and the Mouvement Quebec Francais, 300 of the complaints were collected by one retired worker who spends his days looking for egregious language violations. Standing in front of the bust of Camille Laurin, the father of Bill 101, English-only flyers from grocery stores and tailors were presented as examples of violations.
  • Apr 19, 2012
  • 01:06 AM

Livery cab drivers who want to pick up street hails don't have to know English

Pete Donohue / New York Daily News
The current draft of rules would let livery drivers pick up street hails for four years before becoming proficient in English. Taxi and Limousine Commission officials, however, are considering exempting current livery drivers from even the four-year deadline because they’re concerned many won’t be able to pass the test and would lose their livelihoods, sources said.
  • Apr 19, 2012
  • 12:58 AM

Eish, it's definitely English

Rebecca Davis / Daily Maverick
At this juncture in South Africa’s history, it may seem an odd time to write a book about the use of English in South Africa. The notion might seem regressive, colonial, even a bit politically incorrect. Mesthrie is quick to correct this. “Despite being a minority language in South Africa, English is the most-shared language,” said Mesthrie.
  • Apr 18, 2012
  • 06:19 PM

Researcher: State English learner program is 'subtractive education' (audio)

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez / 89.3 KPCC
The default policy in California schools immerses students in English without building on what they’ve learned in their native languages. At the same time, a growing body of research underscores the benefits of speaking two or more languages early in life.
  • Apr 18, 2012
  • 10:59 AM

Reading time at the zoo: the baboons that excel at English

Cordis News
The researchers, based at the Laboratoire de psychologie cognitive (LPC) de l'Universite d'Aix-Marseille have shown that a group of baboons has successfully learned to discriminate real English words from pseudo words just by looking at their written form.
  • Apr 18, 2012
  • 10:57 AM

Startup of the day: Travelling Languages

Philip Connolly / The Sunday Business Post
“We were looking at a different way to package a language course,” said Fanara. “One of the best ways is to create an environment for people where they can only speak English. They are forced to speak the language they are learning.” The school is only for adults and takes its students on a tour around Ireland to listen to and speak with different accents.
  • Apr 17, 2012
  • 11:05 PM

SOU prof tries to invent a new word daily for 2012

Paul Hadella / Mail Tribune
Battistella is on a mission to fill gaps in the English language, inventing words for concepts that should have words — but don't. A pleasant feeling inspired by sunshine? That's "soloria" (from "sol" plus "euphoria"). The emotional rush that lovers experience on Feb. 14? Call it a "valentingle."
  • Apr 17, 2012
  • 01:15 PM

Watton man teaches Norfolk dialect to students in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Richard Batson / Norwich Evening News
The sound of Norfolk dialect has been troshing around the tearbles of a school room. But the “larnin” about mawkins, dickeys and squit has not been among the fields and flint buildings of the language’s homeland. It has been amid palm trees and skyscrapers 3000 miles away in Saudi Arabia.
  • Apr 16, 2012
  • 06:33 PM

Timor-Leste’s Language Policy: The Boulder On The Shoe – Analysis

Victor R Savage / Eurasia Review
Timor-Leste has chosen Portuguese as its official language of government, though Tetum remains the other official language. This language policy, a return to its colonial heritage, has future implications for the state’s development and geopolitical relations in the region.
  • Apr 14, 2012
  • 09:00 PM

Opinion: Anglos have seen the enemy, and it is us

Don MacPherson / The Gazette
..So, out of the idealism of the 1960s, long before Bill 101, they did what speakers of the world’s dominant language normally don’t do: they began to learn another language, and to have it taught to their children. And when others fled the first Parti Québécois government, they stayed; they bet their futures, and those of their children, on Quebec.
  • Apr 14, 2012
  • 02:01 PM

The unique dialects of Appalachia give the mountain people their identity

Lisa King / Washington Times
It is true that various terms are rooted in Elizabethan English, Scottish, Celtic, and Irish languages, and dialects do remain in use amongst the Appalachian people, but there is no across the board commonality amongst them that explains the unique nature of the language, other than geography. Urban immigrant and ethic concentrations existed, yet no clearly distinct way of speaking beyond a common accent had developed in these places.
  • Apr 13, 2012
  • 03:52 PM

Should Israeli Science Speak Hebrew?

Nathan Jeffay / The Forward
Israeli scholarship is widely cited the world over. But if state linguists have their way, much of that research will become a whole lot less accessible to those who don’t speak Hebrew. The Academy of the Hebrew Language is asking the Education Ministry to require universities to use less English — the language in which many graduate-level courses are taught, and in which much of Israel’s scientific research is conducted.
  • Apr 12, 2012
  • 07:09 PM

Don't tamper with the way people talk

The Daily Advertiser
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and primary opponent Rick Santorum agreed on at least one thing, in addition to the need to unseat Barack Obama. And that was that the United States must adopt English as its official language.
  • Apr 12, 2012
  • 03:32 PM

Low-skill immigrants to face mandatory language test, Kenney announces

Tobi Cohen / The Vancouver Journal
Starting July 1, Kenney said Provincial Nominee Program applicants in semi-skilled and low-skilled professions will be tested and required to meet a minimum standard when it comes to listening, speaking, reading and writing in at least one of Canada's official languages — English or French.
  • Apr 11, 2012
  • 04:48 PM

South Sudan: Is Arabic Language a Bouncing Ball About to Take Its Place Amongst Local Languages?

Emmanuel Monychol /
..It means that Arabic language, whether it is Africanized or pure still has a room in South Sudan, since South Sudanese are Sudanese, who have been influenced over the years by Arab cultural heritage, a Sudanese culture amidst other African cultures and languages in the South. Although Arabic language has been chucked out in the constitution, it still hangs over us like a bouncing ball about to fall down and takes its place.
  • Apr 11, 2012
  • 12:41 AM

Ordinary Quebecers, not bureaucrats, are the true guardians of French

Craig McPherson / The Gazette
Do you know what I think is the best protection and promotion of French? It is the sense of camaraderie of francophone Quebecers toward their English co-workers, helping them to feel comfortable speaking French and expanding their fluency, while at the same time taking back some of the same in English.
  • Apr 10, 2012
  • 11:05 PM

Call to protect dying Indigenous languages (audio)

Nance Haxton / ABC Online
Linguists say there is a critical need to preserve Indigenous Australian languages that are in danger of dying out. Research shows that up to 90 per cent of the world's 7,000 languages could be lost by the end of the century. Of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, only 20 from of an original 250 are still widely spoken.
  • Apr 10, 2012
  • 10:41 PM

Ghana calls an end to tyrannical reign of the Queen's English

Afua Hirsch / The Guardian
"There has been a significant change now, away from those who think sounding English is prestigious, towards those who value being multilingual, who would never neglect our mother tongues, and who are happy to sound Ghanaian when we speak English."
  • Apr 10, 2012
  • 10:16 PM

At home in Chinese

Mei Jia / China Daily
Critic Zhi An believes Arai is probably the only non-native speaker of Chinese capable of writing creatively in the language. Her books, mainly collections of short stories and essays, attract a large readership, cutting across age groups. They love her honesty and insight in describing cross-cultural experiences.
  • Apr 10, 2012
  • 05:49 PM

Trilingual kids who will never be tongue-tied

Iva Pocock / The Irish Times
MY FIRST experience of trilingual children was living in Sri Lanka in 2005, where many of the kids I met spoke Tamil, Sinhala and English. I was astounded when I realised that they could also read and write in these languages, a feat requiring knowledge of three completely different scripts – the Roman alphabet, Tamil script with more than 200 letters, and Sinhalese which has more than 50 characters.
  • Apr 10, 2012
  • 05:38 PM

India's teachers face 'native-only' bar

Mitali Parekh / The Guardian
English is the second official language of India, bequeathed by British colonisation. And yet, Indians are not considered "native English speakers", as those competing for English language teaching jobs have found. It would be easy to label this as racism but the prejudice is a combination of ignorance and the sometimes poor reputation of the Indian education system.
  • Apr 10, 2012
  • 05:18 PM

Apartheid had mercy on indigeneous languanges

It is disturbing to me at least that most political leaders speak their languages in the UN, but all Africans, bar our Arabian brothers in the North, read their prepared speeches in their colonial masters languages, this is in English, French or Portuguese.
  • Apr 10, 2012
  • 05:12 PM

EO urges use of standard English

Brenton Henry / Antigua Observer
ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Language Arts teachers have been urged to promote the use of standard English during school hours, as the Ministry of Education makes a bid to further improve performance in that subject area.