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Category: Personalities

  • Apr 19, 2012
  • 08:01 PM

Marae hosts Hawaiian scholar's lu'au

Elton Smallman /
The lu'au at Kirikiriroa Marae is for Keao NeSmith, a native of Kauai, who is back in Hamilton to receive a doctorate for his work on the revitalisation of the Hawaiian language. Mr NeSmith teaches the Hawaiian language at the University of Hawai'i and has taken time off to come back for his graduation.
  • 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
  • 05:28 PM

Daniel Everett: lost in translation

William Leith / The Telegraph
It’s hard to describe Daniel Everett, so here are some facts about him. He’s American. He was a Christian missionary. His goal in life was to tell people about Jesus. He spent 25 years, on and off, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, talking to a tribe of hunter-gatherers called the Pirahã. This is one of the most remote, undeveloped places on earth.
  • Apr 05, 2012
  • 12:18 PM

La Quinta translator has an ear -- and voice -- for eight languages

Nicole C. Brambila / The Desert Sun
Bia de Salles speaks rapidly, in several languages. Even if the tongue is unfamiliar, the syllables are imbued with an inescapable energy that seems to define the 41-year-old multilingual translator. Her accent is part of her charm and likely Portuguese, her native language in Brazil.
  • Apr 04, 2012
  • 04:19 PM

Hazel's remarkable work in Argentine Welsh community

This is South Wales
WHEN Hazel Evans's lifelong dream of visiting Patagonia came true in the 1990s, she had a feeling she would be back. But what she didn't realise was how often she would be back and how large her connection to the Argentinean region would grow. For Mrs Evans, a Welsh teacher now living in Llandybie, has celebrated a decade since the opening of a dedicated Welsh centre in Esquel — a centre which she raised off the ground.
  • Mar 29, 2012
  • 03:31 PM

Attendant gets job back

Hugh Adami / Ottawa Citizen
Commissionaire Dan Brown has his old job back, even though he still doesn't speak French. But that doesn't seem to be an issue with the government any more after Dan's story was recounted Sunday by The Public Citizen. Dan, 78, was informed Wednesday that he can again man the ground-floor reception desk of the National Research Council Building.
  • Mar 29, 2012
  • 01:11 PM

Yiddish translator preserves key piece of culture

Karen Vachon / Portland Daily Sun
Written in the Hebrew alphabet, Yiddish is still spoken and written in many Orthodox Jewish communities around the world, though not by most of those in Portland. Stephen Simons, has launched a new enterprise helping those who don’t know Yiddish. He has begun a translation business to help Jews learn more about their Jewish family heritage.
  • Mar 23, 2012
  • 05:49 PM

The Man From DARE

Doug Bradley / Huffinton Post
I just wish Fred Cassidy, the University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who was the force behind DARE, were here to enjoy it. He worked on the dictionary until his death in 2000. Even after his passing, Cassidy continued to push it forward: His epitaph reads "On to Z!"
  • Mar 21, 2012
  • 07:38 PM

Obama Sign Language Surpris : What Other Languages Does He Know? (video)

International Business Times seems Obama had good reason to play down his linguistic abilities in 2008; conservatives would have disparaged his abilities in Spanish, Swahili, and Bahasa Indonesia. But today, the web is abuzz with evidence of one rather unexpected linguistic skill: sign language. On Tuesday, Obama greeted a deaf student at an event in Largo, Maryland. When the 26-year-old signed "I'm proud of you," the president quickly signed back a "Thank you."
  • Mar 20, 2012
  • 12:32 PM

Minnesota's 'forgotten Tolkien' died Friday

Jon Collins / Minnesota Public Radio
For the games and handful of novels that fleshed out his world, Barker created at least three languages from scratch, including one called Tsolyáni, said Victor Raymond, chair of the Tékumel Foundation, which formed in 2008 and seeks to preserve Barker's legacy.
  • Mar 17, 2012
  • 07:48 PM

Experience: I can speak 50 languages

Alexander Arguelles / The Guardian
I'm often asked what the secret is, and whether some people have an aptitude for absorbing words and phrases. The truth is, predictably, it's down to endless hours of concentration – reading, studying and practising grammar, as well as my own technique called "shadowing", which involves walking briskly outdoors while listening to a recorded language and repeating it out loud.
  • Mar 16, 2012
  • 07:39 PM

Piece of San culture has died along with Una Rooi

Independent Online
Rooi made headlines in 1998 when researchers were told there was a group of people living in the Kalahari who spoke the N/uu language. Petrus Vaalbooi, a community leader and activist trying to claim back land they had lost, led researchers Nigel Crawhall, Anthony Traill and Hugh Brody to Rooi. Rooi and four others were the only people left who still spoke the N/uu language.
  • Mar 14, 2012
  • 12:49 PM

Hieroglyphics turn prisoner away from a life of crime

Thomas H. Maugh / Los Angeles Times
Using the cartons from his allotment of morning milk, Fenstermacher would make flashcards, each bearing a single hieroglyph — four a day for a decade. He read the cards while he worked out, forcing himself to get five right before switching exercises. "Fortunately, I've been blessed with a phenomenal memory," he said. He now has what he calls "a small dictionary in my head."
  • Mar 11, 2012
  • 04:34 PM

A talented teen is speaking in many tongues

John Leland / Minneapolis Star Tribune
...Then he dived into Russian, Italian, Persian, Swahili, Indonesian, Hindi, Ojibwe, Pashto, Turkish, Hausa, Kurdish, Yiddish, Dutch, Croatian and German, teaching himself mostly from grammar books and flash card applications on his iPhone. This in addition to a more formal study of French, Latin and Mandarin at the Dalton School, where he is a sophomore.
  • Mar 10, 2012
  • 03:32 PM

Public Education Through Media award

UBC's Okanagan News
Schreyer’s research gained international attention last year when she initiated a project examining the impact on society of invented languages. Her research focused on the Na’vi language created for the Hollywood blockbuster movie Avatar. Using online research techniques, Schreyer discovered a global community of Na’vi fans who, lacking a common root language, used Na’vi to communicate, blog, convey ideas and keep in touch.
  • Mar 08, 2012
  • 01:28 PM

Kader Khan designing courses for Arabic, Urdu speakers

Mauli Buch / Times of India
For over 40 years we have known Kader Khan for his humour and dialogues. But now this Kabul-born Bollywood actor is immersed in academics. He has designed courses for studies in Arabic and Urdu languages and says education can remove lot of misconceptions about religion.
  • Mar 08, 2012
  • 01:19 PM

Nannerch headteacher inspires Welsh language learning

Lois York / Flintshire Chronicle
Jennie Lewis has been nominated for one of the NIACE Inspire Awards for her work in boosting the Welsh language at Ysgol Nannerch. Jennie took over as head of the 72-pupil school three years ago, just before an Estyn inspection which recommended more be done to promote use of the language in the English-medium school.
  • Mar 07, 2012
  • 11:28 AM

Reverend recognized for helping preserve aboriginal language

Hsu Chih-wei, Kay Liu / Focus Taiwan News Channel
Speaking at the ceremony, the reverend said he first spent 20 years with an American missionary translating the Bible into the Truku language, using the Roman alphabet, because many people around his age in the tribe could not read Chinese.
  • Mar 06, 2012
  • 12:08 AM

Rehmat Aziz Chitrali— the reigning father of the Khowar language

The Dardistan Times
ISLAMABChitral Pakistan, a free launce journalist, researcher, TV Host of khowar programme, and Mahir-e-Iqbliat has been awarded a linguistic award for the promotion and preservation of Khowar and Urdu language from the International literary Association “”.
  • Mar 04, 2012
  • 01:45 PM


Liz Essley / Washington Examiner
Klingon had maybe half a dozen lines in the first movie. So I wrote down what they were saying and made a list of all the sounds I heard. And then I imposed a grammar on it. I made arbitrary decisions about how it worked, and then I just added and added. I only made up what was needed for the movie at the time, and then I expanded it later.
  • Mar 01, 2012
  • 11:25 AM

The Gaelic singer

Bruce Deachman / Ottowa Citizen
"I always wanted to learn Gaelic," she says, "but my grandfather wouldn't teach us because there was a prevalent attitude at that time that Gaelic was a useless language, that it was going to die out. "When I moved to Glengarry and got involved with it down there, that was really great for me."
  • Feb 22, 2012
  • 05:26 PM

Hangeul and Its Inventor Get Global Academic Attention

The Chosun Ilbo
King Sejong the Great, who is credited with inventing the Korean alphabet or Hangeul, is getting attention from linguists around the world. In its "Fifty Key Thinkers" series, British publisher Routledge devotes a chapter to the Korean monarch in the "Fifty Key Thinkers on Language and Linguistics."
  • Feb 22, 2012
  • 05:16 PM

Putting Maori stories into print

Whare Akuhata / The Daily Post
The desire of a Te Arawa woman to see Maori stories shared and promoted led to a flourishing enterprise which 20 years later is still going strong. Robyn Bargh's dream resulted in the launch of Huia Publishers in the early 1990s, a time which also saw the establishment of kohanga reo, kura kaupapa and Maori media, creating a demand for language resources.
  • Jan 12, 2012
  • 01:44 AM

US soldier who learned Irish on the internet is set for TG4

Mark Hilliard / Belfast Telegraph
A serving US soldier who learned Irish from the internet is the subject of the first ever warzone documentary to be produced in Irish. Private Seamus 'Na Gaeilge' O Fianghusa was asked to take part in the documentary by TG4 in 2010 as he began a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
  • Jan 03, 2012
  • 02:21 AM

K.N.O. Dharmadasa - linguist who doesn't rest on his laurels

Ceylon Daily News
This week Reminiscences features one of the pioneers of the discipline of Modern Linguistics in Sri Lanka. He writes on a variety of subjects both in Sinhala and English and his books have been published locally and abroad. This scholar of international repute is none other than Dr. K. N.O. Dharmadasa, Professor Emeritus, and the former Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Peradeniya University.
  • Dec 26, 2011
  • 03:08 PM

Robert Easton dies at 81; Henry Higgins of Hollywood

Elaine Woo / Los Angeles Times
A consummate phoneticist like Higgins, the exacting speech tutor in the musical "My Fair Lady," Easton taught Forest Whitaker the African inflections of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and Ben Kingsley the gruff tones of a New York mobster. He helped Arnold Schwarzenegger turn his Austrian accent into Russian English and Liam Neeson's Irish brogue into a Kentucky drawl.
  • Dec 22, 2011
  • 11:27 AM

Distinguished Professor: Thomas G. Bever, Linguistics (video)

Arizona Public Media
Thomas G. Bever, professor in the University of Arizona Department of Linguistics, has been recognized as a "distinguished professor," among leading academicians on campus.
  • Dec 15, 2011
  • 05:38 PM

'Korean language scientifically superior'

Shin Hae-in / The Korea Herald
“When we say Korean is superior, we are basing this on scientific examination. The Korean language’s method of making sound through a combination of vowels and consonants is very scientific and economical, even,” professor Sohn of the University of Hawaii told a news conference in Seoul, Thursday.
  • Dec 12, 2011
  • 11:26 PM

Before leading PPP, Bilawal must learn Urdu, Sindhi

Hafeez Tunio / The Express Tribune
KARACHI: If Machiavelli wrote The Prince in present-day Pakistan, an additional chapter in the book would be titled: Learn local languages before leading your party.
  • Dec 06, 2011
  • 07:13 PM

Michael Krauss / Linguist (interview)

View from the Pier
In his 1991 address to the Linguistic Society of America, Mike was among the first to create an awareness of the global problem of endangered languages. In talking with Mike, he made the point that just as we have learned that our planet needs biodiversity to survive and thrive, so too we of the human condition need intellectual diversity. He remains active in efforts to document Alaska’s Native languages and encourage awareness of the global problem of endangered languages.