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

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Language Group: Pidgins/Creoles

  • Apr 22, 2012
  • 06:18 PM

Language students build bridges between two continents

Luo Wangshu / China Daily
Beijing Foreign Studies University was approved by the Ministry of Education in 2005 to start its Icelandic program three years later. It is still the only university in China that has such a program. Zhang Yuchong, 23, who is also studying Icelandic, said he is worried about his career prospects after graduation. "But I don't regret studying Icelandic as my major," he said. "It has opened a door for me to a unique culture, and I love it."
  • Apr 22, 2012
  • 05:50 PM

Pidgin Language Book Launched In Abuja

Catherine Agbo / Leadership Newspapers
“It is not as easy as it seems because we speak it every day and we assume that it is very easy to write pidgin but it’s just like in English language where you have people who can speak the language very fluently, grammatically perfect but when it comes to writing it is a bit difficult and its same with what is now known as Nigerian Pidgin,” he said.
  • Apr 12, 2012
  • 01:23 AM

Twitter Gets Help from SLU Prof on How to Deal With Indigenous Tweeters

Nicholas Phillips / Riverfront Times
If you're one of the five remaining speakers of "Yuchi" -- a near-extinct Native American language in Oklahoma -- your tweets will look insane, even to those within your linguistic group. That's because whenever you type in the "@" character, which is a part of your alphabet, Twitter will (wrongly) think you're trying to refer to a different user, such as @Joe_Smith.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Apr 04, 2012
  • 03:37 PM

Lingua franca of S.Africa's mines set to fade slowly

Ed Stoddard / Reuters
A pidgin mix of Zulu, other African languages, English and Afrikaans, Fanagalo is not a recognized language and its small vocabulary of around 2,000 words is largely limited to commands, with plenty of obscenities thrown in, according to experts and those who know the tongue. You will find dictionaries for it online but its name has no agreed spelling. Some use Fanagalo, others Fanakalo.
  • Mar 22, 2012
  • 03:06 PM

Don't destroy the dialect!

Michael Burke / Jamaica Observer
Jamaicans are still divided as to whether Jamaica has a language of its own. From the birth of nationalism in Jamaica in the mid-1930s there were attempts to preserve the Jamaican dialect, or patois as it has been called.
  • Mar 18, 2012
  • 08:17 PM

'Corruption of language is no cultural heritage'

Carolyn Cooper / Jamaica Gleaner
These days, The Gleaner would never publish on the editorial page a column written entirely in Jamaican. Believe me, I have tried. We have flag independence. Yet we continue to suffer from mental slavery. Claiming the power of the language we have created on this Jamrock would be a big step on the long journey to full freedom.
  • Mar 15, 2012
  • 11:29 PM

ECJ sticks to English for polls

Jamaica Gleaner
DESPITE SHARP criticisms from prominent voices in academia on his instruction to election workers last December to use standard English to address electors, Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) Chairman Professor Errol Miller says he does not intend to recant on the directive which remains in force for the March 26 local government elections.
  • Mar 15, 2012
  • 09:12 PM

The return of the mother tongue

Randy David / Philippine Daily Inquirer
As a native speaker of Kapampangan, I look forward to the literary resurgence that the return of the mother tongue to our schools may trigger. The writing of teaching materials using our indigenous languages will definitely spawn a renewed interest in local history and culture. It will instill pride in our beginnings, and hopefully lift our nation from the morass of demoralization in which it has long been stuck.
  • Mar 07, 2012
  • 12:20 AM

12 major Phl languages to be used as mediums of instruction

Rainier Allan Ronda / Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Twelve major Philippine languages will be used as mediums of instruction in public schools from kindergarten to Grade 3 starting next school year. The move is part of efforts of the Department of Education (DepEd) to boost its Mother Tongue-Based Multi-Lingual Education (MTB-MLE) program aimed at raising student competency.
  • Mar 06, 2012
  • 03:23 PM

Film cycle celebrates Chabacano language at Instituto Cervantes de Manila

GMA News
When two different cultures and languages interact with each other, the results of this connection can be profound in areas such as culture, environment, and language. And the Chabacano language is a clear manifestation of the Spanish contribution in Philippine culture.
  • Mar 04, 2012
  • 10:42 PM

A Road Trip In Search Of America's Lost Languages (audio)

NPR
The vast majority of the 175 indigenous languages still spoken in the United States are on the verge of extinction. Linguist Elizabeth Little spent two years driving all over the country looking for the few remaining pockets where those languages are still spoken — from the scores of Native American tongues, to the Creole of Louisiana. The resulting book is Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Lost Languages.
  • Feb 18, 2012
  • 12:11 PM

Preserving a native tongue: Tribe works to maintain elders' language (video)

Barbara Curtin / Statesman Journal
GRAND RONDE — A new dictionary, 14 years in the making, will help their elders' words live on for The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. "Chinuk Wawa: As Our Elders Teach Us To Speak It" is the latest effort to revive the language that Northwest tribes used to communicate with each other and with traders. The last native speaker at Grand Ronde died in 2001.
  • Jan 14, 2012
  • 12:22 AM

The Loneliness of the Icelandic Translator

Olivia Snaije / Publishing Perspectives
As the Frankfurt Book Fair’s guest of honor last October, Iceland enjoyed unqualified success. No other country has a larger proportion of writers and readers and Iceland’s enthusiasm for literature was an inspiration to many, professionals and amateurs alike.
  • Dec 28, 2011
  • 12:03 AM

Jamaica's patois Bible: The word of God in creole (video)

Robert Pigott / BBC News
The Bible is, for the first time, being translated into Jamaican patois. It's a move welcomed by those Jamaicans who want their mother tongue enshrined as the national language - but opposed by others, who think learning and speaking English should be the priority.
  • Dec 13, 2011
  • 12:04 AM

A non-Creole Jamaica is a false concept

Sondré Colly / Jamaica Observer
...Jamaican Creole on the other hand is a 100 per cent local product. Its birth being a result of the unique mix of English and West African languages such as Fante, Igbo, Wolof, Yoruba and Twi, many of which are no longer spoken in their original forms. All the more reason for the Creole to be valued and preserved.
  • Nov 27, 2011
  • 03:37 PM

Do politicians need to speak proper English?

Jamaica Observer
AS serving and aspiring politicians mount campaign platforms in the run-up to the next general election, the tricky matter of how well they handle the English language has again become fodder for debate.
  • Nov 27, 2011
  • 10:30 AM

Mind your language

N. Rama Lohan / Malaysia Star
ERHAPS the most common misconception about the Malacca-Creole Portuguese language Papiah Kristang, or Bahasa Serani, as it’s also commonly known, is that it’s spoken merely by the Portuguese descendants in the Portuguese settlement in Malacca’s Ujong Pasir. Also, the language being called Kristang is a point of contention, with some settlement folk insisting that it’s just an ancient form of Portuguese.
  • Nov 27, 2011
  • 10:21 AM

“A de pan kam”: Language “corruption” or “enrichment”?

Sheik Umarr Kamarah / Patriotic Vanguard
Krio, a member of the creole family of languages, is Sierra Leone’s national lingua franca. The language has been designated as one of the four national languages; the others are Hu-Limba, Mende and Kʌ-Themnε. Many people in the diaspora may not be aware, but these languages are now being taught in schools and colleges; their orthographies have been standardized.
  • Nov 25, 2011
  • 02:30 PM

Gullah-language Bible now on audio CDs

Bruce Smith / Post-Bulletin
ST. HELENA ISLAND, S.C. — More than three decades after translators began putting the words of the New Testament into Gullah, everyone can now hear those words in the creole language spoken by slaves and their descendants along the sea islands of the nation's Southeast coast.
  • Nov 18, 2011
  • 12:38 AM

Author and Students Awarded on Language Day

IcelandReview
Author Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir (pictured, photo source: Forlagið) was presented with the Jónas Hallgrímsson Award on the Icelandic Language Day by Minister of Education and Culture Katrín Jakobsdóttir yesterday.
  • Nov 17, 2011
  • 03:46 PM

Language of Instruction

Zoë Robert / IcelandReview
When it comes to Master and PhD programs taught during the 2009-2010 academic year in Iceland, there were eight programs taught in English, 18 taught in both English and Icelandic (meaning that some courses are taught in English, while others in the program are taught in Icelandic), and 98 taught exclusively in Icelandic.
  • Nov 16, 2011
  • 10:46 PM

On Icelandic Language Day, IR Goes More Icelandic

IcelandReview
The Icelandic Language Day is dedicated to and held on the birthday of national poet Jónas Hallgrímsson (1807-1845), who fought for the preservation of the Icelandic language in the 19th century at which time it was subject to influence by Danish.
  • Nov 01, 2011
  • 06:31 AM

Macau’s 'sweet language' on verge of disappearing

Judith Evans / Sin Chew Jit Poh
De Jesus' mother tongue is Patua, once also known as "Christian speech" or the "sweet language of Macau" -- a creole that blends Portuguese with Cantonese and Malay, plus traces of Hindi, Japanese and the languages of other stops on the travels of the Portuguese over the past few centuries.
  • Oct 31, 2011
  • 05:44 AM

The Jamaican Charter of Rights, now available in patois

Alicia Dunkley / Jamaica Observer
The new Charter of Rights, passed by Parliament in March this year, has been translated into the local dialect or patois, courtesy of Professor Hubert Devonish, Head of the Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy at the University of the West Indies, Mona.
  • Aug 20, 2011
  • 09:03 PM

Joe Amoako, Delaware State University professor of languages, authors book

Vivian Gomez / Dover Post
A scholarly work by Joe Amoako, associate professor of English and foreign languages at Delaware State University, titled "Ghanaian Pidgin English Diachronic, Synchronic and Sociolinguistic Perspectives, was published recently.
  • Jul 29, 2011
  • 10:00 PM

Indigenous, non-English languages struggle to survive in U.S.

Jarondakie Patrick / Bellingham Herald
Indigenous and non-English languages such as Gullah — which originated with slaves from West Africa and includes some English — face a host of obstacles to survival in today's United States, including a lack of resources, the fact that most of the speakers are dying off and a stigma that the languages are for uneducated people. But some schools and programs are fighting that stigma and trying to preserve these languages for a new generation.
  • Jul 23, 2011
  • 04:30 PM

MIE trains teachers in 'Kreol Morisien'

Premita Leelachand / News On Sunday
For Dr Bunwaree, to give Mauritian Creole its legitimate place in the education is one of the priorities of the Government. In fact, in its 2010-2015 Programme, it pledges to encourage the use of mother tongues to facilitate teaching and learning, and work towards the introduction of ‘Kreol Morisien’ and Bhojpuri as optional subjects in schools.
  • Jul 23, 2011
  • 03:41 PM

The power of Creole

Leon Neyfakh / Boston Globe
...Though the two languages are related, Creole is younger--it developed on the island roughly 300 years ago from a combination of French and other languages--and has its own grammar, pronunciation, and spelling. And as long as Haitians have been speaking it, Creole has been seen as an inferior, primitive tongue--a corrupt, misshapen version of French that isolates the people who speak it from the rest of the world.

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