Archive for the ‘languages – spoken’ Category

Cornish funding to end – petition started in opposition

1 May 2016

For more than a hundred years, Cornish (Kernowek or Kernewek) has been undergoing revitalization in the southwest area of England. The movement has resulted in children’s books, films, daycare and other Cornish-oriented institutions.

According to the Cornishman, government funding for revitalization efforts is slated to be terminated. A petition has been started. If 10,000 people sign it, the government will respond, and if 100,000 people sign, the issue will be debated in parliament. Only British citizens and UK residents are eligible to sign the petition.

Walpiri speaker denied use of Walpiri in Australian state parliament

17 February 2016

According to “Aboriginal minister Bess Price denied request to speak Indigenous language in NT Parliament,” a speaker of Walpiri (wbp) who stated she feels better able to express herself in her native tongue, Walpiri, was not allowed to speak Walpiri in the local parliament because it would cause disorder. The speaker is Bess Nungarrayi Price, a minister for the Northern Territory.

The article quotes Minister Kezia Purick, speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, as stating that English is the official language of Australia, but according to Wikipedia, English is the national language, not the official language, there.

Price has requested clarification of the language policy, which has allowed non-English usage from time to time in the past.

Just two printed Gaelic words stop helicopters from operating

2 December 2015

Well, that’s the claim that Paul Kavanagh says that he found on Twitter.

He writes that the current government in the United Kingdom does not want to fund Scottish Gaelic (gla) broadcasting in Scotland. The article is here with further details.

A YouTube Channel as Part of an Ecosystem – Old English

2 November 2015

Old English (ang) is the oldest form of English (eng), one that developed when Germanic tribes settled in Great Britain around the fifth century. As a convenience, OE is considered to have given way to Middle English (enm) in 1066 when William the Conqueror successfully invaded Great Britain, making French (fra) the language of the rulers and resulting in a mixture of French and OE. (There are scholars who take the view that Middle English derives instead from Scandinavian languages resulting from the Viking incursions.)

Although the grammar is very different from Modern English, because many of the core words are the same or similar, Old English is relatively easy for English speakers today to learn, and interest in OE has grown in recent years.

Among the resources available are an OE version of Wikipedia, which includes terms for modern concepts and things created to fit the OE vocabulary. For example, Modern English is called “Nīwenglisc” and an automobile is called a “selffērende wægn.” Also, among the thousands (or tens of thousands) of vocabulary sets on Memrise (a computer flash card website/mobile app) is an Old English set of 86 words with sound.

Another resource is YouTube channels, where a channel is a sub-webpage on YouTube providing videos, playlists, discussion and other information. One is Leornende Eald Englisc (Learning Old English), a channel created by Kevin with nearly 700 subscribers. Although his channel is now dormant, his subscribers have left messages encouraging him to come back when his alternative reality (real life) is less stressful.

With more than a year of videos posted, Kevin has created playlists, which are groupings of videos classified by topic such as pronunciation and discussion. Creating videos can be labor-intensive due to the preparation and editing required, which often discourages YouTubers. Many of Kevin’s videos, however, such as those in the Old English Pronunciation Guide and Old English Pronunciation guides are merely three or four seconds, which shows how easy it can be to make useful additions to a video collection without a lot of work.

Another of his playlists is Discussion, which has three videos on: whether OE is Scandinavian, how Kevin became interested in OE, and reviving OE as a living language.

YouTube also provides links to other OE YouTube channels, and Kevin has links to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

Kevin’s project shows how videos can provide information, and how playlists can make it easy to develop a number of areas of linguistic interest, creating a node in a linguistic revival ecosystem with crosslinks to build the community.

Renata Flores sings pop music in Quechua

18 August 2015

Renata Flores Rivera sings Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” and the Animals’s “The House of the Rising Sun” in Quechua (que):


Also, see her YouTube page at Renata Flores Rivera and subscribe.

The Cornish an official minority

25 April 2014

According to “More than pirates ‘n’ pasties,” the Cornish people are now an official minority of the United Kingdom, which will bring heightened protections. The article also says that the 2011 census had 84K people declaring Cornish as their ethnicity. With more than 100 years of revitalization, 557 people also claim it as their main language.

Mashco-Piro make an appearanace

20 August 2013

Last year, for unknown reasons, the Mascho-Piro killed the only person capable of interpreting between them and the rest of the world (Mashco-Piro linguistically isolated, this blog).

Voluntarily isolated, the Mascho-Piro made a rare appearance from June 24-26, asking for supplies such as rope and bananas. Their appearance may be due to increasing encroachment on the itinerant people’s territory by oil and drug interests, and the low rainfall of the season may also be a factor.

The group speaks Mascho-Piro (cuj), a language of the Piro group, which includes Yine (pib). They are among 15 groups in Peru that are prohibited by law from being contacted, primarily to protect them from disease.

See “Peru’s isolated Mashco-Piro tribe ‘asks for food,'” (has video of the Masco-Piro), “Isolated Mashco-Piro Indians appear in Peru” and “Peru’s Mashco-Piro Indians Make Tense Attempt At Contact.”

 

Pali in opera

19 May 2013

Siddhārtha Gautama, the most well known buddha, lived around the fifth century BCE. It is believed that he spoke an Indo-Aryan dialect, such as Pali (pli). Pali is also the language of many early Buddhist scriptures and the Ethnologue says there are nine second-language speakers of Pali.

In the mid-nineteenth century, opera great Richard Wagner discovered Buddhism and began work on “Die Sieger,” which incorporated Buddhist legends.

Next month, an opera titled “Wagner Dream,” an opera by Jonathan Harvey about the last day in the life of Wagner and “Die Sieger.”

While the character Wagner and other Europeans will perform in German, the Buddhist characters will sing in Pali, the words having been translated from English.

Read more in “Wagner opera to be revived in a dead language.”

ᓄᖃᕆᑦ

18 May 2013

ᓄᖃᕆᑦ is “stop,” as now found on stop signs in the Canadian territory Nunavut.

This month, the Official Languages Act came into force in Nunavat. According to the text of the law:

  • “The Inuit Language, English and French are the Official Languages of Nunavut,”
  • “To the extent and in the manner provided under this Act, the Official Languages of Nunavut have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in territorial institutions,” and
  • Priority must be given to “the revitalization of Inuinnaqtun.”

Read more in “Nunavut Official Languages Act Comes into Force.”

In defense of mandatory Zulu classes

18 May 2013

isiZulu, or Zulu (zul), is the most widely spoken native language in South Africa and is spoken by about half of the population.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has announced it will make Zulu classes mandatory for incoming students, a move that has drawn criticism.

As Pierre De Vos explains in “KZN University: A storm in a (Zulu) teacup,” this policy is not unconstitutional and should not be compared to linguistic policies in the era of apartheid.