Stories about Language from April, 2007
Uzbek has been written with four different alphabets over the last century, and the government of Uzbekistan has been trying to make the transition from Cyrillic to Latin for many years. Beyond The River discusses an article on the coexistence of the two alphabets and the importance of still knowing...
Algerian blogger and linguist Lameen Souag draws our attention to the fact that there are more than 40 words used in Arabic to mean and describe camels.
Banyue from DANWEI blogged some outrageous Chinese slogans, such as: Popularize the first child, control the second child, exterminate the third child, Whoever does not follow family planning will have his household ruined and his family perish, and many others.
Harvey from Japan Newbie explained the expression of mikka bouzu, three days priest, which is used to describe someone who is unable to stick with something they have started to do.
Liberian Ledger on Liberian English and “the man da can put Charles Taylor inside.”
The news coming out of the Kurdish blogs this week is as varied as the landscape of Kurdistan itself. From predictions on Syrian Kurd alliances with Israel, to censorship in Turkey; from explorations of Northern Iraq, to essays on intolerance, the Kurdish bloggers cover it all. But for this week, I think we will begin with why, to Kurds, April is considered as the "Bride of the Year".
James from Japan Probe introduced a trilingual Rapper Nycca. The post is linked to a youtube video of the singer's self intro and rap in three languages: Japanese, Cantonese and Putonghua.
In Guatemala, most of the writers find it really hard to publish a book, and even harder to make it profitable. They often work as journalists, analysts, engineers and also write regularly. Few of them are full time writers, many of them, unknown locally. However, they have found, through blogging, an opportunity to express themselves, to share their works, and to promote the interest among Guatemalans, especially in poetry and short stories.
A blog about a Swahili film, Bongoland II: “This weekend we conducted screen tests for JUMA. The process went well and we were very impressed by the brave souls who dared to take on the challenge. We also want to thank those who made sacrifices to be at the event...
Taras Kuzio discusses Yulia Tymoshenko's lengthy Foreign Affairs piece – and her allegedly good command of English: “In Tymoshenko’s case we can thank her growing knowledge of English on my home region of Yorkshire which produced her rock n’roll son-in-law.”
A query on LINGUIST List the other day asked for examples of other languages which, like English, have a verb “exist” distinct from the general-purpose existential “there is”. In Algerian Arabic, such a verb has emerged in recent years through borrowing from French, explains Algerian linguist and blogger Lameen Souag.
Copydude discovers a site featuring “unreadable” Russia news: “Make no mistake, this is break-the-mould journalism. All Russia News is so unreadable it is not only machine translated, it is written by a machine.”
Timor-Leste is holding its first national election as an independent nation, and the vote counting now indicates the need for a second round to decide the next President. The voting occurred on April 9 and the counting process has generated some perplexing news, which should be expected in a country with no previous electoral experience. Less expected was the fact that the spokesman for the National Electoral Commission (CNE), Father Martinho Gusmão, delivered his press conferences in four languages one after the other -- Tetum, Portuguese, Indonesian and English. After raising serious concerns by personally expressing doubts about 'illogical' outcomes from the ballot processing, Father Gusmão was removed and explanations were presented by other officials. See what Portuguese sources are reporting...
Joel Martinsen from Danwei translated two articles (one from YWeekend and another from Wu Fei's blog) discussing about new slang in China, the latter was worried about the impact of hooliganish language on the society.
Wu Wei resumes writing about her father's life: “No wonder his nationality was not so clear. And no wonder he could apparently speak Polish, Romanian, Hungarian and Ukrainian when he arrived in Brussels.”
Bahraini blogger Mahmood Al Yousif discusses the meaning of the word imbecile and admits that he “was actually generous in that term’s use in some cases.”
Bahrain-based blogger Bint Battuta writes her thoughts on the book Perfume – from a linguistic perspective. “Perfume is a novel written in German, but set in France. I read the English translation; I can't judge the translation fully, as I haven't looked at the German (I would be interested to...
Petya notes on the Bulgarian way of simplifying life for the local bureaucrats: “There are more nicknames in Bulgarian than names.”
The Glory of Carniola explains “why you will never learn Slovene.”
In case you think a salaryman is the person in the accounting department on whose best side you want to be, the an englishman in osaka blogger brings us photos and metered prose that might clear things up.
Madagascar: English as an Official Language, Tribute to Victims of Colonial Conflicts and Cyclones (Again)
It's been a busy couple of weeks for Madagascar: A referendum for an amendment on the constitution which includes the addition of English as an official language. Madagascar was also honoring the memory of the victims of the colonial insurrection of 1947 which resulted in 80,000 casualties. Finally, a 6th cyclone in 6th month hit the Malagasy coast, leaving even more devastated areas before reconstruction from the earlier one could be completed.