home Language Language Links

Language Links

Photo: Royston Rascals, Kool

Links related to language presented in somewhat random fashion:


The Allusionist

Think you can identify global languages? Play the Great Language Game.

Why are we learning languages in a closed world?
The key to cracking long-dead languages?
The word-hoard: Robert Macfarlane on rewilding our language of landscape
Unmanning Space Language

Language, like food, is an excellent entry into another culture. At first, everything is foreign and strange. It’s the shock of the new which hits some like a punch.

Learn to expand your linguistic comfort zone. – For those seeking rewarding experiences while traveling, paying attention to the local lingo is a must. Prepare ahead of time by listening to regional podcasts and internet radio, reading local blogs and following the tweets of those who write in other languages from the places you plan to visit. Twitter, by the way, includes ‘view translation’ for tweets in other languages, so if you’re stumped by the post, you might be able to glean the meaning from the rough translation.

Many of the world’s Indigenous languages are declining in use. Visitors can play a small role in their conservation by being attentive and appreciative of the language. Support can take the form or purchasing bilingual books, sharing tweets and simply being curious about the terminology. With permission, record videos of informal language lessons and share them on YouTube. Here are examples in Ayöök and Zapotec. Seek out lessons on Soundcloud and YouTube and elsewhere. Amplify Indigenous voices by retweeting and hearting and liking and +1ing. Far too often we translate ideas into Indigenous languages instead of being open to ideas that may be difficult to translate into English and other languages.

Diné Bizaad

Recommended Listening
Language and it’s problems – (@RN_Earshot) Are you a language pedant? If so, listen to this program. Your in for a treat. Great listen and the comments are first-rate. Timestamps:
1:49 An Alt-Fact is a lie or a fiction
3:30 Pet peeves
8:15 Descriptive linguist
8:50 Usage crimes
9:20 Own my pet peeves as my own
9:40 Impactful

Embracing Australia’s linguistic diversity through stories – A unique storytelling event is highlighting Australia’s linguistic diversity

Treasure Language Storytelling

The pointy end of the spear of language revival – Language revival is tricky business – particularly for Aboriginal languages once considered to be extinct. The question is, to make language revival bite, do we modernise our languages and devise words for everyday things like mobile phones?

Speaking Kaurna – The Kaurna language of the Adelaide Plains (South Australia) is being revitalised and it’s the younger generations who are leading the way. A dedicated group of linguists at the University of Adelaide and local Kaurna people have used documents retrieved from the other side of the world to recreate the language that was once considered to be extinct.

Harnessed – Why should we humans have evolved to have produce things such as language, music and the arts as distinct from our cousins? Evolutionary biologist Mark Changizi believes the answer lies in the fact that our language and culture actually imitates nature. He calls it ‘nature-harnessing’.

Genes determine ability to learn languages – Learning a second language promotes brain connections and could help delay Alzheimer’s.

Extra pay-offs for learning languages – A particular method of teaching a foreign language is achieving bonus consequences, other than just gaining another tongue in which to communicate.

A new voice for dying languages – Yes, the overall picture for indigenous language preservation is pretty bleak. But some highly driven people using modern technology are refusing to let some languages die.

The language of signs – Interpreters and sign language courses are in high demand as signing becomes increasingly common at news conferences, theatre performances and even music concerts. There is no universal signing system, but one for each deaf community around the world, and they all challenge our ideas about language, writes Amanda Smith.

Words – Radiolab
Voices in Your Head – Radiolab
Linguafranca – ABC
The Evolution of Language
it’s all gone to the dogs
Globish is all the world’s English
Thine own self
Your fabulous bilingual brain!
Learning oral language

https://lingthusiasm.com – A podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Make your boring commute or chores feel like a lively, nerdy, language-y conversation with real linguists!

We should not have brought a linguist

Vowel Movement – Slate

People speaking with accents are less believable– Speaking in a foreign accent makes people less credible to native speakers, research shows, just as having a name that is hard to pronounce makes one less likeable. However, it might make more sense to think investment strategies through in a language other than your native tongue.

International Mother Language Day (February 21)
February 21 is International Mother Language Day declared by UNESCO in 1999 to celebrated linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Events, workshops and even tweets on this date promote awareness.

Pay attention to the #UsaTuVoz initiative in Oaxaca, Mexico.

⚡️ “International Mother Language Day”

Translating: International Mother Language Day (poster)
Spanish: Dia Internacional de la Lengua Materna
Zapotec (San Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya): Chii Xte Dich ni Gul Niu (Day of the Language you were born with)
Ayöök: (Santa María Ocotepec) Ja xëë jöma ja aa ayöök yak jaa’myets

Rising Voices asks indigenous speakers to tweet in their mother language on Friday. My question: how do you translate ‘tweet in your mother language’ in Ayöök, Quechua, Māori, Navajo, Sámi, Zapotec and other indigenous tongues?

Translating: Tweet in your mother language
Irish: Tuíteáil i do theanga dhúchais

More about International Mother Language Day
International Mother Language Day – UN
Implementation of a language policy for the world based on multilingualism
Lengua materna – Wikipedia
Mexico’s Indigenous Languages – Think Mexican
Tweet in Your Mother Language on February 21

Saca tu lengua. 21 Febrero es el Dia Internacional de la Lengua Materna @IndigenousTweet

Worksheets elsewhere on the Web
Language Arts Worksheets

Language Courses




flickr gallery: language

Macros, Tildes and Umlauts
As a native-language American English speaker, I am annoyed/confused/irritated when I see the funny squiggles over vowels in foreign words. My fingers hesitate on the keyboard, not sure how that particular squiggle on the keyboard. How do I type this?There is a difference between Popocatépetl and Popocatepetl, my Mexican friends tell me. Good to know. I just wish I could convince to join the Planeta Wiki and edit directly.Saturday is Mother Language Day. I’m going to use words like “pop” in conversation. And I am going to be retweeting friends who tweet in their native language. I am going to shout out my friends at Oaxaca’s Pochote Market for their language lessons.Kudos also to New Zealand’s @reomaori for letting us know that pōhutukawa has a macron! We have been following the survival story of Auckland’s Six Pohutukawas via @Pohutukawa6.Mind you, I have no idea how to pronounce pōhutukawa but I certainly want to visit the Six if I get the chance to travel to Auckland. This is the kind of dancing instruction Vonnegut suggested. New Zealand hosts an annual Māori Language Week. Imagine if we celebrated the Paiute or Navajo languages this way!My writing and pronunciation can only improve with suggestions from Ayöök, Māori, Navajo, Sámi and Zapotec friends. I do not dream of becoming a perfect polyglot, but I would like to make sure that what I write and wiki about is spelled in the way that bolsters local efforts. Ayöök friends Engraciela and Rodrigo from Santa María Ocotepec have a saying — Oy ku ti minta jats ëëts xku’ix (your visit honors us). I think we honor them by learning how to write and pronounce ‘Oy ku ti minta jats ëëts xku’ix.’ Even if we as visitors get it wrong, we show our respect for the language by the attempt and by acknowledging the wisdom these thoughts convey.

Recommended Reading
The Coming Data Deluge – As science becomes more data intensive, so does our language

Macquarie WOTY

Languages Matter
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages. Details

Word Scramble

Buzzword Bingo
Accent – Alphabet – App – Argot – Bilingual – Buzzword bingo – Catch Phrase – Communication – Dictionary – Dialect – Jargon – Language – Loan words – Macron – Multilingual – neologism – Oracy – Plurilingual – Polyglot – Portmanteau – Proverb – Pun – PunctuationRegisterRosetta StoneSlangSpoonerism – Text – Translation – Vernacular – Voice WritingWord of the DayWord of the Year (WOTY) – World Play – Word Salad – Word Scramble – Wordsmith


Sprache und Dialekt

How Learning A New Language Affects Your Brain
The Language of Snow


Elsewhere on the Web
Urban Dictionary is the dictionary you write. Define your world
Future Tense Glossary
Which way? the future of bilingual education
The Cosmopolitan Tongue: The Universality of English
The Topography of Language
Word SpyFacebook@wordspy
The demise of the English language
Forvo@forvoLinks to UN and UN System sites:

United Nations:


American Association for Applied Linguistics
Central Institute of Indian Languages
European Network in Language and Speech
Foundation for Endangered Languages
Language Technology World
Rosetta Project
Modern Language Association
SIL International

The Origin of Languages
The story of Barrett’s Lagoon – Guurrbi Tours

There’s a joke in linguistics, where you study a language but you can’t say hi
– Aoife Finn, Meet Aoife Finn: An Irishwoman who has never been to NZ but is mad about te reo
It’s not a white language, it’s not a black language. It’s a language that came together because of people coming together
– Ian, 2:01 about Afrikaans

Many excellent words are ruined by too definite a knowledge of their meaning.
Aline Kilmer, American poet (1888-1941)The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
– Mark Twain

I like to think of the internet or all the services connected through the internet as a kind of eternally unfinished collaboration, pooling the words of millions and millions of people. And this partly means that something that was always implicit has become explicit, which is that language doesn’t belong to us, language is something we build together. You can’t make up the meaning of words on your own. The words are flowing through us. You look on Twitter, you look at memes, people often are just passing on words and echoing others’ words. And so I think we are forced to realise that this kind of massive collaboration is not something we can stop, it’s not something we can freeze, it’s not something we can be definitive about, it’s a constant negotiation in which you either are prepared to accept that negotiation or you try to carve out your little corner but you can’t opt out and you can’t speak on somebody else’s behalf and say, you know, definitively I’m right and you’re wrong, full stop.
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/a-linguistic-celebration-of-the-digital-world/4747994#transcriptIn the history of the ‘logosphere’, which is all the world’s words and languages that’ve ever existed, the vast majority have only ever been spoken by relatively small speech communities.
Lingua FrancaA language is not just a body of vocabulary or a set of grammatical rules. … Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind.
– Wade Davis
Those who know no foreign language knows nothing of their mother tongue. (Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen)
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If you want to change the way people think, you can educate them, brainwash them, bribe them, drug them. Or you can teach them a few carefully chosen new words with the power to change the way you see the world (or as the Germans would say, these words might warp your Weltanschauung).
– Howard Rheingold, They Have a Word for It

Australia’s unrecognized resources boom – languages for Australia’s future
A presentation by Emeritus Professor Michael Clyne
In this talk, given during Monash University’s Research Month to celebrate the UN International Year of Languages, Emerius Professor Michael Clyne postulates that Australia must develop its multilingual potential to promote dynamism and innovation. He recommends ways in which Australia can become a vital link nation between Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.

Translating: Our objective may not be to find a common language but to keep speaking in different languages.
Spanish: Nuestro objetivo puede no ser encontrar un lenguaje común, pero si seguir hablando en diferentes idiomas

Adam Hills on language

List of dictionaries by number of words
Cupertino Effect
Exonym and endonym
Polysynthetic language
Noah Webster


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.