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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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language

Classifying languages is about politics as much as linguistics

CROSS the boundaries of the former Yugoslavia and you face a few hassles.

Source: www.economist.com

The linguistic differences between languages can be slight, but if politics and identity are involved (as they invariably are), these small linguistic differences can seem massive.  "Languages" can occasionally be dialects with their own armies.  

 

Scoop.it tags: languageculture, borders, political, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Slovenia.

WordPress TAGS: language, culture, borders, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Slovenia.

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Are Americans trashing the English language?

“Are American’s trashing the English language? The Economists language expert, Lane Greene, knows a thing or two about English. Lane is a fan of words, lots of words, and Lane is an American living in London. He’s become accustomed to British English slang. But Lane often hears Britons complain that there are too many American words and expressions creeping into British English, these are called Americanisms. British writer Matthew Engel can’t stand Americanisms being used in Britain and even wrote a book about it. But are Americanisms trashing British English?”

Source: www.youtube.com

This video touches on important cultural and spatial dynamics of the linguistic change impacting the world’s current lingua franca…in other words, this is incredibly relevant to human geography. 

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, English, diffusion,

 colonialism.

English–History and Connotations

“What is the difference between ‘a hearty welcome’ and ‘a cordial reception’? In a brief, action-packed history of the English language, Kate Gardoqui explains why these semantically equal phrases evoke such different images.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This TED-ED video (and lesson) shows how the connotations of English words often times depend on the linguistic root (sweat–Germanic, perspire–Latin). English has obviously changed much over the years, but this other TED-ED video (and lesson) also shows some good language family information and traces it back to proto-Indo-European roots.

    

Tags: languagecultureEnglishTED, video.

How the letters of the alphabet got their names

There seems to be little predictability to the English names for the letters of the alphabet, to say nothing of the names of letters in other languages. Some begin with an e-as-in-egg sound (eff, ell); some end in an ee sound (tee, dee); and others have no obvious rhyme or reason to them at all. How did they get that way?

 

Tags: language, culturehistorical, English.

Source: www.economist.com

Quebec urges shopkeepers to stop saying ‘Hi’

The unofficial greeting in the bilingual Canadian city of Montreal has long been a friendly ‘Bonjour, Hi!’ But that standard is no more since a motion mandating store clerks to greet customers only in French was passed in Quebec’s provincial legislature. The move reaffirms French as the primary language in the province, where use of English can be controversial. The motion – which is not a law – was passed unanimously, but the province’s premier called the debate ‘ridiculous’. Introduced by the fiercely Francophile Parti Quebecois, the motion ‘invites all businesses and workers who enter into contact with local and international clients to welcome them warmly with the word bonjour‘.”

Source: www.bbc.com

This is a great example of how culture isn’t just passively received, but it’s actively constructed.  The call to defend cultural traits of a region to maintain it’s local distinctiveness is oftentimes why a region has a strong sense of place.  

 

TagsCanadalanguage, placeculture, landscape

English–Origins and Roots

When we talk about ‘English’, we often think of it as a single language. But what do the dialects spoken in dozens of countries around the world have in common with each other, or with the writings of Chaucer? Claire Bowern traces the language from the present day back to its ancient roots, showing how English has evolved through generations of speakers.

Source: www.youtube.com

English has obviously changed much over the years, but this video (and lesson) also shows some good language family information and traces it back to proto-Indo-European, using the English as the main example.  This other TED-ED video (and lesson) shows how the connotations of English words often times depend on the linguistic root (sweat–Germanic, perspire–Latin).   

 

Tags: languagecultureEnglishTED, video.

Kazakhstan to switch from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet

“Kazakh was written in Arabic script until 1920 when it was substituted by the Latin alphabet. In 1940, it was replaced by a Cyrillic one. ‘Given that over 100 countries in the world use the Latin script, it is crucial for Kazakhstan’s integration into the global educational and economic environment,’ said Gulnar Karbozova.

The former Soviet Republic declared independence in 1991. Its state language is Kazakh, a member of the Turkic family.

Yet, Russian is widely spoken across Kazakhstan and is its second official language.”

Source: www.aljazeera.com

Having to translate your language into another is one level of cultural difference, but having to change into another writing system (transliteration) adds an extra layer of foreignness that makes interactions more difficult.  Kazakhstan, a with a history of connections to the Middle East and Russia, is now making a choice that appears to signal greater connection to the larger global community.  This is not going to be an easy transitions, as as this additional BBC article notes, the choice comes with plenty of advantages and disadvantages

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, regions, Central Asia, Kazakhstan.

Pie Chart of the World’s Most Spoken Languages

Source: imgur.com

This infographic has been making the rounds again this year and it is worth shaing again.  It is a great way to visualize the dominant languages on Earth.  Since this only counts one language per person, mother tongues are listed.  Consequently, lingua franca’s such as English and France are smaller than you might have presumed them to be.  

 

Tags: language, culture, infographic.

Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language?

There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?

Source: freakonomics.com

These two podcasts are great mainstream looks at issues that filled with cultural geography content.  So many languages on Earth is clearly inefficient (the EU spends $1 billion per year on translation), and yet, linguistic diversity is such a rich part of humanity’s cultural heritage.  Listen to the first episode, Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? as well as the follow-up episode, What Would Be the Best Universal Language?

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, English, regions, diffusiontechnology.

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