- 2020年08月12日 『Bird language「鳥語」』
In a village named Kuşköy (which translates as “bird village”), on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, people express words using the bird language, also known as “Kuş Dili”. The language dates back to 400 years, but the origin is still uncertain.
In the hilly areas of Kuşköy, where homes are dotted high on the mountainside, bird language was once an important form of communication.
Bird language is a series of piercing whistles that can be heard even from a kilometer. This language is a combination of high pitched whistles and melodies. The harmony of whistles and melodies when heard is no less than bird song.
As this language has no specific grammar, there is no practical limit to its vocabulary. However, in practice, Turkish people use this language for simple commands and requests, such as “come for tea”, “come and work with me tomorrow”, and is also used for funerals, births, and wedding announcements.
(By Mitali Patekar, ED Times; August 11, 2020)
- 2020年08月10日 『diversity「多様性」』
Ethiopians take pride in their diversity. Indeed, Ethiopia is truly a diverse country made up of indigenous people having different languages, cultures, religions and other identity-markers. It is perhaps one of the world’s most linguistically diverse nations; the same is true for ethnic diversity as well. True to form, most Ethiopians casually claim their country to have more than 70 local and unique languages actively in use, in different parts of the nation. But, here is the odd part: no one can really say, with certainty, how many languages are currently spoken in Ethiopia. While a number of people put this figure somewhere north of 80 languages, the majority recite a figure that is in the mid-70s.
In all seriousness, both assertions seriously lack in factual basis. The fact of the matter is that no one, meaning no credible institution, can provide the total number of languages spoken in Ethiopia today. Even the 76 seats filled in the House of Federation (HoF), which is made up of ethnic groups that live in every corner of the nation, is not the right proxy for language diversity in Ethiopia; since linguists claim that some of the smaller ethnic groups are not yet fully represented in this House.
(By Asrat Seyoum, The Reporter Ethiopia; 8 August 2020)
- 2020年08月07日 『Aramaic「アラム語」』
We know what Jesus said during his lifetime thanks to the four gospels. But not everyone knows which language he used to communicate his message. Most historians agree in thinking that Jesus mostly spoke Aramaic, although he was also fluent in Hebrew and Greek. Aramaic was in fact the most spoken language in the Holy Land during Jesus’ lifetime, which is why Mel Gibson chose it as the language for his movie The Passion of Christ.
Aramaic appeared in its early form as early as 900 BC, and was based on the Phoenician alphabet, a system of 22 letters that is the base of many modern alphabets.
(By V. M. Traverso, Aleteia; August 05, 2020)
- 2020年08月05日 『stereotype 「固定観念」』
How Dozens of Languages Help Build Gender Stereotypes
Usage patterns shape biases worldwide, whether in Japanese, Persian or English
Linguists use machine-learning techniques for mining large text corpora to detect how the structure of a language lends meaning to its words. They work on the assumption that terms that appear in close proximity to one another may have similar connotations: dogs turn up near cats more often than canines appear close to bananas.
This same method of burrowing into texts—more formally called the search for distributional semantics—can also provide a framework for analyzing psychological attitudes, including gender stereotypes that contribute to the underrepresentation of women in scientific and technical fields. Studies in English have shown, for example, that the word “woman” often appears close to “home” and “family,” whereas “man” is frequently paired with “job” and “money.”
(By Gary Stix; on SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. AUGUST 1, 2020)
- 2020年08月03日 『A great scientist「偉大なる科学者」』
ノーム・チョムスキー (Noam Chomsky)が20世紀以降与えてきた学問的影響、特に言語学についてのエッセイです。
Noam Chomsky (...) is, in my view, the best scientist of the past half-century. His work fascinates me, which is not a necessary criterion for being a great scientist—but it helps! I hasten to add that I do not share his politics—I’m of a conservative bent. But his theory of linguistics is brilliant and represents an anthropological, biological, and even metaphysical insight unrivaled in science since relativity and quantum mechanics. A case can be made that Chomsky’s insights are more profound than even those of modern physics, because they plumb the human soul in ways that physics cannot. To understand Chomsky’s achievement, it’s helpful to understand what linguistics was until Chomsky transformed it in the 1950s.
(By MICHAEL EGNOR; on MIND MATTERS. AUGUST 1, 2020)
- 2020年07月31日 『the Revolution「（ロシア）革命」』
The Imperial era spelling was rather difficult, and the Bolsheviks needed a language reform in order to, among other things, make learning easier. After all, one of their main tasks was the elimination of illiteracy. Several years before the Bolshevik Revolution, according to various estimates, only about 40 percent of the Russian population could read and write. But the new ruling class proclaimed by Vladimir Lenin - the workers and peasants – was expected to be active in all spheres of life. So, the young Soviet government ordered the entire population, aged eight to 50, to learn to read and write.
(By ALEXANDRA GUZEVA,RUSSIA BEYOND; July 29 2020)
- 2020年07月29日 『Mohawk「モホーク語」』
Itsy Bitsy Spider and other nursery rhymes get the Mohawk language treatment
Kateri Deer didn’t have children’s books written in Kanien’kéha – the Mohawk language – when she was growing up in the 1940s.
“When we were going to school, we weren’t allowed to talk our language. If you spoke it… you got scolded,” Deer explained.
Now, in 2020, Deer’s name appears in the dedication section of Takwa’áhson – a Mohawk translation of Itsy Bitsy Spider – one of three books recently published for children in Kahnawà:ke and beyond, thanks to a local publishing start-up.
By releasing the cannon of books – ‘Takwa’áhson,’ ‘Otsisto Otsisto Teiohswáthe,’ (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) and ‘Akerákwa’ (You are my Sunshine) – Front Porch Publishing is equipping parents to properly teach Kanien’kéha as a first language to a new generation of children.
(By Lindsay Richardson, APTN News; July 28 2020)
- 2020年07月27日 『Silence 「（動詞）黙らせる」 若年層のクルド語習得にも影響が出ている』
Silencing of the Kurdish language in modern Turkey: who is to blame?
Kurds make up around a fifth of Turkey’s population, but few are able to speak their mother tongue. Turkish is the country’s only constitutionally recognised language. It is the language of employment, education, any public institution. By contrast, the Kurdish language has suffered from waves of criminalisation in Turkey, with restrictions on its use relaxed for political leverage. Turkey’s ruling and opposition parties pass back-and-forth blame for scarce use of Kurdish, particularly among young Kurds.
Rawest, a Kurdish research center in Diyarbakir, conducted a survey in several Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey in September 2019, to scope out the extent of Kurdish proficiency among the country’s 18-30 year olds. Of the 600 young Kurds surveyed, only 18 percent said they could speak, read and write Kurdish. Less than half of respondents, 44 percent, said they were able to speak their mother tongue. When asked what the official language of Turkey should be, 71.5 percent of participants said it should be both Turkish and Kurdish.
(By Karwan Faidhi Dri; Rudaw, 2020 July 22)
- 2020年07月24日 『the lost art アイヌ語の口承芸術を保存する取り組みについて』
Like other indigenous groups, the Ainu people of Hokkaido and the north-eastern Honshu island of Japan have experienced marginalization. After the Japanese government annexed their territory in 1890, the ethnic minority struggled to maintain their identity as their language and customs were effectively outlawed. Content producers like The Foundation for Ainu Culture and MINE are attempting to re-assert Ainu culture by cataloging traditional songs and documenting members’ experiences of self-discovery.
Nevertheless, there remain significant hurdles. For example, UNESCO reports as few as 15 living native speakers of the Ainu language remain as preservation initiatives were non-existent throughout most of the 20th century. Adding to the urgency, a majority of Ainu report experiencing discrimination despite living a typical Japanese lifestyle. ...
(By Luke Mahoney, grape Japan; Japan Today, 2020 July 24)
- 2020年07月22日 『Saving southern Africa’s oldest languages』
Language and identity are inextricably interlinked. So what happens when a language dies, or is suppressed?
When Katrina Esau spoke to her older sister, Griet Seekoei, they spoke in N|uu. It is a language that only they – and their brother, Simon Sauls – could understand. “Griet was a wonderful person,” Esau recalls. “Strict, but wonderful.”
Ouma Griet, as she was known, died in May aged 87. Now there are just two remaining speakers of N|uu. “It makes me very sad. No language is more important than another language,” Esau told the Mail & Guardian, speaking from her home in Upington in South Africa’s Northern Cape province.
(By Simon Alison and Refiloe Seiboko, Mail and Guardian; 20 July 2020)
- 2020年07月20日 『Talking about grammar「文法について語ること」』
Discussion between teachers and children about writing is a crucial tool to help pupils learn about grammar, a new study shows.
Academics have found "metatalk" can enhance understanding of writing and boost children's confidence during writing lessons.
But for this to be effective this needs to be in the form of a dialog with pupils, to open up children's capacity to make and discuss their linguistic choices and allow them to reflect and put forward their own views.
The research found that some teachers miss opportunities to use discussion to reinforce literacy teaching and children's understanding, instead relying on "hollow" praise.
(By University of Exeter, via Phys.org; July 14, 2020)
- 2020年07月17日 『Linguistic prejudice』
In the national conversation taking place about systemic racism in the United States, one important element should not be overlooked: linguistic prejudice.
African American English, like other dialects used in the U.S., is a legitimate form of speech with a deep history and culture. Yet centuries of bias against speakers of AAE continue to have profound effects on employment, education, the criminal system and social mobility. To attack systemic racism, we have to confront this prejudice.
(By SHARESE KING AND KATHERINE D. KINZLER; Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2020)
- 2020年07月09日 『Straightforward Signs About The Coronavirus Situation』
Some businesses might have reopened but the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the world. Naturally, some shop owners want to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers, so they put up signs asking clients to come in through the door wearing face masks. Easy, right? Nope!
- 2020年07月09日 『high-tech glove translates sign language into speech in real time』
A glove that translates sign language into speech in real time has been developed by scientists -- potentially allowing deaf people to communicate directly with anyone, without the need for a translator.
The wearable device contains sensors that run along the four fingers and thumb to identify each word, phrase or letter as it is made in American Sign Language.
Those signals are then sent wirelessly to a smartphone, which translates them into spoken words at a rate of one word per second.
But the innovation was criticized by some within the deaf community, who argued it was unnecessary and did not address the concerns of signers.
AlbanyHerald.com By Rob Picheta, CNN Jun 30, 2020
- 2020年07月07日 『semantic drift』
Semantic drift is the simple phenomenon by which the correspondence between a word and the real-world entity or process that it is connected to, tends to undergo a shift over time. This drift can take place in a number of directions, often seeming completely random, although there is almost always a logical connection from point to point.
For instance, the word 'silly' very plainly means 'foolish' to us today. What is surprising is the fact that in Old English, it meant that one was
'blessed'. In fact, the word derives its roots from the same place as the German word, 'selig'which means 'blessed'. So, 'selig' and 'silly' were cognates, both meaning 'blessed'.
(By John McWhorter, Ph.D., The Great Courses Daily. July 6, Monday, 2020)
- 2020年07月01日 『forcibly expanding』
Tokayev warns against ‘forcibly expanding’ Kazakh state language
NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – The linguistic problem has great political significance and, if improperly handled, can lead to irreparable consequences for the statehood and security of citizens of the country, Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has said.
“We witnessed this personally by the example of Ukraine. A frontal attack with the aim of increasing the status of the state language and forcibly expanding the range of its use is counterproductive, since it can provoke destabilisation of interethnic relations,” Tokayev said in interview to Kazakh language newspaper Ana Tili, answering a question on what steps should be taken to make our state language the language of interethnic communication.
(29 June, Monday, 2020)
- 2020年06月29日 『Language issue』
How Russia weaponizes the language issue in Ukraine
For centuries, Ukraine’s long struggle for statehood has been mirrored by the often troubled fate of the Ukrainian language. Oppressed and marginalized throughout the Czarist and Soviet eras, Ukrainian finally shed its second-class status in 1991 to become the official state language of newly independent Ukraine. However, the story did not end there.
Despite the upgrade of Ukrainian following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the language has continued to play second fiddle to Russian throughout much of the country and in many aspects of everyday life. Ever since the 1990s, efforts to regulate and promote the use of Ukrainian in place of Russian have proved politically explosive and have come to symbolize independent Ukraine’s post-Soviet identity crisis. Meanwhile, the national debate on the language issue has reflected lingering divisions within Ukrainian society over attitudes towards the dominant role played by Russia in the country’s past.
(By Iryna Matviyishyn, in Atlantic Council, Thursday June 25, 2020)
- 2020年06月26日 『Hamburger』
Hamburgers— we might vaguely sense there was Hamburg, a town in Germany, and then there was hamburger and nowadays there are fish burger, sawdust burger, eggplant burger. Burger is a patty of something and that’s what we think. The word used to be hamburger steak. The idea was that this brown, chopped-up, unhealthy meat that tastes good was something that had been come up with in Hamburg which was hamburger steak. So here is a whole new noun.
By John McWhorter, Ph.D., Columbia University
The Great Courses Daily
June 24, 2020
- 2020年06月23日 『macho』
Job ad cuts macho words to flush out female recruits
Are you a confident sewage champion who can see off the competition to land your dream job? If the answer is yes, you are probably a man.
When Thames Water used combination of the words "confident", "competition", and "champion" in a job posting, it found that an overwhelming number of applicants were male.
This, the company concluded, was nothing to do with the responsibilities of the role advertised including treating sludge and sampling effluent but more to do with the language used in recruitment.
Women, they found, were just as keen to work with sewage as men. However, when the advertisements were posted last year seeking maintenance staff for sewage plants, only 8 per cent of respondents were women.
THE TIMES (June 23 2020)
- 2020年06月18日 『evolutionary roots』
Charles Darwin wrote in 1872 that screams, laughter and other vocal expressions have evolutionary roots making them common to different species of mammals (Adam Sage writes).
A Dutch study published yesterday suggests that he was probably right and that people can understand much of what other primates are saying.
Researchers asked 3,450 people to listen to 155 sounds made by 66 chimpanzees in varying contexts, such as having sex, fighting or finding food. They had to say whether the vocalisations signalled positive or negative feelings, and to evaluate whether the apes were worked up or not. On the whole they got it right, suggesting that people understand what chimpanzees mean when they hoot at the discovery of a large food source or scream at being attacked by a rival.
THE TIMES (June 18 2020)