EVEN IF YOU HEAR ONE OF THESE, DO YOUR THING ANYWAY

When you decide to learn an unpopular foreign language, you often hear various “pearls of wisdom” from you relatives, friends, colleagues. Rarely do they smile at you, give you a thumbs-up, pat you on the shoulder, and say: “Wow, that’s so cool!”. Their words are more discouraging than encouraging, and suddenly you get the feeling that what you are doing is … pointless. … More EVEN IF YOU HEAR ONE OF THESE, DO YOUR THING ANYWAY

HOW TO CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES – THE PACIFIC WAY

2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages. That’s undoubtedly a wonderful initiative, but what does it actually mean? Well, completely nothing unless we – the people of this world – make a commitment to celebrate this year the way it deserves to be celebrated. I happen to have a few ideas how you can do just that; especially if you want to focus on the Pacific tongues. … More HOW TO CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES – THE PACIFIC WAY

INDIGENOUS, VERNACULAR, OFFICIAL, NATIONAL

When we talk about language, we often use different words to describe it. We say “indigenous language”, “vernacular language”, “official language”, “national language”, “first language”, “mother language”… That’s a lot of languages, don’t you agree? We are all familiar with these names, but do we know what they really mean? Are they one and the same thing? … More INDIGENOUS, VERNACULAR, OFFICIAL, NATIONAL

WHAT’S IN A NAME? THE MARSHALL ISLANDS EDITION

I don’t know about you, but I find place names immensely fascinating. I am always curious what the words we see on a map or signposts mean. And that curiosity has led me to some very interesting findings, which I am about to share with you today. Because I am learning Marshallese, I just have to start with the Marshall Islands. … More WHAT’S IN A NAME? THE MARSHALL ISLANDS EDITION

WAYS TO PROMOTE MULTILINGUALISM

The choice of what language to use for what purposes and in which contexts is never easy to make, especially in a region with over 1000 native tongues and two major intrusive ones. On the one hand, there are English and French – the global languages of opportunities and the future; on the other, there are the local vernaculars – the languages of culture, heritage, and the past. Imagine that they all share the spotlight. Wouldn’t that be great? But how to achieve it? … More WAYS TO PROMOTE MULTILINGUALISM

DO YOU PARLES…? ENGLISH AND FRENCH IN THE PACIFIC

Do you think that you have to know Tongan, Tahitian, Marshallese, Bislama, or some other Pacific language in order to get by in Oceania? Well, it surely is nice to be able to talk with the locals using their mother tongue, but in the Blue Continent it isn’t really necessary. If you can speak English or parles français, you will be just fine. … More DO YOU PARLES…? ENGLISH AND FRENCH IN THE PACIFIC

MIND YOUR MOTHER TONGUE

Each year, on 21 February, we celebrate International Mother Language Day. Around this time we talk a lot about preserving minority and indigenous tongues. We promote, we encourage, we exchange ideas. But the truth is, one day to celebrate multilingualism is simply not enough. One day will not make a difference. One day will not save hundreds of disappearing languages. To merely try to do that, we need 365 days. … More MIND YOUR MOTHER TONGUE