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

WHY SAVE ENDANGERED LANGUAGES?

Dying tongues. There are quite a few of them in the Pacific. So what? Why should anyone care? Does it really matter if a little-known language spoken by a tiny group of people in some island country no one has heard about goes out of existence? Is that such a tragedy? For most of the world, it is not. A fact of life, they will say. But for the affected communities, it is much more than just that. Isn’t that reason enough for us to bother? … More WHY SAVE ENDANGERED LANGUAGES?