I am quite certain that many of you have wondered what the difference between a language and a dialect is. Well, I have. Many times in my life. And you know what? I still haven’t found anyone who would give me a straight answer. Because it seems that this particular question is the question that even linguists have trouble dealing with. … More A LANGUAGE OR A DIALECT?
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
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
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
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
So yeah… What I want to write about today are … er … those little words that aren’t real words, but they are words. You all know them, but what do you know about them? Something? Anything? Nothing? Well, even if nothing, I will try to help you. … More AHEM! ATTENTION PLEASE!
When we think about language, we think about words. We think about letters, sounds, sentences. We think about spelling, pronunciation, and grammar. But the truth is, language is much more than that. Because sometimes you can speak without uttering a single word. … More SPEAKING WITHOUT WORDS
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 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
Oceania is one of the most linguistically diverse regions in the world. It comes as no surprise then that the vast majority of its inhabitants speak more than one language. But is the large number of indigenous tongues the sole reason for this? … More MULTILINGUALISM IN THE PACIFIC