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
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
What do you feel when you are in a country where you don’t speak the language? Most people say they feel insecure, vulnerable, uneasy, often frustrated and embarrassed. In short, they feel lost. Lost in translation. But why? What exactly makes us feel this particular way? … More LOST IN TRANSLATION ABROAD
Can endangered languages be saved if one dies every fourteen days? Quite honestly, I don’t have the faintest idea. But more knowledgeable people say, and I really believe them, that there are ways to preserve even the rarest of tongues. I know the cause is worth the fight. And I know that if we all put our shoulders to the wheel, we will succeed. … More HOW TO 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?