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


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


You would think that you don’t need a phrasebook if you have constant access to the Internet. You want to know how to say “Hello” in any given language, and your very cool uncle Google will always be there to help you. But imagine that one day you wake up in some faraway place (the remote islands of the Pacific, perhaps?) and your Internet connection no longer exists. What then? Then you might encounter a problem, unless you have a good old phrasebook as your companion. … More “SOUTH PACIFIC PHRASEBOOK” BY LONELY PLANET