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
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
Over 200 languages from the Pacific region have officially been given endangered status by UNESCO. But Oceania is home to more than 1000 tongues. Does that mean that the rest of its languages are perfectly safe? That there is no need to worry they, too, may one day face the fate of extinction? In other words, are they endangered, or are they not? Well, that surely is the question. … More ENDANGERED, ENDANGERED NOT
According to the United Nations, every two weeks one spoken tongue dies out. Fourteen days… Poof! Fourteen days… Poof! Fourteen days… Poof! They vanish; one after another. But this doesn’t happen just like that. Before a language disappears from the face of the earth, it usually shows signs of endangerment; it “makes the list”, so to speak. … More MAKING THE ENDANGERED LIST
Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu, Tuvalu… Have you ever wondered how the islands of the Pacific got their names? And what do those names actually mean? Could Tokelau be known as Fiji, Niue as Palau, and Guam as Papua New Guinea? Shakespeare told us that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Would it, really? To answer these questions, I decided to do some research. … More WHAT’S IN A NAME?