Tagged language

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Linguistic Diversity Declines in Papua New Guinea

Traditional dancing at the Mask Festival, Kokopo, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea—frequently heralded as the most linguistically diverse place in the entire world—is in the middle of a language crisis. According to a new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the…

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French to Lead During France’s EU Presidency

The French language is poised to become the main language of the European Union’s (EU’s) meetings, notes, and debates during France’s presidency of the bloc from January 2022 to June 2022. France is planning to host major EU meetings in French, a move that breaks with the long-held tradition of hosting such meetings in English….

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Michigan Moves on Preschool for All

Detroit’s diverse population would benefit from the plan As President Biden’s American Families Plan meets opposition in Congress, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer is moving forward with a $400 million dollar plan to expand the state’s Great Start Readiness Program so that it can provide free preschool to 22,000 more children. Whitmer wants to spend $255…

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Cherokee Linguist Honored by Senate Act and Center

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chair of the committee, have introduced the Durbin Feeling Native American Languages Act of 2021. This bipartisan legislation marks the 30th anniversary of the Native American Languages Act by ensuring federal efforts meet the goal…

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Addressing the Gender Bias in French

French speakers have long been engaged in a debate over the language’s gender inclusivity—or rather its lack thereof. While some progress has been made toward feminizing the language (such as the 2012 move to remove the word mademoiselle from all official government communications, instead opting for the more neutral madame), other measures have been met…

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Chinese Controversy in Sri Lanka

Two incidents in which Chinese was included on signs for government projects but Tamil was omitted, despite being an official language, have caused Sri Lankans to start questioning the cultural hegemony of China on the island nation as its investments multiply. Sri Lankan attorney general Dappula de Livera unveiled a plaque written in Sinhala, English,…

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Arabic Internet Users Avoid Censorship by Adapting Alphabet

Pro-Palestinian activists have come up with a unique way of maneuvering around online censorship in the Arabic language: using an ancient form of the Arabic alphabet that isn’t properly recognized by social media algorithms designed to detect offensive or controversial content. In light of the recent developments in the Israel–Palestine conflict, social media networks like…

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Bill Would Allow Six Months to Learn French in Québec

A proposed language reform policy in Québec would give new immigrants to the Canadian province a pretty narrow timeframe to attain working proficiency in French: six months. Bill 96, a 100-page piece of legislation, aims to boost the status of the French language in Québec, but some argue that it could discourage immigrants from coming…

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Learning Guna on the Radio

When we talk about remote or distance learning, we often think of things like Zoom meetings, recorded lectures or Canvas assignments, but a group of teachers from Panama’s Indigenous Guna community is adding another dimension to the term, broadcasting lessons over the country’s public radio system. According to a report from La Prensa Latina, the…