Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Languages in the News: February 2016

As we reach the end of the year's shortest month, we're going to look back at languages and language in the news across the world wide web.

End of the circumflex? Changes in French spelling cause uproar

At the start of the month, there was an interesting article on the BBC looking at spelling changes in the French language. The Académie française is no stranger to causing controversy with its often out of touch suggestions for protecting the French language. This time, however, it was a simple spelling reform that caused the trouble. While its spelling reforms were designed to make spelling easier, most of them, particularly those that removed the circumflex, were met with anger and outrage. You can read the story on the BBC, here.

Preserve rare languages to spread benefits of multilingualism, says expert

The Guardian had an intriguing article discussing rare languages that was certainly worth reading. Since multilingualism is scientifically proven to be beneficial, protecting the world's rare languages is key to ensuring that more multilingual people remain on the planet in order for everyone to benefit from multilingualism. You can read the article here.

You can see where people live, but not the languages they speak.
10 languages Google Translate lacks and where to find them

Google Translate is a controversial topic here at The Lingua File. While we hate it being used in place of real translation and as an excuse not to promote language learning or multilingualism, we do appreciate that it is incredibly impressive in terms of studying language and the immense amount of work that has gone into it.

Geektime had a fascinating article this month on the shortcomings of Google Translate's language choices, since it doesn't feature some of the world's most spoken languages. You can read the article here.

What Oregon city speaks the most languages?

There was a great article on koin.com that listed the US's most multilingual cities by state. This one is for the language lovers out there wholove statistics! You can read the article (and see the stats) here.

A Picture Of Language: The Fading Art Of Diagramming Sentences

Anyone who studied linguistics will be familiar with this practice. NPR covered the decline of sentence diagramming, where language is used to create a picture that almost looks like a subway map.

The article looks at the controversial linguistic method. Some educators swear by it, while others debunk it as complete nonsense that serves no purpose in terms of understanding language. Love it or hate it, you can read all about it here.

Were there any articles about language and languages during February that you think deserve a mention? Tell us about them in the comments below!