Monday, October 10, 2016

Languages in the News: September 2016

Today we're looking back at all the language headlines from September that caught our eye. Let's get straight to it.

There was an interesting article on NPR's website highlighting an interview with John McWhorter where he spoke about the English language's "interesting little wrinkles". You can read the full article here.

The Guardian looked at Miriwoong, an endangered language found in Australia. Today the language is only spoken by a few elders after decades of decline. You can read all about Miriwoong here.

We're obviously huge fans of languages at The Lingua File, and it's always great to hear good news about them. published an article at the start of the month reporting how learning a new language can make you smarter. You can learn about being smarter here.

A language in Corsica was causing controversy this month, and DW reported on it. Nationalists on the French island have demanded that the language have an equal status to that of French. Read about the controversy here.

Slate's Lexicon Valley, one of our favourite blogs, had an interesting story in which Merriam-Webster's Twitter account responded to the author's comments about how "chill" the dictionary was in a sassy and humorous way. Check out the tale here.

Scientific American was looking at how alternative views are replacing Noam Chomsky's work on language learning and universal grammar. Read about it here.

These days it's rare to hear good news about the Syrian refugee crisis. However, four local authorities in Scotland are piloting an English language scheme for Syrian refugees. Read the BBC's story here.

John Rentoul wrote about autological words (words that describe themselves) in The Independent. See some of his favourites and most interesting ones here. had an amusing article on how bloody difficult English must be to learn as a second language. You can see some frustratingly fabulous examples here.

The Telegraph covered the story on recording dolphins having a conversation. That's right. Dolphins were having a good old chinwag. Read about it here.

The Conversation said language could be our "most impressive technological invention". We'd have to agree with them! If you'd like to know why, read the article here.

As we all know, Latin's a "dead" language. Seeker covered how this language actually ended up dead. See for yourself here.

The Irish Times had a great article about Benny Lewis (you may know him from his site and his ongoing quest to learn languages in just three months. Read his story here.

And last but not least, The Financial Times looked at how learning English (as the world's lingua franca) isn't always a good thing. Read about some of the problems here.

That's it for this week. Don't forget to share interesting language stories and articles in the comments below.

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