"No spreck-a de Irish, no." When the EU added Irish to its list of 'working languages', most press reports cited the 2002 census in which a third of the population claimed 'an ability' to speak the first official language. Manchán Magan, a broadcaster for Irish-language TG4, decided to put those claims to the test, by travelling across the island speaking nothing but its ancestral tongue -- to shop assistants, tourist information staff, and even phone sex operators.
Undoing Babel's Curse? A project of the Long Now Foundation, the Rosetta Project aims to create an audio and textual archive of over 1,000 of the world's languages. The work of some of its volunteer contributers to preserve their native languages comes across as an utter labour of love. Is it useful, though? And what does the future hold for our language and linguistic culture in an increasingly-connected world?
Spelling Bee has a sting in the tail... The highly influential Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has abandoned the much-heralded German spelling reforms, arguing that the attempt to simplify and "democratise" the language has been a costly mistake. At the same time, though, the new Duden is accused of including too many English words such as "downloaden, Wellness and chatten, Backstage, Smiley and Trash", allegedly indebted to "advertisers and cyber geeks".Given that MeFi readers are, generally, from the two cultures separated by a common language, it's an interesting case study of state intervention gone wrong...