Random language news for 11 August 2010:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some links to share today that have been building up over the past week:

Another article here on the strength of Spanish on the internet, in Spanish. One of the interesting things it notes is the increasing amount of keyboards and urls that incorporate the letter ñ. It does make the claim that French is in regression though and that's uncertain. More on that in a second. According to the person quoted in the article Chinese and Hindi have more speakers but are not in expansion, and are limited to the territories in which they are originally based. At the same time Spanish and English are spoken not only in their respective countries but also as a second language by many people and used in various international settings. The Spanish population in the US will reach 110 million by 2050, says the article.

The Economist has a book review here of a book on the history of the German language. Seems to be an interesting book without too much scary linguistic jargon. By the way, I picked up a book called Geschichte der deutschen Sprache two weeks ago at a second-hand bookstore for $4, so lucky me. It's not even close to being out of copyright though (1977) so I can't type it up and share it here, more's the pity.

Next article: demand for French and German is back in the Centre for Global Languages at Bangalore University. I think the student population there is about 30,000. Conclusion from the article: students are fickle. Don't draw general linguistic trends from student interest over just a few years. Arabic for example is especially popular in Korean high schools. Why? Because word went out that the Arabic test was especially easy and all you need to know are a few basics to pass it, so up went the popularity of Arabic.

An interesting article here on Sarah Palin's 'refudiate' and how other mistakes have made their way into the mainstream. I especially like the ones formed from confusing a and an. An eke name --> a nickname, an ewte --> a newt, a noumpere --> an umpire, and so on.

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