In the days since the attacks that killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Chinese netizens have watched the outpouring of solidarity. As our colleagues at Foreign Policy reported earlier this week, the Chinese reaction has been overwhelmingly one of resentment.
English will still dominate a century from now, but it will no longer share the planet with thousands of other languages. Instead, expect fewer but simpler modes of oral communication on every continent.
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Cal Telfer's insight:
Using Google translate - there is (as the introduction says) a YouTube channel which puts famous works of literature through Google Translate, then translates them back. The result is confusing. The result of putting Google Translate through Creole, Chinese, Macedonian, French, Polish and Tamil ( and more) actually reverses the meaning of the song. Altogether - "Give up!'
American Sign Language isn't a translation of English. It's a language with its own grammar and idioms. Sign language speakers also have their own accents. Learn how this language, like every other, undergoes regionalization and shifts in tone.
The Fall of Language in the Age of English, by the Japanese novelist and scholar Minae Mizumura, has all the ingredients of a rage-read. Indeed, when it was published in Japan in 2008, it infuriated commentators, who dismissed Mizumura as “reactionary,” “jingoistic,” or “elitist” and swarmed across Amazon deleting positive...
While it doesn’t get much better than sex and drugs for many out there, new research has found that simply learning a new word can spark up the same reward circuits in the brain that are activated during pleasurable activities such as these. No wonder there are so many bookworms and scrabble addicts out there.
One could argue that slang words like ‘hangry,’ ‘defriend’ and ‘adorkable’ fill crucial meaning gaps in the English language, even if they don't appear in the dictionary. After all, who actually decides which words make it into those pages? Language historian Anne Curzan gives a charming look at the humans behind dictionaries, and the choices they make.
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