Earlier today, we asked for help coming up with a word for that thing where a word is innocent in its native language, but sounds like a dirty word to foreign speakers. And not only did we come up with a word -- "sordophone" -- but also, a pretty impressive list of words that travelers should be careful about saying.
"The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language." So goes the old chestnut commonly attributed to playwright George Bernard Shaw. One of those separations is in the spelling of words like color (colour), theater (theatre), and realize (realise). But how did this separation occur?
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.
Vincent Lieser's insight:
Linguists have no single term yet for these new speech varieties, but from Kiezdeutsch in Germany to “Kebob Norsk” in Norway, from the urban Wolof of Senegal to Singapore’s “Singlish,” the world is witnessing the birth of lightly optimized versions of old languages. These will remain ways of speaking that are rarely committed to the page. Yet as we know from languages like Yiddish, this will hardly disqualify them as thriving human languages.
This streamlining should not be taken as a sign of decline.
Comment communiquer et créer des ponts quand on ne peut pas échanger ni se comprendre ? Les auteurs de cette tribune dénoncent les conséquences du délaissement de l’enseignement de la langue arabe en France, l’une des langues les plus parlées au monde, et appellent à un tournant politique. Écouter les élites politiques et certains médias français parler du monde arabe est un spectacle consternant qui en dit long sur l’ignorance et le mépris dont la culture et la civilisation arabes font actuellement (...)
We represent each language within black borders and then provide the numbers of native speakers (in millions) by country. The colour of these countries shows how languages have taken root in many different regions
You've probably heard that English is being ruined — by the Internet, by texting, by Americans, by young people who have no respect for proper grammar. But it turns out that people have always worried over English, and over the centuries, have accused all sorts of things of "ruining" the language.
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