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Vacancies in this network: Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.
L'Académie suédoise a annoncé mardi que "Hen", le pronom personnel neutre, ni masculin, ni féminin, allait définitivement faire son entrée dans le nouveau dictionnaire à paraître au mois d'avril.
Très avancée sur la question de l'égalité homme/femme et des genres, la Suède vient de nouveau de marquer une nouvelle étape dans sa volonté de ne plus faire du sexe des individus ce qui les définie. Comme dans tous les pays, la langue suédoise connait des évolutions qui oblige son dictionnaire à s'adapter à de nouveaux termes. Mardi, l'Académie a donc annoncé l'entrée de 13 000 mots dans l'édition à paraître le mois prochain. Parmi eux, le pronom personnel "Hen" qui ne désigne ni un homme, ni une femme mais pas non plus un objet, juste un individu neutre. Un troisième genre, en somme.
S'il est seulement officiellement reconnu aujourd'hui, le terme "Hen" est loin d'être nouveau. Il a en effet créé dans les années 60, en plein mouvement féministe, alors que le pronom masculin, un peu comme en français, était employé d'office lorsque le sexe de la personne était inconnu. Au fil des années, son usage était devenu de plus en plus rare mais alors que le débat sur le genre a été relancé dans les années 2000, il a fait son grand retour dans les bouches des Suédois mais aussi dans les médias, la littérature, les écoles et les textes officiels. "Pour ceux qui utilisent le pronom c'est évidemment une force qu'il entre dans le dictionnaire", s'est réjoui auprès de l'AFP Sture Berg, l'un des rédacteurs du dictionnaire.
Si l'expression "troisième genre" est souvent employée pour désigner les personnes transgenre, comme en Inde ou en Australie, "Hen" n'est pas réservé qu'à cette catégorie de la population. Il peut être utilisé pour évoquer quelqu'un dont on ignore le sexe ou bien si l'on estime que ce détail n'a pas d'importance.
Le pays de Pop, l'enfant sans sexe
Alors que la France était en plein faux débat sur la théorie du genre, la Suède a souvent été citée comme exemple pour ses enseignements visant à briser les stéréotypes autour des deux sexes, dès l'école, à l'initiative du gouvernement depuis la fin des années 90. Dans certains établissements expérimentaux, le "Hen" prévaut et les garçons comme les filles peuvent porter des jupes, des robes ou des pantalons, comme ils le souhaitent. Ces méthodes avaient d'ailleurs alimenté les rumeurs autour des ABCD de l'égalité, instaurés par le ministère de l'Education.
A cette époque, une histoire singulière avait également fait la Une de nombreux médias, celle de Pop, un enfant que les parents ont décidé d'élever "sans sexe". "Nous voulons que Pop grandisse librement, et non dans un moule d'un genre spécifique, avaient-ils alors expliqué au quotidien Svenska Dagbladet. C'est cruel de mettre au monde un enfant avec un timbre bleu ou rose sur le front. Aussi longtemps que le genre de Pop restera neutre, il ne sera pas influencé par la façon dont les gens traitent les garçons ou les filles."
Access to 200 well-known German academic journals from 19 subject areas with 500,000 articles and 6 million pages.
We have full access to all content for a trial period ending April 24. Content can be accessed at http://www.digizeitschriften.de, no log in necessary.
The Dictionary of Regional American English
The Dictionary of Regional American English (DARE) is 60,000-entry online dictionary that offers definitions, variant spellings, word origins, and variant pronunciations—but also shows where a word is used and lists synonyms for the same term from across the country. Easily cross-reference entries, locate linguistic trends on a map and more.
Trial until April 28, 2015 at http://www.daredictionary.com/.
History Streaming Video Collection
Documentaries, educational videos, interviews, speeches, and newsreels in a collection with more than 48,200 video clips and 2,700 full-length videos.
The trial ends April 11, 2015 and can be accessed at http://digital.films.com with the username: UNTSPHS and password: SPHS260A.
Mangaluru: Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala on Friday stressed the need for translation of southern regional language literary works, including Kannada, into Hindi so as to spread the rich literary heritage of these languages across the country.
He was speaking at the inauguration of southern and south western regional official language convention here. While Hindi unites the country, regional languages strengthen respective regions, he maintained. Congratulating the Union government for making continuing efforts to spread Hindi across the country, Mr. Vala noted that it did not mean the government is against regional languages. A healthy combination of the both would make strong India, he maintained.
A nation should have one flag, one emblem, one anthem and one language, Hindi perfectly fits as the national language, Mr. Vala said.
On the occasion, several Central government departments, organisations and employees were felicitated for their effort to spread Hindi in their official call.
Après avoir officialisé un système d'identification biométrique, Microsoft annonce le débarquement de Windows 10 dans 190 pays traduit en 111 langues.
D'après un article publié sur le blog de l’entreprise, le nouveau système d’exploitation sera disponible dans quelques mois sur desktop et terminaux mobiles avec son lot de nouveautés. Disponible via une mise à jour de Windows 7 et 8. Windows 10 sera accessible avec des mises à jour gratuites et traduit en cent onze langues. Sur le plan technique, les prouesses de Windows 10 seront réformées pour permettre un fonctionnement sur les ordinateurs les plus basiques. L'assistant vocal Cortana, déjà disponible sur les Windows Phones, sera désormais pris en compte pour les ordinateurs.
Un système d’authentification par empreinte digitale, reconnaissance faciale ou de l’iris, baptisé «Windows Hello», sont parmi les nouvelles fonctionnalités que compte ce nouveau bijou Microsoft. Par ailleurs, Windows 10 permettra de naviguer d’une application à une autre mais aussi de gérer plusieurs bureaux.
Pour faciliter le déploiement de Windows 10 sur les machines, Microsoft met l’accent sur différentes collaborations avec Lenovo, une marque de fabrique chinoise d’ordinateurs, de téléphones, stations de travail, serveurs informatiques et télévisions connectées, ou la société de sécurité internet Qihu 360.
Selon le site 20 minutes.fr, l’éditeur Tercent qui compte 800 millions d'utilisateurs en Chine collaborera aussi avec Microsoft pour les aider à assurer la compatibilité de leur application avec Windows 10.
Durly Émilia Gankama
Légendes et crédits photo :
Windows 10, le nouveau bijou de Microsoft
London’s diversity is what makes it one of the greatest cities in the world.
Geographer Oliver O’Brien has taken data from the census to produce this amazing map, showing London’s most popular 2nd languages according to tube station.
24 languages from across the world are represented in multiple colours, giving a fascinating insight into the capital’s geography.
The most popular 2nd language is Bengali, spoken by large communities in the East End, with serious competition from Turkish in the North East.
Portuguese rules in Willesden, French can be heard around Old Street and Urdu’s popular down in Tooting, while Chinese pops up several times, from Charing Cross to Lewisham.
For more information on the project, click here.
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Fiel a su fama de país pionero en igualdad de género, Suecia incorporará un pronombre personal neutro a su diccionario oficial. Además de utilizar el pronombre masculino han (él) y el femenino hon (ella), ahora los suecos también podrán usar hen, que no tiene género. La palabra fue introducida por el movimiento feminista hace algunas décadas y sirve para referirse a una persona sin necesidad de especificar si es hombre o mujer, ya sea por ser éste un dato que se desconoce o porque saberlo es simplemente irrelevante. Hen también se puede utilizar para hablar de las personas transexuales o aquellas que no se identifican con ninguno de los dos géneros.
El cambio es una de las principales novedades que incluye la última edición del SAOL, el diccionario de referencia de la lengua sueca. La obra, que saldrá publicada el próximo 15 de abril, es revisada cada 10 años por un equipo especializado de la Academia Sueca, el mismo organismo que cada año se encarga de entregar el premio Nobel de Literatura.Tras varios años de encendidas discusiones, el reconocimiento oficial de este pronombre supone una victoria para las feministas.
Inspiradas en el pronombre neutro hän, que existe desde hace siglos en la vecina Finlandia, las primeras en proponer su incorporación al vocabulario sueco fueron las asociaciones de mujeres. Corrían los años sesenta y lo sugerían como alternativa al predominio del pronombre masculino en situaciones que hacen referencia a hombres y mujeres por igual. Para sus defensoras, la fórmula neutra era una manera sencilla de promover la igualdad, evitando al mismo tiempo otras soluciones más engorrosas, como el uso de la expresión "él o ella" cuando no se sabe si el sujeto del que se habla es un hombre o una mujer.
Su difusión, sin embargo, nunca acabó de despegar y el término permaneció ligado a los círculos feministas, hasta que, con el inicio del nuevo milenio, la comunidad transexual lo volvió a apadrinar. En estos últimos años, ha ido divulgándose cada vez más en la sociedad, hasta el punto de que, en la actualidad, "aparece al menos una vez al día en los periódicos más importantes, en carteles de publicidad, libros de texto, blogs y foros de internet. Lo utilizan políticos, profesores de escuelas y universidades. Ha habido algún caso incluso en el ámbito de la Justicia. Pero, sobre todo, son los jóvenes los que más rápidamente lo están incorporando a su vocabulario", explica la especialista Karin Milles, de la Universidad de Södertörn. Su amplia generalización es de hecho lo que ha llevado a la Academia Sueca a incluirlo en su diccionario.
SHETLAND Islands Council is to receive £34,000 from a Scottish government pot worth £7.2 million to support learning languages at local schools.
The money is to help councils make sure that every primary pupil starts learning a second language in P1 and a third language in P5.
Minister for learning Alisdair Allan said it could be spent on training primary teachers, strategic planning or employing more language assistants.
Allan said this will bring Scotland into line with many other European countries where learning a second language starts in early primary school and learning three languages is common.
“In today’s global, multi-cultural world it is more important than ever that young people have the opportunity to learn languages from an early age,” he said.
“The ability to speak different languages will equip Scotland’s young people with the skills and competencies needed in a 21st century global marketplace.
“We know that learning a language supports a child’s cognitive development which is proven to also help improve general attainment.
“By introducing the 1+2 model, Scotland is leading the way in the UK in this area.”
Languages and Literature Lecture Series: Translating for Europe
21 Apr 2015
The Department of Languages and Literature would like to invite you to the following lecture in their Lecture Series 2014/15.
Translating for Europe
Ms Martha Neocleous
10:30am, Tuesday 21st April 2015
With an output of 2.3 million pages in 2014 and a total of 2 255 employees, the Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission is one of the largest translation services in the world. The presentation will give an overview of the language policy in the European Union and multilingualism in DG Translation and provide an insight into the translation process as well as the language and terminology tools used by EU translators in their daily work. The speaker will also briefly outline the future challenges for DG Translation and discuss employment opportunities for linguists and the perspectives of the translation profession.
Ms Martha Neokleous completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in Translation (Diplom Übersetzerin) at the University of Mainz in Germany, having specialized in the translation of medical and economic texts. Subsequently, she pursued an additional Master's degree in Conference Interpreting at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. Upon her return to Cyprus, she worked at the German Embassy as a translator/interpreter and afterwards as a freelancer, providing translation and interpretation services in the private and public sector for several years, until she was appointed to the position of Language Officer at the local Field Office of the Directorate-General for Translation in the European Commission Representation in Cyprus. Ms Neokleous is the first translator of Cypriot nationality ever to be employed in the European Commission.
IAPTI Third International Conference: Call for Papers
Les matières scientifiques sont enseignées en arabe dans les établissements scolaires et en français dans les universités. Il sera bientôt mis fin à ce paradoxe.
La rapport de la commission Benzaghou qui a été élaboré dans le cadre du projet de réforme du système éducatif initié par Bouteflika de concert avec certains courants politiques modernistes au début des années 2000 vient d'être déterré par Nouria Benghebrit. Longtemps ostracisé sous la pression des islamo-conservateurs, ce rapport vient au secours de la ministre de l'Education qui, face à la dégradation grandissante du niveau des élèves et des étudiants, notamment en matière de maîtrise des langues, s'évertue à y chercher le palliatif. Décidément, la ministre de l'Education ne fait pas que discourir. Elle passe à l'acte. «Nous devons aller vers une deuxième révolution dans l'éducation après celle du 1er Novembre 1954» a-t-elle assené récemment lors d'une journée d'étude sur la refonte et la réforme du système éducatif à l'Assemblée nationale. Contrairement à ses prédécesseurs, Madame Benghebrit ne s'embarrasse d'aucun complexe, y compris face à l'usage de la langue française qui a toujours été, par la force du raccourci et de la légèreté intellectuels de certains milieux, assimilé à une forme de «trahison de la nation». «La maîtrise des langues étrangères est une nécessité» a-t-elle déclaré. Pour rappel, le rapport de la commission Benzaghou de 2003 relatif à la réforme du système éducatif, avait recommandé, entre autres, d'enseigner aux élèves la terminologie des matières scientifiques en langue française en vue de les préparer aux études universitaires assurées en langue étrangère. Cette recommandation répondait naturellement à la nécessité de prendre en charge les difficultés rencontrées par les bacheliers qui optent pour les filières scientifiques enseignées exclusivement en français à l'université, alors que les matières scientifiques sont complètement dispensées en arabe durant tout le cursus scolaire. Mme Benghebrit, reconnaissant l'ampleur des dégâts occasionnés par cette dissymétrie des programmes sur le plan linguistique, a regretté, dans une déclaration à l'APS, en marge d'une émission à la Télévision nationale, que les recommandations de la commission Benzaghou ne soient pas appliquées dans toutes les wilayas et ce, a t-elle insisté, sans qu'il y ait de raisons valables. Elle a déclaré dans ce sens que le dispositif pour préparer les élèves pendant le cursus scolaire aux filières universitaires scientifiques assurées en langue française «pose problème dans plusieurs wilayas, notamment dans celles ou la langue française en tant que matière pose déjà problème». Mais, selon elle, la situation n'est pas appelée à durer, car, d'ores et déjà, la décision de revenir aux recommandations de 2003 qui insistent considérablement sur l'importance pour chaque élève de maîtriser plusieurs langues, est prise. «Il n'est pas du tout pratique d'être monolingue de nos jours,» a observé la ministre de l'Education avant de préciser que «nous avons un dispositif relatif à la terminologie scientifique en langues étrangères qui n'est peut-être pas suffisamment appliqué sur l'ensemble du territoire national» et que, pour elle, la maîtrise des langues une modalité de préparation des élèves à affronter non seulement la société de demain, mais également pour pouvoir être présents dans l'Université algérienne et les autres universités».
Expliquant par ailleurs les raisons des retards enregistrés aujourd'hui dans son secteur, Nouria Benghebrit a déclaré, reprise, par l'APS, que «durant la décennie noire et même après, il y avait des wilayas qui dispensaient le français et l'anglais des examens, par manque d'enseignants, ou juste quand l'évaluation se fait et qu'on dit qu'il y a des problèmes en termes de maîtrise et en termes de compétence.»
Cette situation ne risque plus d'arriver, semble promettre Mme Benghebrit qui a souligné que «ce problème a été réglé dans toutes les écoles du pays». La ministre de l'Education a assuré, enfin, optimiste, que «l'Algérien a une capacité extraordinaire en termes de maîtrise des langues», ce qui, semble-t-il, ne risque pas de contrarier sa politique. Bien au contraire.
MANILA, Philippines - The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will release a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino to help the Filipino people better understand weather forecasts and instill disaster awareness among them.
National Artist for Literature and KWF president Virgilio Almario said yesterday the KWF produced the glossary titled Patnubay sa Weder Forkast to simplify scientific terms used in the weather bulletins of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
The book will also be helpful to the media in having a “standard language” in weather forecasting, he added.
The KWF decided to produce the book after Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated the Visayas and killed more than 6,000 on Nov. 8, 2013.
Yolanda generated a huge storm surge, or abnormal rise of seawater above the predicted astronomical tides. But many people living in the coastal areas in the Visayas reportedly chose to stay in their homes despite the storm surge warnings of PAGASA because they did not know what a storm surge means. This resulted in more casualties.
“Mayroon namang nag- broadcast. Ang problema ay hindi naintindihan yung broadcast ng tao (A weather forecast was broadcasted. The problem is that people did not understand it),” Almario said during the Kapihan forum at the Philippine Information Agency.
“The glossary could help in disseminating information about the weather, so that ordinary people will know how they should prepare for every calamity, not only for typhoon and earthquake, and for them to have disaster awareness,” he added in Filipino.
Benjamin Mendillo, chief of the KWF’s translation division, said around 5,000 copies of the book will be released in three months.
Copies of the book will only be available at the KWF office and PAGASA. KWF will sell the book at P64. PAGASA is yet to decide if the agency will sell the books or distribute these for free.
Three events in Malta promote Italian language and culture
(AGI) La Valletta, Mar 27 - A series of events to promote the Italian language, food and wine were held in Valletta, Malta's capital. The Italian Cultural Institute hosted the presentation of the book "Pietro Parisi. A peasant cook. Aspects of his land", with the author, Italian ambassador, Giovanni Umberto De Vito, Ambassador Luca Del Balzo di Presenzano and Director of the Institute, Salvatore Schirmo and representatives of local society and the media. After working in France, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, Pietro Parisi returned to Palma Campania, and in 2005 began his restaurant-workshop Era Ora. The presentation, organised with the Italian Academy of Cuisine as part of the programme of the Italian Cultural Institute in Valletta to promote Milan Expo, was followed by tasting a Parisi specialty, the "parmigianina" of steamed aubergine and Maltese dishes inspired by the history of Italian gastronomy. This was followed by a day dedicated to promoting the Italian language at the University of Malta, with the help of the Cultural Institute and the departments of Italian, Translation and Interpreting. In the morning there was a meeting on "The Italian language on the border. Italian, bridge between cultures in the Mediterranean", with Loredana Cornero, general secretary of the Community of Radio and Television broadcasting in Italian, and in the afternoon by the conference "The translation of Franco Fortini: service, vocation, ecstasy. ("Please, not too much genius.")", by Marina Morbiducci, Professor of Humanities at La Sapienza University of Rome. (AGI) .
The Centre invited an expert from the Centro de Estudios Financieros de Madrid to provide a tailor made financial course for in-house Spanish translators and participants from other European Institutions between 2 and 6 March 2015.
Although they are not required to manage stock portfolios amounting to billions of euros, translators at the Translation Centre still have to deal with specialised economic language. Swaps, yields, short and long positions, bear markets, equity, collateral, liquidity, volatility, default, etc. are common terms handled by EBA, ESMA and EIOPA (the three supervisory authorities created by the EU in the aftermath of the financial crisis which started in 2008) and the more recently created Single Resolution Board (SRB).
Given the highly technical nature of the texts received from these clients, the Centre had already invited two financial experts to talk to translators in 2014. Professor David Howarth from the University of Luxembourg and Professor Lucia Quaglia from the Department of Politics at the University of York (UK) held two seminars which were open to all language teams.
An additional seminar was then given at the beginning of March 2015 for the Spanish team and others by Juan Fernando Robles, lecturer in finance and economics and frequent contributor to economic newspapers in Spain. Renowned for his ability in financial mathematics, Mr Robles proved equally good at forsaking mathematics and giving essential answers to basic questions such as: the financial markets - what they are and how they work; banking as an economic activity - reasons for its existence, the essentials of its functioning, its pivotal economic role, steps towards Basel III and pillars of the banking system; the Lehman crisis and its outcomes; the global financial crisis and the subsequent European and sovereign debt crises; credit-rating agencies and risk premiums; derivatives, hedge funds, stock markets, etc.
Using all his ability and experience, Mr Robles proved that there is more logic to financial markets than the volatile terminology might suggest, and especially that when the need arises, a well structured training course always yields profit.
A sprawling fictionalised account of the life of the painter Leonora Carrington
lena Poniatowska is one of the towering figures of Mexican letters. She is celebrated for her journalism and non-fiction writing — notably her account of the 1968 killing of student protesters by security forces in Mexico City, published in English as Massacre in Mexico, and her depiction of the aftermath of Mexico City’s 1985 earthquake No One, Nothing.
She has also carved herself a niche in a hybrid space straddling fiction and non-fiction. In novels such as Dear Diego, about the muralist Diego Rivera’s neglected Russian wife, or Tinísima, about the Italian photographer Tina Modotti, she has dramatised the stories of real characters in recent Mexican history to great effect.
‘Aquarium’, by David Vann
‘Preparation for the Next Life’, by Atticus Lish
‘I Am Radar’, by Reif Larsen
‘Vanessa and her Sister’; ‘Adeline’
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Leonora, her most recent novel, falls into this category. It is a fictionalised third-person account of the life of the British-born surrealist painter Leonora Carrington (1917-2011). Its English-language publication coincides with the opening of a major Leonora Carrington retrospective at Tate Liverpool.
Poniatowska knows her subject well — the two women were close friends. It is hardly surprising, then, that Leonora offers a sympathetic portrait of the artist, beginning with Leonora’s childhood in Lancashire, where she led a privileged life as the only daughter of a mining and textile magnate.
The young Leonora has an affinity for the natural world that puts her at odds with the polite society she is expected to join. Her imagination is further nurtured by an Irish nanny who tells her tales about the mythical sidhe that live below ground. The irrepressible child is sent to — and expelled from — various convent schools before her parents ship her off to Florence, where she discovers Renaissance art and finds a vocation: she will be a painter.
Back in London, Leonora meets the German surrealist Max Ernst. He is married, and 26 years her senior. The mutual attraction is instant. Leonora soon finds herself living in Paris, at the centre of a cosmopolitan artistic community that includes the poet Paul Eluard and the photographers Lee Miller and Man Ray. She discusses art with André Breton. She is unimpressed by Picasso and Dalí, but admires Magritte. Peggy Guggenheim buys her paintings.
When Germany declares war on France, the German-born Ernst is interned in a detention camp. Leonora crosses the border into Franco’s Spain, where, at her parents’ request, she is put into a psychiatric clinic — one of the novel’s most harrowing episodes. A chance meeting with Renato Leduc, a Mexican consular official and her future husband, takes her to New York and then Mexico. She marvels at what she discovers. “This country is for me,” she declares.
But Leonora’s early days in Mexico are also unhappy. She doesn’t understand the language and feels neglected by Leduc. Things start to look up, however, when she meets Diego Rivera (she takes an immediate dislike to Frida Kahlo) and other famous muralists. And finally Leonora starts painting again to channel her sense of isolation. It is the beginning of her career as a Mexican surrealist. Though always aching for England, she has become a part of the Mexican arts scene, and is a witness to the country’s political and social upheavals.
This novel’s greatest achievement lies in condensing Carrington’s eventful life into a single volume of prose fiction. But the attempt to cover every angle has produced an unwieldy work. With so many historical characters and events to contend with, Poniatowska inevitably has recourse to passages of exposition. Leonora is not a subtle novel, though what Poniatowska lacks in narrative nuance she makes up for in storytelling panache, zipping readers along from decade to decade with gusto.
Bold choices by the steady-handed translator, Amanda Hopkinson, ensure that passages that might seem superfluous or clunky to English-language readers have been smoothed over. She has also chosen to leave in some of the author’s misapprehensions about British culture and history — Oscar Wilde, for instance, was not imprisoned in Chelmsford, as the book suggests.
Anyone curious about the experiences underpinning Carrington’s wildly imaginative paintings will find some of the clues in this packed and sprawling novel. “I want to experience myself as enormous, powerful and beautiful,” she pleads with Leduc in a moment of despair. Leonora allows readers to experience the artist in just that way.
Leonora: A Novel, by Elena Poniatowska, translated by Amanda Hopkinson, Serpent’s Tail, RRP£12.99, 458 pages
One of the craziest things in our culture is the existence of Star Trek conventions. The show only ran for about three years in the mid-1960s, and yet fans — most of whom were not even born when the show was broadcast — flock to these conventions by the thousands.
Some of these participants speak to each other in “Klingon,” a made-up language from a fictional planet in the Star Trek universe. I often wonder — are they just making this up? How would anyone know?
That’s kind of how I felt reading the Fed’s latest press release. Judging by the words and phrases they use, it seems like they just made up a lexicon on the fly.
Luckily, I’m here to help. I think I have a grasp on Fedspeak — or at least as good as anyone else — so I thought I’d offer my translations:
The Committee continues to see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced. Translation: Things could go up — or down — from here. It’s a toss-up.
The Committee continues to monitor inflation developments closely. Translation: We don’t know what’s going on, but we keep looking at it, hoping to figure it out. We’ll get back to you if we think of something.
In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress--both realized and expected--toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. Translation: We’re still trying to figure out what to do about employment and inflation. But if new numbers look different (“realized”), or if we have Mexican food for lunch and feel differently about the future (“expected”), we might just do something. Or not.
The Committee judges that an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate remains unlikely at the April FOMC meeting. Translation: Expect nothing to happen anytime soon. We’re still looking at things we can’t figure out.
Just because we removed the word “patient” from the statement doesn’t mean we are going to be impatient. Translation: See? We can pretend to be lawyers too. The absence of patience is… oh, wait a minute, that really does mean impatient.
Looking ahead, however, the Committee continues to expect a moderate pace of GDP growth, with robust job gains and lower energy prices supporting household spending. Translation: Everything will be fine, trust us. It will all work out. We control the world, remember?
While it is still the case that we consider it unlikely that economic conditions will warrant an increase in the target range at the April meeting, such an increase could be warranted at any later meeting, depending on how the economy evolves. Translation: We won’t do anything at our next meeting, but after that, all bets are off. Deal with it.
Well, when an economy is operating at the so-called zero lower bound, it creates a situation where there are asymmetric risks. It is possible if the economy proves stronger than is expected to respond to that by tightening policy. If there are adverse shocks to demand that tend to push inflation and economic performance in an adverse direction it's not possible to lower rates. Translation: We know things kind of suck around the world, and aren’t all sunshine and roses here at home. But we have to raise rates so that when our economy tanks again we can lower rates and look like we’re doing something useful.
In some corporate debt markets, we do see evidence of unusually low spreads. Translation: I don’t know what idiots are buying high yield debt at 5%, but they’re going to get smoked when we start raising rates!
The global experience shows that giving central banks independence to make monetary policy decisions that they think are in the best interest of the country and consistent with their mandates leads to lower inflation and more stable macroeconomic outcomes. Translation: The central banks are doing great! Except for when we’ve fueled speculative bubbles and almost ruined the global financial system, but let’s not talk about that. We need more power, not less, so thanks for giving us sole oversight of the new Consumer Finance Protection Board.
I, you know, I think I need to be ready to answer questions on any aspect of Federal Reserve behavior, and that's an important principle. Translation: Me worried about testifying to Congress? Are you kidding? I’m appointed for six years, report to no one, and am considered to be the most influential financial figure in the world. I don’t wait for appropriated money for my budget, I print it! Bring ‘em on.
OK, so maybe this was just a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it’s not far off the mark.
The Fed wants us to believe they are worried about the economy, and that raising rates will give it ammunition for the next recession.
That being said, they expect to raise rates very slowly, taking years to get anywhere near the widely accepted normal rate for fed funds, about 3.25%. This will keep real interest rates — whatever you earn, less inflation — below zero for at least another year, which will keep punishing savers in the hopes that people and businesses will load up on debt.
A map showing the percentage of English speakers in populations around the world. Light green means less than 20 percent of the population speaks English.
“Speak English! You want to make money, have an education, right?”
Too often today, children and adults alike are discouraged from speaking their native languages in favor of English, because speaking English will supposedly bring economic productivity. But has the world become so materialistic that prosperity is the only thing that matters? It seems that culture has taken a back seat. In the interest of prosperity, languages around the world are beginning to slowly disappear and lose salience in cultures that once revered them.
This shift in attitude is a result of cultural assimilation, something history is all too familiar with. Powerful countries commandeer, through various indirect channels, the use of their own language to influence weaker states. The prevalence of English in world affairs today has, in a sense, forced non-English speaking countries to learn it in order to function in the world economy. This change in linguistic preferences has led cultures to debase the value of their own languages to the extent that they increasingly resemble those of English speaking economic powers, most notably the United Kingdom and United States. It becomes more difficult to conceive of any positive implications of increased English usage, other than assimilation into a more globalized world.
The age of cultural assimilation has yet to be eclipsed by a new global power dynamic. However, language is more complex compared to conventional tools of influence, such as the use of natural resources and military conflict. People around the world have, in a sense, become their own dictators; they are actively debasing their native languages in favor of English. Former colonies, in addition to non-colonized countries, have chosen the language of their former colonizers (most evidently English and French) over their own languages as the “superior” form of communication.
For example in the former British colonies of India and Pakistan, there is growing sentiment against the use of native languages such as Hindi/Urdu, Tamil, and Punjabi. English generally has a higher status, and is considered the language of the educated. Punjabi, especially in Pakistan, has become the target of many semiotic indictments: speakers of Punjabi are considered indecent, uneducated, poor, etc. In Malaysia, also a former British colony, parents are increasingly sending their children across the border to Singapore, where English is commonplace and used in schools, regardless of the financial burdens doing so may have.
In recent years, countries such as Tanzania and Malaysia have been pushing back against the use of English in schools: the primary languages of instruction have reverted to Swahili and Malay, respectively. This can be seen as an effort to preserve national identity and cultural autonomy and push back against complete international assimilation. But even this comes with a caveat: people still want to learn English, because it allows them to become more global. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to do so, but it means that people are gradually departing from their origins and adding to the cornucopia of English discourse with little intention of looking back.
Politics and Economics
As with other aspects of culture, modernization has led to prioritizing English as “the” language. Modernization theory postulates that in order for a country to modernize, it needs to move away from its religious values and cultural customs. However native English speakers largely do not see a reason to learn another language: the Internet, business, and education all use English as their primary medium of discourse.
In many parts of the world, one is considered educated if one speaks English. In a time where the world is trying to embrace cultural differences, certain cultures are being given disproportionately more attention and value than others. This is evident with the classic case of the “language of the time.” Such a language gains popularity based on the economic and political salience of the countries in which it is spoken. In the 1950s, after the Soviets launched the Sputnik, learning Russian became immensely popular in American schools. In the 1980s, the Japanese economy was widely thought to eclipse the US economy, and Japanese become a popular foreign language to learn. Today, the languages of the time are Chinese and Arabic.
Indeed there is some mendacity as to why these languages have risen in popularity: most people do not learn these languages because they appreciate or want to learn about the cultures they represent, but because they see a material gain in learning them. This is truer of Arabic, for example, than almost any other language today. The number of American college students learning Arabic has increased greatly in recent years, not because the world has suddenly developed an interest in Arab culture, but largely because it sees a material benefit (whether through an occupation as a diplomat, translator, or academic) in learning it. Again, there is not anything wrong in doing so, but it does demonstrate how people today choose to do something based upon the material benefits it gives them.
In some of his empirical work, Walt Wolfram, a Professor of Sociolinguistics at North Carolina State University, found that more socially progressive university departments, such as English and Sociology, make active efforts to try to change the English of non-Standard English speakers, and justify it by saying that they are trying to help them fit into modern society. That different dialects or forms of English have their own cultural values and richness does not cross the minds of these progressive mavericks.
Ideologically, understanding power and its effects on language is somewhat more difficult to understand because one language’s effects on other languages are subtle and gradual. French thinker Michel Foucault described this phenomenon of power as a “regime of truth,” a realm within which truth is produced and becomes a strategic part of a working set of power relations. He described the government as a mechanism that controls the conduct of human relations, of which language is one very important tool.
If this is taken to mean that the government controls tools of influence such as language to create power imbalances, then there remains little doubt as to why English is the dominant world language today. “Its never about language per se, it’s always about political power. Language becomes symbolic of that power hierarchy. Language is never really about language, it’s about the politics, authority, and oppression behind it,” said Professor Wolfram, in an interview with the HPR. A few decades ago, English was not as necessary to know to be a globalized citizen. It is not to say that English is inherently a superior language and thus has become the dominant language of international discourse. However it is to say, as seen through a Foucaultian lens, that English has gained currency as a result of governmental actions and global politics.
More remarkably, people often do not see that adapting to a language other than their own actually serves a political purpose that works against them. “When things seem natural to us, we do not attempt to resist. But we want conflict. If we don’t have conflict, we are accepting status quo hierarchal positions,” Professor Wolfram added. Assimilation will continue to influence developing countries for decades if they do not make an active effort against the use of English as either the sole or the socially preferred language of discourse.
Dethroning the King
The question is not whether English is going to eclipse other languages as the dominant medium of discourse—because it already has—but rather if it will be eclipsed by another language. Considering future forecasts, as well as tools of progression, such as the Internet and business, it seems exceedingly difficult to imagine another language usurping English as the dominant language. Some make the argument that Mandarin will make a stand, but, Mandarin has not rooted itself in global affairs the way English has.
English is globalization; it is modernization. But it threatens the existence of other languages; Columbia linguist John McWhorter estimates the world’s 6000 spoken languages will dwindle to 600 by 2150. Regardless, McWhorter believes, “A future dominated by English won’t be a linguistic paradise, in short, but it won’t be a linguistic Armageddon either.” It is not to say that English will lead to linguistic singularity, but it will create a less linguistically pluralistic world. Whether that benefits humanity depends on how much people value their languages, and whether they see their language as a means to make an impact on the world, just as English has.
If people’s definition of “good,” of “progress,” or of “better” is capitalism, modernization, or conformity, then embracing English is the right thing to do. But if their definition is truth, pride, or distinction then embracing their languages is the right thing to do.
Image Credits: U.S.-U.K. Flag, Wikimedia Commons, User Hellerick, Map of English Use, Wikimedia Commons, User Naacevedo
Talk on indigenous languages in BrazilLe voyage des mots: Comparaison des lexiques naturalistes des langues tupi-guarani (Amérique du Sud)
April 17th, 2015
The Center for Scholars, the Department of French and Italian, and the Linguistics Program of Tulane University cordially invite you to attend a lecture in French by a distinguished specialist on the family of Tupi-Guarani languages.
Dr. Françoise Grenand is an anthropologist and Emeritus Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, French National Research Council) of France. She is renowned for her pioneering work on the vocabulary of Wayãpi and other indigenous languages in French Guiana and elsewhere in lowland South America, including Brazil. Dr. Grenand will lecture on Tupi-Guarani languages and vocabularies based on her many years of research among the Wayãpi people of French Guiana. She will present a Powerpoint in English to accompany her lecture, which will be delivered in French.
Au cours de leur histoire, de nombreux peuples ont migré, emportant avec eux leur langue, trésor précieux et fragile. Découvrant des écosystèmes inédits, ils ont dû s'adapter et intégrer dans leur langue des mots nouveaux pour nommer les entités nouvelles. Prenant l'exemple des peuples Tupi-Guarani d'Amérique du Sud, la présente conférence entend expliquer leur démarche dans les lexiques zoologiques et botaniques. Des termes immotivés sont les témoins précieux des migrations anciennes. Des termes motivés descripteurs restent souvent neutres et de moindre portée. Motivés ou non, un certain nombre de termes, porteurs d’une grande charge sociétale, sont intéressants dans la comparaison linguistique et culturelle.
Fez- The 32nd issue of the international journal “Languages and Linguistics” has just been released on the theme of “Language, Culture and Education: A Critical Perspective.”
Edited by Professor Moha Ennaji (International Institute for Languages and Cultures, Fez), this issue includes a set of scholarly articles motivated by the growing interest in applied linguistics. The studies included in this collection explore the relationship between language, culture, and education from a critical perspective.
Five articles, one in Arabic and four in English, deal with the impact of language and language policy on the symbolic cultural market and the development of language teaching. The analysis in each article is either linguistic, ethnographic, cultural, or based on qualitative fieldwork.
In the first article, “Ideological Perspectives in Language Policy: Framing Nashville English-only Debate”, Mohammed Albakry and Nancy Warden (Middle Tennessee State University) bring to the fore the 2009 language debate in Tennessee, as voters rejected a proposed English-only amendment to the charter of Nashville. Based on opinion articles and letters to the editor, the survey discusses the dominant ideological debate between the opponents and the proponents of the English-only restriction. The authors argue that the findings have ramifications for language identity, language policy, education, and immigrants’ integration.
In the second article, “Multicultural Literacy: Using National Metaphors as a Culture Learning Strategy for “Third Culture Kids””, Janie Hubbard and Nieke Coppelmans (University of Alabama) illustrate how the use of metaphors in the classroom as a culture learning strategy can help learners of English as a foreign/second language to acquire the target language skills and compare cultures.
Based on fieldwork and a case study, the article reveals that this strategy contributes to the promotion of multicultural literacy development among culturally and linguistically diverse students; it also leads to the improvement of classroom activities in the domain of multicultural literacy.
In the third article, Charles Owu-Ewie (Winneba University) addresses the issue of “The Language Policy of Education in Ghana in Perspective: The Past, the Present, and the Future.” The author argues that the stable use of the mother tongue as a means of instruction in primary education and as a subject in pre-tertiary institutions in Ghana will depend on reframing the language policy in education, and on strong governmental support and change of attitude.
In the fourth article, “Amazigh Language in the Maghreb “, Ennaji examines the status of Berber in the aftermath of its official recognition thanks to the militancy of the Amazigh cultural movement and the political will to integrate Amazigh into the educational establishment. The author shows the extent to which its introduction in schools will contribute to favorable attitudes toward it and to more standardization and codification of the Amazigh language.
In the fifth article, “L’Impéritie de la Lexicographie Arabe Face à l’Expansion Néologique des Langues de Créativité Scientifique”, Abderrezak Dourari (University of Algiers) presents a critical perspective of the Arabic lexicography and its weak creativity in the domain of science, particularly social sciences.
The author describes how factors like salafism, nationalism, traditional cultural norms, lack of critical thinking, and absence of creative modern strategies in academic writings in Algeria and other Arab countries have contributed to the stagnation of the Arabic lexicon (and scientific research, generally) in this part of the world.
Finally, in his Arabic article, Abdessamad Rouai (Chaouaib Doukkali University, Eljadida) looks at the syntactic structure of adverbs in Modern Standard Arabic in a comparative perspective. He develops an analysis of Arabic adverbs within the minimalist framework of Chomsky.
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Notwithstanding several pious pronouncements and official fiats, the Akali Dal led government failed enforce Punjabi in government offices, obviously under pressure from ultra Hindu nationalist party, BJP which is bent upon making Punjab suba a bi-lingual state .
Around 500 delegates including linguists, Professors, Vice-Chancellors and researchers from various universities and institutes of the country would participate in the three-day second National Language Conference to be held here between March 30 and April 2. The conference will be organised by the Institute of Odia Studies and Research in collaboration with State Culture department at the Institute of Physics.
Institute of Odia Studies and Research and second National Language Conference reception committee president Debi Prasanna Pattanayak told reporters here that the conference would focus on ways to promote the use of regional language and also to establish Odia language at the national level. “Though Odia is the official language of Odisha, the same is not being used at Government level.
There are 22 official languages in the country, English continues to be dominate the scene,” said Institute of Odia Studies and Research member secretary Subrat Kumar Prusty. While Governor Dr SC Jamir would inaugurate the conference Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been invited to the valedictory function.
Last year a Canadian public radio show called “This is That” reported a somewhat ridiculous-seeming plan, cooked up in the northern Alberta town of High Prairie: to attract more tourists, the town council had hired a linguist from Texas to invent a local accent.
Shopkeepers and residents would learn to speak in ascending tones, and drop their r’s, giving the town auditory distinction. “We’re asking ourselves the question, who is doing tourism right in Canada? And naturally our minds travel to places like the East Coast… as well as Quebec, and the one commonality between all of those places is the use of accent,” the town’s tourism commissioner said in an interview.
The story was widely shared by listeners who—like me—were unaware that “This is That” was not offbeat news but pure satire. This just-plausible-enough story fooled a lot of people, perhaps because it’s not that far from the truth.
As it turns out, the commodification of “linguistic variety” is a real thing in the tourism industry. Language is increasingly being used as the first point of contact in what eventually becomes a monetary transaction. Monica Heller, a sociolinguistics professor at the University of Toronto and the leading expert on the topic, has been tracking the way that local accents, dialects, and minority languages are being packaged as a part of “authentic experiences” around the world.
In Munich, for example, subway drivers are apparently encouraged to speak with Bavarian accents, to underline the uniqueness of the city. Search for “New York accent” on Trip Advisor and you’ll find numerous pizza places in the Midwest or Florida where the guy serving the pie “sounds like a real New Yorker.” In Christmas markets in Europe, vendors hire Franco-Canadians to sell maple syrup or apple cider from Quebec, because, as Heller, who is also the president of the American Anthropology Association, tells Quartz: “The accent is important. People will come and a person will say, ‘Where are you from? Let me hear you talk. Let me tell you about my holiday in Québec,’ and then turn their attention to the actual objects for sale.
“For [the customers] it’s as much the experience of talking to a real Franco-Canadian, a real Quebecois, and they want the accent,” she says. “The sellers want to provide that as part of the experience. It’s called value-added.”
The amount an accent is worth is up for debate. Heller feels it’s even unclear whether the value of a linguistic resource is quantifiable or should be, and says attempts to attach numbers to language commercialization have been messy.
What’s not debatable is that the practice raises complicated questions. When does the “fun” of discovering another way of speaking cross into creepy exoticization-of-the-other territory? And if such interactions with foreigners turn regular people into specimens, what about the experience is “authentic” anyway? Businesses that use language as a product seem to be taking the theme park mentality of “living villages” into actual towns, turning daily life into performance.
Irish as a commodity
What is “authenticity” worth?(Reuters/Cathal McNaughton)
In recent decades the Irish language, once seen as a marker of the backwards and uneducated, has become fashionable again, especially among Ireland’s urban middle-class. Still, the actual use of Irish appears to be on the decline.
In a 2011 census, 41% of the population claimed they had some ability to speak Irish. A closer look at the numbers, however, shows that less than 2% of citizens speak Irish daily outside of the education system (where it is compulsory). That figure jumps to 35% in the Gaeltacht, the Irish-speaking counties along Ireland’s western and southern coasts. Here, where Irish is strongest in older generations but slipping among young people, it has lately become a source of revenue.
Every year, businesses that sell three- or four-week language learning vacation packages (cleverly combining edutourism and heritage tourism) attract thousands of international travelers to towns in the Gaeltacht, promising “immersion.” And the staff at local pubs will speak to travelers in Irish, “because they see you as part of this package that’s bringing money to the area, so it’s part of their job” says Bernadette O’Rourke, a socio-linguist at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University.
Sometimes, though, locals are irritated by the non-Irish speakers who expect to be accommodated. “[Tourists] start a conversation and they’re not proficient but they expect the person behind the counter to go through that process,” O’Rourke tells Quartz. “A shopkeeper might go along with it because it can be good for business, selling this authentic experience. But if it goes beyond the initial ‘hello, how are you,’ it may be going too far. It all depends on what people will put up with.”
To O’Rourke, the situation becomes problematic when those running the tourism enterprises are operating on a seasonal basis and not reinvesting in the community, which is often the case. As such, she asks, is it the local people themselves who become the commodities?
In the West Coast town of Ennis, the situation is even more curious. Ennis is near but outside the Gaeltacht; nevertheless, language advocates there are promoting the use of Irish in stores and hanging bilingual signs. “They’ve got local business people on board with Irish as a form of branding. But a lot of them are passionate about the language and feel a little bit guilty about using Irish as a commodity and getting money from it.”
In Louisiana, a similar branding project is now underway, led by the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, or CODOFIL.
A green sticker signifies some effort to speak French.(Courtesy of CODOFIL.)
The organization hopes to have its first Zagat-like “FrancoResponsable” (“French-friendly”) stickers in the windows of restaurants, shops and hotels in New Orleans and Acadia within a month. The stickers will be color-coded to indicate the level of French service that’s available to customers. Green will mean the business offers some effort to reach French speakers—maybe the menu is bilingual, for example. Silver will mean that service is spotty—perhaps the one francophone person on staff is not always working, so call ahead. A gold award will indicate that interacting entirely in French is always an option. CODOFIL staffers plan to personally verify the Frenchness of businesses before awarding any stickers at all.
The agency once focused solely on French-language education, so this commercial venture signifies a departure. The goal is to bump up the already sizable population of francophone tourists who visit Louisiana, and to validate the French language in a public way.
Promoters of the campaign and others like it say they recognize that inviting outsiders to experience Louisiana’s French dialects may sometimes put locals in awkward positions. In Louisiana, French has been stigmatized and repressed; “My French is bad,” is the first thing most Creole or Cajun French-speaking people will say to a foreigner’s bonjour.
However, according to a spokesperson from CODOFIL, French businesses are already excited about the FrancoResponsable program, which may one day be extended to doctor’s offices and other non-tourist locales. What’s more, it’s designed to support all forms of French in the state—regional, Haitian, European, or African. It’s also hoped that young Louisianans will see that French is connected to the job market, so they’ll have an incentive to master the language. In the 1960s, about a million people spoke French in the state. Today there are about 175,000 native speakers.
Whether tying the language to the whims of the tourist market is a good idea is not yet clear. “French isn’t alive and well like it used to be, so I feel that it is like everything—there are good and bad points,” says Emilie Urbain, a Belgian-born adjunct professor at the University of Moncton who has conducted linguistic research in Louisiana. Economically, though, it may deliver, says Joseph Dunn, a former CODOFIL director. Already, francophone visitors bring $250,000 in revenue per year to just one site, the Laura Plantation, Dunn’s current marketing client.
English spoken with a Cajun accent, often associated with illiterate characters in pop culture, is also something people are starting to play with in tourist contexts, notes Urbain.
Locals play themselves as native speakers of a non-standard English, in a commercial made by Newfoundland & Labrador tourism.(Courtesy Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism/Barrett & MacKay Photo)
The French of Louisiana have a lot in common with the people of Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador, traditionally one of the country’s poorest provinces. People who live there often speak with a unique accent that can incorporate various dialects. The literary sensation Karl Ove Knausgaard made note of it in his New York Times Magazine story this month. (“Pierce talked the whole time, while I nodded and made noncommittal noises as I struggled to make sense out of the few words I could understand. He had lived in the area all his life, grew up in a nearby village and moved to St. Anthony a few years ago, he worked in the fisheries and in boatbuilding, possibly also at a car-repair shop, and he had had a pacemaker put in, that much I gathered.”)
Like the rural Irish, or the Cajun speakers who Urbain says “have been told their whole life that their French is broken,” Newfoundlanders have a complex relationship with their accent and identity. In Canada, politically incorrect jokes about Newfoundlanders virtually mirror the hoary old Polish jokes familiar to most Americans.
But last year Newfoundland tourism produced a promotional video depicting groups of locals talking to each other in different scenes while the narrator described the province’s hundreds of dialects—for those who listen carefully. “Don’t be surprised if you find yourself lost in conversation… or a bit of tomfoolery,” is the kicker.
Although the video reinforces the cliché about unintelligible Newfoundlanders, “The positive spin is they get a community, and the solidarity, in which they can set the rules for themselves,” says Heller. The tourism agency also recently created Language Lessons, a series of 31 micro-lectures in which locals explain phrases like “Who knit you?” or “Splittin’ the rocks,” sayings only heard in Newfoundland. These are the first TV ads to spotlight language, but not the first time the agency has pushed the province’s linguistic singularity “as one of many in a long list of selling points about Newfoundland,” says Carol Ann Carter, manager of advertising and communications. Over the past decade, she says, “To the rest of the country, we’ve become the cool people to hang out with.” (A few years ago the tourism authority in Skane, in southern Sweden, took a similar stand to support that district’s dialect, which apparently had been scaring off fellow Swedes.)
So is putting on accents harmless, or is it upholding old power dynamics? The answer depends on who is involved. Heller’s work shows that it’s often marginalized or minority populations who were once protected by the state who now find themselves “selling” or deploying a part of their identity as a way to adapt to newer free market environments.
“One of the things that people could be thinking as they travel around is ‘What am I expecting?’” Heller suggests. “Am I expecting people to be as authentic as possible, even if that’s difficult for me to understand? What am I valuing and why am I valuing that? And what does that mean for the provider, what am I asking them to do for me? And is that nice?”
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MANGALURU: Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala pointed out that government circulars and official communication must be printed in Hindi.
"Strengthening Hindi will strengthen the nation," he said, at the inauguration of the Official Language conference held under the aegis of regional implementation office (south and south west), department of official language, Union ministry of home affairs, on Friday.
Over 500 delegates from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Union territories of Puducherry and Lakshadweep took part in the event.
"Why aren't our circulars and gazettes in Hindi? During the British rule, all laws were written in English. That's how people started learning English and gaining knowledge of the laws," he said.
Vala said that people should not ignore the language of the state while making Hindi the official language. "Hindi is a language that connects the nation. Being a Gujarati, I have no hatred for other languages. People show enthusiasm towards English, but there should be more interest in every Indian to learn Hindi. Love for the state language should take priority, but one must also be keen on learning the national language too," he added.
He said Hindi can be popularised better through movies and television serials. He called upon writers to translate good literature from South Indian languages into Hindi.
The event was presided over by Snehalata Kumar, secretary, department of official language. Poonam Juneja, joint secretary and Harindra Kumar, director (implementation), were present.
The first Kalamazoo World Languages Film Festival started March 20 and runs until March 29 in Brown Hall.
Day One, Friday, March 20
The French Film “Fair Sex” followed Sophie, a young woman aspiring to be a filmmaker. She works at a traveling amusement park and her boss asks her to make a promotional video for the fair. Sophie takes the opportunity to tell the story of her female genital mutilation (FGM) experience.
Sophie had a type three excision in Africa when she was 4. An excision is a procedure done in some countries around the world that involves the removal of the woman’s genatalia. Sophie explains in the movie that her type, the type three excision, is the worst because it removes all the female genatalia, including the clitoris, labia majora and labia minora. After which is removed, the remaining skin is sewn together so only a small hole for menstrual blood to exit exists.
When her friends/coworkers find out, they react differently. Her best friend and bunkmate, Genevieve, interviews Sophie about the excision and it’s one of the few times the audience sees Sophie’s face. Frederik, who works next to Sophie, invites her to sleep, just sleep, in his bed with him for a night. They’re both drunk and she accepts. While she’s trying to sleep, he tries to “cop a feel” and Sophie runs out, angry and crying.
Word spreads, and Sophie sends for Normand, an older man who lost his wife and son over a decade ago in a car crash. He’s a source of comfort for Sophie. She tells him she wants to have sex with him. She knows it’s going to hurt, and she doesn’t want her first time to be with someone she loves. After a lot of thinking, he agrees. This very unnerving scene was shot so the audience could see Normand and part of Sophie. It was a very close first-person point of view, with the camera right over Sophie’s shoulder.
The style of the film was first-person shooting in documentary form. The picture was beautiful with a lot of great landscape shots of the park, and shots of Sophie’s friends.
The dialogue was very natural. After the film ended, a few audience members thought Sophie actually made the documentary, when the entire story is fiction. The director, Martin Laroche, presented the film and told the audience he wrote the story based off of a loose interpretation of the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born activist who speaks out against female gentital mutilation.
“Fair Sex” brings the plight of female genital mutilation to a western audience.
Day Two, Saturday March 21
Short film “The First Step"
This French short film had a second-person point of view. The audience saw what the protagonist saw, and the audience saw the protagonist once in a reflection.
A man enters a woman’s apartment. He smiles and he’s friendly. The scene establishes a light setting. At first, it seems like the meeting is for a job interview. He grabs papers out of his briefcase and starts explaining a program or a service to the woman, all sexual things. The job interview has morphed into a business meeting to establish a sexual relationship.
The woman offers him tea, and he accepts. The second-person narration follows her eyes as she looks down at her wheelchair to un-do the lock. She wheels into the kitchen.
This film presented disability in an intimate way and showed how abled people don’t always think about disabled people’s needs.
This French film presented racial conflict in the form of a 13-year-old boy meeting and living with his father for the first time.
Benjamin meets his father, grandfather, and grandmother. Immediately he’s disrespectful by smoking in the house, telling his father he’s “not a real man,” and staying out too late. The relationship between a father and his son is the biggest theme. The audience learns that Benjamin’s grandfather and father have had a strained relationship for years. His grandfather doesn’t agree with his decisions, and tells him to beat Benjamin for being disrespectful multiple times.
No matter how awful Benjamin is to his father, his father never hurts him. Even when Benjamin attacks him with a knife, his father subdues him and later takes care of him. After this, they reach an understanding. Benjamin even shows his father the beautiful spray painting artwork he does.
The racial issues are expertly portrayed in this film. Benjamin has Arab and African American blood and clearly never feels like he belongs anywhere. Society has a hard time accepting him. During one scene when Benjamin and his father eat at a little restaurant, a few people tell them they have to leave.
This film focused on character development with close-ups and dramatic pauses, with a surprising plot twist at the end where Benjamin possibly freed his family from their ties.
Day Three, Sunday, March 22
Short film “We Live in Wonderful Times”
This short film starts off with a guy and his girlfriend, Rachel, talking about where to vacation or where to go for their honeymoon. The guy’s best friend shows up and punches him in the face.
This isn't the most surprising plot twist.
Different characters are shown with short videos of their faces looking at the camera. The best friend accuses him of sleeping with Sophie, his girl friend. Sophie’s face is shown. The best friend points a gun at his face. The protagonist talks him down, and they sit at the table.
Rachel takes the gun and points it at the protagonist, screaming at him about how they were talking about having kids. Sophie’s face flashes on the screen again and Rachel realizes he wants kids with Sophie, not her. She throws the gun, it goes off, and they all cower for a second.
The best friend and protagonist sit and talk about their relationships. The protagonist reveals he actually had a threesome with Rachel and a waitress.
The final shot is the protagonist lying on the ground, his inner monologue talking to the camera. He says we try new things all the time. Why not sexual partners?
This French film focuses on the untold African history colonizers omitted from the history books. Taking place during the Mande Empire, a young girl, Dokamisa, loses her immediate memories of her family and remembers random parts of history. A griot, an African storyteller and orator, takes her on a journey to help her remember her life and who she is.
One of the first scenes is a group of hunters around a camp fire. The griot talks of being a hunter, which becomes important later in the story.
The griot and Dokamisa travel through time in a car, invisible to most people, and the griot tells her stories along the way. They visit the site where Nelson Mandela was in prison, when Voltaire wrote about slavery, colonization, and Leopold, who took Congo to harvest rubber.
The film also showed a little mix of African and western culture. One scene showed the griot and Dokamisa sitting on a bench. A white, dressed in modern clothes, sits close to the griot. Dokamisa scoots away and tells him not to trust the white man. The griot tells her that white people and Africans need to work together, and then they help free two birds from a cage. Dokamisa becomes pregnant with twins, in the oddest part in the movie. Her children represent cooperation between African civilization and western civilization, of regaining memories, and of growth.
Dokamisa learns the value of the journey when they walk to the hunter’s campfire. Her kids grow on the long walk, and they’re almost toddlers. She tells the hunters she wants to be a hunter, and eventually convinces them to accept her. Dokamisa proves she regains her memories by talking about one of her ancestors, who was the buffalo-woman, a notable character in African mythology.
This trippy, rule-bending, Japanese film focuses on Emile, a young school boy who struggles with self-actualization throughout his life. The first part, called “The Brass Bullet,” shows Emile and his friends while they’re young school boys. While young, Emile talks and daydreams about exploring far-away worlds.
In the second part when Emile is older, he loses the wonder he had as a boy.
The black and white film had an usual style that sometimes used cutouts instead of people and sets. One person’s journey is a huge aspect of the film, and how that person views his or her life. As a writer, Emile fills hundreds of pieces of paper with words, but only sells his stories to receive money to buy alcohol, perhaps embodying the starving artist stereotype.
His hallucinations are used as a tool to reveal his inner demons, the devil being one of them. Towards the end of the film, Emile lays on his floor, as his hallucinations take over his mind.
After taking of his top hat to reveal horns, the devil leans over Emile and asks “What kind of human do you want to be?”
The ending scene is Emile achieving self-actualization. Older Emile finds a small house on the river. Young Emile sits at a desk, writing. Both Emiles start writing this story, starting with “The Brass Bullet.”
See second weekend schedule here.
Yup’ik spelling bee preserves language
By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: Emily Landeen - 5:23 PM March 27, 2015
ANCHORAGE – Anchorage students competed in a district wide Yup’ik spelling bee at Clark Middle School on Friday, a unique spelling contest that’s helping preserve an Alaskan native language.
Yup’ik is becoming increasingly uncommon in urban areas, but some of the participants still speak it in their homes. The fourth annual event is designed to keep the language alive.
Teachers hope it helps students better understand their culture.
“Alaska native languages are dying and it’s a big concern, and so anything as a community and as a school that we can do to breathe life back into these languages is really important,” said Clark Middle School Indian Education Counselor Kelsey Saakvitne.
The best spellers will go on to compete at the state Yup’ik spelling bee at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School. Anchorage’s winner was 8th grader Emily Tunuchuk.
You can watch more of our coverage of this story and others during our 10 p.m. Nightcast.
“Si Jesús no es Dios sino un gran hombre, su enseñanza no puede dar lugar a tantas sectas. La enseñanza de un gran hombre es grande solo porque expresa de forma comprensible y clara cuanto otros enunciaron confusa e incomprensiblemente”, afirma en su Evangelio abreviado el novelista ruso Lev Tolstói, buscándole respuestas a preguntas de la vida y no a interrogantes teológicos. “Me daba igual si Jesucristo era Dios o no lo era”, aclara, al introducirnos en su traducción abreviada de los cuatro evangelios.
Buscando un punto de serenidad entre el brutal estallido de la primera guerra mundial, el filósofo alemán Wittgenstein, abatido y al borde del suicidio, entra en una librería donde junto a tarjetas postales y viejas revistas hay un solo libro: Concordia y traducción de los cuatro evangelios. Lo compra. No sabe la trascendencia que adquirirá en su vida. Tolstói lo escribió como fruto de reflexiones espirituales para la vida, fundamentadas en mensajes de magnos maestros religiosos, sobre todo Jesucristo. No un Jesús divino. En sus Diarios secretos, confiesa Wittgenstein que tal obra le ha sido de gran utilidad. Para el Tractatus adoptó la estructura de dicha obra. “El estilo de la traducción tolstoiana une la cadencia del eslavo eclesiástico con el lenguaje popular”, dice Iván García Sala.
En mi caso, pocos libros me reconcilian tanto con la figura humana de Jesucristo, como estos evangelios abreviados, transparentes en su lenguaje y sus ideas. ¿Cómo pueden sintetizarse los evangelios, sin quebranto de su espiritualidad? En insondable obra distanciada de iglesias, sacerdotes y pastores, Tolstói lo hizo, aproximándonos de manera más personal a las enseñanzas de los cuatro evangelios. Cuando se comprende este libro, la presencia de Jesús adquiere más fuerza existencial para cada uno de nosotros, con cuanto somos y pensamos. Tal Jesús, contiguo al mundo donde vivimos, cercano a los miedos y esperanzas lacerando la sociedad y el hombre contemporáneos, lo intuimos más viable en la sinopsis de los evangelios canónicos hecha por el místico ruso.
La presencia y acción humana de Jesús, a partir de tan personal y heterodoxa traducción del griego, proporciona a tales libros una fuerza espiritual no condicionada por el pensamiento de los dirigentes religiosos de mixtas congregaciones cristianas tradicionales usufructuando, de una u otra forma, las enseñanzas de Jesús, con sus recurrentes mensajes en homilías de sacerdotes o intimidantes y desaforadas peroratas de heterogéneos pastores. La verdadera vida no está en el tiempo sino en el presente, exterioriza Tolstói en su heterodoxo y singular ensamble de los cuatro evangelios, expresando sus influencias judías, sufíes, taoístas y budistas. Esta polémica obra de Tolstoi se publicó en Ginebra, (1890) un año antes del novelista ser excomulgado. Y 16 años más tarde, en Rusia.