Geography Education
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Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Are Americans trashing the English language?

"Are American's trashing the English language? The Economists language expert, Lane Greene, knows a thing or two about English. Lane is a fan of words, lots of words, and Lane is an American living in London. He's become accustomed to British English slang. But Lane often hears Britons complain that there are too many American words and expressions creeping into British English, these are called Americanisms. British writer Matthew Engel can't stand Americanisms being used in Britain and even wrote a book about it. But are Americanisms trashing British English?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video touches on important cultural and spatial dynamics of the linguistic change impacting the world's current lingua franca...in other words, this is incredibly relevant to human geography. 

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, English, diffusion,

 colonialism.

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Matt Manish's curator insight, March 8, 12:00 PM
I found this video very enjoyable to watch and I learned a lot more about how British people feel about the American language, especially in their own culture. I knew that American English and British English had some small differences with the spelling of some words and differences in some terms for the same object such as lift and elevator. But I didn't realize how some American phrases or "Americanisms" have crept into the British English language and are causing some English citizens to be upset about it.
In response to this information, I have to side with Lane Greene's opinion towards the end of this video. The fact that "Americanisms" are creeping into the British English language is the sign of a healthy and developing language. It means that one language that is being affected by another language because it has a global reach throughout the world. This is a positive thing that shouldn't be feared because as we can see from history, languages change over time and tend to never stay the same.
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How the letters of the alphabet got their names

How the letters of the alphabet got their names | Geography Education | Scoop.it
There seems to be little predictability to the English names for the letters of the alphabet, to say nothing of the names of letters in other languages. Some begin with an e-as-in-egg sound (eff, ell); some end in an ee sound (tee, dee); and others have no obvious rhyme or reason to them at all. How did they get that way?

 

Tags: language, culturehistorical, English.

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English--Origins and Roots

When we talk about ‘English’, we often think of it as a single language. But what do the dialects spoken in dozens of countries around the world have in common with each other, or with the writings of Chaucer? Claire Bowern traces the language from the present day back to its ancient roots, showing how English has evolved through generations of speakers.
Seth Dixon's insight:

English has obviously changed much over the years, but this video (and lesson) also shows some good language family information and traces it back to proto-Indo-European, using the English as the main example.  This other TED-ED video (and lesson) shows how the connotations of English words often times depend on the linguistic root (sweat--Germanic, perspire--Latin).   

 

Tags: languagecultureEnglishTED, video.

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Pie Chart of the World’s Most Spoken Languages

Pie Chart of the World’s Most Spoken Languages | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

This infographic has been making the rounds again this year and it is worth shaing again.  It is a great way to visualize the dominant languages on Earth.  Since this only counts one language per person, mother tongues are listed.  Consequently, lingua franca's such as English and France are smaller than you might have presumed them to be.  

 

Tags: language, culture, infographic.

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Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, November 29, 2017 8:50 AM
Pie Chart of the World’s Most Spoken Languages
Ziggi Ivan Santini's curator insight, November 30, 2017 4:00 AM

This infographic is a great way to visualize the dominant languages on Earth.

LLewe LLyn Cooper's curator insight, January 14, 10:07 PM
Languages all over the world
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Language: The cornerstone of national identity

Language: The cornerstone of national identity | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Of the national identity attributes included in the Pew Research Center survey, language far and away is seen as the most critical to national identity. Majorities in each of the 14 countries polled say it is very important to speak the native language to be considered a true member of the nation."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Most Europeans see language as a strong prerequisite to be a part of the "national identity."  Immigration has put a strain on cultural identities that are often very political. A majority of European agree on the link between language and national identity, but not surprisingly, the older Europeans and those on the political right feel more strongly about the importance of speaking the national language to truly 'belong.'

 

Tags: language, culturepolitical, Europe, migration, ethnicity.

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Richard Aitchison's curator insight, February 6, 9:03 AM
The link between language and national identity is important as shown in this article as Europeans believe it is the the number one link and most important.  From an American standpoint this was interesting to read as the trend nowadays, especially in America is to be more open to multiple languages and always viewing Europe as a place where many of the people that would live their would speak multiple languages as well.  How we communicate with people is very important obviously and now it has even become a political issue.  If you tend to lend more left you link national identity and language less and if you lean more right you tend to link national identity and language more. This is something that will continue to play out in the United States over the next decade as the Hispanic community continues to grow in the country and language will come to the forefront. While America has always been a melting pot of people, English has always survived as its dominate language and a way to identify Americans. Twenty or Thirty years from now will that continue? Will Americans lose that as and Identity, how will that effect them? Will this become a major political battle as well, how will this play out in elections in 2020, 2024, 2028, and beyond. Some very interesting trends to look at.  
Douglas Vance's curator insight, February 9, 3:37 PM
For most of Europe, but especially older and more conservative Europeans, being able to speak the language of the country you live in is incredibly closely tied to national identity. Therefore, immigrants who arrive and do not speak the language are viewed as "others" and not belonging. This close tie between language and national identity serves as one of the fuels for anti-immigrant sentiments in many European nations. Although this sentiment is not confined to just Europe.
Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, March 9, 2:26 PM
(Europe) Throughout Europe and North America, the majority of citizens believe the national language is essential to the country's identity. For immigrants to be considered a part of these countries, the majority believe proficiency is required. In the United States, age, education, and religion are all factors contributing to this view, however race has little effect on people's view of language. Like America, older and more conservative Europeans place a higher emphasis on language. National identity can be a geopolitical problem for the European Union because some countries believe the 24 official languages subvert autonomy and internal unity. Interestingly Canada, a country with two official languages, places a lessor importance on language, with only a 59% majority believing it is fundamental to identity.
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Easiest Languages to Learn

"Learning another language is a good thing, but with only a small percentage of Americans, it seems most of us can never dream of achieving this common goal."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video's humor isn't always classroom appropriate, but it conveys several important ideas about languages.  First, languages that are part of the same language family are easier to learn (leading to more cultural diffusion among speakers).  Second, not all languages are equally important on a global scale even if they are similar (some languages are 'docked' on this list). This list is specifically for English speakers: 

  1. Dutch
  2. Frisian
  3. Afrikaans
  4. Esperanto
  5. Norwegian
  6. Swedish
  7. Italian
  8. French
  9. Portuguese
  10. Spanish

 

Tags: language, culture, diffusion.

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Italy’s Last Bastion of Catalan Language Struggles to Keep It Alive

Italy’s Last Bastion of Catalan Language Struggles to Keep It Alive | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The lingering use of Catalan in Alghero, Italy, is a reminder of how Mediterranean cultures have blended for centuries. But the language is fading there today.

 

In an age when people cling ever more tightly to national identity, the lingering use of Catalan in Alghero is a reminder of the ways Mediterranean cultures have blended for centuries, rendering identity a fluid thing.  But while the traditional insularity of Alghero has helped to preserve Catalan, the language is struggling to survive, even here.   

 

Tags: language, culture, ItalyEurope.

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Tom Cockburn's curator insight, December 13, 2016 3:52 AM
7 activists arrested by Spanish police for insulting king felipe
Katie Kershaw's curator insight, February 17, 3:35 PM
Prior to Catalon’s attempt to gain independence from Spain last year, I was unaware that there was a region of Spain that was so culturally not Spanish.  This article then introduced me to the Catalonian people living in Italy.  In Italy, the Catalon culture is not even close to as widespread and important as it is in Spain.  The language is scarcely used in the one region (Alghero) where it was most prevalent a century ago— in fact only about 25% of people here speak Catalon as their primary language.  The article explains that the Catalon culture is dying off in Alghero, unlike in Spain where people are so passionate that they want independence.  One of the biggest reasons the article atributes this to is the fact that Italy’s government has not been oppressive of Alghero’s population.  There are signs, menus, and people who have spoken the language with no government opposition, so people do not feel the need to protect the culture.  On the contrary, the Spanish government strongly pushes Spanish culture onto the Catalonians, which is why they fight for independence.  Catalonians feel threatened in Spain and try to defend, whereas in Italy the Catalonians don’t feel threatened and don’t have a reason to cling so strongly to their culture.  Younger people in Alghero speak almost exclusively Italian and education in Catalon is very rare.  This is interesting to me, because unlike the physical connection that Catalonia has with the rest of Spain, Alghero is quite distanced from the rest of Italy.  
The distance seems like it would make it easier for Alghero’s residents to maintain their Catalonian roots, but the opposite is happening. The article touches on this a bit, as it explains that since Alghero is on Sardinia, Sardinian is the most common ethnic group.  Sardinian culture and language is more prevalent in the area and Catalonians simply don’t have the numbers to compete.  Another explanation for this is the highly centralized way in which Italian education is set up.  Schoolchildren’s education is uniform with the education that the rest of Italy and has a much stronger Italian influence than proud Catalonians would like.  The final thought I had after reading this article was a question: If Catalonia somehow gained independence from Spain would they attempt to obtain Sardinia as part of their nation in order to take control of their fellow Catalonians?
Nicole Canova's curator insight, March 23, 4:24 PM
The Mediterranean region is a good example of the fact that borders do not always indicate identity, a concept I looked at in a few articles on North America.  Due to trade relationships that date back thousands of years, cultures were dispersed and blended throughout the Mediterranean.  This has led to some interesting things, such as Catalan being spoken in Alghero, on the Italian island of Sardinia.
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Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon

Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Some 100 people are arrested after protests against using French in Cameroon's English-speaking region.

 

Areas controlled by Britain and France joined to form Cameroon after the colonial powers withdrew in the 1960s. The country has 10 semi-autonomous administrative regions - eight are Francophone and use the French civil law. English-speakers have long complained that they face discrimination. They often complain that they are excluded from top civil service jobs and that government documents are often only published in French, even though English is also an official language. Bamenda is the founding place of Cameroon's largest opposition political party, the Social Democratic Front.

 

Tags: language, colonialism, CameroonAfrica, culturepolitical, devolution.

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The world’s most spoken languages

The world’s most spoken languages | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

This infographic is a great way to visualize the dominant languages on Earth.  Since this only counts one language per person, mother tongues are listed.  Consequently, lingua franca's such as English and France are smaller than you might have presumed them to be.  

 

Tags: language, culture, infographic.

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ROCAFORT's curator insight, October 8, 2016 2:39 AM
The world’s most spoken languages
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What's in a Flag's Design?

What's in a Flag's Design? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A new infographic by a pair of Danish designers has everything you never knew you wanted to know about the world’s flags.

 

Tags: flag, language, culture.

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Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, August 4, 2016 11:13 AM
Colors represent specific information in different cultures and countries.  History, culture, and other significant information can be represented in flags and their colors.  Read this and see if the information is what you would have predicted.
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Similarities Between Spanish And Arabic

Spanish and Arabic have more in common than you think, and it's not a coincidence.
Seth Dixon's insight:

These two languages are not in the same language family yet there are many similiarities (article with more connections that in the video).   I would like to challenge you educators to not just say to your students "these similarities are neat!"  Make the geographic connections to explain the 'why' behind this cultural pattern and the implications of it. 

 

Questions to Ponder: What past political factors led to this cultural convergence?  How were global regions different in the past?  What are the were the impacts of this convergence, both in the past and lingering results today?   

 

Tagsdiffusion, languagetoponyms, culture, colonialism, regions.

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ismokuhanen's curator insight, March 27, 2016 7:29 AM

These two languages are not in the same language family yet there are many similiarities (article with more connections that in the video).   I would like to challenge you educators to not just say to your students "these similarities are neat!"  Make the geographic connections to explain the 'why' behind this cultural pattern and the implications of it. 

 

Questions to Ponder: What past political factors led to this cultural convergence?  How were global regions different in the past?  What are the were the impacts of this convergence, both in the past and lingering results today?   

 

Tags: diffusion, language, toponyms, culture, colonialism, regions.

Jeremy Hansen's curator insight, March 28, 2016 10:55 AM

These two languages are not in the same language family yet there are many similiarities (article with more connections that in the video).   I would like to challenge you educators to not just say to your students "these similarities are neat!"  Make the geographic connections to explain the 'why' behind this cultural pattern and the implications of it. 

 

Questions to Ponder: What past political factors led to this cultural convergence?  How were global regions different in the past?  What are the were the impacts of this convergence, both in the past and lingering results today?   

 

Tags: diffusion, language, toponyms, culture, colonialism, regions.

MsPerry's curator insight, March 31, 2016 12:56 PM

These two languages are not in the same language family yet there are many similiarities (article with more connections that in the video).   I would like to challenge you educators to not just say to your students "these similarities are neat!"  Make the geographic connections to explain the 'why' behind this cultural pattern and the implications of it. 

 

Questions to Ponder: What past political factors led to this cultural convergence?  How were global regions different in the past?  What are the were the impacts of this convergence, both in the past and lingering results today?   

 

Tags: diffusion, language, toponyms, culture, colonialism, regions.

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Mumbai or Bombay? A British newspaper reverts to a colonial-era name.

Mumbai or Bombay? A British newspaper reverts to a colonial-era name. | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Independent's concerns over Hindu nationalism led to a change in policy.

 

The city has been officially known as Mumbai since 1995 when it was renamed by the far-right regional party Shiv Sena, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which currently holds national office in India. Shiv Sena advocates the use of the Marathi language, which is dominant in the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital. Marathi speakers have long referred to the city as Mumbai, after the Hindu goddess Mumbadevi, the city's patron deity.

Shiv Sena had argued that the previous name, Bombay, was an unwanted relic of British colonial rule in India. That name is believed to be an Anglicized version of the city's name from when it was occupied by the Portuguese — "Bom Bahia," which means "good bay." Both Bombay and Mumbai are now used interchangeably by locals during casual conversation.

 

Tags: culture, India, South Asiacolonialism, placeregions, language, toponyms.

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Matt Manish's curator insight, March 29, 7:52 PM
Personally, I find it very silly that a single newspaper in England is taking on the role of bringing Mumbai back to its original colony name. If Mumbai is the official name of the city then news being reported about that city should be in reference to Mumbai, not Bombay. The goal of this newspaper should be to educate its readers about the stories it is reporting on and not confusing them by using an old name for the city of Mumbai. This also seems a bit ridiculous to me because there is not a large margin of people trying to bring the old name of Bombay back to this city. It is only this newspaper trying to bring about this name change, which I feel makes their articles more confusing for their readers.
Nicole Canova's curator insight, May 1, 8:04 PM
This highlights a significant part of decolonization.  When colonial powers like Great Britain, France, etc. took control of lands in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, they gave places new names.  This enforced their legitimacy as the colonial power in places by chipping away the local identity and replacing it with their own.  After colonization, many countries renamed places in the language of that region, stripping away unwanted remainders of colonial rule and reinstating their own local and national identity.
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23 Untranslatable Foreign Words That Describe Love Better Than You Ever Thought

23 Untranslatable Foreign Words That Describe Love Better Than You Ever Thought | Geography Education | Scoop.it
We have several words to describe love in English yet still, there are some shades within the spectrum of that emotion we haven't been able to capture in our own language.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The languages we speak shape our ideas, communications, and to some extent, the possibilities open to us.  There are many ideas that I used to be able to express better in Spanish than I could in English (even though English is my first language, some Spanish words seem to capture the essence of my emotions in a more enriching and satistfying way than in English). If you want to try any of these out for Valentine's Day, be my guest, but if it get's you in trouble, it's not my fault!    

 

Tags: language, culture.

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Laura Brown's curator insight, February 14, 2016 2:34 AM

The languages we speak shape our ideas, communications, and to some extent, the possibilities open to us.  There are many ideas that I used to be able to express better in Spanish than I could in English (even though English is my first language, some Spanish words seem to capture the essence of my emotions in a more enriching and satistfying than in English). If you want to try any of these out for Valentine's Day, be my guest, but if it get's you in trouble, it's not my fault!    

 

Tags: language, culture.

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English--History and Connotations

"What is the difference between 'a hearty welcome' and 'a cordial reception'? In a brief, action-packed history of the English language, Kate Gardoqui explains why these semantically equal phrases evoke such different images."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This TED-ED video (and lesson) shows how the connotations of English words often times depend on the linguistic root (sweat--Germanic, perspire--Latin). English has obviously changed much over the years, but this other TED-ED video (and lesson) also shows some good language family information and traces it back to proto-Indo-European roots.

    

Tags: languagecultureEnglishTED, video.

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Matt Manish's curator insight, February 16, 1:19 PM
It is very interesting to see how far the English language has come and how much is has changed over the past 1600 years. Adding to that it is intriguing to see what other languages had an influence on English. I knew that German and English were very similar languages which made sense that German had a large influence on the English language. Although, it did take me by surprise that French has made quite an impact on English as well. Also, that royal Englishmen spoke French for three centuries. That piece of information shocked me since France and England have had such a historic rivalry that lasted for centuries. Overall, I enjoyed this video and the border maps helped me to better understand the evolution of the English language.
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Quebec urges shopkeepers to stop saying 'Hi'

Quebec urges shopkeepers to stop saying 'Hi' | Geography Education | Scoop.it

The unofficial greeting in the bilingual Canadian city of Montreal has long been a friendly 'Bonjour, Hi!' But that standard is no more since a motion mandating store clerks to greet customers only in French was passed in Quebec's provincial legislature. The move reaffirms French as the primary language in the province, where use of English can be controversial. The motion - which is not a law - was passed unanimously, but the province's premier called the debate 'ridiculous'. Introduced by the fiercely Francophile Parti Quebecois, the motion 'invites all businesses and workers who enter into contact with local and international clients to welcome them warmly with the word bonjour'."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a great example of how culture isn't just passively received, but it's actively constructed.  The call to defend cultural traits of a region to maintain it's local distinctiveness is oftentimes why a region has a strong sense of place.  

 

TagsCanadalanguage, placeculture, landscape

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Matt Richardson's curator insight, January 3, 2:24 PM
The actions of the Quebecois legislature to regulate free speech is a form of hierarchical diffusion. Here is a [slightly dated but good] video explaining the modern complexity of the French/English divide in Canada, especially as it relates to new immigrants.
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Kazakhstan to switch from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet

Kazakhstan to switch from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Kazakh was written in Arabic script until 1920 when it was substituted by the Latin alphabet. In 1940, it was replaced by a Cyrillic one. 'Given that over 100 countries in the world use the Latin script, it is crucial for Kazakhstan's integration into the global educational and economic environment,' said Gulnar Karbozova.

The former Soviet Republic declared independence in 1991. Its state language is Kazakh, a member of the Turkic family.

Yet, Russian is widely spoken across Kazakhstan and is its second official language."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Having to translate your language into another is one level of cultural difference, but having to change into another writing system (transliteration) adds an extra layer of foreignness that makes interactions more difficult.  Kazakhstan, a with a history of connections to the Middle East and Russia, is now making a choice that appears to signal greater connection to the larger global community.  This is not going to be an easy transitions, as as this additional BBC article notes, the choice comes with plenty of advantages and disadvantages

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, regions, Central Asia, Kazakhstan.

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James Piccolino's curator insight, March 24, 9:01 AM
This comes as a surprise to me. I would think that the cyrillic alphabet was an integral part of their cultural identity. This is further evidence of groups sacrificing their own culture for the sake of globalizing and relating with other countries.
Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 3:15 PM
This article explains how the country of Kazakhstan will be switching their alphabet, as the title suggests. Originally using the Kazakh alphabet, the president has declared that they will be using the Latin Script. They argue that this will help with Kazakhstan’s “integration into the global educational and economic environment”
brielle blais's curator insight, April 1, 2:18 PM
This showcases how important a countries language is. It allows the country, in this case Kazakhstan, to have their own sort of identity, which can be seen in having extra letters in their alphabet that are certain Kazakh sounds. However, is it also important to be on the same grounds as other countries, many using the latin alphabet, because it makes the economic environment and education situations easier which other countries. 
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Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language?

Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?
Seth Dixon's insight:

These two podcasts are great mainstream looks at issues that filled with cultural geography content.  So many languages on Earth is clearly inefficient (the EU spends $1 billion per year on translation), and yet, linguistic diversity is such a rich part of humanity's cultural heritage.  Listen to the first episode, Why Don't We All Speak the Same Language? as well as the follow-up episode, What Would Be the Best Universal Language?

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, English, regions, diffusiontechnology.

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Andrew Kahn's curator insight, November 4, 2017 8:13 PM
Culture speaks louder than words
 
Laurie Ruggiero's curator insight, May 29, 4:48 PM
Unit 3
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The languages the world is trying to learn, according to Duolingo

The languages the world is trying to learn, according to Duolingo | Geography Education | Scoop.it

If you own a smartphone and are trying to learn a language, you probably have Duolingo. English is far and away the most dominant, with a caveat: For some learners, English is the only language Duolingo offers with translation into their native tongue. That doesn’t change the fact of universal interest in English, though, which Duolingo notes is studied by 53% of its users. Things get more interesting when you look at the second-most popular language by country. There French takes the lead, followed by Spanish, German, and Portuguese.

 

Tags: language, colonialismtechnology, diffusion, culture, English.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Questions to Ponder: What role do colonial history and modern economics play in shaping this linguistic data? How does migration influence patterns in bilingualism?  What is a lingua franca?

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Madison Murphy's curator insight, March 13, 2017 3:15 PM
This article "The Languages The World Is Trying To Learn, According To Duolingo" relates to language in Human Geography because it is an app that describes how languages are being spread but also how countries are picking a certain language to be able to communicate with, which is English.  Countries are picking English because they are needing a language to be able to communicate with other countries.
Hailey Austin's curator insight, March 13, 2017 8:45 PM
This reflects to what we are learning in  class because  the articles talking about language. It's talking about how we all really have one language in come in all around the world. I think this is a good idea to have when your working with other countries or you are visiting them.
Hailey Austin's curator insight, April 6, 2017 3:09 PM
This relates to my class because its talking about religion. It states that in many different parts in the world it is very dominate  to learn English. But whats more interesting is that French is right after us. It talks about why English is so popular. Which is because its a language you can use when you visit places and you will be able to communicate. I think this article is interesting  because it is talking about how we are the most popular language but its one of the most complicated one to learn. I also would understand why English is most learned because a lot of people want to visit Florida or even move their.
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Gullah Culture

"While Gullah was not originally a written language and has never had a governing authority or dictionary, linguistic scholars have found that the language is internally consistent and in some ways more efficient and expressive than standard English. Elements of the language have seeped into African-American Vernacular English across the country."

 

For the first time in recent memory, the Charleston County School Board is discussing how to address the specific needs of Gullah and Geechee students, children of a culture whose linguistic origins trace back to the west coast of Africa via the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Some teachers have said the students' way of speaking — whether in the heavily West African-influenced Gullah language or in the more Anglicized dialects sometimes known as Geechee — can present an obstacle to understanding in the classroom. Like many Lowcountry Gullah speakers of her generation, the current head of state for the Gullah/Geechee Nation carries painful memories of adults who taught her to hold her family's way of speaking in contempt.

 

Tags: language, culture, raceeducation, historical.

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Alex Smiga's curator insight, May 31, 2017 10:58 AM
A truly unique gem of American culture, absolutely fascinating.
Mr Mac's curator insight, July 10, 2017 11:26 AM
Unit 3 - Folk Culture, Regions, Language, race/ethnicity
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Labor unrest in Cameroon after clashes over language discrimination

Labor unrest in Cameroon after clashes over language discrimination | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In Cameroon, unrest in minority English-speaking regions over discrimination by majority French speakers is still simmering after violent clashes with police claimed at least four lives.

 

English-speakers have been protesting since Monday (11/21/2016) against what they see as their "second-class citizen status" and attempts to marginalize them in the west African nation. Eight of Cameroon's ten regions are largely Francophone, but two regions, North West and South West Cameroon are English-speaking. English-speaking teachers complain that French-speaking counterparts are being increasingly deployed in English schools, despite differences in the curricula and teaching systems.

 

Tags: language, CameroonAfrica, culture.

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Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 9, 10:05 AM
The study of language in a population is always fascinating.  In this instance this one is very fascinating especially for someone that is in English speaker from America. While most of the world that we know it speaks some kind of English or tries to bend to using English for business terms or what not it was quite the headline to see this. In Cameroon they have both French and English speakers, however French speakers heavily outweigh English speakers. 8 of the 10 counties in the country are French dominated, however they are trying to takeover the English speaking areas as well. The hostility has been built up as teachers claim that many of their jobs are now going to French speakers in the schools and other are arguing that there should be English speakings judges in English speaking areas. It is so strange to see a backlash versus the English language in this country and also to see such a heavy division.  Maybe its because we live in a world in which we believe the English world dominates, but seeing people discriminated against for speaking English comes shocking and  maybe can open our eyes and view what we are doing in this country or in other parts of the world. We read this article and believe that something needs to be done, but what do we do in this country or other parts of the world to help other people that speak different languages? Do we have Spanish speaking teachers in heavy Spanish areas? In cities that have a high Haitian population do we hire teachers and judges that speak Creole? Pieces like this should help us reflect on our own situation and always reflect on how the population of areas can eventually effect the social and cultural issues. 
Katie Kershaw's curator insight, March 31, 4:05 PM
This is a good example of the long term affects of colonialism even after independence.  Teachers in English speaking sections of Cameroon complained as more French speaking teachers began taking jobs in their regions.  The English speakers complained because the curriculum the French speakers were teaching is different.  Lawyers in the English speaking regions also raised the issue that the judges and other government officials were only speaking French, making their jobs difficult to do.  What’s more interesting is that the constitution of the country recognizes both English and French as official languages.  But since a majority of citizens speak French, those that speak English feel alienated and like they are being treated as second-class citizens.  The federal government also operates almost exclusively in French.  The long term build up of this tension has caused those in the English speaking regions to revolt, unfortunately they did it violently.  The opposition party in the country has taken advantage of this in order to help their party by claiming that they will help incite change if voted into office.  The party in power spun the situation to say that those revolting were being paid by foreign powers.  The effects of colonialism can be devastating and harm people long after colonizers leave.  This is a country where there are two official languages, yet the majority has been able to gang up on the minority.  It’s unfortunate because people cannot be happy in their own jobs or daily lives and the government and their fellow citizens are ignoring them.
brielle blais's curator insight, May 1, 10:04 PM
A nation's language is incredibly important to it's geography. In Cameroon, there are mostly French speaking citizens, however, there are still many English speakers.The differences are seen as more French speakers are getting jobs than English. They see this as discrimination. A huge problem is also dealing with important jobs such as in the courtroom. People who cannot understand each other cannot decide on things together. Things like this cause a lot of conflict in countries. 
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Reading the world in 196 books

Reading the world in 196 books | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"I set myself the challenge of trying to read a book from every country (well, all 195 UN-recognised states plus former UN member Taiwan) in a year to find out what I was missing.

With no idea how to go about this beyond a sneaking suspicion that I was unlikely to find publications from nearly 200 nations on the shelves of my local bookshop, I decided to ask the planet’s readers for help. I created a blog called A Year of Reading the World and put out an appeal for suggestions of titles that I could read in English."

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, English.

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How to Say 'Banana' in Spanish

How to Say 'Banana' in Spanish | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

I've lived in both the plátano and banano sub-regions of the Spanish-speaking realm and this discrepancy was one I always found curious (likewise, peanut butter is called crema de cacahuate in Mexico, but mantequilla de maní in Costa Rica). I've had many humorous encounters with friends from throughout the Spanish-speaking world when words that mean one thing in a particular country have VERY different connotations in another.

 

Questions to Ponder: Why do languages have different vocabularies in distinct places?  Why makes a language especially prone to a varied set of regionalized terms?

 

Tags: language, colonialismdiffusion, culture, mapping, regions.

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Czech Republic poised to change name to 'Czechia'

Czech Republic poised to change name to 'Czechia' | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Czech Republic is expected to change its name to "Czechia" to make it easier for companies and sports teams to use it on products and clothing.
Seth Dixon's insight:

That sound you hear is cartographers and database managers gasping at the joy and shock of need to updata all their data and maps.  Old maps still show Czechoslovakia, maybe on date in the future someone will be excited to find "The Czech Republic" on the map as much as I was fascinated to discover Hindustan on a 19th century globe. I also enjoyed this quote from the Czech foreign minister: “It is not good if a country does not have clearly defined symbols or if it even does not clearly say what its name is."  

 

Tag: Czechia, languagetoponyms, culture.

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Laura Brown's curator insight, April 15, 2016 11:22 AM

Marketing and media are the new gods. Can't imagine the power they have in order to cause a country to change it's name. Not so long ago battles and wars were fought over cultural identity, now it's for sale. 

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xkcd: Orbiter

xkcd: Orbiter | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

I've always enjoyed this comic strip...it highlights some of the difficulties in teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, political, language, toponymsMiddle East.

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Ann-Laure Liéval's curator insight, March 18, 2016 4:07 AM

I've always enjoyed this comic strip...it highlights some of the difficulties in teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, political, language, toponyms, Middle East.

EP Eric Pichon's curator insight, March 18, 2016 4:48 AM

...some of the difficulties in teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, political, language, toponyms, Middle East.

Leonardo Wild's curator insight, March 18, 2016 9:10 AM

I've always enjoyed this comic strip...it highlights some of the difficulties in teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, political, language, toponyms, Middle East.

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The Most Aussie Interview Ever

"The 2 Aussie legends that prevented a fast food shop robbery get interviewed!"

Seth Dixon's insight:

While this is hardly common in Australia, and most people don't speak this way, it only makes sense if you know Australian culture well.  There are so many jokes, phrases, and words that don't make sense if you don't understand the cultural context.  Just to help you start to make sense of this: busted pluggers = broken flip-flops.   

 

TagsAustralia, language, placeculture, Oceania.

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bridget rosolanka's curator insight, March 7, 2016 2:16 PM

While this is hardly common in Australia, and most people don't speak this way, it only makes sense if you know Australian culture well.  There are so many jokes, phrases, and words that don't make sense if you don't understand the cultural context.  Just to help you start to make sense of this: busted pluggers = broken flip-flops.   

 

Tags: Australia, language, place, culture, Oceania.

Leonardo Wild's curator insight, March 8, 2016 2:27 PM

While this is hardly common in Australia, and most people don't speak this way, it only makes sense if you know Australian culture well.  There are so many jokes, phrases, and words that don't make sense if you don't understand the cultural context.  Just to help you start to make sense of this: busted pluggers = broken flip-flops.   

 

Tags: Australia, language, place, culture, Oceania.

Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 23, 1:09 PM
This is of course English being spoken, but not the English most Americans can fully understand. Every place develops their own unique words and phrases to introduce to the language being spoken. Language is an integral part to forming a cultural identity. By putting their own spin on the English language, this video shows how language is a gateway to cultural identity.