Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Monthly Archives: June 2016

English Loses Currency as Europe’s Lingua Franca After Brexit Vote

“BRUSSELS—The U.K.’s departure from the European Union will erode the status of the English language in EU institutions to the benefit of French and German, with the bloc’s executive arm already moving to ditch English from some of its official communications.

Even before the British government has officially lodged its intention to leave, the European Commission has made a symbolic decision to focus on French and German in statements to the press and speeches, according to two EU officials.

But some officials working in the institutions worry that the departure of the U.K., and the expected sidelining of British EU officials, will mean more meetings will be held in French or German—excluding those who have focused on English as their main foreign language.”

Read more @ http://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-to-say-au-revoir-tschuss-to-english-language-1467036600

Languages do matter!

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Over 7,500 views for my TEDx talk on the U.S. Foreign Language Deficit — Thank you!!!

Over 7,500 views!

Many thanks to all of you who have taken the time to view my TEDx talk, The U.S. Foreign Language Deficit and Our National and Economic Security:  What It Is, Why It Matters, and What We Can Do about It.

View the TEDx talk @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CZ7zu5Aeu0

Languages do matter!

Instagram will soon automatically translate foreign languages in-app

“Fresh off hitting 500 million users, Instagram has announced that user bios, comments and captions posted in foreign languages will be automatically translated to the user’s native language.

It appears that not every language will be supported from day one, with a help page explaining, ‘If translations aren’t showing up, it could be because we couldn’t detect or don’t currently support the language.'”

Read more @ http://www.cnet.com/news/instagram-will-not-start-automatically-translating-foreign-languages-in-app/

Languages do matter!

IT’S BREXIT

“It’s a Brexit: Britain has chosen to leave the European Union.

Britons voted Thursday on whether the UK should stay in or leave the 28-nation bloc, with the results counted overnight.

The turnout was 72.2% of the 46,499,537 people who were entitled to take part in the vote. This is a record number for a UK poll.

So what happens next?”

Read more @ http://www.businessinsider.com/eu-referendum-results-britain-votes-brexit-2016-6

Languages do matter!

Living in Latin

“If you think Latin is a dead language, think again. Over the past few years, a growing number of “living Latinists” are breathing new life into Latin, taking it out of the classroom and into the light of day.

In February I attended  Bidua Latina, the North American Institute for Living Latin Studies’ Latin-immersion weekend. The institute, known as SALVI (see logo at left for the full name), seeks ways to make learning the language more enjoyable for students, teachers, and the general public.”

Read more @ http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2016/06/21/living-in-latin/

Languages do matter!

SYMPOSIUM CALLS FOR GREATER ATTENTION TO LANGUAGE DIFFERENCES IN FORMULATING AND IMPLEMENTING THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

New York, May 21, 2016.  The dominant use of major languages, especially English, in formulating the Sustainable Development Goals has actually widened the linguistic gap between the planners and the populations addressed, according to a recent document published by the Study Group on Language and the United Nations.  

The Study Group, an informal group of academics, researchers and practitioners, recently organized a Symposium on Language and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), held at the Church Center for the United Nations, New York, on April 21 and 22, 2016.  Over one hundred academics, diplomats, NGO representatives and UN officials attended the gathering, which examined the linguistic implications of the SDGs, set by the United Nations General Assembly as the basis for the UN’s development agenda for the period 2015-2030.  The recently published summary presents some of  the conclusions of the symposium. It emphasizes that language and language differences tend to get taken for granted by planners, who overlook their importance in determining effective outcomes. 

‘The dominance of certain languages, particularly English, in international development discourse’ creates, according to the report, ‘the illusion of a unified global effort.’  While development experts may be fluent in English, many of the people they seek to serve know none of the major world languages. Thus, ‘dialogue tends to go in one direction: from the planners to the planned,’ and ‘often language prevents dialogue in a spirit of reciprocity and equality between planners and people.’  

There is clearly ‘an urgent need to include language at the planning, implementation and assessment stages’ of the SDGs.” 

Read more @ https://sites.google.com/site/languageandtheun/events/2016-symposium-press-release

Languages do matter!

La Fête nationale du Québec

“Les origines de notre Fête nationale remontent à des temps immémoriaux, où les peuples célébraient le solstice d’été. La coutume de cette fête païenne voulait qu’un grand feu de joie soit allumé afin de symboliser la lumière qui était à son apogée. Puis, en Europe, principalement en France, on a plus tard associé à cette fête Jean, le cousin de Jésus, surnommé « le baptiste », ayant le premier reconnu puis baptisé le Christ. Ainsi, on faisait le lien entre la lumière et saint Jean Baptiste.”

Read more @ https://www.fetenationale.quebec/

Languages do matter!

Top 10 Summer Solstice Celebrations Around the World

From Stonehenge to….

Read more @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cheapflights/top-10-summer-solstice-ce_b_7603480.html

Languages do matter!

Father’s Day 2016: How did it begin? Where is it celebrated around the world?

“While the third Sunday of June is the day celebrated in the UK, US and many other countries around the world, it is not the only day given over to fathers. In Italy, the Festa del Papà is celebrated on 19 March, as is Spain’s Día del Padre. In Ukraine, it’s celebrated on the third Sunday of September and in Indonesia, its the twelfth of every November.

For this reason, this year’s Google Doodle commemorating dads will only appear in the countries celebrating Father’s Day, alongside the UK, such as Japan, India and Colombia.”

Read more @ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/fathers-day-2016-google-doodle-facts-where-does-it-come-from-and-where-is-it-celebrated-a7089616.html

Languages do matter!

Graduation Traditions Around The World

“China has taken on a new fad for graduation you may not have expected, wedding dresses.”

Read more @http://www.dailyinfographic.com/graduation-traditions-around-the-world

Languages do matter!