Asia/Africa update: February 26 2018

ASIA PAKISTAN In a real curiosity, the BBC has apparently found three men who still speak Badeshi, an Indo-Iranian language spoken in Pakistan’s Bishigram valley that was previously believed to have gone completely extinct three generations ago. Obviously it’s still on its way out, but nevertheless it’s an interesting story and might mean that linguists… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: February 26 2018

World update: November 14 2017

Another short one today, both because I’m trying to recharge a bit and because I won’t be able to write this evening. Back to normal tomorrow. MIDDLE EAST IRAQ Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says his government “will take action” to regain control of Iraq’s entire border, if it can’t reach some kind of accommodation… Continue reading World update: November 14 2017

World update: October 26 2017

ASIA KAZAKHSTAN Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Thursday started the ball rolling toward shifting Kazakhstan to the Latin alphabet. By my understanding this is approximately the 87th alphabet change Kazakhstan has gone through in roughly the last 100 years. That might be slightly exaggerated–it switched from Arabic script to Latin script in the 1920s, then to… Continue reading World update: October 26 2017

Fun with languages

Language, as in the study of a foreign language, is one of those things that fascinates me while also driving me absolutely bananas. I’ve studied several and struggle at pretty much all of them, but I enjoy learning about them and that’s why I sometimes note interesting stories about language here at this very English-language… Continue reading Fun with languages

Pakistan has some fun with languages

Pakistan is spending the next three months instituting Urdu as its official language of government, though I think it might be more appropriate to say that it’s phasing out the official usage of its other official language, English. Though Urdu is the “national language” of the country, it has shared official status with English since… Continue reading Pakistan has some fun with languages

Are we watching the death of Aramaic?

Ross Pelin, of the Endangered Language Alliance, has a good piece at Foreign Policy on what IS’s campaign in Iraq is doing to the Aramaic language: Despite U.S. airstrikes in recent days, IS still holds the heartland of Aramaic, now emptied of its original inhabitants. “The threat to the Christian Neo-Aramaic-speaking population of northern Iraq… Continue reading Are we watching the death of Aramaic?