It may not be a pretty city, but it’s certainly a historic one, with roots that date back to the pre-Viking, Anglo-Saxon era, and a port that was already a busy international transit hub when William the Conqueror was on the throne in the 11th century. Some of the ancient city walls are still visible – the most famous relic being the iconic Bargate.Read More
The world’s deaf communities have long suffered from discrimination. Aristotle himself deemed the deaf unteachable, paving the way for centuries of prejudice. It was not until the 16th century that Italian physician Girolamo Cardano proclaimed that the deaf-mute people could “hear by reading and speak by writing”.
In fact it turns out the story’s logical enough, especially as Mozambique and Brazil share the same language. Carlos Kwengwe’s mother is a white Brazilian, who met his father, a black Mozambican, when they were studying together in Brazil in the 80s, at a time when Mozambique was still being torn apart by civil war.
Take a look at the video below and within seconds you’ll realise where we’re headed in this week’s Language Watch. So far in our series, we’ve travelled to Asia, Africa, North and South America, and Europe, shining a spotlight each time on minority and endangered languages throughout the world. Now for the first time, we’re in Oceania, in Australia’s Northern Territory to be precise, and the world of the Yolŋu Aboriginal people.Read More
It’s the city that gave us both Lionel Messi and Che Guevara, and the birthplace of the Argentine national flag. For those reasons alone it’s worth taking a much closer look at Rosario, the third largest city in Argentina, set on the pampas alongside the broad brown waters of the Paraná, which gets its oxide and colour from its origins far to the north in Brazil. Scorching hot in summer, and cold and wet in winter, at least Rosario escapes the snow.Read More
Some of the communities and languages we focus on in this series may be vaguely familiar to you. Many others are completely unknown in the wider world – and barely even recognised or understood in the countries in which they have lived for centuries. Such is the case of the Mru people of Bangladesh – one of the many tribes that populate the Chittagong Hill Tracts, an underdeveloped and heavily militarised region in the South-East of what is already a country facing momentous struggles of its own.Read More
She’s a one-woman United Nations, born of Moroccan parents in Spain, now living in the USA and married to a man of British descent, who grew up in a part of the USA dominated by Pennsylvania Dutch families, who are in fact German. Today the street where she lives in New York City’s “forgotten borough” of Staten Island has the highest Liberian population outside of Liberia, plus plenty of Mexicans, Jamaicans and myriad other nationalities. And if that weren’t enough to endorse her candidature for Secretary-General, Nawal Kramer is one of those rare people who is genuinely bicultural.Read More
Cherokee, Sioux, Apache, Navaho… all names that trip off the tongue easily enough, just as the music in this video might ring familiar, but how much do we really know about the history, cultures and languages of the indigenous peoples in what are now the United States?
Very little in fact – most of our mental imagery is probably a product of Hollywood, and the very names of these great nations have been co-opted by car makers, songwriters and other avatars of popular culture.
Of all the destinations we’ve visited in our travelling armchairs, few are more iconic than Paris. The French capital is a global centre for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture, and its landmarks, from the 12th-century Notre-Dame to the Arc de Triomphe and perhaps above all, the Eiffel Tower, are world-famous. Paris is no less renowned for its museums, luxury goods, booksellers along the Seine, grand 19th-century boulevards, and of course its café culture – there can be few greater pleasures than tucking into a fresh crusty baguette or a delicious croissant with a piping hot café, as you watch the world speed by.
A quick glance at the first photo and you might think you were looking at a traditional dance in some Portuguese village. However, look more closely at the faces and you realise with a start that the scene is more likely taking place in Asia. Your initial confusion is understandable, because these are in fact Eurasians, and they belong to the Kristang community in Malaysia. See this video for a few examples of this fascinating language…
If you’re an observer of the world stage and pride yourself on your internationalist outlook, you’re likely to be familiar with the history and struggles of Aboriginal Australians, Native Americans, or the First Nations of Canada. But chances are, you’re less aware of the history or languages of the indigenous peoples of Japan. In fact, each of Japan’s two main islands has its own people: Honshu to the South was originally inhabited by the Okinawans, while Hokkaido to the North was home to the Ainu, to whom this issue of Language Watch is dedicated.Read More
Ask most people what country Chișinău (pronounced kiʃiˈnəʊ ) is the capital of and they’ll stare at you blankly. Even when you reveal the answer – Moldova – their expression might not change dramatically. But this country, whose outline resembles a bunch of grapes is a fascinating corner of Eastern Europe, is well worth discovering in greater detail.Read More
No, “Nǁng” is not a typo. Nor are its variants “N|uu" or “Nlu”. As you’ll see from the video, it’s a way of capturing some of the unique clicking sounds in this endangered language, native to the Kalahari Desert.
In fact, there are just 4-5 speakers left, all aged 80-95, in the form of Hannah Koper and her sisters (the last male speaker passed away in 2013), plus a smattering who can recall isolated words.Read More
From selling water from a truck to earning an impressive living as an interpreter is quite a journey. But then that’s true of Ivanildo Xavier’s life as a whole – an adventure that saw him travel to Bolivia, working in bars and living on the wild side, before finally returning home to settle down and build his career.Read More
It’s the world’s highest capital, a bowl-shaped city in the shadow of the fabled Illimani mountain to the southeast, a rocky presence which has infused the country’s folk music, poetry and art for centuries.Read More