November 2015, middle-school students from Westchester County, New York, found themselves on a windswept field in South Sudan mingling with a crowd of refugees fleeing civil war. Suddenly, they heard the deafening roar of low-flying military cargo planes overhead, followed by large bags of grain thudding to the ground all around them. “The kids were.. read more →

As the national attention to fake news and the debate over what to do about it continue, one place many are looking for solutions is in the classroom. Since a recent Stanford study showed that students at practically all grade levels can’t determine fake news from the real stuff, the push to teach media literacy.. read more →

If you take the subway around New York, you can sometimes hear groups of young Jewish women chatting quietly, their hair covered. At a distance, it sounds like they’re using German, perhaps Hebrew. In fact, they’re speaking Yiddish, a language once spoken by over 10m people. The wars of the 20th century changed that; barely a.. read more →

Today the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) announced an award of $500,000 to the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Victimization and Safety to create a plan for establishing a National Deaf Service Line that will enable Deaf victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking to speak directly with.. read more →

Nearly every language and every culture has what are called “filled pauses,” a notoriously difficult-to-define concept that generally refers to sounds or words that a speaker uses when, well, not exactly speaking. In American English, the most common are “uh” and “um.” Until about 20 years ago, few linguists paid filled pauses much attention. They.. read more →

Impeached President Park Geun-hye’s surname is “Park,” right? Nope. In Korean it’s closer to “Bahk.” Park’s allegedly corrupt confidante, Choi Soon-sil, pronounces her name more like “Chwey” than the way it’s rendered in English. And Samsung’s ailing chairman, Lee Kun-hee? That English “Lee” is more like “Yi” or “Ii” in Korean. There is a gulf,.. read more →

After 15 years of painstaking research, a German academic has amassed compelling evidence on the importance of Arabic as an international language. From his study of more than 7,000 living languages, Prof Ulrich Ammon, a linguistics specialist at Dusseldorf University, calculated that Arabic was spoken in 60 countries. He says that more people – 467 million –.. read more →

Peru’s public broadcaster, TV Peru, has begun broadcasting its first ever news programme in Quechua, the ancient indigenous language spoken by some eight million people in the Andes.The hour-long programme, entitled Nuqanchik (We), airs on weekdays at 05:30 on radio and TV. All journalists and producers working on the programme are native speakers. Quechua was.. read more →

Twenty-six years ago, two brothers decided their native language needed a new alphabet. The scripts they’d been using to read and write their native Fulani, an African language spoken by at least 40 million people, weren’t working well. Fulani’s sounds were rendered imprecisely by the Arabic alphabet, the script most often used to write it; the.. read more →

How do you say “laptop” in Lakota? What about “Guinea pig”? Lakota is one of the Sioux family of languages, spoken in North Dakota and South Dakota. Guinea pigs are not an indigenous species in the Dakotas, so Lakota didn’t always have a name for these creatures. And obviously it hasn’t always had a name for.. read more →