Archive for the ‘language’ Category

Britain boosts Mandarin in schools as China’s power grows

February 7, 2008

LONDON (AFP) – Teenagers in England will be able to study for a new national qualification in Mandarin, reflecting the growing importance of China as a global power, an exam board announced Thursday.

Students aged 15 and 16 will get the chance to study the subject for their GCSE exams, which all young people in the country have to sit, from next year, the Assessments and Qualifications Alliance said.

The board said it was making the announcement to coincide with the start of Lunar New Year.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080207/lf_afp/
britainchinalanguageeducationlunar_080207150935

High school students leave a school in London. Teenagers in ...
High school students leave a school in London. Teenagers in England will be able to study for a new national qualification in Mandarin, reflecting the growing importance of China as a global power, an exam board announced Thursday.(AFP/File/Carl de Souza)

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Culture and Language: Words Mangled as Officials Tongue-tied in China

October 17, 2007

By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) – China may have one official national language — Mandarin — but as delegates at this week’s Communist Party Congress have shown, fluency and accuracy remain distant goals for many citizens.

Only half China’s 1.3 billion people actually speak Mandarin, according to government figures. Poverty, lack of resources, remoteness and attachment to local dialects have hampered language promotion efforts.

Minority tongues, ranging from Tibetan and Uighur to Yi and Zhuang, further confuse the mix. Not to mention the numerous foreign reporters covering the meeting who either speak poor Chinese or none at all.
Photo
A man watches a screen showing China’s President Hu Jintao delivering a speech during the opening ceremony of the 17th Party Congress.  In China, the most understood languages are power, money and repression.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071017/od_uk_nm/
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Researchers say many languages are dying

September 18, 2007

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – When every known speaker of the language Amurdag gets together, there’s still no one to talk to.

Native Australian Charlie Mungulda is the only person alive known to speak that language, one of thousands around the world on the brink of extinction.

From rural Australia to Siberia to Oklahoma, languages that embody the history and traditions of people are dying, researchers said Tuesday.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070918/ap_
on_re_us/endangered_languages;_
ylt=AtLaopy2NcvnwCHdOqicmCis0NUE

The Stuff of Thought

September 14, 2007

“Fascinating.” -Wired

“Mesmerizing.” -Details

“Packed with information, clear, witty, attractively written, and generally persuasive.” -Colin McGinn, New York Review of Books

The Stuff of Thought is a revelation. In this exhilarating new book, Steven Pinker analyzes how our words relate to thoughts and to the world around us and reveals what this tells us about ourselves.

How does a mind that evolved to think about rocks and plants and enemies think about love and physics and democracy? Why do we threaten and bribe and seduce in such elaborate, often comical ways? How can a choice of metaphors start a war, impeach a president, or win an election? Why do people impose taboos on topics like sex, excretion, and the divine? What does the peculiar syntax of swearing (just what does the “fuck” in “fuck you” actually mean?) tell us about ourselves? Why do some names thrive while others fall out of circulation? How do we control the amount of information that we absorb? And what good does this actually do us? Pinker answers all these questions and many, many more. He shows us that language really can tell us unexpected and fascinating things about ourselves.

The Stuff of Thought is a book for everyone. Steven Pinker has devoted his life to studying the way we think and communicate. And language, in his hands, becomes a profound, and highly entertaining, way to shed light on every aspect of human nature.

Read it all:
http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/books/stuff/index.html

Related:
What’s In A Name