In a seminar on multilingualism, we discussed Nancy Huston’s Losing North: Musings on Land, Tongue, and Self (Nord Perdu). In this collection of essays, Huston reflects on her identity as a Canadian transplant living in France and on her changing relationship to her mother tongue, English, and to her acquired language, French. While […]more→
In a recent post, I wrote about a circular from the Department of Official Language, part of the Indian Home Ministry, encouraging the use of popular English words in place of difficult Hindi terms in official Hindi communications. The Wall Street Journal‘s India blog carries the same news posted a few hours ago, […]more→
Ever wonder how Mount Diablo got its name? What the “San” in San Pablo means, or what an “alcatraz” is?
California’s diverse toponymy comes from its rich cultural history — places like Ohlone Park, Sonoma, Solano, Petaluma, Marin and Napa all originate from the indigenous peoples of the area (Ohlone, more→
A new circular from the Department of Official Language, part of the Indian Home Ministry, encourages the use of popular English words in place of difficult Hindi terms in official Hindi communications. The circular states that Hindi words such as “misil” (for “file”), “pratyabhuti” (for “guarantee”), “kunjipatal” (for “keyboard”), and “sanganak” (for “computer”) […]more→
As I tune in to tonight’s episode (14, but who’s counting?), Ratan is saying things about the different suitors, in what appears to be a slightly mocking tone. Her current target is Abhinav Sharma, the tallest of the bunch, a New Delhi software developer with a gaunt face and smoothed hair. The […]more→
I am spending the summer in India with my wife and her family. While I generally find it hard to forgo watching television, my desire to vegetate in front of frivolous entertainment has been severely challenged by the predominant share of programming allotted to films and serials in Hindi, a language I have not […]more→
I was online and on Facebook when the first news about the earthquake in Japan was posted. I hurriedly went to check English language news sites and found next to nothing on them. I switched over to the Asahi Shimbun, Yomiuri, and Mainichi and spent half the night reading, refreshing, watching, and checking in on […]more→
The 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan two days ago, the continuing revelations about the loss of life, the massive water damage, and now the minute-by-minute unfolding of an already bad and potentially horrific situation in a number of nuclear reactors in Japan … these seem to have reduced language to nothing. These are […]more→
It’s rare, but every now and then I’ll be confronted by how many mistakes I learned through my mother.
Last week at a party, I discovered what a pomelo was. This green-peeled citrus fruit is something I am familiar with, having eaten it throughout my childhood. I always recognized the pomelo as a grapefruit, because they […]more→
Like Jonathan, I found the recent announcement of an increase of half a million dollars to certain language course offerings at Berkeley to be heartening news. But I also find myself reacting with quite a bit of uncertainty to the announcement. Since my focus is in East Asian languages, my response to the […]more→
¿Saben Uds. cómo se dice “carrot” en español? Do you know the words for vegetables, fruits, and other foods in Spanish? Today is Super Miércoles–Super Wednesday–at Mi Tierra Foods in West Berkeley, where you can read product labels in both Spanish and English. Check out this article and interview with Mi Tierra manager […]more→
The past few weeks I’ve been helping out in a small hidden corner of one of the BLC’s bigger endeavors of the past few years: the Library of Foreign Language Film Clips, a collection of clips and linguistic and cultural metadata from oodles of movies in non-English languages. The LFLFC page I just […]more→
This post, especially, feels like it has no beginning and no end. Texts are a little like rivers, with so many sources. And it’s impossible to find them all.
数日前、ある友達が子供のころによく聞いていたSPEEDのWhite Loveの初言葉である、「はてしない」の意味を私に尋ねました。「はてしないってどういう意味なのか」という単純な質問でしたが、当時には「”Endless” or “infinite”, something like that」というふう簡単に答えたように覚えています。そして話しが（話しがするように）自然に次へとつづきました。
Several days ago, a friend asked me about the meaning of the word “hateshinai“, the first word in the […]more→
Oui, oui, je voise le « P »
Mais ça suffit de me comprendre quand je crie « resBect resBect »
Oui, oui je ne comprends pas l’esprit de ta société très bien
Mais sache-le : Toi, tu ignores le mien
Oui, oui je porte une kippa, une croix, un voile cela crée pour […]more→
Il est peut-être un peu bizarre de parler de ma exerience d’apprendre l’anglais en français, mais ça c’est un project pour mon cours français. Alors, j’essaie de écrire en français.
En chine, apprendre l’anglais est quelque chose de grande importance. J’assistais au cours anglais parascolaire quand j’avais seulement sept ans. Les leçons étaient comme les jeux […]more→
Written in Egypt in 2005.
Sous tes cheveux blancs
Avec toi, mon père !
Je me sens feuilleter une encyclopédie
Qui m’apprend tout sur la vie :
Les arts, les sciences et l’amour infini
En traversant tes cheveux blancs
Je découvre des expériences qui valent des millions
Des expériences acquises au fil des ans
Et au moment de […]
The shivering saxophonist played an unrecognizable tune, the melody in competition with the out-of-sync car horns blaring ever so often at the intersection of Center and Shattuck in Downtown Berkeley. I heard snippets of this language and that, foreign to my ears, and then the familiar “American English” sounds-which to me still does not seem […]more→