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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 18, 2012 No Comment
The Toongate Controversy

The news of the arrest of Ambikesh Mohapatra, professor of physical chemistry and kinetics at Jadavpur University (West Bengal, India) spread like wildfire across the nation over the last week. People rallied together, on the streets and on social networking sites, to protest what has been popularly called a “fascist” […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 5, 2012 4 Comments
A weighty issue: The Hindustan Times edition

Should Kareena Kapoor lose weight?” screamed a headline on my Hindustan Times app. For those of you unfamiliar with Bollywood cinema, Ms. Kareena Kapoor is a top actress, and hails from one of the most famous and powerful film khandaans (families). I’m not a fan of hers: but I had to read the article. […]

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Written By: daveski on April 4, 2012 2 Comments

Thanks to Steven L on Facebook for bringing this to my attention: Matt Meyer at ReignDesign narrates his presentation “Love Hotels and Unicode” from a recent tech “unconference” in Shanghai. After reviewing some of the convergences that led to a single standard for representing many of the world’s scripts and […]

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Written By: Youki on March 29, 2012 20 Comments

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2012/03/29/piers-morgan-only-in-america-banned-words.cnn

Piers Morgan examines 50 words that are banned on New York school tests.  Here’s the full list:

Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
Bodily functions
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Celebrities
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on March 18, 2012 2 Comments

While I am generally averse to reading articles that begin by telling us about how we are all living in “an increasingly globalized world,” I thought this article I caught in the Sunday New York Times might be of interest to members of the FIT community:

…there is ample evidence that in a bilingual’s brain […]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on May 4, 2011 1 Comment
Of Bin Laden, Empathy, and Translation

As a U.S. citizen, I have had one reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden.  However, as a student of literature, I have found little to say about this symbolic victory in the “War on Terror” except, perhaps, that it is extremely distracting from the research papers I should […]

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Written By: daveski on April 21, 2011 1 Comment

A bit of a public service announcement: Modern Language Association President Russell Berman has issued a letter calling upon its members to protest the cuts to education, especially languages and the humanities, that are written into the new federal budget. This section from the letter, in particular, highlights the damage that […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 11, 2011 1 Comment

Education First, “The World Leader in International Education” (as it calls itself) released what it called “the world’s first index to compare the English-language ability of adults in different countries,” which caused a flurry of excitement in the international news media. You can download the full report here. The report, compiled based […]

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Written By: daveski on March 28, 2011 1 Comment

Seeing a Japanese word I thought was buried in the past re-emerging in day-to-day use reminded me of a strand of posts I started but haven’t kept up with:「ありがとうございます」(Thank you very much),「入口」 (Entrance), and「おひさしぶりです」 (Long time, no see)  were posts I wrote as I tried to make sure my […]

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Written By: seo on March 13, 2011 2 Comments
Language of Disaster

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 […]

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Written By: daveski on March 12, 2011 1 Comment

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 […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 6, 2010 No Comment
Finally: Tintin Speaks Hindi!

As Hergé‘s iconic Tintin series turns 80, having been translated into 58 languages and sold 230 million copies across the globe, it will be available for the first time in the world’s fourth largest language, Hindi. In India, the series has been available only in English and Bengali till […]

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Written By: daveski on November 15, 2010 6 Comments
The Top Words of 2010: Non-English Edition

I saw news from the good folks over at Langology that the Global Language Monitor has already published its Top Words of 2010 list. The top 3 results they list from their “annual global survey of the English language” are: “Spillcam”, from the BP oil spill coverage; “vuvuzela” of World Cup […]

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Written By: daveski on November 7, 2010 11 Comments
Following the language faculty cuts at LSU

There’s a certain urgency to the question asked on the blog of The Foreign Language Fourteen, “When did you first realize that knowing a foreign language was cool?” The blog prompts its readers with questions like “Do you know that Spanish won’t get you anywhere in Brazil?” “Can you read Plato […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on November 2, 2010 6 Comments
“Think Outside the Nidifice”: Endangered Words & How to Save Them

Ever been inconsolably distraught that no single word in English describes the condition of “being without eyebrows”? Say, when you were preparing to make an argument about whether your dog has them (i.e., eyebrows) or not, for a major televised debate? How happy would you have been to learn that there actually exists such […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on October 25, 2010 No Comment
China defends language policies in Tibetan areas

From an Associated Press story:

“Chinese officials tried to defuse discontent following days of student protests in ethnically Tibetan areas, saying a plan to teach classes only in Mandarin Chinese was not aimed at wiping out Tibet’s native tongue, state media reported Saturday.”

The unrest arose when word spread of an educational reform […]

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Written By: daveski on October 23, 2010 6 Comments

The thinning out, scaling down, and downright elimination of language programs seems to be a normalizing trend in these times of budgetary hardship. While the State University of New York at Albany’s wholesale elimination of its French, Italian, Russian, classics and theater programs this month has received some notice, it hasn’t, […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on October 6, 2010 No Comment

LA Times reports on this story:

A previously unknown language has been uncovered in the far reaches of northeastern India, researchers reported Tuesday. Koro, a tongue brand-new to the scientific world that is spoken by just 800 to 1,200 people, could soon face extinction as younger speakers abandon it […]

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Written By: daveski on September 24, 2010 No Comment

The title pretty much says it all…thanks to Viola on Facebook for pointing out that today is National Punctuation Day. The website actually has a lot of useful information about how and when to use each type of punctuation, so if you want to brush up, give those semicolons and apostrophes a click!

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on September 11, 2010 1 Comment

In brief:

Two federal investigations have found that Arizona is violating the civil rights of some students who are not native English speakers by denying them access to special programs for English learners.

Check out the full news story here.

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