Writing indigenous names in Taiwan

This month, Taiwan’s legislature decided that indigenous (non-Chinese) people in Taiwan can present their names using only romanised letters. The will no longer need to use Chinese characters instead (or as well). Chinese characters no longer required for Taiwan Aborigine names | Pinyin News I first picked up this story from Language Log » A…… Continue reading Writing indigenous names in Taiwan

A is for Bee

A is for BEE: An Alphabet Book in Translation, by Ellen Heck, is a delightful alphabet book for children. Each page lists one or more words starting with the same letter and has bright pictures illustrating each word. The pages are in alphabetical order. This is an alphabet book with a twist: each page lists…… Continue reading A is for Bee

Language sketch: Maori (1)—sounds

Maori is the language of the Māori people of New Zealand. It is known in Maori as te reo Māori (‘the language Maori’) or simply te reo (‘the language’) for short. Te reo Māori was made an official language in New Zealand in 1987, along with New Zealand Sign Language. There is a useful short…… Continue reading Language sketch: Maori (1)—sounds

Cabinet of grammatical rarities

A Raritätenkabinett (cabinet of rarities) is a collection of things, living or dead, which are considered worth collecting (and perhaps exhibiting) because they are rare. An online collection of grammatical rarities is available at https://typo.uni-konstanz.de/rara/ The site classifies the items it contains into the following categories: rarum (plural rara): ‘a trait (of any conceivable sort:…… Continue reading Cabinet of grammatical rarities

Young linguists who thanked Darwin

At a new exhibition on the correspondence of Charles Darwin, I came across a letter from 5 daughters of a family friend of Darwin’s. Describing themselves as botanists and linguists, they ended the short letter with a saying in the Maori language. Text of the letterThe Botanists present their best thanks to Mr Darwin for…… Continue reading Young linguists who thanked Darwin