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

Endangered Alphabets Sudoku

The Endangered Alphabets project is about to publish Endangered Alphabets Sudoku. This is a book of Sudoku puzzles. Instead of numerals, it uses letters from endangered languages. Other items produced by the project include: Endangered Alphabets Word Search Puzzles Glagolitic Abbey—a clue-based board game introducing the ancient Glagolitic script in the context of a treasure-hunt…… Continue reading Endangered Alphabets Sudoku

Mousemat with accented characters

One thing I find very useful is a mousemat with instructions for typing accented characters. I picked mine up around 5-10 years ago at Foyles bookshop in Charing Cross Road London. Here is a picture. Of course, it doesn’t cover everything, but it does show many characters needed for most western European languages. Painfully, I…… Continue reading Mousemat with accented characters

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

Lopping sweaters

A spoonerism is an error in speech. In a spoonerism, the speaker swaps the initial consonant of one word with the initial consonant of another word.   Spoonerisms take their name from an Oxford academic, Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930). Perhaps the best known spoonerism is one often attributed to Spooner himself, though possibly apocryphally.…… Continue reading Lopping sweaters

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

Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt

An exhibition at the British Museum recounts how Egyptian hieroglyphic writing was first deciphered in the first 2 decades of the 19th century, using the Rosetta Stone and other inscriptions and texts.  Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt is on until 19 February. https://www.britishmuseum.org/exhibitions/hieroglyphs-unlocking-ancient-egypt       The rest of this post covers: ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and…… Continue reading Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt

Digitising materials in the Indian language Oda

Here is a link to a documentary on a project to digitise 200 years of magazines, newspapers and books published in the Indian language Odia https://www.endangeredalphabets.com/2022/11/16/the-volunteer-odia-archivists/ The author of that page describes Oda has having a ‘delightful bald-headed script’. Odia was the 6th language to become designated as an official language in India https://languagemiscellany.com/2022/04/odia-a-classical-language-in-india/ 

Nice one, Cyril

Several Slavonic languages—Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian—are written in the Cyrillic alphabet. That alphabet is also used for several other languages, for example in central Asia. The name Cyrillic honours the memory of St Cyril. Who was Cyril? St Cyril was born in Thessalonica (nowadays in Greece) in 826 CE, being given the…… Continue reading Nice one, Cyril

Too much of a good thing? Ask Hirokazu Tanaka

The largest gathering of people with the same first and last name occurred in Tokyo on 29 October 2022. Present were 178 people called Hirokazu Tanaka. https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-same-first-and-last-name-gathering According to the Japan Times, the previous record was set in 2005 by American business person Martha Stewart and 163 other people of that name. The Japan Times…… Continue reading Too much of a good thing? Ask Hirokazu Tanaka