dilluns, 20 de setembre de 2010

Are dying languages worth saving?

An interesting article from the BBC website:
Are dying languages worth saving?
Language experts are gathering at a university in the UK to discuss saving the world's endangered languages. But is it worth keeping alive dialects that are sometimes only spoken by a handful of people, asks Tom de Castella?
"Language is the dress of thought," Samuel Johnson once said.
About 6,000 different languages are spoken around the world. But the Foundation for Endangered Languages estimates that between 500 and 1,000 of those are spoken by only a handful of people. And every year the world loses around 25 mother tongues. That equates to losing 250 languages over a decade - a sad prospect for some.

This week a conference in Carmarthen, Wales, organised by the foundation, is being attended by about 100 academics. They are discussing indigenous languages in Ireland, China, Australia and Spain.
"Different languages will have their quirks which tell us something about being human," says Nicholas Ostler, the foundation's chairman.
"And when languages are lost most of the knowledge that went with them gets lost. People do care about identity as they want to be different. Nowadays we want access to everything but we don't want to be thought of as no more than people on the other side of the world."

Apart from English, the United Kingdom has a number of other languages. Mr Ostler estimates that half a million people speak Welsh, a few thousand Scots are fluent in Gaelic, about 400 people speak Cornish, while the number of Manx speakers - the language of the Isle of Man - is perhaps as small as 100. But is there any point in learning the really minor languages?
To continue reading the full article, please click here.

diumenge, 19 de setembre de 2010

Un llibre, un lector

El passat mes de juliol la Fundacc va publicar el Baròmetre de la Comunicació i la Cultura amb interessants dades sobre el consum de cultura en català. Aquí hi podem llegir una notícia al respecte. Personalment, però, el més xocant va ser aquesta frase amb la qual la Fundacc defineix qui és un lector:
“l'enquesta considera lector qui llegeix un llibre a l'any” ...

divendres, 17 de setembre de 2010

British English and Australian English (1)

The English language is spoken in many parts of the world and for various historical and cultural reasons, differences often occur between British English and the English of a specific country or region. We have already looked at some differences between the English spoken in the UK and the USA. Today we offer a few examples of Australian English – bearing in mind, though, that some of them are quite colloquial.


UK – farm; Australia – station

UK – field; Australia – paddock

UK – Good morning; Australia – Good Day (pronounced G’Day)

UK – horse; Australia – neddy

UK – beer; Australia – amber liquid

UK – mosquito; Australia – mozzie

UK – sausage; Australia – snag

UK – excellent; Australia – tops

And my personal favourite – apparently Australians refer to tight-fitting swimming trunks as “budgie smugglers”!

dijous, 16 de setembre de 2010

Presentació de Plantes del Port, en anglès

Divendres dia 17 a les 19.30 al Centre del Parc Natural dels Ports, Roquetes, tindrà lloc la presentació de la traducció a l’anglès dels llibres Plantes del Port, del Grup de Recerca Científica de les Terres de l’Ebre.

Plantes del Port is a reference book in three volumes covering the amazing flora to be found in the local mountains, near Tortosa, known as El Port. A translation into English has now been published and will be presented in public on Friday the 17th at 19.30 at the El Port Natural Park’s centre in Roquetes.

dimecres, 15 de setembre de 2010

British English and north-American English (3)

Apart from vocabulary, there are other small differences between these two versions of the English language. One question is spelling with American English often offering a simpler option. For example, color instead of colour, or traveling instead of travelling. Prepositional differences include examples such as “on the weekend” (USA) instead of “at”, or “on the team” instead of “in”, or “Will you write me?” instead of “Will you write to me?”


American English sometimes uses the Past Simple where British people would use the Present Perfect. For instance, “I lost my key”, rather than “I’ve lost my key”; “I didn’t tell him yet” rather than “I haven’t told him yet”, or “I just saw her” rather than “I’ve just seen her”.

To finish this brief glimpse into these interesting differences, we would just like to point out that the verb “to enjoy” seems to have evolved and become intransitive even in the UK thanks to Hollywood and its tendency to cry out “Enjoy!” with no one asking “Enjoy ... what?”.

dimarts, 14 de setembre de 2010

British English and north-American English (2)

As we said in an earlier post, there are some differences in the use of the English language in the United Kingdom or in the USA. Here are a few more examples (with thanks to fellow bloggers):


UK – nappy; USA – diaper

UK – bonnet (of a car); USA – hood

UK – boot (of a car); USA – trunk

UK – windscreen (of a car); USA - windshield

UK – autumn; USA – fall

UK – petrol; USA – gas

UK – underground (the Tube in London); USA – subway

UK – subway; USA – underpass

UK – sweets; USA - candy

dilluns, 6 de setembre de 2010

Setmana del Llibre en Català


Del 10 al 19 de setembre, es celebra la 28ª Setmana del Llibre en Català. Més informació aquí.