Linguistic Diversity

Linguistic diversity has been in the news in the last few weeks in a couple of different guises.

First, there was an article about the many languages of New York City (particularly Queens)

Listening to (and Saving) the World’s Languages

The chances of overhearing a conversation in Vlashki, a variant of Istro-Romanian, are greater in Queens than in the remote mountain villages in Croatia that immigrants now living in New York left years ago.

Accompanying that article was a brief list of the least spoken languages in NY state

Land of Lonely Tongues

There were also a variety of reactions to growing international language mixing including a Republican candidate for governor who declared “This is Alabama. We speak English” in one of his ads for the primary, promising “We’re only giving that test in English if I’m governor,” The Candidate From Xenophobia

And legislators in Arizona banned Ethnic Studies and “teachers with accents”
Arizona Ethnic Studies Classes Banned, Teachers With Accents Can No Longer Teach English

In China, there is a campaign led by the Shanghai Commission for the Management of Language to clean up maladaptations of English such as “teliot” and “urine district”

Shanghai Is Trying to Untangle the Mangled English of Chinglish

A Sampling of Chinglish

Other Web Worlds

I also wanted to take the opportunity to talk about other places that linguistic anthropology has a presence on the Web.

The oldest web presence is the Linguistic Anthropology e-mail list, aka the Linganth List which can be joined through the Resources tab above or at:

Linganth Subscription

The Linganth List is usually used for collecting information, exchanging recent news, and letting people know about various opportunities.

We have also a Facebook page:

Facebook.com/SocLingAnth

Come, join and post things. It is particularly good for chatting and posting interesting links.

Just starting are Twitter adventures: Twitter.com

As you have only 140 characters per tweet, twittering has some very arcane ins and outs.

You sign up for an account and then you search for people to follow, either by topic or because you know them from another life. I am LeilaMonaghan If you ever want to write a note directly to me you would start your note with @LeilaMonaghan (Another good person to follow is Kerim Friedman, former editor of this blog, aka @Kerim). This note, however, is not private but seen by anyone who follows you. If someone doesn’t have an obviously soft porn icon, the usual etiquette is to follow people who follow you.

If you have something you want to say to larger audiences, there are thousands of channels, indicated by #’s. For example, I just started a #linganth channel and it is an excellent way to get messages out to people you don’t already know. Other fun channels I have found so far including #language and #edchat.

If you want to post links, it is often useful to have a link shortener. I usually use Bit.ly/ although other sites are also available.

Come on by and tweet your heart out! (Given we still have snow on the ground here in Laramie, WY some semblance of Spring would be most welcome.)