The Economist picks Tuyuca, an Eastern Amazon language as the world’s hardest language for its 50-140 noun classes http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15108609 (Thanks to Alexander King and Sierra for the link).
Sign languages are different from both spoken languages and from each other. There is no universal sign language. Because Deaf people can’t hear the spoken language of the country, a sign language like American Sign Language has a different grammar from spoken language. It is also different from other sign languages—even British Sign Language—because of the separate histories of American and British Deaf communities. Sign languages are also not spelled out words, although fingerspelling can be used if you want to translate a written words like the name of an unfamiliar town into sign language.
According to Ben Zimmer, various aliens in Star Wars spoke Quechua, one of the most widely spoken indigenous languages in South America, and Haya, a Bantu language spoken in Tanzania.
The new film Avatar features Na’vi, a constructed language said to “out-Klingon Klingon.”
The Edward Sapir Book Prize was established in 2001 and is awarded in alternate years to a book that makes the most significant contribution to our understanding of language in society, or the ways in which language mediates historical or contemporary sociocultural processes. The SLA invites books with conceptual and theoretical focus, as well as [...]
An article passed on by Ken Ehrensal from the New York Times on Campbell’s monkeys having grammar. The grammar is pretty simple but looks like it might be more complex than Vervet monkeys’ efforts. [Link to article.] The full length article it is based on can be found here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0007808 and discusses the flexibility of [...]
One of the new website features we are very excited about is the new Program Directory. We hope this will become the most reliable place on the internet to learn about colleges, graduate schools and summer programs offering courses in linguistic anthropology. But this directory won’t build itself! If you teach or study linguistic anthropology, [...]
I was particularly moved by a memorial at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association for Dell Hymes. Hymes founded the ethnography of speaking, developed the concept of communicative competence, and pioneered the study of ethnopoetics.
Welcome back home! The Philadelphia meetings were a great success and it was wonderful to see so many old friends and colleagues. The Society for Linguistic Anthropology meeting was standing room only. The SLA organization as a whole is very healthy with an expanding journal and more sessions this year than last year, including four [...]
Panels and meetings of interest to linguistic anthropologists at the 2009 meeting of the American Anthropological Association.