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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Media: Houston Chronicle: English in Icelandic

Submitter: Karen Chung

Submitter Email: karchung@ntu.edu.tw
Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics
Anthropological Linguistics

Media Body: The Houston Chronicle March 19, 2005, 8:18PM

Icelanders on a mission: Fighting English invasion
Can proud people preserve their ancient language?
The Los Angeles Times

...Language preservation worked nicely for centuries because Icelanders
lived diphthongs apart from the rest of the world, but in recent decades
the cultural floodgates have been opened. English is everywhere ¡X on
televisions, VCRs, the Internet and commercial products. ...

I left Iceland pessimistic. Everywhere I went, I heard English spoken.
Although a written language can be purged of foreign words and phrases,
policing how people speak is another matter. Many young Icelanders cannot
be bothered with a language that is a minefield of subjunctive, inflections
and gender (the number 2 has three genders). ...


Karen Chung
Issue Number: 16.884
Date Posted: March 23, 2005

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