Want to learn Spanish, Mandarin or Arabic? Most of us know that learning an Earth language these days can only be a click or a download away.
Between apps, websites, school programs, etc. there are numerous resources and ways to learn an Earth language.
What do you do if you find yourself wanting to learn a language from another land? Perhaps Dothraki from Game of Thrones, Klingon from Star Trek, Sindarin from Lord of the Rings or Na´vi from Avatar?
Native American languages in the US have succumbed to linguicide over time. According to the World Atlas, approximately 300 languages were spoken in the US before colonialism. When the Europeans arrived, they forced Native Americans out of their land. The government tried to eliminate the Native American culture, including the languages, by forcing English. As a result of enforcing English in schools and in society in general, many languages were lost.
Language means so much more than communication between people – it represents culture, history, tradition and identity. According to UNESCO, there are more than 6000 languages in the world today. A startling fact is that about 97% of the world speaks just 4% of these languages, including languages such as English, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Indonesian and Arabic. Only 3% of the population speaks the remaining 96% of the languages, many of which are indigenous languages.
Around 600 languages have already disappeared in the last century, and experts estimate that others will continue to disappear at a rate of one language every two weeks. If this trend continues, up to 90% of the world’s languages are likely to disappear before the end of the century. Why is this happening and what can we do about it?
Did you know that roughly 40% of the world can only speak one language? While about the same amount of people speak two languages fluently, less than 1% speak more than 5 languages! Every language has its own history, its own personality, and has evolved greatly over time with speakers constantly finding ways to make languages easier to use. Therefore, it’s probably safe to assume that someone who speaks more than 5 languages has a deep understanding of how human languages work. So what does that mean for conlangers, or people who invent and construct new languages?
Do you ever wonder how to say common phrases such as "I love you" in other languages around the globe?
As an American, it can be easy to forget about the impact that our culture has on other countries. Take Hollywood movies as an example and their global popularity. They may be created here in the US but they are watched and enjoyed worldwide.
This doesn't mean that they stay in English, however. The titles are translated and subtitles or voice-overs are added.
Have you heard language experts say that English has more words than other languages? The claim is made but it’s practically impossible to verify.
“What is he saying?” I asked my bilingual friend while studying Spanish in Chile. He paused, thought about the joke we had both just heard, and then said, “It’s hard to explain.”
I was just learning Spanish but he could speak both English and Spanish fluently, so I couldn’t wrap my mind around his inability to just directly translate.
Take each word, translate it in his mind, and then regurgitate it back in English. That’s all it is, right?
I later learned that sometimes things are hard to translate. Sometimes a word doesn’t have an equivalent in another language and is therefore, untranslatable, or impossible to directly translate without the help of calling upon many other words.
Everything and everybody communicates. Each expression of communication is a vital element of a brands identity and personality. Sharpen the communication with your internal team before distributing your message to the masses.