from alinguist to thelinguist.com

I came across thelinguist.com this morning, via a blog chain that I could probably reconstruct but it’s a bit convoluted and probably irrelevant. This post on “minor languages” caught my eye, and I was astonished to find “Taiwanese” the minor language of record, with a note that this guy’s software might help revive Canada’s native languages too.

I didn’t sign up for the free 14 day trial, but I did look at the “create account” page. For a supposedly multilingual site, there’s an Anglocentrism to this site that’s really disappointing. No “international” characters in the sign-up page, including diacritics. Tough luck if your native language isn’t one of the 13 listed, and if you’re bilingual, you’re out of luck too. So much for the wish to do something for Canadian First Nations languages! Somewhere on the site I saw a link for you to “throw away those grammar rules and start the fun stuff” too. Great to see such a positive attitude towards linguistics from thelinguist.

I think in honour of all the people, like thelinguist, who could have their sense of proportion about the world’s linguistic diversity improved, I’m going to start a “Language of the week” segment. Feel free to nominate your favourite language. The only criterion is that it must come under some vaguely reasonable definition of “minority” language.

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