Linguists trash English word count, speaking Uighur in Bermuda, and steady lah! The delights of Singlish

A nice linguistic fight to start with this week:  a Texas organization called The Global Language Monitor is claiming that the English language has just gained its millionth word. President and chief world analyst Paul J.J. Payack has dubbed this the Million Word March. This generated a lot of headlines (“English acquires its millionth word”) but beyond that, Payack could not have been happy with the response to his declaration.  Linguists and commentators called it among other thing, silly, misleading  a publicity stunt and “the biggest load of chicken droppings I’ve heard in a long time.” Nice.

singlish new

Next up is Singlish, a hybrid tongue that Singaporeans speak among themselves, much to the consternation of their famously fussy government. Singlish is a reflection of Singapore’s history of colonization and immigration: it mixes English with Malay, Hokkien Chinese and a smattering of Tamil.  It’s spoken in homes, restaurants and increasingly on TV.  Officials worry that Singaporeans’ English skills will slip. But the government’s efforts to curb Singlish have so far failed miserably. We have a Singlish double hit: first, a report from  Singapore, then a conversation with the editors of a recently updated Singlish dictionary.

Finally, as the US military releases some Chinese Uighurs from Guantanamo, we take a look at the Uighur language and culture.  Four Gitmo Uighurs have been resettled in Bermuda. More may be sent to Palau. In each case, they’ll probably be the first Uighur speakers to set foot on those islands.

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3 responses to “Linguists trash English word count, speaking Uighur in Bermuda, and steady lah! The delights of Singlish

  1. Tina Nguyen - Student of Intercultural Communication in NVCC

    Language is a a way that can promote unity and wellness along with misunderstanding and conflict. For example, people who are willing to learn Singlish often forget the english language and the government in Singapore is wanting people to try their best to speak in standard english. Having Singlish as Singapore’s language, it gives the country a sense of identity. It shows that no one in the world shares the same language which makes everyone so unique. Singlish may very well be something that Singaporeans can relate to and they feel so at home when someone speaks the language. Singlish, to me, is one of the many ways that can represent the multi racial language of Singapore.

  2. Pingback: The Chinese Yuan, the US Dollar and the Currency of Language | the world in words

  3. Pingback: The Chinese Yuan and the Currency of Language | PRI's The World

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