Archives For modern linguistics

Reich: I think so. I know there are extremists who are interested in genealogy and genetics. But I think those are very marginal people, and there’s, of course, a concern they may impinge on the mainstream.

But if you actually take any serious look at this data, it just confounds every stereotype. It’s revealing that the differences among populations we see today are actually only a few thousand years old at most and that everybody is mixed. I think that if you pay any attention to this world, and have any degree of seriousness, then you can’t come out feeling affirmed in the racist view of the world. You have to be more open to immigration. You have to be more open to the mixing of different peoples. That’s your own history.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/ancient-dna-history/554798/?utm_source=twb

 

Newer findings complicate the story, however. In a study published last June in the Journal of Human Genetics, researchers sequenced the mitochondrial DNA of 12 Yamnaya individuals, along with their immediate predecessors and descendants. The remains were found in burial mounds, or kurgans (from which the theory takes its name), in modern-day Ukraine. They had been buried in layers atop one another from the end of the Stone Age through the Bronze Age, between about 4500 and 1500 B.C.—the same time as the genetic replacement event in Europe. The earliest and midrange specimens’ mitochondrial DNA (which is inherited from the mother) was almost entirely local. But the mitochondrial DNA of the most recent specimens included DNA from central Europe, including present-day Poland, Germany and Sweden. This discovery indicates that “there were pendulum migrations back and forth,” says lead author Alexey Nikitin

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-evidence-fuels-debate-over-the-origin-of-modern-languages/

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But museums and dictionaries are feeble defence against globalisation and urbanisation. The best way of keeping the dialects alive would be to use them as a medium of instruction in public schools. But the national government sets the curriculum, so that is unlikely to happen. Parents are a poor substitute for teachers. “The more you make kids speak a language the more they rebel,” says Mr Altenhofen. His 16-year-old daughter is learning Japanese. She wants to study Korean next.

https://www.economist.com/news/americas/21737551-challenges-urbanisation-globalisation-and-primacy-portuguese-fight-save?fsrc=scn/fb/te/bl/ed/thefighttosaveeuropeandialectsinbrazilgialdoalert

https://whywhathow.xyz/how-to-a-language-learning-guide/

I would say this is accurate. While I certainly enjoy learning various languages I often do so for my own pleasure rather than for intelligence points. It is rather flustering to be in situations where language learning isn’t adequate to the task. But of course this only serves as more motivation to hit the books with more gusto.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2015/05/johnson-polyglots?fsrc=scn/fb/te/bl/ed/polyglotsthehumblelinguist

Why French?

April 27, 2017 — Leave a comment

In a globalized, interconnected world, foreign language skills are more important than ever before, and yet Americans do not tend to study foreign languages, with only 18.5% of K–12 public school students studying a foreign language and a mere 8.1% of college and university students enrolled in a foreign language course.

Sad. The poor educational techniques and inability to practice foreign languages through immersion play a big part in the poor language language learning statistics. Unfortunately many can go their entire lives without the need to learn another language.

https://languagemagazine.com/2017/02/why-french/

Interesting research on the language acquisition of bilingual children. It appears that the quantity of exposure is not as important to future language success as the quality. Would be curious to further find out why increase in English growth caused a decrease in Spanish growth but not vice versa. I personally would love my future kids to be competent in multiple languages but not at the expense of English.

https://languagemagazine.com/2017/04/languages-develop-simultaneously-independently-young-bilinguals/#.WP_stvdhjVg.reddit