Breton: a linguistic Lazarus?

English is a global language. There is no doubt about that. In many countries around the world, you will be able to see English on road signs and in advertisements. An English-speaking tourist generally can find someone who speaks at least a little bit of English to help them with a menu or direct them to the consulate. Very often, even if English is the second language of all involved, it is still used as a common tongue to allow communication.

Not all languages enjoy that kind of status in the world. Only a small percentage of languages have become world languages. Most languages aren’t spoken outside of the region where native speakers live, or perhaps in small immigrant communities across the globe. In fact, up to half of the world’s languages are spoken in such small numbers that they are considered endangered. Continue reading

It’s that old je ne sais what.

Once upon a time, there was a little criancinha,
Que estava pendurada from a little janelinha.
A policeman que passou said,
Qu’est-ce que tu fais ici, oh little criancinha?*

As many women grow older, they fear becoming their mothers. They see it in little things they say or in mannerisms they have seemed to pick up without noticing. It sneaks up on them like a predator, waiting to deliver the fatal blow when they realize that they’ve just made the same yukky face that they used to hate on their mothers’ faces.

Whew! Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with that! I know I’m saved from that fate because it’s been clear to me for a long time that I am the female incarnation of my father, right down to the way my feet twitch when I’m bored or relaxed. This realization came to me hard, like a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick, one day many years ago in grad school. Continue reading

Mes chats me manquent.

It’s the last full day of my vacation. We’ll take it easy, do a little shopping, finish packing, and have a few last local beers. Tomorrow will consist of breakfast, a long drive to an airport, a long flight to another airport, and a long ride home. It will be a long day.

My internet access is still limited, but it’s better than it was last week when I would have had to sell a kidney just to check email. I look forward to having time and facilities to catch up on responding to your comments and reading everything I missed over the past two weeks. It’s been a wonderful vacation, but it will be nice to be home.

In the meantime, I offer a few language-related tidbits that have arisen in my travels: Continue reading