Andreas Ammann and Anatol Stefanowitsch of the University of Bremen started the Bremer Sprachblog back in January and Andreas wrote me about it in February, but I didn’t have time to investigate it then and it got lost in the shuffle. Fortunately, I just ran across his e-mail again and am finally able to wholeheartedly recommend the blog to any German speakers interested in linguistic topics: it’s knowledgeable and fun! I particularly enjoyed their April Fools post, which asked readers to decide, without googling, which of these four “facts” is actually a joke (I’ve abbreviated the items here):
1) The Mapuche Indians of Chile have sued Microsoft for releasing a version of its Windows XP operating system in their language without their authorization.
2) Noam Chomsky believes that children come preprogrammed with the rules for all human languages.
3) The language of the Bhutija of Tibet corresponds so well with the categories of formal logic, with a notable absence of ambiguity, that it is of interest to specialists in computer linguistics.
4) The Belgian linguist Johannes Goropius Becanus announced that Flemish is the oldest language in the world, basing his argument on its simplicity (e.g., short words).
Regular readers of LH should be able to handle this one; the answer is in the extended entry. Anyway, a belated thanks for letting me know about the blog, Andreas, and I’m adding it to the blogroll forthwith.
The fake item is #3. Like one of the commenters on the original post, I’m particularly delighted by the fact that Chomsky’s crackpot theory seems perfectly at home in this context! (LH: Mapuche, Chomsky, Goropius.)