I just learned, from Margaret Marks of Transblawg, that Friday was the European Day of Languages. This sounds to me suspiciously like declaring October the International Month of Artichokes, and I wouldn’t bother you with it except that it inspired the BBC to present “a snapshot of 35 main European languages” on this page. I admit I was a bit put off when I clicked on the first one, Albanian, and found that the first statement was “Albanian is not related to other languages!” But they go on to add “Like a rare winter plum, Albanian is the sole surviving member on its branch of the Indo-European family tree,” from which one should be able to deduce that it’s related to the other Indo-European languages, and they have a dozen “key phrases” with RealAudio clips, so it’s probably worth your while. Furthermore, the Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergeusch) page will teach you how to say “Et deet mer leed, mä ech schwätzen nët Lëtzeburgesch” (I’m sorry, I don’t speak Luxembourgish), and I’m sure that’s something you’ve always wanted to do.

Transblawg also links to the online version of The Linguist, the journal of the Institute of Linguists, which is not as rich a resource as might be hoped but, again, is worth a look, at least for the article on the insular linguistic habits of British soccer players:

On being quizzed by the Italian media, Paul Gascoigne could, notoriously, only manage a belch by way of riposte. And former Liverpool legend Ian Rush revealed a possibly flawed adaptation strategy at his new club Juventus when he bemoaned the fact that ‘living in Italy was like living in a foreign country’.


  1. That site is a hoot. Why in the world do they feel the need to replace their rendering of the language Sámi (or Saami) with a gif?
    Surely the BBC can afford an acute accent…

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