Two Language Links.

1) The language landscape of the Philippines in 4 maps. Does what it says on the tin; the maps are “Language diversity across the country,” “The more multilingual provinces,” “The more monolingual provinces,” and “Top languages aside from Tagalog/Bisaya in Metro Manila.” The first-sentence hook: “If you were to randomly pick two people from anywhere in the Philippines, there’s a roughly 76% to 84% chance that they grew up speaking different languages.”

2) The race to save a dying language, by Ross Perlin: “The discovery of Hawaii Sign Language in 2013 amazed linguists. But as the number of users dwindles, can it survive the twin threats of globalisation and a rift in the community?” The opening:

In 2013, at a conference on endangered languages, a retired teacher named Linda Lambrecht announced the extraordinary discovery of a previously unknown language. Lambrecht – who is Chinese-Hawaiian, 71 years old, warm but no-nonsense – called it Hawaii Sign Language, or HSL. In front of a room full of linguists, she demonstrated that its core vocabulary – words such as “mother”, “pig” and “small” – was distinct from that of other sign languages.

The linguists were immediately convinced. William O’Grady, the chair of the linguistics department at the University of Hawaii, called it “the first time in 80 years that a new language has been discovered in the United States — and maybe the last time.” But the new language found 80 years ago was in remote Alaska, whereas HSL was hiding in plain sight in Honolulu, a metropolitan area of nearly a million people. It was the kind of discovery that made the world seem larger.

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