Living Languages.

UMass Amherst Libraries Announce Publication of Living Languages – Lenguas Vivas – Línguas Vivas:

The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to announce the publication of Living Languages – Lenguas Vivas – Línguas Vivas: a new, open access, multilingual journal solely dedicated to the revitalization and sustainability of endangered and minoritized languages. The journal is an initiative of Luiz Amaral, professor in the languages, literatures and cultures department, who collaborated with colleagues from different universities, including the journal’s co-editor in chief, Professor Gabriela Pérez Báez from the University of Oregon. The journal was launched on February 21, 2022 with a special online event to celebrate International Mother Language Day.

The goal of the journal is to promote scholarly work and experience-sharing by bringing together language revitalization practitioners from a diversity of backgrounds, whether academic or not, within a peer-reviewed publication that is not limited to academic contributions and is inclusive of a diversity of perspectives and forms of expression. Living Languages seeks to publish contributions on practical and theoretical issues directly related to actions that support language sustainability and/or revitalization in indigenous and minoritized contexts.

To achieve its goals, the journal publishes papers in three linguas francas (English, Spanish, and Portuguese), plus in any language that is being revitalized. The inaugural volume of Living Languages features 13 contributions that include a paper in Chikashshanompa’ and English (from North America) and one in Kaingang (from South America), plus a variety of other papers written in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

This is a Good Thing. Thanks, Leslie!


  1. J.W. Brewer says

    This wiktionary entry notes no fewer than four extant plurals of “lingua franca” in English, but “linguas francas” as used by the UMass folks ain’t one of them. That does seem to be the conventional plural in Portuguese, to be fair.

  2. Yes, I thought that was odd myself.

  3. Maybe it is somehow related to Luiz Amaral and the co-editor in chief Gabriela Pérez Báez. Because such plural looks naturas from Spanish perspective.

  4. David Eddyshaw says

    The correct plural is Linguafrancapodes.


    But it is natural in English too. An Enlgish speakers must see a noun in lingua to write linguas, and then it is unclear why would she add -s to franca. A Spanish speaker writing in English will recognize that it is not English and in Romance both the noun and the adjective are marked. So she marks them.

    Or a Portuguese speaker.

  6. In English the “head noun” of the noun phrase comes last. It means that it is natural to pluralize the last word, like in much discussed “attorney(s) generals” and “hole(s)-in-ones” and other suchlike examples multiply discussed on language blogs.

  7. @D.O.: To me (not a golfer), the plural “holes in one” sounds way better than “hole in ones,” although I am sure that both of them are out there.

  8. January First-of-May says

    The case of “attorneys general” is complicated by the existence of “brigadier generals” (a kind of general, not a kind of brigadier, and pluralized correspondingly). Of course an attorney general (unlike a brigadier general) is not a general, but you have to know that to be able to pluralize correctly.

    As for “lingua franca”, I would probably also see it as a blatantly Romance term and consequently default to the Romance-like plural “linguas francas”. Unfortunately, I can’t think of another similar example offhand, though I’m sure they exist.

  9. As far as I understand, the plurals of “attorney general” and “hole-in-one” are unstable. Some people do one thing others do another precisely because some people see the compositional details of these expressions and others “lexicalized” them.

  10. I say “attorney generals” and “hole-in-ones”; I can imagine saying “attorneys general” but not “holes-in-one.”

  11. January First-of-May says

    I can imagine saying “attorneys general” but not “holes-in-one.”

    For me it’s the other way around – “attorney(s) general(s)” can go either way, but “hole in ones” sounds ridiculous, it can only be “holes in one”.

    (Is “hole in one” normally spelled with a hyphen or without? It feels like that might make a big difference.)

  12. ktschwarz says

    Dictionaries are unanimous, as far as I can tell, that “hole in one” has no hyphens; on the other hand, the AP Stylebook *requires* hyphens. The only ones that offer any guidance on the plural are American Heritage (holes in one) and the AP (holes-in-one).

    “Holes(-)in(-)one” dominates over “hole(-)in(-)ones” by two or three orders of magnitude in ngrams and major newspaper websites, though the lead isn’t really that large since it includes a lot of false hits like “played 36 holes in one day” or “six holes in one ear”.

    Interestingly, the ratio is a lot less lopsided at than at general newspapers. I’d explain this by conjecturing that “hole-in-ones” is often re-invented where it isn’t suppressed by stylebooks.

  13. David Eddyshaw says

    Kusaal (like all Oti-Volta languages) expresses noun modification by adjectives by compounding noun + adjective and inflecting the second element, the adjective, to express the number of the whole thing:

    nɔbir “leg” + wɔk “long” -> nɔbwɔk “long leg”; nɔbwa’ad “long legs.”

    You can then use this entire compound as an adjective in turn:

    biig “child” + nɔbwɔk “long leg” -> binɔbwɔk “long-legged child.”

    However, you say

    bitʋbkpida “[one] deaf child”

    from biig + tʋbkpida “deaf ears“, plural (tʋbir “ear.”)
    That is, not a deaf-eared child, but a deaf-earsed child …

    Why ears are different from legs in this matter, I do not know …

  14. PlasticPaddy says

    What if you are deaf in one ear?

  15. Dealing with multiple attorneys, generals, and brigadiers was previously discussed here.

    The case of brigadier is particularly tricky. To start with, there is the awkward fact that (thanks to calquing from French), the modifier general can come either before or after the head noun it modifies. The Communist Party has a general secretary, but the United Nations has a secretary general. Any large institution can have a a general counsel, but only a major governmental subdivisions will have an attorney general (Wales, I suppose, being the canonically smallest example). With military ranks, things are further complicated by the fact that general long ago became a standalone term, to the extent that almost no one knows that it originated as a shortening of captain general. When it was coined, in the seventeen century, brigadier general was correspondingly intended as a type of general.

    Yet the existence of general as a postpositional modifier seems to have confused people fairly early. The OED opines that bare “brigadier” is a solecism:

    More correctly brigadier-general. A military officer in command of a brigade; the status ranks between a major-general and a colonel, but is only local or temporary, being generally held by the senior colonel of the regiments or battalions brigaded together.

    The rank of brigadier general was abolished after the war of 1914–18 and superseded by that of colonel-commandant. In 1928 this was superseded by brigadier.

    However, the earliest citation (1678) is already for “brigadeere,” with no “general” attached. The plural “Brigadiers General” is attested in (1703). The most recent citation is from 1929 and is directly concerned with the changes in official terminology in the inter-war period:

    Officers holding the new rank of Brigadier introduced in the Army last summer are still commonly known as ‘Generals’.

    In the United States Army, brigadier generals are addressed as “general,” just like any O-8 or higher. However, if Doctor Who is any guide, this was no longer the case in Britain by 1969; Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart was consistently referred to as “the brigadier,” never as a “general.”

  16. David Marjanović says

    German, which doesn’t do postposed adjectives even in obvious French loans, has both Brigadier and Brigadegeneral (“a general who commands a brigade”, says Wikipedia), and their various meanings are pretty confusing.

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