Tag Archives: languages

The Abolition of Linguistic Ghettos

Wilford, J.N. (2007). Languages die, but not their last words. New York Times. September 19, 2007. Available online: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/19/science/19language.html?hp.

While focusing on antiquarian relics, the article points to good news: globalization is reducing the number of widely spoken languages.

Languages are not unique creatures with rights of their own, but tools used by people to know the world, provide for their families, and live life. The power of languages — like the power of most platforms — is proportional to the number of people who speak it. When a language’s speakers abandon their traditional tongue and embrace a more popular method of communication — like the rise of German over Low German or Mandarin over Manchu — both peoples benefit.

Map of Turkic Alphabets

Written Turkic,” by Curzon, Coming Anarchy, 26 October 2005, http://www.cominganarchy.com/archives/2005/10/26/written-turkic/.

Curzon from ComingAnarchy presents a beautiful map on the three-way split in how Turkic languages are written

Latin in the West, Cyrillic in the Center, Arabic in the East

Local expert Nathan gives his own view

And not just Cyrillic, but very different Cyrillic alphabets. I can kind of get written Kyrgyz and Kazakh, but I’m not entirely sure what sounds the vowels make.

On the map, I’d at least put Uzbekistan as a mix of blue and green. Even when I was there, Latin signs were fairly common and like I said, some kids couldn’t read Cyrillic.

Dari’s written in Arabic script. Tajik, however, is written in Cyrillic (but I think they’re supposed to be switching to Latin).

Beautiful cartography. Check it out