Book: Languages of the World Articles


Tibetan: Melting Snow and Protests

August 27, 2015 9:17 am Published by Leave your thoughts

As the Tibetan lama, Arjia Rinpoché, puts it, Tibet’s “language, its religion, its culture, and its native people are disappearing faster than its glacial ice.” The Tibetan language is melting. Note: The term Rinpoché is an honorific given to revered teachers and incarnated lamas; it means ‘precious one.’ In 2010... read more

The Role of Sanskrit in Philology

July 30, 2015 10:52 am Published by Leave your thoughts

How did Sanskrit become the pivotal language in the establishment of the Indo-European languages? In 1778 William Jones, a lawyer in London with a taste for politics, heard the news that one of four Supreme Court judge positions in India was open. The judges were all appointed in England, because... read more


Gold in the Mayan Highlands

March 26, 2015 6:36 pm Published by 1 Comment

For thousands of years the K’iche’ people, Mayan speakers, have revered the golden kernels belonging to a plant known as maize. Their sacred stories tell of the first humans who were fashioned from the bread made from these kernels and who were given the gift of language. More recently a... read more

language and power

Sinhala: Language and Power

October 27, 2014 9:25 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

In the Indian Ocean off the south coast of India is the island nation of Sri Lanka. The majority population is the Sinhalese, an ethnogroup who tend to be Buddhists and who speak Sinhala, an Indo-European language. They share the island with the minority Tamils, who tend to be Hindu.... read more