Thursday, January 14, 2010

The World in Words

The World in Words is an interesting podcast. Most recently:
Hebrew is most successful attempt ever at language revival. We find out why. Also, Malaysians are rioting after a court rules that a Catholic newspaper can use the word Allah. Then, two reports on alphabet letters: in Sweden, parents win the right to name their newborn Q; and in Turkey, using the Kurdish-associated letters Q, W or X can land you in jail. And, a two-nations-divided-by-one-language examination of the word grit.
Via the piece on Hebrew a sad sad story:
Ittamar Ben-Avi, in his autobiography, describes (albeit somewhat over-romanticized), some of the drastic precautions taken by Ben-Yehuda to ensure his son would hear—and thus ultimately speak—only Hebrew. Thus, for example, when visitors came to the house who did not know Hebrew, Ben-Yehuda would send him to bed so that he would not hear their foreign languages. Similarly, he would not let the child listen to “the chirping of the birds and the neighing of horses, the braying of donkeys and the fluttering of butterflies, because even they are, after all, foreign languages, at any rate not Hebrew.” Indeed, the child only began to speak at the relatively late age of four. His mother could not keep to Ben-Yehuda's demand, and speak to the child only in Hebrew. One day, when Ben-Yehuda was out of the house, she began absent-mindedly singing lullabies to the child in her native Russian. Ben-Yehuda had returned early and when he heard Russian being used inside his house, he rushed in and began shouting. Ittamar wrote about the bitter scene that followed: “It caused a great shock to pass over me when I saw my father in his anger and my mother in her grief and tears, and the muteness was removed from my lips, and speech came to my mouth.”
And Baby Named Metallica Rocks Sweden.


Another Kiwi said...

I have also forbidden the children to listen to the voices in my head.
Crazy fathers, what sort of a unfucked up world would we have without them?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Don't let Dick Cheney hear you sing that song, A.K.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Mr. Crowley.