Next Generation Literacy

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“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who can’t read & write,
but those who can’t learn, unlearn & relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

Futurist Thomas Frey:  So what is literacy?

The first time I listened to an audio book I thought I was cheating. As a child, reading for me seemed like a lot of work, and my teachers kept piling on more reading assignments, continually feeding into the notion that reading is hard work.

 

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Busuu: A Language That Only 8 People Speak

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Help keep the Busuu language alive.

Busuu is a language that is only spoken by eight people in the world (according to Wikipedia this may be as low as three people as of 2005) in Cameroon. To help save this dying language the folks at Busuu.com have created  a music video in the Busuu language.

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‘That’s What She Said’ – Scientists Develop Software That Tells Dirty Jokes

TheOffice-ThatsWhatSheSaid-Michael

TWSS

Since the days of Chaucer and Shakespeare, double entendres have been making us laugh. B ut computers haven’t had the capability to tell jokes until now.  Two computer scientists at the University of Washington, Chloé Kiddon and Yuriy Brun, have developed a system for recognizing a particular type of double entendre – the “that’s what she said” joke. The double entendre are seemingly innocent sentences that can be transformed into lewd utterances by appending just four short words.

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Every Language in the World Evolved From Single Prehistoric Mother Tongue

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Every language can be traced back to a long-forgotten dialect spoken by our Stone Age ancestors in Africa.

From English to Mandarin – Every language in the world evolved from a prehistoric ‘mother tongue. ‘ The mother tongue was first spoken in Africa tens of thousands of years ago, a new study reveals.

 

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Google App Now Translates Your Conversations

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Google’s Tranlsate App for Android now allows users to translate conversations in Spanish and English. 

Not content with solving every sudoku puzzle, Google has now dismantled the language barrier.  An update to Google’s Tranlsate App for Android now allows users to translate conversations in Spanish and English.

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Chinese Language Will Soon Dominate the Internet


In the beginning, the language of the World Wide Web was English. Times change though, and the United States’ military’s gift to civilization knows no national boundaries, and growing worldwide adoption of the internet has changed the audience make-up to such an extent that the dominant language of the internet is about to become Chinese. That’s not to say the Chinese are all that comfortable with this either. There has just been an official decree requiring the use of Chinese translations for all English words and phrases in newspapers, magazines and web sites. While all countries have watched the unregulated global nature of the internet erode traditional cultural values and the integrity of national languages, it seems the Chinese powers-that-be have concluded that the purity of the Chinese language needs to be preserved.

 

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Japanese Scientists Create Mouse that Tweets Like a Bird

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLu37VvCozw[/youtube]

Japanese scientists have produced a genetically-engineered mouse that tweets like a bird, it was revealed today.  A team of researchers at the University of Osaka are breeding genetically modified mice that are prone to miscopying DNA and are more likely to develop mutations.

 

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English Language Has Nearly Doubled Over the Last Century

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English language doubles over last century.

The English language is enjoying unprecedented growth causing it to have nearly doubled in size over the last century, claims a new study.  Researchers at Harvard University and Google found that the language was expanding by 8,500 words a year in the new millennium and now stands at 1,022,000 words.

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World Languages – 24 Unusual Statistics & Facts

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Language spoken by the greatest number of non-native speakers: English

There are approximately 6,900 languages currently spoken around the world today, the majority of which have only a small number of speakers. About 4 billion of the earth’s 6.5 billion people, or over 60% of the earth’s population, speak one of the top 30 languages as their native tongue. The rest are suffering a slow death.

Here are some rather unusual statistics about the world’s languages that you may not know.

Number of living languages: 6912
Number of those languages that are nearly extinct: 516
Language with the greatest number of native speakers: Mandarin Chinese [See Top 30 languages]
Language spoken by the greatest number of non-native speakers: English (250 million to 350 million non-native speakers)
Country with the most languages spoken: Papua New Guinea has 820 living languages. [See Top 20 countries]
How long have languages existed: Since about 100,000 BC
First language ever written: Sumerian or Egyptian (about 3200 BC)
Oldest written language still in existence: Chinese or Greek (about 1500 BC)
Language with the most words: English, approx. 250,000 distinct words
Language with the fewest words: Taki Taki (also called Sranan), 340 words. Taki Taki is an English-based Creole spoken by 120,000 in the South American country of Suriname.
Language with the largest alphabet: Khmer (74 letters). This Austro-Asiatic language is the official language of Cambodia, where approx.12 million people speak it. Minority speakers live in a handful of other countries.
Language with the shortest alphabet: Rotokas (12 letters). Approx. 4300 people speak this East Papuan language. They live primarily in the Bougainville Province of Papua New Guinea.
The language with the fewest sounds (phonemes): Rotokas (11 phonemes)
The language with the most sounds (phonemes): !Xóõ (112 phonemes). Approx. 4200 speak !Xóõ, the vast majority of whom live in the African country of Botswana.
Language with the fewest consonant sounds: Rotokas (6 consonants)
Language with the most consonant sounds: Ubyx (81 consonants). This language of the North Causasian Language family, once spoken in the Haci Osman village near Istanbul, has been extinct since 1992. Among living languages, !Xóõ has the most consonants (77).
Language with the fewest vowel sounds: Ubyx (2 vowels). The related language Abkhaz also has 2 vowels in some dialects. There are approximately 106,000 Abkhaz speakers living primarily in Georgia.
Language with the most vowel sounds: !Xóõ (31 vowels)
The most widely published language: English
Language with the fewest irregular verbs: Esperanto (none)
Language which has won the most Oscars: Italian (12 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film)
The most translated document: Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, written by the United Nations in 1948, has been translated into 321 languages and dialects.
The most common consonant sounds in the world’s languages: /p/, /t/, /k/, /m/, /n/
Longest word in the English language: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters)

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A Rare Find as Linguists Discover a New Language in the Himalayas

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A Koro speaker talks to Gregory Anderson in Arunachal Pradesh, India, as he makes a recording of the language.

In the foothills of the Himalayas, two field linguists have uncovered a find as rare as any endangered species—a language completely new to science.

 

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Four Hardest Major Languages in the World to Learn

DAV arabic-conjugation

For a good introduction to conjugations, this is an Arabic verb chart:

Want to learn a new language? Don’t settle for just any language – why not challenge yourself and pick the hardest ones out of 6,909 living languages to learn!

Weird Worm has the list of the 4 Most Bizarrely Difficult (Major) Languages to Learn. Take, for example, Arabic…

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