App Review: Basic Linguistics

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Basic Linguistics is a free app by AR-Apps and is available on Google Play. It provides concise descriptions of many areas of linguistics including syntactical structures, morphological rules, semantics, phonology, language acquisition at all ages and areas of sociolinguistics. In doing so, it gives trainee teachers a useful grounding in the subjects that forms the backbone of English language teaching.

So much to do…

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This article by Professor Jakelin Troy, Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research at Sydney University, is a sign of how much there is still to be done in preserving Australian heritage. In the article, she discusses the reasons why she will dissuade her daughter from studying her heritage language Ngarigu:

Studying Classical Greek and Latin for the NSW HSC, neither of which have had native speakers for millennia, can help a student get into university. However, studying an Aboriginal language will not.

Language Analysis as a security tool

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With mass migration at an all time high, governments are using syntax, morphology and phonology as a method of identifying nationality and ethnography. Isn’t linguistics about building bridges rather than barriers?
Aamna Mohdin describes the barrier that linguistics presents to asylum in this article for Quartz.

To celebrate Star Wars day, we give Lord Vader the socio-linguistic shakedown

In this compilation we can see Vader reveal Luke’s heritage in twenty languages, but which is the most befitting of the complicated and varied character of the original (don’t argue) Sith Lord?

The first is the original English accent, which was famously recorded by James Earl Jones instead of using the voice the physical form of Darth Vader, David Prowse, whose West Country accent was deemed unsuitable by the King of the Ewoks, George Lucas.

Next up, we have two Spanish dubs of the famous revelation. The former sounds less menacing and seems to feature very clear diction for the international Spanish speaking audience, the latter, as with the English digital remasters from the nineties, is synthesised through a few more effects and a more dramatic delivery. More on these later…

Following the Spanish translations, we move west and then southwest for two versions in Portuguese: the original version for audiences from Portugal and the Brazilian, which is about two octaves lower and all the more menacing for it. In the last four translations, the producers have done their best to add gravity and menace to romance languages that are often associated with warm climates and blue skies. Does it work? It depends on whether you’re influenced more by voc synths or 20th linguistic stereotypes.

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