World

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French to Lead During France’s EU Presidency

The French language is poised to become the main language of the European Union’s (EU’s) meetings, notes, and debates during France’s presidency of the bloc from January 2022 to June 2022. France is planning to host major EU meetings in French, a move that breaks with the long-held tradition of hosting such meetings in English….

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Addressing the Gender Bias in French

French speakers have long been engaged in a debate over the language’s gender inclusivity—or rather its lack thereof. While some progress has been made toward feminizing the language (such as the 2012 move to remove the word mademoiselle from all official government communications, instead opting for the more neutral madame), other measures have been met…

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Chinese Controversy in Sri Lanka

Two incidents in which Chinese was included on signs for government projects but Tamil was omitted, despite being an official language, have caused Sri Lankans to start questioning the cultural hegemony of China on the island nation as its investments multiply. Sri Lankan attorney general Dappula de Livera unveiled a plaque written in Sinhala, English,…

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Arabic Internet Users Avoid Censorship by Adapting Alphabet

Pro-Palestinian activists have come up with a unique way of maneuvering around online censorship in the Arabic language: using an ancient form of the Arabic alphabet that isn’t properly recognized by social media algorithms designed to detect offensive or controversial content. In light of the recent developments in the Israel–Palestine conflict, social media networks like…

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Bill Would Allow Six Months to Learn French in Québec

A proposed language reform policy in Québec would give new immigrants to the Canadian province a pretty narrow timeframe to attain working proficiency in French: six months. Bill 96, a 100-page piece of legislation, aims to boost the status of the French language in Québec, but some argue that it could discourage immigrants from coming…

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Plan to Promote French in Québec

Last month, the leader of Québec’s Liberal Party and spokesperson for the protection of the French language Hélène David released a 27-point plan for the future of the French language in the province. “It is our duty, now and forever, to keep alive this French language that we live in, in this Québec built by…

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Finally, a Rohingya Translation of the Quran

For centuries, the Rohingya people, a Muslim ethnic minority indigenous to Myanmar, have not had access to the Quran in their native language. However, a campaign led by Rohingya Vision has recently raised more than $20,000 toward funding for an audio and video translation of the scripture, making the text much more accessible to the…

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Call to Make Portuguese Official Language of UN

Ahead of the celebration of Portuguese Language Day on May 5, Portugal’s minister of foreign affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, said that Portugal is continuing its quest to have Portuguese made an official language of the United Nations (UN), but recognizes that it’s not likely soon. Speaking at a press conference outlining the program of official…

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Iran Reduces Kurdish Teacher’s Sentence

Zara Mohammadi, a Kurdish language teacher and linguistic advocate in Iran who was sentenced to ten years in prison for her work, has recently had her sentence reduced to five years. According to Rudaw, a Kurdish news network, Mohammadi’s sentence reduction comes as Iran faces mounting pressure from the international community over suppression of the…