Interesting Facts About the Serbian Language and Culture Explained

Serbia is the largest of the former republics making up Yugoslavia, formed after the Second World War. As the Serbian-dominated federation broke up, it eventually left Serbia alone. Serbia is a landlocked country, bordered on the northwest by Hungary, the northeast by Romania, the southeast by Bulgaria and North Macedonia, the west by Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the southwest by Montenegro. One small southern part of Serbia, Kosovo, declared independence in 2008, but this is not recognized by Serbia. The capital of modern Serbia is Belgrade.

Serbia has had a tumultuous and complex history that has shaped both the language spoken in Serbia and Serbian culture. Today, it is rapidly becoming another modern, relatively affluent democratic part of Europe, its ascension to which is expected to go ahead in 2025. Young Serbians have grown up in the world of the Internet and relative peace, but many older Serbians remember the darker days of the 1980s and the genocide against native Bosnians that became the worst case of internal strife and bloodshed in post-Word War2 Europe.

The Serbian language

The official language of Serbia is Serbian, which is a Slavic language, related to Croatian, Bulgarian, and Russian. Learning Serbian is somewhat easier if any of the other Slavic languages have been studied. Written Serbian is increasingly becoming more Latinised, but the older Cyrillic alphabet and script is in use as well. Learning Serbian, it is necessary to become familiar with the unique letters and pronunciation used in the Cyrillic alphabet, as well as its Latinised equivalents. On the other hand, if you intend to travel around the Balkans on holiday, you can get away with just the language as it is written in Latinised script. Note that Croatian and other Balkan languages are very similar to Serbian, so this makes learning Serbian useful for visiting or working in other countries in the region.

Like German and Russian, Serbia uses genderized nouns, with nouns classified as male, female, or neuter. Adjectives, pronouns, and verbs all change according to the gender of the subject noun, a feature that makes learning Serbian more difficult for English language speakers who don’t have these linguistic features.

Serbian culture and tradition

As has already been mentioned above, Serbian culture is the result of hundreds of years of history. It has alternately been parts of another empire, such as the Ottoman Empire, an independent monarchy or republic, or part of a federation. As in many European countries, uniquely Serbian culture and tradition are much more strongly experienced in rural parts of the country and in smaller towns and cities. Life in larger cities like Belgrade is much more similar to anywhere else in modern Western Europe.

There are some characteristics of Serbian culture that can be identified as noted below.

  • Serbians are less individualistic than in some other western countries. They have retained their extended family networks more often and value their family connections and friendships.
  • Serbians have a great sense of dark humor. This tends to be often self-deprecating, with the humor turned inwards. However, it may be wise not to make jokes about Serbians, especially about the recent past, unless you know the people you are with very well.
  • Serbians are proud of their identity despite the fact that the country has often been part of some other entity. It’s wise not to confuse Serbia with other Balkan states.
  • Hospitality is appreciated by Serbs. They tend to be very generous and expect others to reciprocate this. One feature which is often noticed when socialising with Serbs is the tendency for one of the parties to attempt to pay the entire bill for the rest, this often being something which individuals compete to be the first to pay up.

8 Reasons Why You Should Learn Turkish

Learning Turkish has many advantages and here are eight great reasons described below to learn the Turkish language.

1. Learn Turkish to speak to a lot of people

The Turkish language is Turkey’s official language but that’s not the only country where Turkish is spoken. There are millions of people who live in Greece, Germany, and Cyprus who also speak Turkish. In fact, overall there are around 80 million speakers of Turkish throughout the world.

2. Turkey is of geographic importance

Turkey is situated between Asia and Europe so it links the Middle East with the West. Anyone interested in international relations would really find learning Turkish beneficial. Since 1995, the EU and Turkey have had a customs union. As Turkey’s international importance has grown there are more career opportunities in the country where learning Turkish would definitely be an advantage.

3. Turkish is easy to learn

English speakers in particular don’t find it too hard to learn the Turkish language. This is because its alphabet uses Latin letters so English speakers can read Turkish easily. Turkish language pronunciation isn’t too difficult at all so learners don’t need to worry about their accent. To make it even easier to learn when in Turkey the Turkish really appreciate visitors when they try to learn Turkish and go out of the way to help with pronunciation.

4. Turkish culture is worth learning about

Because Turkish culture is so unique the only real way to learn about the country’s exciting and rich culture and history is to learn Turkish. This includes food, which is an important part of Turkish culture. What a Turk really likes is when a visitor knows enough Turkish to order Turkish coffee and the delightful Turkish cuisine in the Turkish language.

5. Enhance your career pathway and learn Turkish

Better pay is often the reward for being bilingual because the business or organization sees a bilingual employee as an asset. Turkish language skills help to build and form business relationships and showcase loyalty. Having some skills in Turkish on a CV gives it an improved appearance and a feature that may be in your favor when applying for a job.

6. Speaking Turkish makes travel in Turkey easy

When traveling in Turkey there is no better way to enjoy the experience than learning the Turkish language. You can’t always expect the locals you meet to speak good English. You will be better received by the Turkish locals, and get the best deals when involved in bargaining at the marketplace. You will be able to discover Turkey’s hidden gems when speaking Turkish. Turkish has a magnificent coastline with great beaches. It also has hot air balloons filling the sky at Cappadocia.

7. Study overseas in Turkey

Turkish cities offer a world-class education at their universities. Studying in Turkey offers great cultural insight and a global perspective.

8. Improve your brain by learning Turkish

When learning the Turkish language improves memory skills and language learning improves mental health. Speaking Turkish fluently is an achievement and will boost your overall confidence.

The 7 Most Obscure World Languages

There are about 7,000 languages spoken throughout the world and some of these are quite obscure. They include languages like Silbo Gomero, Pawnee, Esperanto, Sentinelese, Andamanese, Pirahã, and Taa.

Silbo Gomero is spoken on the island of La Gomera in the Spanish Canary Islands. It is classified as a whistling language. Pawnee is a language spoken in Nebraska by Native Americans which only has thirteen phonemes or individual sounds. Esperanto is a completely constructed language which makes it different from other languages as it has no real history. Sentinelese is unusual because it has never been studied. It is spoken by the Sentinelese tribe which has between five and six hundred speakers who live on North Sentinel Island in the Andaman archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. These inhabitants have refused to make contact with the outside world! Andamanese is another Andaman Island language that has a numbering system that is almost non-existent. It has just five number words which are: one, one more, two, some more and then all. Pirahã doesn’t have any words which denote color, but just ‘light’ and ‘dark.’ Taa ( !Xóõ) is spoken by some Namibia and Botswana tribes and it features a large number of clicking consonants which gives it a unique sound.

The world’s least spoken language

Taushiro, Pinche or Pinchi, is a language that is almost extinct, spoken only in the Peruvian Amazon close to Ecuador. Amadeo García García was the last known speaker who lives in the northeast Peruvian area of Loreto.

The 7 rarest languages in the world

Bird Language or, in Turkish, Kuş Dili, is one of the rarest languages in the world. It doesn’t have an alphabet and is composed of melodies and whistles. Kalasha-mun is spoken by just 5,000 Kalash of Chitral people of Pakistan with only five thousand speakers. Chamicuro from Peru is now classified as a dormant language but there is a dictionary in Chamicuro which exists for anyone who wishes to learn this language. Ongota an Ethiopian language has just twelve elderly speakers. Njerep is also one of the rarest languages, but it is now classified as extinct. It is spoken in the West African nation of Cameroon by just five speakers, but they are not fluent. Chemehuevi, a Midwest United States language has almost died out, with just three fluent people in the Chemehuevi tribe. Kaixana, spoken at one time along the Japura River in Brazil, but went into rapid decline when Portuguese settlers arrived. Just one person speaks the language today. Taushiro, spoken in the area around the Tigre river in Peru, is a language not linked to any other and is now virtually extinct. Liki has now just five speakers and who come from Jayapura Kabupaten, Sarmi Kecamatan, and Sarmi and off the Indonesian coast.

One of the least used languages in the world

This is Tanema in the Solomon Islands spoken by just one person, Lainol Nalo, on Vanikoro island.

The most unusual language

This is Chalcatongo Mixtec, spoken in Oaxaca, Mexico. This is unusual because it doesn’t have any way of determining questions from some statements such as the use of “You are well” and ‘’Are you well?” which sound just the same.

 

The Hardest Languages to Learn in the World

People all around the world learn languages other than their native language for a variety of reasons. In some countries, national boundaries enclose a naturally multilingual population. Switzerland, for example, has German, French, Italian, and Romansh speakers. Most Swiss can speak at least two of these languages. In Belgium, French and Flemish (Dutch) are both official languages. In Malaysia, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, and Tamil are spoken by the three main linguistic populations. Then there are countries that had experienced colonial control for different lengths of time. Often the language of the colonizing country is still widely spoken together with the native language(s). In many countries, people learn one or more other languages because there is a benefit in doing so, for study, work, commerce, leisure or to travel (pre-Covid).

Which languages are hardest to learn?

All these examples limit the choice people have of learning a different language, but there are also those people who have time on their hands and choose to learn a new language to broaden their horizons or challenge their minds. Are all new languages equally easy or difficult to learn or are some languages harder to learn than others? We know that some people seem to learn a different language more easily than others, but do they find all languages easy, or are some languages intrinsically harder to learn than others?

Whether a language is easy to learn or more difficult really comes down to how closely related the two languages they are – the native language and the language to be compared with. During human history, populations have continually moved on to fresh pastures, taking their language and culture with them. In the past, contact would eventually have been lost and gradually the original language would slowly evolve. However, it would take many hundreds of years of separation before two languages become so different that it would become hard to understand each other. This means that the longer people have been separated from each other in historical time, the greater the difference in their languages and the harder it would be for them to understand each other and also to learn each others’ languages.

The closer the contact, the closer the similarity in language

Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia are almost identical although there is some unique vocabulary used in each country, almost a bit like the difference between American English and British English. Dutch and Afrikaans speakers can understand each other after two hundred years of separation, while amazingly a Tahitian on Captain Cook’s first boat to the Pacific could communicate with Maori in New Zealand after a four to five hundred year separation.

Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian speakers find it easy to learn each others’ languages because they are in the same family and have a lot of similarities. Similarly, Koreans find it easier to learn Chinese or Japanese than they do any European language. The Dutch find it easier to learn German or English than they do Arabic or Kiswahili.

The greater the differences in syntax, vocabulary, and grammar as well as the alphabet and form of writing the harder it will be to learn a new language. It’s harder for an English speaker to learn Russian, for example than German, simply because of the use of the Russian Cyrillic script. It’s even harder to learn Japanese, Korean or Chinese for an English speaker and vice versa because of the difference between Latin script and the characters used by the East Asian languages.

Whatever the differences in the language you want or need to learn and your own, probably the most important factor are motivation. The greater the motivation, the easier it will be to learn what you want to learn!

 

Mandarin is Now the Second Most Spoken Language in Australia

Recent research shows that Mandarin has now overtaken Arabic as the most common language found spoken in Sydney after English. An anthology called ‘Multilingual Sydney’ has mapped out how Sydney in New South Wales is now a melting pot of both cultures and languages and the Mandarin language is a firm second most spoken language in Sydney. In the past 5 years, the Australian population has risen by 2 million, the majority of which were of Chinese origin, with the majority residing living in the NSW urban areas, such as Sydney.

Dr. Alice Chik reported from Macquarie University recently that people who speak Mandarin in Sydney have now increased by 71% from 2011 to 2016. She said these figures were partly due to the presence of international students who were included in censuses. The 2017 statistics revealed that there were 37,790 Arabic-speaking students and 25,140 Mandarin. There are at least 300 languages found spoken in Sydney.

These are the latest figures for the speaking of languages including Mandarin in Australia.

  • Mandarin (+260,525 speakers)
  • Punjabi (+61,269 speakers)
  • Persian/Dari/Hazaraghi (+56,271 speakers)
  • Hindi (+48,288 speakers)

The most common language spoken in the home, apart from English, in Australia is Mandarin, with at least 2.5% of the Australian population speaking this language, which translates to about 596,703 people.

Origin of Mandarin speakers in Australia

The 2016 census revealed that the number of Canberra residents who speak Mandarin while at home rose 85% in just 5 years, increasing just 1.9% of the 2011 ACT population or 6676 people to 3.1%, or 12,408 found in the 2016 census. This compares to only 4,216 who speak Vietnamese, 3,853 who speak Cantonese to 3,646 who speak Hindi, and 3,273 who speak Spanish in Canberra, the national capital. The change in the number of people who speak Mandarin is due to a rise in people migrating to Australia from the south of China, especially from the cities of Shanghai and Beijing, rather than people who speak the northern Cantonese dialect. Most Mandarin speakers do not belong to a specific religious group.

The data also indicates that these growth patterns are also a result of the rise in use of Mandarin among the younger Chinese in Australia who arrived in Canberra as international students and who applied to remain after their studies and even bringing their often elderly parents to Australia under the family reunion visa as soon as they had received a job offer. This is a requirement of the family reunion visa.

In Australia as a whole, 650,700 people born in China were residing in Australia at the end of 2018, nearly double the number in 2008. After the UK, China is the 2nd biggest migrant group in Australia at 2.6 percent of the Australian total population. 33.8 years was the median age reported, which is about 3.5 years younger than the average age of the general population. In addition, females outnumber males at 55.5% for the former and 44.5% for the latter.

Some other data that was revealed in Australia’s last census in 2016 revealed that 33.8% of Chinese Australians and 46.6% of Hong Kong Australians derive an income from a white-collar profession, compared to only 32% for the overall total Australian population. However, despite Mandarin being the second language in Australia, the unemployment figures show that Chinese Australians are more likely to be unemployed than the average Australian.

Good Reasons to Learn Japanese

Japanese never became an international language in the same way that English, French, and even Arabic became, yet it is still one of the world’s most important languages and there are many reasons why the language should be learned. Some of those reasons are explored below.

#1 Japan’s economy is one of the world’s largest

The Japanese economy is currently the world’s third-largest in volume, lying behind the U.S. and China, but ahead of other global powerhouses like Germany and the U.K. This makes business dealings with Japanese businesses extremely important. Many Japanese businesses have become well-known brands, dominating the medium-range priced automobile market as well as vying with Korea the electronics market. At the same time, Japan is a voracious consumer of raw materials for its industrial sector, importing crude petroleum products, metal ores, and timber. Japanese is a compulsory language for all those people employed as intermediaries in trade between Japan and the rest of the world.

#2 Japan is a wealthy country that in normal times is a huge source of tourist dollars

Japanese love to travel and although the Covid-19 pandemic has put a lid on non-essential travel for everyone around the world, not just for the Japanese, when more normality arrives (sometime!) no doubt planeloads of enthusiastic and cashed-up Japanese tourists will wing their way around the world again. Tourist operators that have catered for large numbers of Japanese in the past understand the value of learning Japanese. There are 128 native speakers of the language, but apart from a number of small Japanese-speaking communities that have settled in places as far apart as Brazil, Canada, and Britain, hardly anyone speaks Japanese outside of Japan.

#3 Sport and the 2021 Olympics

Japan is an enthusiastic sporting nation and of course, at the moment it is preparing for what has become a challenging and contentious 2021 Olympic Games, despite the waves of Covid-19 that have enveloped the nation. Japan gave many now widespread and popular sports to the world, such as martial arts, judo, karate, taekwondo, and even sumo wrestling. At the same time, globally popular sports like soccer are huge in Japan. Japanese also play competitive rugby and provide world-class tennis players and golfers. Sport is an international language and anyone wanting to play the sport in Japan or with Japanese teams and individuals can benefit from learning some Japanese. And despite the lack of visitors allowed into Japan for the Olympics, it’s going to be on everyone’s TV screens very soon (probably!)

#4 Work

Many young people cut their teeth as teachers of English working in Japan. There is a huge demand for learning English in Japan, but it is not easy to find work teaching English in Japan unless you have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the Japanese language. Teachers of English who become fluent in Japanese are likely to have much more fun teaching and will also have the picking of the best jobs. They also then have the option of teaching Japanese when they return to their own countries. Many schools around the world want to offer Japanese as an option in their curriculum, but find it hard to attract teachers with sufficient Japanese knowledge.

#5 Understanding of Japanese culture

We may be a year or two away from being able to freely travel to Japan for a vacation, but the country remains a fascinating place to visit. Like many countries where fluency in anything other than the native language is lacking, it’s much more rewarding to learn some Japanese. Japanese families often host foreign students in exchange programs and these are fantastic opportunities for teenagers and young adults, both Japanese and foreigners.

Linguistic Services in Business are Highly Important Today

As soon as a business has raised significant revenue from a new product sold to its home market, the next step to follow is to go global with the product. But for a marketing campaign to be successful, there are some challenges that need to be addressed so that any marketing material sent overseas attracts new buyers. One of these challenges is localizing the main content of the advertising material. This is related to the context that the marketing is to take place. It is the job of a translator who has a thorough knowledge of two languages and knows what cultural correct terminology and other local features can be used to attract new customers.

Who is a linguist?

Linguists are language experts who have an exceptional eye for even the smallest of details and flaws in language patterns. Linguists are so valuable when it comes to ensuring the effectiveness of localized content. They are also important in many other ways such as described below.

Linguists understand customers

Linguists’ total understanding of the targeted group of customers ensures that the marketing content once localization has taken place is engaging to its audience both linguistically and culturally. A linguist has the training to view the text through the eyes of the targeted customer so it can be adjusted if there appears to be a mismatch. They are the best choice for attracting a global audience.

Linguists keep content consistent

Linguists maintain the consistency and integrity of localized content. They use glossaries and style guides to help them maintain language consistency in a client’s translated marketing material.

Linguists are experts in local languages

When working for transcreation services, gaining cultural insight, and copywriting, linguists should really be located in their first language country. It is this language they use all the time. Language rarely stays the same but linguists who are exposed all the time to their native language stay up to date with language changes.

Linguistic services avoid mistakes

Linguists know all the pitfalls of translations and keep up to date with some serious errors that have been made in marketing translations so they don’t make the same mistakes themselves. These include the famous KFC tagline “Finger-Linckin’ Good.” KFC chose to have this slogan translated by a “local proofreader” who mistranslated and the slogan ended up saying “We’ll Eat Your Finger Off!” Pepsi made a similar mistake with this tagline of theirs “Come alive with Pepsi,” When translated for a Chinese audience the expression read ‘’Pepsi can bring ancestors back from the dead!”.

A third blooper was from the American Dairy Association whose slogan was “Got Milk?” but when translated for the Mexican audience ended up with the translation, “Are you lactating?”.

No business ever wishes to suffer due to poor translations, but a good linguist should never allow this to happen.

Good translation companies ensure they hire the best linguists and translators to ensure a company’s marketing campaign is localized so it is just right and can be successfully delivered across multiple markets.

What’s the Difference Between Language and Dialect?

Introduction

Once upon a time, people rarely traveled, or at least never traveled as much as they do today (speaking of pre-Covid times of course!) Communities were separated from other communities for much of the time and over long periods of time the way they spoke to each other, their language, changed slowly. The longer communities were separated from each other, the more their languages evolved into different dialects, and perhaps over longer periods of time, different languages.

What is a language?

People communicate using a common language, which is a specific vocabulary arranged in a structured grammatical sequence. Language can be verbal or converted to text. There are many thousands of different languages used around the world. Some are spoken by hundreds of millions of people as their main native language, and then there are other languages that are only spoken by very few people. Some languages are growing in importance while others are dying or retained with difficulty.

Languages don’t stay the same. They change gradually over long periods of time. A bit like the branches of a tree, different languages may be closely or more remotely related to other languages. Linguists (the experts who study languages) recognize broad families of languages like the Semitic languages or Germanic languages. The fact that some languages are related to others reflects the way people have migrated in the past. As a group of people moves away from one part of the planet to another place altogether, they take their language with them. Over time, the language changes, but may still be similar in many ways to the language of the people they left behind. A good example is the group of Germanic languages: German, Dutch, English, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. These are distinctly different languages, but there are as many similarities between them as there are differences which reflects the way a common group of people migrated into northwestern Europe from the East many hundreds of years ago. It’s easy to recognize the similarities between Italian and Spanish or Portuguese, to use another example just as it is easy to recognize the huge differences between these Romance languages of Europe and the East Asiatic languages of China and Japan.

What is a dialect?

Dialects are variations of a single language spoken by people who have lived in different regions. Dialects can become so distinctively different that it can be hard to recognize that they are actually the same language. This is especially the case with the way the dialects are spoken. For example, a person brought up in Glasgow, Scotland may be hard to understand by an Australian from Sydney, but they still speak the same language, albeit in different languages. If the Glaswegian writes down what he or she is saying, it would be hardly any different from how the Sydneysider would write down the same thing that was spoken. In other words, the written form of a language tends to be much more uniform, while the colloquial or verbal variations of a language can be quite different although the speakers will still recognize that they are speaking the same language.

The differences between a language and a dialect

So, what is the difference between language and dialect? By definition, dialects of a language belong to the same language. The differences between the two dialects reflect how long the people who speak the same language have been separated from each other and by what significant geographical boundaries. These days, new dialects of the same language are much harder to form because of the amount of traveling that is done and the ubiquity of communication over the radio, TV, films, and the Internet. To give an example of how dialects are harder to form these days, compare the native English used by Australians and the same language used in Great Britain. There are hardly any notable differences between the English used by those who are brought up in Perth and those who were brought up in Brisbane, yet the distance between them is huge. People who are brought up in Perth, Scotland, though, speak with a much more recognizable dialect than anyone brought up in Southampton on the South coast of England.

Translation services used for languages and dialects

Generally, when a chunk of text is translated into another language, dialect tends to be disregarded unless there is a particular advantage in adapting the target language used to take into account a regional dialect. Commercial translation services, especially those used to translate marketing material, certainly do need to take into account different dialects as they are translating material that needs to be understood as widely as possible. This means that both language translation and dialect translation are needed.

When translation takes dialect use and colloquialisms into account, it is usually referred to as localization. Some translators specialize in localization. Translation services for things like manuals and medical journals or instructions are most likely to use the standard language without converting it into a specific dialect.

Summary

People use language to communicate and over the tens of thousands of years that humanity has lived on Earth, there have developed many hundreds of different languages. Some languages are very similar to others as they belong in the same family while may be totally different from other languages.

Dialects are different variations of a single language and develop because people have taken a single language and moved to different places. Because of separation, their use of the same language has changed but not enough to call it a different language.

Do Sri Lankan Tamils Speak Sinhala?

Introduction

Sri Lanka, the “teardrop-shaped island” to the South of India, is a bilingual country that has inherited its bilingualism and the origin of the conflicts between the two main ethnic groups that live there because of its colonial history.

What Language Is Spoken In Sri Lanka?

The majority of Sri Lankans are Sinhalese. They speak the Sinhalese language or Sinhala and are mostly Buddhists. The minority ethnic group in Sri Lanka is the Tamils. Although all Tamils today were born in Sri Lanka, their presence on that island is due to historical migration from Tamil Nadu to India. Tamil Nadu is a southeastern state of India, lying just across the Palk Strait from the Jaffna district of Sri Lanka. Tamils speak Tamil and are mostly Hindu. Tamils were encouraged to migrate to Sri Lanka when it was a British colony, mainly as laborers in the tea plantations.

Similarities between Sinhala and Tamil

One of the many problems that modern-day Sri Lanka has had to deal with is that the two main languages used by nearly all of its people are quite different. They belong to two different language families of Indian origin. The only similarities that are notable are that both languages developed on the Indian subcontinent. Many Tamils can in fact speak at least some Sinhala and there are also many Sinhalese who can speak some Tamil, but this bilingualism depends on the geographical location in Sri Lanka. Where many Sinhalese and Tamils live in the same communities, it is more common to learn each others’ languages. In some parts of Sri Lanka, though, the communities are almost exclusively Sinhalese or Tamil.

Violence and civil war have wracked the country on and off for decades now due to tensions between the different communities. This makes true bilingualism more challenging. Language disparity has been a major source of friction. Added to that is the fact that many educated Sri Lankans also learn English and there are Sinhalese and Tamils who find it easier to communicate with each other in English rather than Sinhala or Tamil.

How Sri Lanka copes with the language divide

Sri Lanka is hardly unique in its bilingual identity. There are very few Asian countries where everyone speaks the same language. Korea and Japan are two exceptions. Malaysia has Malay, Chinese, Tamil, and indigenous languages, as well as English, inherited from the colonial era. India, Sri Lanka’s neighbor, has far more languages and dialects than its smaller neighbor to deal with.

The language divide in Sri Lanka has been historically problematic. After Sri Lanka (colonial Ceylon) gained independence from Britain, one of the first laws to be passed was to make Sinhala the national language. This elevated the importance of Sinhala over Tamil and was and remains a hindrance to national unity. Sinhalese say that the change in the law was to remove English as a national language, but many Tamils didn’t see it that way. In 1978, the law changed to make both Sinhala and Tamil official languages with English a link language, but the language disparity is still a huge source of grievance in Sri Lanka.

Summary

Modern Sri Lanka is primarily a bilingual country. The two main languages are Sinhala and Tamil, both of Indian origin, but mutually unintelligible. Sinhala is the language of the majority of the population and there remains a significant disparity between the perceived importance of the two languages. Sinhala to Tamil translation and Tamil to Sinhala translation is much used in Sri Lanka, especially in the provision of government services.

 

Adapting Egyptian Language to Egyptian Culture

One often wonders why so many people want to visit Egypt until they are reminded that Egypt boasts one of the world’s most ancient civilizations. There are still remnants of bygone eras in the mystical pyramids found in Giza, near Cairo, and the remains of the ancient cities of Aswan and Luxor. In its heyday, Egypt was one of the most powerful of the world’s civilizations. Its success meant it lasted for nearly 3,000 years.

Before it became an empire, ancient Egypt was made up of several city-states fringing the River Nile which bustled with commerce and trade. In those days the construction of the Pyramids alone showed how expressive and innovative ancient Egyptians were. Its success grew as written language developed between 2,500 B.C. and 1,075 B.C. The first writing style was hieroglyphic. In one Rosetta stone can be seen Egyptian hieroglyphs translated using Ancient Greek and Egyptian Demotic. This system was created in the days of the Old Kingdom and it possessed nearly 700 pictorial characters which were used as decorations and for use in ceremonies.

When the Hieratic writing form was first developed from the hieroglyphic system ink was used and this changed communication forever. This writing was written on papyrus (a reed) so the Ancient Egyptians could communicate more easily so that they could spread their culture far and wide for many centuries.

The spoken language of Egypt

The Egyptian language known in classical form as Middle Egyptian was classified as an Afro-Asiatic language. It became the vernacular which was Egypt’s literary language until the invasion of the Roman Empire invaded. As time progressed, this spoken language slowly evolved to become Demotic and lastly Coptic, when Christianisation took place. Coptic, as a spoken language, was just about non-existent when the 17th century began but is still used as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria’s liturgical language.

The commonest dialect used in today’s Egypt is called colloquial Arabic (or Masry). Each of the Arabic-speaking countries has its own accents, with many divided into groups that speak different dialects. Overall, in the modern-day, there are several variations of the language.

Egypt’s official language is Literary Arabic, which is the most used in writing in the country. Another key fact is that it is Islam’s liturgical language, which is Egypt’s main religion. When the key text for Islam was written, the Qur’an, seven different dialects of classical Arabic were included in the text at that time. But today, Quraishi is used for the Qur’an.

Arabic is now the 5th most spoken global language, with 293 million people who are native speakers and a total of 422 million speakers throughout the world. It is one of the 6 official languages used by the United Nations.

The growth of Arabic

Arabic started to grow in importance after Napoleon in 1798 entered Egypt. This brought about more contact between the Arab culture and the West, which of course meant adapting the language to include the newer western ideas. At the beginning of the 20th century, Arabic language academics sought to reform the language with a particular focus on increasing Arabic vocabulary. These updates brought a new name to the language which is Modern Standard Arabic (Al-fuSHa). This is used in many areas of life but it doesn’t mean that the spoken word doesn’t still use dialects. Every country has its ‘amiya’ (“Arabic dialect”.)

The differences can be found more in pronunciation than in grammar or vocabulary. The main reason for this was after the Islamic conquest occurred it was important politically to standardize written Arabic because such large groups of people were starting to speak the language. From then on, the Arabic script was adapted so that it was more practical with the prose style and grammar being standardized.

When people communicate but have markedly different dialects, communicate they can use Modern Standard Arabic instead or just adjust their spoken words so they come across more formal and resemble al-fuSHa.