blog postsU.N. proclaims 2008 the International Year of LanguagesDec 30, 2007 1:15 am1738 views Insisting that everyone in the world should speak a language, the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2008 the International Year of Languages. Matsuura Koichiro, director-general of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, will coordinate international efforts to stress the importance of languages and promote their study.The word of the year for 2007 is EnglishDec 16, 2007 4:15 pm2786 views The word of the year for 2007 is English. Other word watchers picked grass station, locavore, and w00t as word of the year, and I myself considered several candidates, including Facebook, YouTube, and waterboarding. But in retrospect, 2007 seems to have produced a vocabulary list that, to quote former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, “I don’t remember.” In fact, so unmemorable were this year’s words that I finally had to admit that no other word captured the spirit of the times better than English itself.Grass station, locavore and w00t: we need a better word of the year for 2007Dec 14, 2007 12:46 pm815 views The Chanukah candles have all burned out, the sun is setting earlier each day, and the weather is wreaking havoc with vacation plans. These signs of the waning year tell us that once again its time for the year-end word wrap. Just as reporters look back on the year's big stories, and photo editors pick the image that best captures the spirit of the year gone by, lexicographers see the winter solstice as the time to choose the Word of the Year, or the WOTY, as they like to acronymize it.Republicans want EEOC to speak only EnglishDec 13, 2007 1:30 am1129 views Republicans in Congress want to stop the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from taking action against employers who make their workers speak English, according to the Associated Press. A group of English-only Republican senators was outraged by the announcement that the EEOC is suing the Salvation Army for firing two clothing sorters in its Framingham, Massachusetts thrift shop because the Spanish-speaking immigrants were unable to comply with the organization’s English-only policy.But Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who objected violently when a CD of the “Star-Spangled Banner” was released in Spanish last year, wants to prevent the government’s antidiscrimination agency from discriminating against faith-based groups who make their employees speak English. No translations please, we're BritishDec 8, 2007 12:15 am1955 views In a move calculated to make immigrants learn English faster, the British government wants everyone to translate less. Insisting that translation makes it too easy for newcomers to avoid learning the language that put the great into Great Britain, Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, is asking hospitals, the police, courts, and local governments not to translate anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. And when they do translate something, Blears wants it done with pictures accompanied by English captions.Pointing to Polish road signs on English streets, and all sorts of government reports published in 10 languages when no one even reads the English version, Blears complained that translation is a waste of money.