Return to home3000BC In 2013 Chinese archaeologists said
they have discovered some of the world's oldest known primitive
writing, dating back to about this time, in eastern China. Some of
the markings etched on broken axes resembled a modern Chinese
2500BC A study in 2015 said a wave of migrants
from the eastern fringes of Europe about this time left their trace
in the DNA — and possibly the languages — of modern Europeans. They
found that DNA associated with the Yamnaya people appeared strongly
in what is now northern Germany. The Yamnaya were herders who lived
in the steppe north of the Black and Aral Seas.
1400BC In 2010 Israeli archaeologists said a newly
discovered clay fragment from the 14th century BC is the oldest
example of writing ever found in antiquity-rich Jerusalem. Dig
director Eilat Mazar of Hebrew University said the 2-centimeter-long
fragment bears an ancient form of writing known as Akkadian wedge
1000BC A clay tablet, described as an
Akkadian-language letter, dating to about this time was placed on
display in 2011 in Jerusalem. The letter was from the Canaanite King
Abdi-Heba to the king of Egypt. It was found in excavations of a
site from the First Temple period.
(SFC, 6/21/11, p.A6)
800BC-500BC Texts called Southwest Script dating
to this period were later discovered in Portugal. Most experts have
concluded they were authored by a people called Tartessians, a tribe
of Mediterranean traders who mined for metal but disappeared after a
few centuries. Some scientists have proposed that the composers were
other pre-Roman tribes, such as the Conii or Cynetes, or maybe even
Celts who roamed this far south.
600BC-500BC Greece in the 6th century BC used a
writing system, Boustrephedon, that featured alternate lines read in
opposite directions. The word is from the Greek boustrophēdon,
meaning literally “to turn like oxen" (in plowing).
171BC There was a major wave of migration to Japan
from the Korean Peninsula. The migration of other peoples from
mainland Asia around this time brought metal tools, rice and new
farming techniques. Computer modeling in 2011 showed that the
migration also had significant impact on linguistic development.
200 The first Runic
inscriptions that have survived to the modern day dated from around
this time. The Runic alphabet, also known as Futhark, consists of 24
letters, 18 consonants and 6 vowels.
500 In England, the
Anglo-Saxons brought Futhark from continental Europe in the 5th
century and modified it into the 33-letter "Futhorc" to accommodate
sound changes that were occurring in Old English, the language
spoken by the Anglo-Saxons. An early offshoot of Futhark was
employed by Goths, and so it is known as Gothic Runes. It was used
until 500 CE when it was replaced by the Greek-based Gothic
800-900 In Scandinavia Futhark evolved around the
9th century. Instead of 24 letters, the Scandinavian "Younger"
Futhark had 16 letters. In England, Anglo-Saxon Futhorc started to
be replaced by the Latin alphabet by the 9th century, and did not
survive much more past the Norman Conquest. Futhark continued to be
used in Scandinavia for centuries longer, but by 1600 CE, it had
become nothing more than curiosities among scholars and
1446 Oct 9, The Korean alphabet
known as hangul, created under the aegis of King Sejong, was first
published. This day was later made a national holiday.
(AP, 10/9/07)(Econ, 10/10/15, p.40)
1522 Jul 5, Antonio de Nebrija
(b.1441), Spanish scholar, died. His work included a Spanish
grammar written in Latin. It was the first systematic
treatment of a vernacular European language.
1547 Jan 18, Pietro Bembo
(1470-1547), Italian scholar, died. He was an influential figure in
the development of the Italian language, specifically Tuscan, as a
literary medium. His work included "Writings on the Vulgar Tongue,"
in which he used an old Tuscan dialect as a model for grammar. He
also wrote "History of Venice from 1487 to 1513" (1551).
1783 Noah Webster (1758-1843),
a Connecticut schoolmaster, published the first edition of his
American spelling book. As a Grammatical Institute of the English
Language, the Spelling Book was influential in standardizing and
differentiating, from the British forms, English spelling and
pronunciation in America.
(ON, 12/09, p.9)(Econ, 6/18/11, p.34)
1809 Jan 4, Louis Braille
(d.1852), inventor of a universal reading system for the blind, was
born in Coupvray, France. He was blinded at age four as the result
of an accident in his father's shop. He became an accomplished
organist and cellist and won a scholarship in 1819 to attend the
National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. In 1821 Louis learned
of a communication system devised by Captain Charles Barbier of the
French Army. While Barbier's system was too complex to be practical,
Braille simplified and adapted it to a six-dot code representing
letters that enabled people with impaired vision to not only read
but also write for themselves. In 1829 his first Braille book was
published, but Braille himself died of tuberculosis at age
43--before his system gained widespread acceptance.
1864 May 16, Platt Rogers
Spencer (b.1800), the originator of Spencerian penmanship, a popular
system of cursive handwriting, died in Geneva, Ohio.
1878 Linguist Maximilian
(Maximilien) Delphinius Berlitz (1852-1921) opened his first Berlitz
language school in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2001 Berlitz
became a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan’s Benesse Corporation.
1884 In England part 1 of the
Oxford English Dictionary, compiled under the direction of James
Murray, was published. Consecutive volumes in alphabetical order of
the OED continued to 1928.
(ON, 11/05, p.6)(Econ, 10/29/16, p.78)
1889 The American Dialect
Society was founded. It was dedicated to the study of the English
language in North America and started selecting its "Word of the
Year" in 1991. Since then it has picked only two "Word of the
Decade" winners. Top choices were "web" for the 1990s and "Google"
as a verb for the 2000s.
1895 Mar 5, Henry Creswicke
Rawlinson (85), soldier and scholar, died in England. In 1835 he had
begun examining the ancient inscriptions on the rock of Behistun in
the Kurdish foothills of the Zagros mountain range and found that
they had been made to honor Darius the Great, Persian ruler in the
5th century BCE. He deciphered text from Old Akkadian cuneiform. In
2004 Lesley Adkins authored “Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson
and the Lost Languages of Babylon."
4/04, p.9)(WSJ, 12/21/04, p.D8)
1908 Neutral Moresnet, a
territory between Belgium and Germany, nearly adopted Esperanto as
its official tongue. The tiny Belgian-Prussian condominium existed
from 1816 to 1920. The former territory later became know as the
Belgian city of Kelmis.
1910 US attorney Louis D.
Brandeis (1856-1941) first used the term "scientific management" in
testimony before the Interstate Commerce Commission when it was
considering requests by the railroads for rate in creases.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Brandeis)(Econ., 9/19/20, p.18)
1913 In China the first
committee to create a standard Chinese language was convened. Many
meetings later the choice fell on the Beijing vernacular as the
(Econ, 10/15/16, p.39)
1921 Zhao Yuanren (1892-1982),
aka Yuen Ren Chao, Chinese-American linguist, recorded the Standard
Chinese pronunciation gramophone records distributed nationally, as
proposed by Commission on the Unification of Pronunciation.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuen_Ren_Chao)(Econ, 7/5/14, p.15)
1927 Nov 16, Austin Norman
Palmer (b.1860), American developer of the Palmer method of script,
1928 Nov 1, Under Pres. Mustafa
Kemal Ataturk the Turkish Republic's law number 1353, the Law on the
Adoption and Implementation of the Turkish Alphabet, was passed. It
replaced Arabic script with Latin script and went into effect on Jan
1939 The last person fluent in
the Chochenyo, one of eight languages used by the Ohlone people of
the San Francisco Bay Area, died.
(SFC, 11/24/12, p.C4)
1941 Jul 26, Benjamin Lee Whorf
(1897), American linguist, died. He had argued that different
languages condition or restrain the mind’s habits of thought.
1944 Mar 30, Gobbledygook was
coined by US Rep. Maury Maverick, a Texas Democrat, in a memo
banning "gobbledygook language" at the Smaller War Plants
Corporation. It was a reaction to his frustration with the
"convoluted language of bureaucrats." However, the first time the
new word was seen by the average person was on May 21, 1944. That
day, he wrote a long article for the New York Times magazine,
explaining how he invented the word, and giving readers many
examples of how the new word could be used.
1948 Puerto Rico gained the
right to choose its own governor and elected Munoz Marin. He held
office until 1965. Luis Munoz Marin, ended the practice of teaching
all high school subjects in English. From 1900 to 1948 all high
school subjects had been taught in English.
(SFC, 3/26/97, p.C3)(AFP, 5/9/12)
1950 Sep 25, George Zipf,
American linguist and philologist, died. He studied statistical
occurrences in different languages. Much of his effort can explain
properties of the Internet, distribution of income within nations,
and many other collections of data.
1953 The Associated Press
Stylebook in English first came out. It became the gold standard of
style reference books in the journalism industry.
1955 J.L. Austin (1911-1960),
British philosopher of language, authored “How To Do Things with
(Econ, 11/12/16, p.77)
1956 Sinhalese, which few
Tamils spoke, was made the sole official language of Sri Lanka.
(SFC, 6/1/00, p.C2)(Econ, 1/30/10, p.28)
1958 The Chinese government
updated the system for spelling Chinese words with Roman letters. It
also introduced simplified written Chinese characters in a system
called pinyin. Zhou Youguang (1906-2017) invented pinyin, the
romanized spelling system that linked ancient Chinese writing to the
modern age. He had been drafted in 1955 to lead the committee in
developing an alphabetic system.
(SFC, 5/8/06, p.A1)(CSM, 1/15/17)
1968 In Belgium Flemish
students called for French speaking Walloons to leave the Univ. at
Leuven. This led to a division of the library’s 1.6 million books
with half going to the new campus of Louvain-la-Neuve in French
speaking Wallonia. The partition divided the Catholic church and
brought down the government.
(Econ, 1/29/11, p.51)
1971 Ray Tomlinson (d.2016), an
engineer at Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), invented an e-mail
program that allowed users to exchange messages across a distributed
network. He devised the @ symbol to designate a digital address. In
1972 Tomlinson modified the program to run on ARPANET where it
became a quick hit.
p.B1)(TIME, 10/20/14, p.65)(Econ, 3/12/15, p.80)
1976 Joseph Weizenbaum
(1923-2008) wrote "Computer Power and Human Reason." He described
here his program called ELIZA that demonstrated a conversation
between a patient and a computer posing as a psychiatrist.
1979 Harmony Books published
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. In the book
the British writer described the Babel fish, a live fish placed in
the ear that translates any form of language. “Deep Thought"
was the name of a computer in the book.
p.E1)(Econ, 4/28/12, p.60)
1981-1996 Millennials are generally defined as
those born during this period.
(Econ., 9/12/20, p.22)
1983 Zoo officials in
Kazakhstan reportedly claimed that a teenage elephant named Batyr
could reproduce Russian to utter 20 phrases, including "Batyr is
good." But there was no scientific study on the claim.
1989 Finland’s YLE radio
launched a five-minute weekly news program in Latin to a small group
of committed listeners around the globe. It inspired Latin students,
academics and language lovers around the globe, from China and
Vietnam all the way to Belgium and the United States. In 2017 YLE
leadership agreed to extend it until at least its 30th anniversary
1990 The KE family were brought
to the attention of the scientific community about this time. Over
three generations of this family, about half the family members
suffer from a number of problems, the most obvious of which is
severe difficulty in speaking. A mutation of the FOXP2 brain gene
was later related to language loss.
1991 Puerto Rico Gov. Rafael
Hernandez Colon declared Spanish the island's sole official
language. The law was repealed a couple of years later by Gov. Pedro
Rosello, whose first official act was to make both English and
Spanish the official languages.
1992 Oct 7, The Ubykh language
of the north-eastern Caucasus died out when Tevfik Esenc (b.1904), a
Circassian exile in Turkey, died.
1993 The Welsh Language Act
established a Board having the function of promoting and
facilitating the use of the Welsh language.
2003 Jul 25, Britain’s
Communications Act came into effect. It allowed the government to
prosecute people for “grossly offensive" postings on the Internet.
2004 Jun, A pilot Confucius
Institute program, designed to promote the study of Chinese abroad,
was established in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The first Confucius
Institute was then established in Seoul on Nov 21, 2004. The 75th
was established in Cracow, Poland, in 2006. By the end of 2013 there
were 440 institutes in over 100 countries.
2008 Jul 28, In Nepal
protesters blocked traffic and held demonstrations to protest the
decision by Paramananda Jha, the newly elected vice president, to
take his oath of office in Hindi, which is not recognized as an
2008 Sep 16, A Japanese
researcher said he has taught a beluga whale to "talk" by using
sounds to identify three different objects, offering hope that
humans may one day be able to hold conversations with sea mammals.
2008 Nov 20, The European Union
formally recognized Welsh, which dates back to the 6th century, as a
minority tongue. It became an official tongue in Wales in 1993, 450
years after British rulers gave it the boot in favor of English.
2008 Research in India
began to document two little known languages, Aka and Miji. A third
language, Koro, was discovered in the process. In 2010 researchers
said Koro, spoken by only about 1,000 people, was a distinct
language with an entirely different vocabulary and linguistic
structure from Aka.
2009 Jan 31, On the streets of
Birmingham, the queen's English is now the queens English. This week
the city council made it official. England's second-largest city
decided to drop apostrophes from all its street signs, saying
they're confusing and old-fashioned.
2009 Apr 16, Rosetta Stone, an
American language instruction company, went public. It sold
6,250,000 shares at IPO price of $18. The stock traded as high as
$26.27 before closing at $25.12.
(Econ, 1/5/13, p.52)
2009 Apr 28, The US Supreme
Court upheld an FCC rule penalizing broadcasters for isolated
utterances of expletives before 10 pm.
(WSJ, 4/28/09, p.A1)
2009 Sep 1, In Slovakia a new
language law was scheduled to come into force to promote the use of
Slovak in public. Hungarian speakers, who numbered about a fifth of
the population, viewed this as a direct attack on their right to
speak their mother-tongue.
(Econ, 8/1/09, p.47)
2010 Jan 6, In Morocco the
first Berber TV channel in the ancient but marginalized tongue of
Amazigh was launched after a decades-long struggle.
2010 Jul 6, In South Africa
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that pupils will
have the option of learning in their mother language in their first
three years of schooling. Children were currently taught either in
English or Afrikaans, both languages inherited from the eras of
colonialism and apartheid.
2010 Jul 23, Thailand’s Culture
Ministry said Facebook and Twitter are causing deteriorating
language skills among Thai students and authorities want them to
return to the bygone tradition of letter-writing.
2010 Robert McCrum authored
“Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language."
(Econ, 5/29/10, p.83)
2010 Nicholas Ostler authored
“The Last Lingua Franca: English Until the Return of Babel."
(Econ, 12/18/10, p.163)
2010 Ruth H. Sanders authored
“German: A Biography of a Language."
(Econ, 8/7/10, p.86)
2011 Jan 26, BBC world Service
said that it would close 5 of its 32 language services, including
its Russian language radio broadcasts, and reduce its work force by
about a quarter, or up to 650 jobs.
(SFC, 1/27/11, p.A2)(Econ, 1/29/11, p.55)
2011 May 4, New computer
modeling showed that Japan's many language variants descended from a
common ancestor some 2,182 years ago -- coinciding with the major
wave of migration from the Korean Peninsula.
2011 May 30, Australian robots
have begun talking to each other in a language of their own
devising. Two "Lingodroids," developed by the University of
Queensland, have picked up their shared language by playing location
games that led them to construct a shared vocabulary for places,
distances and directions.
2011 Jul 1, Moroccan
constitutional reforms made Tamazight, a form of Berber, an official
language. Its written tradition extended to at least 200BC. The
Tuareg traditionally use their own alphabet, called Tifinagh, to
(SSFC, 7/17/11, p.N3)
2011 Nov 14, Pakistan's
telecommunications authority sent a letter ordering cell phone
companies to block text messages containing what it perceives to be
obscenities. It also sent a list of more than 1,500 English and Urdu
words that were to be blocked. The order was part of the regulator's
attempt to block spam messages.
2011 Nov 22, Pakistan rowed
back from demands that text messages containing nearly 1,700
"obscene" words should be blocked, following outrage from users and
campaigners. A Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) spokesman
said the authority would consult civil society representatives and
mobile phone operators on refining a much shorter list of words,
giving no timeframe for any eventual ban.
2011 Henry Hitchings authored
“The Language Wars: A History of Proper English."
(Econ, 3/12/11, p.100)
2012 Feb 18, Latvia voted in a
referendum on whether Russian should become the Baltic country's
second national language. The Russians and other minorities who
organized the referendum admit they have virtually no chance at
winning the plebiscite. According to the current law, anyone who
moved to Latvia during the Soviet occupation, or was born to parents
who moved there, is considered a noncitizen and must pass the
Latvian language exam in order to become a citizen. Latvian voters
resoundingly rejected the proposal.
2012 May 18, It was reported
that Saudi Arabia has banned all government and private agencies
from using the Gregorian calendar in official dealings. The use the
English language to answer calls or communicate, mainly in companies
and hotels, has also been banned in an effort to preserve the Arabic
(SSFC, 5/20/12, p.A4)
2012 May 24, In Ukraine a melee
in the parliament was sparked by a proposed bill to make Russian an
official language in eastern regions of the country with large
native Russian-speaking populations. Lawmakers grappled and threw
punches. One was hospitalized with a head injury.
2012 Jun 12, Turkey announced
plans to introduce elective Kurdish language instruction in schools,
a step aimed at easing tension that Kurdish minority activists
argued didn't go far enough. Activists and Kurdish politicians
insisted on full Kurdish education in schools.
2012 Jul 4, Ukraine opposition
activists clashed with riot police in the center of Kiev and
Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn resigned after the legislature
passed a bill that would upgrade the status of the Russian language.
The president has said he has not decided whether to approve or veto
the bill, but Lytvyn's resignation was likely to delay that process
because it cannot be submitted to the president without the
2012 Jul 5, In Ukraine some
1,000 opposition activists rallied in Kiev to protest legislation
upgrading the status of the Russian language.
2012 Nov 2, In South Korea an
international team of scientists confirmed that a 5.5-ton elephant
named Koshik at the Everland Zoo can reproduce five Korean words by
tucking his trunk inside his mouth to modulate sound. Koshik emerged
as a star among animal enthusiasts and children in South Korea after
Everland Zoo claimed in 2006 that he could imitate words, two years
after his trainers noticed the phenomenon.
2012 David Crystal authored
“The Story of English in 100 Words."
(SSFC, 4/8/12, p.F5)
2012 Daniel Everett authored
“Language: The Cultural Tool."
(Econ, 3/17/12, p.93)
2012 In Paraguay 80% of the
population continued to speak the Guarani, an indigenous language of
South America that belongs to the Tupí–Guaraní subfamily of the
(Econ, 12/22/12, p.48)
2012 Puerto Rico’s Gov. Luis
Fortuno proposed an ambitious, and what critics call far-fetched,
plan to require all public schools to teach all courses in English
instead of Spanish. Fortuno said he wants all public school students
to be bilingual within 10 years.
2013 Apr 9, Spelling whizzes
across the US learned that they will have to know the definitions of
some of the those tough words they've been memorizing in the
dictionary. For the first time, multiple-choice vocabulary tests
will be added to the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee.
2013 Jul 10, Chinese
archaeologists said they have discovered some of the world's oldest
known primitive writing, dating back 5,000 years, in eastern China,
and some of the markings etched on broken axes resemble a modern
2013 Nov 19, Britain’s Oxford
Univ. Press declared “selfie," a smart phone self-pportrait, the
2013 word of the year. Use of the word dated back to at least 2002.
(SFC, 11/20/13, p.A3)
2013 Dec 5, Moldova’s
Constitutional Court ruled that Romanian is now the official
language. The language, basically the same as Romanian, had been
renamed Moldovan under Soviet rule.
(SFC, 12/6/13, p.A2)
2013 Jean-Benoit Nadeau and
Julie Barlow authored “The Story of Spanish.
(Econ, 6/1/13, p.80)
2013 Aileen Lee, the founder of
Cowboy Ventures, coined the term Unicorn to represent startups
valued over $1 billion and the statistical rarity of such successful
2014 Jul 10, A European Union
court ruled that Germany can't require the spouses of Turkish
immigrants to show basic knowledge of the German language as a
condition for being granted a visa.
2014 Nov 23, Israel's Cabinet
approved a contentious bill that officially defines Israel as the
nation-state of the Jewish people. The bill would delist Arabic as
an official language. On Nov 24 presentation of the bill before the
Knesset was delayed.
(AP, 11/23/14)(SFC, 11/25/14, p.A4)
2015 Sep 8, The Motorola unit
of Lenovo launched the first smart watch, supported by Google and
powered by its Android operating system, that understands Chinese
(Econ, 9/12/15, p.58)
2015 Dec 2, John Rassias
(b.1925), former Dartmouth professor of language, died at his home
in Norwich, Vt. His language teaching method was adopted by the
Peace Corps and formalized after he began teaching at Dartmouth in
1965, as the Dartmouth Intensive Language Model.
(SFC, 12/7/15, p.C3)
2015 Dec 11, Elon Musk helped
found OpenAI, an artificial intelligence laboratory based in San
Francisco. The other founders included Sam Altman, Ilya Sutskever,
Greg Brockman, Wojciech Zaremba, John Schulman. In May 2020 the lab
described Generative Pretrained Transformer 3, commonly known by its
abbreviated form GPT-3, an unsupervised Transformer language model
and the successor to GPT-2. The software was built on a "language
model" aiming to represent a language statistically.
2015 David Peterson, the
language-smith of Game of Thrones," authored “The Art of Language
(Econ, 8/5/17, p.65)
2016 Sep 26, Morocco adopted
Amazigh spoken by its Berber community as an official language
alongside Arabic, rounding off a reform program launched by King
Mohammed VI in 2011.
2016 Nov, Google unveiled a new
version of Translate. The old version was called “phrase-based"
machine translation. The new version used as artificial neural
network lin king digital “neurons" in several layers.
(Econ, 4/29/17, p.70)
2016 Benjamin Bergen authored
"What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains,
(Econ, 10/8/16, p.77)
2016 Algeria officially
recognized the Berber language, spoken by about a quarter of the
(Econ, 8/19/17, p.40)
2017 Jan 14, In China linguist
Zhou Youguang (b.1906) died. He is considered the father of modern
China's Pinyin Romanization system.
(AP, 1/14/17)(Econ, 1/21/17, p.72)
2017 Mar 7, In Macedonia
vandals damaged a museum dedicated to the Albanian alphabet, amid
increasing political tension over the official status of the
Albanian language in the country. Three parties of the Albanian
minority, a quarter of Macedonia's population, demanded that
Albanian should become Macedonia's second official language as their
price to join in any coalition.
2017 Mar 9, The Ile de France
region passed a new rule obliging laborers on public building sites
to use French, copying action taken elsewhere in France to squeeze
out foreign workers.
2017 Aug 1, Macedonian PM Zoran
Zaev and Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov signed a friendship
treaty in Skopje in a move designed to end years of diplomatic
wrangling and boost Macedonia's European integration. Bulgaria still
does not recognize the Macedonian language, which it views as a
dialect of Bulgarian.
2017 Aug 10, Peru’s government
launched its “policy for native languages." This would require
government agencies to offer services in native languages in area
where they are dominant.
(Econ, 8/26/17, p.28)
2017 Sep 25, Ukraine's
president signed a controversial law on education, causing fury in
Hungary which is threatening to block Ukraine's efforts to integrate
with the EU. The law restructures Ukraine's education system and
specifies that Ukrainian will be the main language used in schools,
rolling back the option for lessons to be taught in other languages.
2017 Oct 13, Romania’s foreign
minister said Ukraine has pledged not to close Romanian language
schools under a new education law that has caused alarm in Romania,
Russia and Hungary.
2017 Oct 16, Hungary said it
will "block and boycott" all attempts to draw Ukraine more deeply
into the European Union unless Kiev changes a new education law that
rolls back options for schools to teach lessons in languages other
2017 Oct 26, Kazakhstan
President Nursultan Nazarbayev ordered his office to prepare for a
switch to a Latin-based alphabet from a Cyrillic one, distancing
itself, at least graphically, from Russia. Kazakh, a Turkic
language, used to be written in Arabic script until the 1920s when
the Soviet Union briefly introduced a Latin alphabet for it. This
was later replaced by a Cyrillic one in 1940, based on the Russian
2018 Jan 6, A senior education
official said Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary
schools, after the country's Supreme Leader said early learning of
the language opened the way to a Western "cultural invasion".
2018 Jan 11, Macedonian
lawmakers passed a law making Albanian the country's second official
language, in a parliamentary vote boycotted by the main opposition
party. It still required approval by the country's president before
coming into effect.
2018 Jan 21, In Macedonia
hundreds of people gathered in Skopje to protest a bill that would
make Albanian the country's second official language. President
Gjorge Ivanov vetoed the bill last week, describing the legislation
as unnecessary and unconstitutional.
2018 Mar 1, Kazakhstan said it
will allow cabinet and parliament members to speak Russian,
softening the tone of an earlier statement by President Nursultan
Nazarbayev who had ordered a switch to Kazakh.
2018 May 22, China jailed
Tibetan businessman Tashi Wangchuk for five years for "inciting
separatism," after he advocated the use of Tibetan in schools and
was featured in international media reports.
2018 Jul 10, An official with
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe defended the
creation of a glossary that offers journalists on both sides of
ethnically divided Cyprus alternatives to words that are deemed
offensive or negative in their reporting of the island's
2018 Sep 19, In Ukraine the
legislature in the Lviv region voted to "impose a moratorium on the
public broadcast and use of Russian-language content" until Russia
withdraws all of its troops from Ukraine.
2018 Sep 27, Romania's
education minister resigned over a political dispute involving the
teaching of the Romanian language in schools serving the country's
ethnic Hungarian minority. Valentin Popa said he disagreed with a
demand by the party representing the interests of Romania's 1.3
million Hungarians to allow Hungarian-speaking teachers to keep
2019 Jan 3, Michigan's
Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib kicked off her term with an
expletive-laced vow to impeach Donald Trump, testing her party's
discipline and earning a chiding the next day from the president.
2019 Apr 25, Ukraine's
parliament approved a controversial law to enhance the status of the
Ukrainian language at the expense of Russian. Russia slammed the
move as "scandalous." The law was championed by outgoing President
(AFP, 4/25/19)(Reuters, 4/25/19)
2019 Jul 16, The City Council
in Berkeley, Calif., voted to ban gender-specific words in the
liberal city’s municipal code, clearing the way for the changes to
2019 Aug 2, Morocco passed
legislation reintroducing French as a language of instruction in
schools. The country’s two official languages included modern
standard Arabic (MSA) and Tamazight (the Berber tongue). Most
Moroccans speak Darija (Moroccan Arabic).
(Econ, 8/17/19, p.35)
2019 Dec 4, Hungary's foreign
minister said Budapest would block Ukraine's membership in NATO
until Kiev restored the rights that ethnic Hungarians had before a
language law curbed minorities' access to education in their mother
2020 Jul 23, Rep. Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez's outrage over a lawmaker’s verbal assault broadened
into an extraordinary moment on the House floor as she and other
Democrats assailed a sexist culture of “accepting violence and
violent language against women" whose adherents include President
Donald Trump. This came a day after she rejected an offer of
contrition from Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., for his language during this
week's Capitol steps confrontation.
2020 Sep 3, It was reported
that ethnic Mongolians are demonstrating their anger in China's
Inner Mongolia province against a new bilingual education policy
that they say is endangering the Mongolian language.
(SFC, 9/3/20, p.A2)(Econ., 9/5/20, p.35)
2020 Dec 14, Japan selected the
"mitsu" kanji character, meaning "congested" or "dense" and used to
encourage social distancing, as its defining symbol for 2020.